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one day maybe

Zone Founder

dragons pt 1 the autistic sword

I was but a 13 year old fledgling when my mother came home for the first time. At thirteen years old I was barely able to talk in complete sentences, and was the size of a small dog and about as well behaved as one. My suma, Myelin carried me to and fro the caverns in a wicker basket, from the warmth of the kitchen hearth to the classroom on a rare grassy terrace outside in the blazing sun. The massive stone gates at the front of the house cracked open as I was eating dinner that night. The sound was frighteningly large, and I hadn’t heard it before. I looked over to Myselin in confusion but she was starting to get up already with a happy expression on her face. “Ycro, that must be your mother, returned at last!” She scooped me up, deposited me into the basket and hustled out the door.

I’ll never forget the feeling the first time I saw my mother. Thirty feet long, crimson and gold as the setting sun, she radiated energy and warmth, like a living fireplace. Compared to my dull grey coloration, she positively glowed. The massive stone doors were swinging closed by the time we got to the main antechamber, and myelin hustled over, placing my basket on the floor and throwing her arms around mother’s neck in a massive hug. “You’re late for dinner,” she scolded.

Zone Founder

the crystal sword pt 1 revenge of the rocks

The incessant dripping of water down stalactites was driving him insane. A simple mission through the caverns to find a particular type of crystal had gone terribly awry after a floor gave way, dumping the elite agent dozens of feet down with no way out. With a small pack of rations and an ever burning torch, he set out to find an alternate path back to the surface. The caverns were extensive, meandering and occasionally occupied by the long dead bones of the older folks, the hive-like structures the ancient Moroi used to build. An expert in the various fungi, bugs and cave dwellers, he had been able to stay fed for the past two days, but the incessant drip was taking its toll on him.

He had debated staying put and waiting for rescue, but he had already been in a seldom explored part of the caverns, and risking running out of supplies while waiting seemed inadvisable. He’d been using his gladius to mark arrows showing where he’d traveled, in case a rescue crew was following him. This would be, by his calculations, the third night in this cursed place. As he crested a low ridge in the floor, a yawning gulf rose up, a deceptively small looking cavern leading to a large chasm. He looked down, and saw a moroi settlement, with cultivated mushrooms still growing along the edges of a small pool. It was rare to see them growing healthily, but the occasional bountiful harvest had saved many lost explorers over the years.

Zone Founder

The Slugger

The rain pattered softly on the roof, loud enough to keep him awake but not loud enough to disguise the soft click of the front door opening. Had he been a less paranoid man, Wesley may have disregarded the noise as a mere creak of the old house’s buckling frame. If nothing else, however, Wesley was a cautious and suspicious man, living alone atop a great hill that overlooked a small countryside village.

At a ripe age of 67 years, Wesley couldn’t spring out from his bed with quite the same gusto he had in his youth, but he still managed to pull himself out from the rickety, squeaking springboard he laid in. Lanky and seemingly frail, Wesley stood at an intimidating six-and-a-half feet tall and wore an equally imposing scowl on his face. Dressed only in his thermals, he grabbed the trusty baseball bat he kept by his bedsid and crept towards the bedroom door.

The house was not built for stealth. A cacaphony of moaning floorboards echoed throughout the entire residence with each step Wesley took, and as he opened the door to the hallway, the hinges cried out with a shrill screech.

The hall outside of Wesley’s bedroom ran down the length of the upstairs balcony, giving full view of the large, empty foyer that hadn’t greeted a guest in over a decade. Wesley peered below- no signs of entry as far as he could tell, but simple reassurances were never enough to satisfy him. He walked slowly towards the staircase, tightening his grip on his bat, and focused his senses. As he descended into the foyer, the sound of his bedroom door wailing on its hinges froze Wesley mid-way on the stairs.

Startled and frozen, Wesley’s heightened senses made the sound of the raindrops on the roof sound like bombs from an air raid and his rapid heartbeat beat like a war drum. Turning face, Wesley retuned upstairs, fixating on his bedroom door. Hands trembling, he shuffled cautiously towards the room.

“Those fanatic bastards,” he thought. “I’ve been out of the game for thirty years, and they still cant leave me be.” Wesley reached out for the doorknob, which felt uncomfortably cold to the touch. Turning it, he pushed open the door and gingerly stepped foot into the room.

As both a relief and an added worry, Wesley found no one inside. His bed seemed to be untouched from when he left it, and what little else he had in the room was undisturbed. Wesley closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath, holding it for a long second before exhaling through his mouth. Perhaps in his old age he was becoming too paranoid for his own good, he mused to himself.

A rare smirk curled on the corner or Wesley’s lips, and he let out a bemused snort as he shook his head at himself. He place his bat down in its usual spot leaning up by his metal-frame headboard and laid back in bed. The sound of the rain seemed more like a lullaby now, singing Wesley to sleep.

As he began dozing off, Wesley shot awake again, this time not from the sound of a clicking door, but by the ice-cold burn of steel piercing directly into his heart. A blade was thrust from underneath his mattress, tearing through it and into Wesley’s body. Gasping and sputtering blood from his mouth, Wesley clutched at the cotton comforters that covered his body as they began to soak and stain in the deep crimson pool pouring forth from his chest.

Wide-eyed and mouth agape, Wesley’s vision narrowed and blackened as the silhouette of a man he’d never seen before loomed over him. His vision faded, a sigh escaped his mouth, and he was gone.

Hisslord

Drip, pt. 1

Screams of anguish haunted the infirmary wing of Hassock County Hospital, sending a wave of chills down Dr. Ingrid Lorin’s neck. Even after practicing for seven years, the shrill cries of her patients were simply not the sorts of things she could become numb to. Staffed only by herself, a triage nurse and a custodian who was more likely to be found sleeping in his supply closet than mopping floors, Dr. Lorin’s discomfort was only exacerbated by how utterly deserted her workplace seemed.

Despite being the only major medical center servicing the entire county, the facility barely housed more than a dozen patients at any given time thanks to the area’s population peaking at a mere 600 individuals. Hassock County, Nebraska was not well known by much of the outside world, with its only claim to fame being its annual corn-on-the-cob eating contest which drew a paltry crowd of about 100 or so people on a good year, many of whom were simply locals. Nonetheless, those who lived in the county housed immense pride in their community and what little there was to offer was cherished by the few who called it home.

Dr. Lorin was not a Hassock County local, however, and she regularly cursed taking the “opportunity” to work as the hospital’s director and lead physician. The allure of such a prestigious title offered to a recent graduate was far too enticing for Ingrid to pass up, and so she accepted the offer without hesitation. She had packed he entire life into a single briefcase, leaving all the furnishings of her Capital Hill apartment in downtown Seattle behind for some fortunate future tenant to inherit. Furniture, after all, could be replaced- opportunity however, rarely knocks twice, and so with these cliches clinging to her sleeve for comfort, the newly-titled Ingrid Lorin, PhD found herself surrounded by cornfields and dusty roads in exchange for the promise of an illustrious career.

At present day, Ingrid would call her life and job anything but. Her goosebumps still receding from the scream coming from room 8B, she sat at her workstation in the center of the wing and began looking over her most recently admitted patient’s file.

Hisslord

In the darkness, I’m reborn. I close my eyes and cease to be a human. I forget my name, my place, my demons, and what I’m doing. I drift in and out of sentience, as the passing street lights flash a slow steady beat on my eyelids.

After some time I regain my awareness, and blink slowly as life comes back into focus. The train is pulling into the city outskirts, the houses we pass grow more ornate, heralding the last stop. Morris Main Station, in the heart of Lanvale City.

My bags were a comfortable weight, and I heaved my satchel up and started the trek to the store where I’d be working and living for the summer.

Zone Founder

Tuesday night

The darkness pooled in her hands, smelling vaguely sweet and warm. Trembling, her hands lifted to her mouth, and she tried to drink the blood.

Foul and thick, the taste made her almost gag, but she summoned up the fortitude to swallow as much of the thick goo as she could. It burned all the way down to her stomach, then an aching cold started spreading through her body. The room went even darker as she lost feeling in her fingers.

Last Thursday

Zone Founder

Women at it again, Clem

I hear scratching at the window again. I hope it’s the wind. I roll the blanket tighter around myself, and reach under the pillow. The reassuring weight and coldness of my lover is there, sleeping. If I should need to wake her, she’d spit fire from her mouth and unleash a tiny piece of Hell.

The scratching continues. I’m nervous now, and I softly get up, grabbing my Her and padding into the other room where Clem sleeps. I wake him the way he taught me, one should only, two taps. This lets him know not to make his lover sing at me. He can be… jumpy. I like the amount of holes in my head as is, although Clem would say sometimes I have one more than I ought to; my thoughts fall out sometimes and my body itches somewhere deep in the soul. He wakes softly, like he does when I wake him properly and I whisper that the scratching had been getting louder. He understands what I mean.

I like it when he understands. We take our lovers and climb down into the safe space underneath the floorboards. The air is thick and old and full of dust, and I sometimes thing, sadness. Many men have died in this place.

They called it Duchess-VI

The summer’s night is long and it’s even longer when you can’t sleep. The air is stuffy and hard to breathe. I sometimes feel like I’m drowning, which is compounded by the way that the shadows from the lone candle dance on the walls. I think about dancing sometimes but Clem tells me I’m foolish.

Perhaps in the past, before the Reckoning, I could have danced in the sunlight. I hear stories about the past sometimes from wanderers, and when we go into town. There’s always scholars in towns, wise men to help us learn about the old world, and how to survive in this harsh world we’re all living in now. Our ancestors were great men, who made such vast and powerful constructs, and fortresses that no lover could penetrate.

In the soft silence of Clem’s sleep I pull the candle close. I’ll rest tomorrow when they’re gone from the house above. I can hear them, sniffing around, searching, driven by some unnatural lust for death and blood. I start to take apart my lover and clean her. She’s a semi automatic pistol, and holds twenty rounds that Clem tells me are enough to take down anything that should pop up in the night. The bullets are small, and triangular, and coldly heavy in my hands as I roll them around. I reassemble my Her and try to sleep and drift off in a fitful world of darkness, teeth and the color red.

I forget everything when I wake.

The nest day is better. The sun is warm and the crops are hardly trampled. Clem seems in good spirits. One of them left a tooth, whole and unblemished, stuck just barely into the soft wood of the door frame. It must have been very loose to have fallen out like that he said.

There’s so much we don’t understand about them and the scholars are no use. We head out towards the nearest town, Clem is certain that the tooth will fetch a high price. It sparkles in its pure whiteness. I’m captivated by it. It represents danger, the death of fangs three inches long. I think about death sometimes at night when I hear the scratching. Sometimes the dark calls to me but I ignore it like he tells me to do.

The journey to the town isn’t long but we need to leave before nightfall lest the sunset come and we be stuck outside unprepared.

They only come out at night. Perhaps they melt in the daylight. All I know is that the night is deep and full of teeth, and the day is full of flowers that bloom on the side of the road as the skiff whizzes us along at a nice clip. Clem at the helm, I toy with the tooth, the fang, the pearl dagger that’s in my hand. I don’t remember it being there but it feels warm and soft, for something as hard as steel. I catch myself making faces in the reflection. It seems too pure to be an instrument of war, too white to be stained with the blood of man, too beautiful to have come from one of them, one of the Females.

Zone Founder

peaches

The hair in my arms stands on end. The curtains hang idly, still in the nights warm air. Mother tells me to fasten the windows at night but the stale air is oppressive, and I hate feeling like the room is closing in on me. Somewhere in my heart I long for freedom. What I’m pretending to forget is that I may have a visitor.

She’s not silent, but she’s quiet. If I hadn’t spent so many nights staring blankly at the pale walls of my room/prison, literning to every creak of the house settling, I’d never have realized she was there. But I could feel her. A darker mass of shadow in the darker edges by the curtains. More quiet than the wind, but she breathed. Slow, small breaths, like a mouse caught in amber.

I should be terrified but I somehow feel that she’s more so. The notes I left outside the windows, on smal leaves and scraps of paper. The runes would be mistaken for random scribblings of an idle mind like mine. But They could read the old words, and left a small note, two words scratched into the sill beneath my window. Translated, they read “window tonight”

I cough in the stillness. Shyly I look around, and finding nothing to talk about with a shadow in the night, gently pat the edge of the bed next to me, as I sit up and stare closer at her. I close my eyes to center myself, and hear movement. Perhaps she’s a shy as she seemed, as much as a shadow in the dark on the other side of the room could seem anything. I kept them closed as I felt her approach in the movement of the air, and the soft creaking of the floorboards. There was something familiar and yet strangely alien to have a stranger in my room, to hear the sounds so familiar with a softer, dryer creak. Her weight settles on the bed next to me. The way the mattress deforms makes me think she must weigh nothing at all. I open my eyes and stare at my nocturnal friend.

She’s a mixture of midnight pale skin and jet black, soft looking fur. Delicate features like a bat with to enormous yellow eyes. Too late I notice them staring back at me and I blush furiously and look away. But I can already feel the hold she has on me. The nightwalkers are said to be able to steal your soul with a single glance. I move my hands slowly to make sure that they’re still under myy control and let out a sigh of relief, closing my eyes. When I close them, though, I can see her there with me.

I begin to sweat, as I look around and realize that I can feel her in my head. It’s a slight pressure in my chest, when she looks at me. Like she’s doing right now.

I gulp.

She’s staring me down in the darkness, a small smile on her mouth revealing the glint of an icy white fang. It looks like it’s almost as long as my finger. My flesh is soft under her fingers’ touch, the fuzzy amber of my skin contrasting under the pallid cream of hers. She’s almost blue in the wan moonlight, delicate like china but the tiny amount of strength that she’s putting into holding her hand over mine, pressing it into the bed, is bruising it.

It hurts but I don’t want it to stop. I can’t tell if it’s her controlling me or my own intoxication with the delicate power and ferocity in her lemon yellow eyes. Her shyness seems to have evaporated, but I can feel her pulse in her hand, as it’s pressing my hand down with all the ease of a pinned insect. It’s three hundred beats per minute, a caffeinated butterfly. She’s on fire, and her hands are moving over me, her silence deafening me as both her hands are on me now and I stare straight at her face as she pushes me back onto the bed, her nails tracing small circles on the fuzz on my skin as she pushes my nightgown off my shoulders.

There’s a smirk on her face now, and a hunger in the way her hands are moving over my body, her small oval nails almost claws, heavy with the knowledge that the slightest move would tear asunder my flesh, delicate and swollen with nectar. Her body weighs nothing but her muscles are like steel and my arms couldn’t resist even if I wanted to. I feel something hot and warm drip on my neck and I realize she’s salivating as she brings her lips near my clavicle.

I barely manage to break free of her spell long enough to sputter “p-please be gentle” before her eyes are on me again, and this time she takes complete control. My will is sapped, like I’d been shot with a tranquilizer. I’m vacillating between an almost drugged out sense of serentity and fearing for my life, but as she loweres her jaw from my collarbone to the lower part of my shoulder I relax a little bit. I decide that no matter what happens, I’ll be at peace with it, the way the mother tree weathers all ill and still stands proud. My mind relaxes and she seems to take this as her cue to begin.

There’s no words to describe how it feels as she tears into my flesh for the first time. Her fangs are warmer than my nectar, and sharper than a knife, so sharp it barely hurts as they’re sliding into the firmest part of my shoulder. Her wings (arms?) are like a blanket over me, both pushing me down and helpless but also warm and soft. My brain feels like it’s melting in her embrace and my juices are spilling out in a trickle from the gashes in my shoulder, as she clings on tight. I let out an involuntary moan as she digs deep enough for my lifeblood, my nectar, starts to well up and spill out faster now.

What little I can se of her face, her pupils are dilated and she’s fixated on the sticky syrup she’s lapping up almost catlike. I pass in an out of consciousness as she’s on top of me, feeding on me. I start feeling proud, almost, of being able to provide her with this. Her skin is filling out, she’s gaining a tiny bit of color in her cheeks, and her heart is slowing down until we’re in sync.

And then she’s done, and I’m laying in bed with just the barest trickle of nectar escaping through the wound in my shoulder that’s already halfway healed up and she’s out the window and all I can remember is her saying “keep your window open” in my ear sometime in between feeding and being gone.

I breathe out heavily and close my eyes and I sleep until dawn.

Zone Meownder

bones

“Will it… hurt?” I ask nervously, shifting in the tattered folding chair set up in the lobby. The flourescent lights stare me down, as I stare the floor down. She chuckles. “We’re tripling the amount of bones in your body. Of course it’ll hurt.” There’s something seductive about her voice, low and husky, even though I’m terrified of the prospect. But I can’t deny the pictures she’s shown me of people who’ve had the Reboning done. I needed that to be me, a mass of red glowing eyes and bones jutting out. I want my arms to have the calcium razors of my deepest dreams.
She leads me to the back room, opening the door and gesturing me in, giving me her practised spiel as I nervously eye the operating room. “The human body has ten thousand microbones, but thanks to this procedure we can add as many as one million more. The Bone Gods are crual masters though, and the maximum most people can handle is about twenty thousand. That’s what you’ll get.” I felt the tiny microbones shifting inside my flesh, tendons of delicate alabaster like coiled threads. Braided ribs that shift and coalesce as I breathe. But it’s not enough. I need more. The Blood Gods hadn’t been there for me when my parents were taken, but perhaps… perhaps today…
The pain as she begins chanting is indecribable. It hurts more than love, more than the emtiness of hunger in the dead of night. The room turns red, red like the muscles in my body so lovingly caressed by my thousands of tiny bones. I scream, and she screams her chant louder. The walls drip red, violent free and beautiful. I close my eyes and feel the bones shifting and multiplying like ants, like snakes from the great brood mother, like all the pain I’ve ever felt melting away as I became a being of pure bones, blood, and love.

in the darkess and screaming I am reborn in Their embrace

Zone Meownder

temp:
The door closes softly, a shuffing, quiet sound and a click that manages to be nearly silent but possibly the loudest thing I’ve heard in my life. I walk out the building, into the stingingly cold rain, still not sure if I’m doing the right thing.

I forgot who I was Before. I can’t remember my name, my identity, or why I woke up in a hospital bed with an extra host of organs and senses. I could see heat, and the electromagnetic auras of humans. Walking down the street was almost painful with how many swirling aruoras filled teh space above and around the passerby. My stomach was the home to nothing but a dull fiercely painful ache, a hunger more primal, more cold than I think I must have ever felt. I knew I would die if I didn’t feed. I stole some fruits from a grocery store, but no matter how much I ate the hunger remained. I caught myself sizing up random pedestrians on the sidewalk. Hungry.

Zone Meownder

Any traps remaining in the mausoleum had long since fallen apart, the only present danger being unsteady floors and the occasional large spider or venomous snake. Rillia was prepared for that though, a repellent spell making them slither or skitter placidly away. As long as she didn’t corner any of them, she’d be safe. Silently fuming about her former partner’s backstabbing, she hardly paid attention as she passed doorways choked with roots, nearly missing her prize.

The dull glint of gold caught her torch’s light, breaking her out of her reverie.
Torch in mouth, the feline clawed through the ancient growth around the casket, shredding her manicured claws. The prize was in sight and she wasn’t going to let anything in the way of getting this thing, that that asshole Lieran tried to have her killed over. She really liked him too, before the whole hit man thing. Afterward, well, you shouldn’t piss off any kind of mage but the kind that specialized in ancient curses was probably one of the worst. The hospital said he’d get out in a couple months, but they weren’t sure he’d ever walk again.
The last bit of old roots gone, she heaved the lid of the casket hard enough to probably give her a back sprain, but the adrenaline surging through her kept it from registering. She hadn’t gone on an ancient artifact hunt raw since before her college days. The last two decades post grad had been all meticulous planning and dozens of subordinates with tiny brushes. Not today though, this was for her. An ancient relic that was the prize possession of an Almerian ruler, a self styled god king with the supposed ability to perform incredible feats beyond even the most powerful modern magic.
Her working theory was that a naturally formed gemstone had served as a powerful focus, allowing an already powerful make to achieve great feats, which were embellished over time. If nothing else, an artifact like that would be worth a fortune, or allow her to excel in her personal magical studies
The crown that she found in the tomb, however, seemed much smaller b than she expected. A thin tiara almost of some grey metal, with no gemstones or visible foci. The sword laying at the bottom under what remained of the godking was most likely purely ceremonial, but such gold artifacts fetched enough that this trip had paid for itself already. Bemused by the anemic look of the crown, it was tucked away and she flitted quickly out of the mausoleum, eager to get back to the nearest portal and civilisation

a week later, the golden sword safely off to some hobnobbing collector in the East Province for an exorbitant sum, Rillia prepared to study the crown in earnest. Despite her burning curiosity she was too experienced to rush into things, that’s how you got your blood turned into locusts! She shuddered, remembering her favourite archaeology teacher. They had to completely remodel the classroom to get all the gore out. Bad way to go. Slipping into a heavy cloak covered in protective runes, she moved into her garage-turned-lab, and placed the crown on the workbench. She grabbed her brushes and got to work.(edited)
An hour and a half of intensive but mind numbing cleaning later, it gleamed as well as the dull metal would allow. Etched designs in it looked nothing like classic Almerian runes, or really any kind of older magical system that she could recognize. She took some pictures to email some colleagues about, making sure to only get enough for an identification and not actually give away the artifact she was working on. It was a cutthroat business sometimes.
Despite all her examinations, there wasn’t even a remote trace of recognizable material, run, or focus on the thing. Her theory was rapidly shifting to it being a placebo artifact on some kind of ancient savant. It wouldn’t be the first time; Suleiman was eventually proven to be incredibly powerful in his own right, and most of the equipment he used was just dummy equipment meant to make him seem more powerful.
Would the crown of Gilgamesh be the same? Despite her misgivings, she had thoroughly checked for traps both magical and physical on the thing and it seemed as inert as the dirt she swept off it. She swallowed nervously, and prepared for the real test. She lifted it up, and after putting it down and getting a stiff drink she put it on her head. She stood up and prepared to do a simple sequence of basic incantations; lighting a candle, freezing a cup of water, and lifting a feather with a gust of wind. Hopefully I don’t blow the roof off the house with a tornado if this thing really works she thought to herself. She felt perfectly normal as she started the incantation, the energies in her core bubbling up and flowing through her fingers into the neural web formed by a series of incredibly precise thoughtwaves. The candle lit up, exactly like normal, the cup of ice followed soon after. Same temperature as normal even, after checking with a thermometer. She prepared to form a miniscule gale when her vision started going dark.
She rapidly reached up to take the crown off and as her arms felt too weak to move and she collapsed to the ground, the last thing she remembered was thinking Gods I hope it’s not locusts

After an unknown amount of time, she struggled to wake. Her vision seemed dark, her movements seemed sluggish, almost drunk, like she couldn’t remember how her body was shaped. Still laying down in a heap on her garage floor she struggled to prop herself up. Looking around for the crown, she couldn’t find it, and she delicately checked her temples for signs that it had fused itself to her skull, and was relieved and a bit concerned to find it missing.
[almond u said this was erotica where the fucking okay look im getting to it okay geeeez]
Staggering to the kitchen, she managed to fumble herself a glass of water, and plop herself in front of her laptop, only barely scratching the lid with her claws inadvertently.
She opened a file on her desktop labeled GENERIC CURSE DISPELL and hit print
Her industrial sized stone printer flared to life, an ancient beast of a machine she had pur®loined from her last place of employ before she went solo. Using a series of heads it acid etched and washed down stone tablets for on demand runic spells. All she had to do was grab it and run her energy through it and it did all the rest. Gods I love technology she thought to herself as she slowly walked over to the printer, barely waiting for the tablet to come out before grabbing it and holding it to her chest. She closed her eyes and decided to just surge all her mana into it. It would leave her weak and generally useless all day but it would hopefully fix any lingering effects from the crown. If that didn’t work she would get a Tox panel at the nearest hospital and see if there was some kind of unknown organic poison that had been absorbed.
as the power started burning in her core, she was suddenly jolted by a voice in her head. “There’s no curses on you, you know.” It was so matter of fact she dropped the tablet in shock and the sound of it shattering all over the kitchen floor jolted her so hard she felt like she had been snapped out of whatever fugue she had been in.
She blinked slowly Did I just hear that or am I hallucinating? The answer came to her as clear as day, in something deeper than actual language (Oh, you’re not hallucinating, I’m real. Fear not, though, I want you to survive as much as you do.) The blood drained from her face and her ears drooped suddenly as she realized where the crown had gone. She gingerly lifted up her paws to her ears, and was about to try to claw open her ear canal when the voice came back, suddenly urgent (You don’t want to do that, it’ll only make you deaf. I’m in much too deep for you to extract.)
As she sank to her knees, the voice continued. (I can see that you weren’t expecting a child of stars when you put on this crown. I understand the apprehension, but I’m actually a very nice person!) the sincerity felt so incredibly real it was hard for her to not take it seriously, but she was still in the process of panicking at the concept of an alien brain parasite in her head. I think I need another drink, maybe it’ll kill this thing she thought, and despite the feeling of amusement from the thing inside her that quietly let her no no such thing was going to happen, she looked over to the cabinet where she kept her drinks, and without thinking about it stretched her arm out and knew the exact patterns shifting in the invisible waves in the air to pull a carafe and glass out delicately and settle themselves in front of her.
Momentarily stunned, she came to the realization that this was the power of Gilgamesh’s crown. With her middling talent and lack of very practical knowledge, such telekinesis would normally require a tremendous amount of focus and thought. This was so smooth it was entirely instinctual. As she contemplated the world of magic, she suddenly knew that she could perform incredible feats, an entire catalogue of powers that this “star child” seemed to (maybe a little smugly, she thought) pipe directly into her knowledge.

Zone Meownder

Later that afternoon, her nerves frayed from a space parasite reading everyone one of her thoughts, more than slightly drunk, she contemplated her life going forward. The parasite had informed her on no uncertain terms that he was a permanent addition to her physique, and it seemed like the truth. She also learned, in the most disconcerting fashion, the vague history of a species of spaces parasites that travel the galaxy looking for suitable hosts. Most of them become mindless drones, working off the limited animal intelligence of non sapients, or they become essentially dead if they attach to a plant-like organism. But when they end up in something sapient, (It’s like, suddenly you wake up, you realize who and what you are and then you know everything about your host. Without really… trying. I know you’re not happy about this but I really had no intelligence until I ended up inside you.) the unsaid implication that Rillia’s mental faculties were so shar that her parasite was a bona fide genius may have slightly assuaged her anger, but the concept of a constant additional voice in her head felt like more than enough to drive her completely insane after a few days, to say nothing of the rest of her life. Felines like her tended to live to about two hundred, if they had any kind of magical ability.
Tired of the slightly miffed feeling she got every time she called it a space parasite, she decided to give him a name, when the scariest message of all came from the thing inside her brain. (I don’t need a name, I’m just you now. In time you’ll forget I’m even here.)
She grabbed another drink, making a mental note to grab another bottle at the store later.

A week later the voice was still obviously not her own thoughts but there were the disconcerting times when she couldn’t tell what thoughts were hers and which ones were from that thing. She tried to figure out how to cordon them off but the voices in her head seemed, to fit in naturally.
She had started working again, her scholarly paper limited to the golden sword and general appearance of the tomb of Gilgamesh. The crown got no mention, except as a footnote saying it was as of yet undiscovered. Publicizing an alien brain parasite seemed like a good way to get into a lot of trouble academically and also perhaps with the government. She didn’t want to end up in some secret operating room while her parasite was extracted
She had started thinking of it almost like a second conscience, something that seemed to come far too naturally to her.
In her quiet moments when not researching her next legit project (a sunken ship somewhere in East Marsh, rumored to have several very rare antiquities) she started to find herself slipping up, accepting it. She did appreciate the assistance with her magical studies. It was like having a supercomputer in her head, taking the most complex spells and breaking them down into incredibly obvious seeming glyphs and patterns. The thrill of knowing that she could probably coalesce rainclouds out of almost-thin air, and summon a thunderbolt was equal parts thrilling and terrifying. She started to get an idea of who Gilgamesh was–a shepherd with a smidgen of knowledge about how to use the energies he felt welling inside him, but when he got the crown he became almost unstoppably powerful. Oddly, the parasite didn’t seem to have an opinions on the man, merely thinking that their personalities were one and the same. She noticed it calling itself “she” sometimes, since she seemed to sincerely believe she was an integral part of her.

Lieran had gotten out of the hospital earlier that day, and she paid him a visit. He turned slightly ashen when he saw her and managed to choke out a short “I promised to just drop it Ril, we agreed on that okay?” The fear in his voice mollified her enough and she smiled at him and said something about just checking on how he was doing, and headed back home. She had in fact dropped the whole thing, since she didn’t die and he ended up in the hospital. Anything more would have just escalated even more and she was a bit too even keeled to care that much about vengeance. But seeing him squirm was nice. Her tail swished happily along behind her as she finished running the rest of her errands for the day.
She had almost expected her parasite to butt in about her confrontation, but she seemed to just fade into the background for the entire incident. Rillia wasn’t sure whether to be worried or relieved about it. She decided to go with relieved, since after months of worrying, she seemed in fine health and her research moved at an incredible pace because of the voice in the back of her head helping her.
She decided it was time, and her parasite was giddy with anticipation as she called a cab and headed out to the beach.

As she stepped gingerly past the roots of the enormous oak overlooking the ocean, she started talking out loud, hoping that no one was nearby. “I guess you already know what I’m saying. On some level I think I, we… I have known for a while.” the world seemed silent except for the crash of the ocean, a soothing beat in the background. “There’s not really much difference between the ‘you’ and the ‘me’ inside my head, and I guess you kind of, are me. You can’t hide anything from me, I already know how you feel, how… I feel.”
The inside of her head was quiet. She’d already known what she was going to say since before she said it.
She felt like she had, before she put that ancient ring of what looked like metal on her head. A single voice, hers, inside her. It was just, slightly stronger now. Faster, more able, but it was still her.
A single entity, a single mind, and single purpose. And she had known hers all along, a dream that had gotten sidelined ironically in her pursuit of it via archaeology: to split the Glass Veil.

Zone Meownder

The Glass Veil wasn’y very physically intimidating, but getting to it was. The brilliant green glass crystal, ten foot tall, a warped bauble with twists and spikes and turns and bubbles all over was beautiful, a glassblower’s hiccup magnified tenfold, but the armored complex around it was essentially a fortress, in case it ever opened back up. It was sealed long ago to keep the Rin and Belli races out, although no one could quite figure out what the conflict was that ended up with the world being split into two entire dimensions to end it.
It had fascinated her ever since she learned about it as a child, and as a relic expert she had the credentials to get near it for her studies. The permit had taken months to get, but she persevered, since she planned on opening back up the veil. Her star-thoughts were as empty as the rest of her knowledge, a vague idea about an n-th dimensional fold being sealed in a self closed thaumic loop that should be impossible, but the aura surrounding it was clearly something nowhere else on the planet.
As the locked doors were opened up for her by armed guards, she kept pushing the trolley full of heavy equipment forward. She was going to study it as well as she could but what she didn’t tell the bureaucrats in charge of its access was that she was also planning a prison break on a planetary scale.
In person it was magnificent, the color of sunlight on a tree in the rain, cold and hot at the same time, humming with the energy of another world.
She stopped the cart, grabbing a delicate looking crystal and walked up to it.
Just a few feet away, she suddenly saw how it worked. Half the spell was inside the other dimension, folded around just… like… so…
Almost without thinking, she lifted her hand up, and with the tiniest smidgen of energy–as the guards panicked and shouted for her to stop–tugged on it just enough to be thrown n-ways through an infinite amount of dimensions and slide into another reality.

The entire world changed as she involuntarily blinked, transported through the glass veil without breaking it. The harsh concrete shifted abruptly to polished wooden floors, inlaid with a beautiful summoning circle of what looked like every color of metal blended together.
With a single glance, she could tell that she wouldn’t be able to escape that circle without someone outside breaking it.
While the room was empty and sunlit, the distant ringing told her that someone was going to get informed of her sudden appearance. She decided to simply sit down and meditate until they arrived, and hoped that they’d be normal and not execute her for trespassing. A society not seen in millennia could easily be utopian or a miserable band of cannibals. Within minutes and huffing and puffing person entered, a short, grey skinned, pointy eared mage, with eyes incredibly large for his face of a beautiful deep violet. A Rin, the deep dwelling kin of the Belli, one of which entered a second later. Taller, but not as tall as Rillia’s feline height, delicate and darker skinned and with normal sized eyes. Dressed head to toe in ornate robes they were clearly mages, and judging by the staffs they carried, topped each with enormous glowing gemstones sizzling with power and pointed right at her, powerful ones that probably thought she was some kind of demon.
After placidly weaving her fingers together and sitting down on the floor in a meditative position, she waited. Weaving fingers was a traditional gesture of surrender among mages, indicating an inability to quickly cast spells. Less magical cultures tended to use an outward display of hands but such an action allowed to a mage could have a meteor crashing down on your head. She ran through some of her old thesis research papers in her head as she waited, unsure whether she’d be able to survive this alien culture long enough to update and spruce up some of her older theories on pre-technological or mostly magic based societies in ancient times and how they would have developed into the future..
One interminable pause later and three and a half term papers later, the authorities arrived, clad in robes tht while blindingly bright, seemed to have been dug up in a hurry from a closet somewhere, wrinkled and smelling vaguely of moth preventative. After a short conversation consisting of them both saying “can you understand this” in every language they could all think of, a decision seemed to get made. The taller of the mages tapped the summoning circle and the shorter one cast a spellbind on her with such practiced ease that she almost jumped. They were clearly not to be underestimated. They seemed cordial enough though, gesturing her towards the door with motions towards her throat implying they were finding a translator of some sort. Whether they’d find someone who could speak a language that hadn’t been invented since before the split, she mused to herself, was already an answered question.
a whisper thin band of energy wrapped itself around her clasped hands, a sealed perpetual loop designed to prevent tampering by expanding until it removed the hands, should an ornery mage attempt to flee capture. Without significant study, it would be practically impossible to remove on her own. Without any struggle she swallowed what remained of her ability to be freaked out (mostly atrophied after living for months with a brain parasite from space) and walked out into a bright new world.

A city powered by magic was almost nothing like she had imagined, instead of bustling markets, an almost normal looking metropolis stretched out ahead, the only nod to the lack of advanced technology being witchfire instead of flourescent lights. That, and the massive canals with large aquatic dragons swimming placidly through, laden with passengers and cargo.

It was on one of those creatures that she was led to, a medium sized emerald reptile that shined so well she could check her reflection in its massive smooth scales. The visit was uneventful, the huffing breathy language of the dragon proving also beyond her ken. The inability to understand what they were all saying was starting to chafe at her, both in terms of missing valuable research opportunity, and because she was almost certain that dragon winked at her and said something completely inappropriate. Unsure whether to blush or get angry, she instead studied the city around her. Vast walls of seamless stone punctuated by windows of all shapes and sizes, and the unnaturally flowing swathes of wood trim pointed to a massive amount of magical construction, something that was only barely practiced in her own world. The nagging doubt that came with the lack of a glass veil on this side had her wondering whether she ought to start thinking of this place as her world now. She really needed that translator.

Several miles out of the city, the canal thinned out considerably and after some time passing unnassuming farmsteads they pulled up to the bank of a large forest with trees towering well above the head even of the dragon, who introduced himself as “Pasxil” before huffing something in that strange huffing dragon’s tongue and lobbing a massive wink at her with one of his brilliantly red eyes. As she blinked, nonplussed, he had already pulled back into the river and started to swim off. Rillia wasn’t sure whether her surprising level of interest was purely academic or something a little more repressed. Shoving all such thoughts down into the dungeons of her head, she turned with the rest of the group to head into the small structure, a stone dome with no signs or doors anywhere, and a single entrance in.
Inside was no less austere than the exterior, a small brazier and stone tablet in the center were all that she could see. Unsure what to expect, her handlers gestured her closer and as she sat down at their instructions near the tablet, it looked more like a summoning ritual than anything else. She started sweating when she looked at the glyphs closer on the tablet. She somehow knew, presumably from her space parasite (she couldn’t help remembering sometimes, even though she tried pushing it out of her head) that these were demonic summonings. She was about to stand up when each of the sorcerers spoke a single syllable, and the brazier lit with fire tall enough to scorch the ceiling, and phantom runes clamped her down in place hard enough to knock the breath out of her. Then the world went black and she wasn’t there anymore.

Zone Meownder
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