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God, Man, and Monster; w/ Arthur, Completed
Topic Started: Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:39 am (491 Views)
The Faunamancer
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People were so distracted by the afro that they didn't notice the cloak. Boris and Bones seemed an unlikely pair, but their quests overlapped. Who else was there but the other?

The massive Faunamancer, while a force of chaos, pursued the most noble of causes. He sought to stave off calamity. His fashion-forwardness and impressive size as well as his strong personality allowed him to work a room. Years of exposure to the studies of the scholars who raised him gave him some perspective; having them yanked away and replaced with savages made him desperate. He would do what needed to be done to stave off something worse.

That was exactly what the skeleton needed. Everywhere he went, he felt nothing but burdened by his curse. He had searched for years, with little answers. He understood the terms: undead, can't die, everything sucks. He did not understand the reasons. So when he met the Faunamancer and heard about his mission, he knew the place he needed to be was by his side. In much the same sense, when Boris in turn met the skeleton, he saw a powerful curse the likes of which suggested the exact sort of power he sought. It was not a question. They needed each other.

It was an easy enough plan, more Boris' speed than Bones', but both agreed it was the way to go: make some noise. So, Boris in the lead, the two strut into the tavern like they owned the place. Eyes fell upon Boris immediately. He was conspicuous, both in appearance and in history.

"Afternoon, everyone," he said. The pair made their way past the tables, strolling to the notice board on the far wall. From beneath the big cloak, a skeletal arm extended. Mutters filled the air as the bony hand slapped a piece of parchment against the wall. The Faunamancer produced a rusty nail from his afro, holding it to the top of the page and mashing it into the wall with a strong thumb press. Then the two made their way over to an unoccupied table in the corner and took a seat, casually waving over the barmaid for some ale. Silence held the room hostage, for they had just witnessed a man use his own thumb to hammer a nail without fuss. It was clearly the strength of a god-hunter, for the wall-parchment read:

In search of the old gods.
If you see something, tell it to the afro.
- The Faunamancer

OOC: Take this in absolutely any direction you feel like.
Edited by The Faunamancer, Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:47 am.
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Arthur stared at the man in front of him. Sweat beaded down his strained face. The man tightened his grip on Arthurs hand. Arthur barely felt the pressure. The man was strong but Arthur was stronger. He yawned and said," Is that it, is that all you are capable of. I thought you might be a better challenge." They were in an arm wrestling contest. The man had boasted he could beat all comers. Arthur had joined if only to shut the man up so he could have a nice quiet drink.

The noise he had made had been unbareable. Arthur yawned again and started bring his arm down slowly. The man struggled to keep his hand up. The man had been struggling for minutes. He was strong by human standards all muscle and very little brain. Arthur was no human, he was half-dragon. Though the man did not know this even as his dragon like eyes stared at him.

That would have alerted anyone that he was not normal. He did not need to mention that the man was short on brain. The mans arm was about an inch from the table and sweat poured from the man in buckets. Just then the door to the tavern open and he heard a booming voice call everyone a good after noon. Like everyone he turned to see but did not loosen his hold. He kept the man there until he was ready to finish him.

The man nailed a parchment to the wall with his bare thumb. The man was also incredulous to look at. He had the strangest hair do Arthur had ever seen. And his companion was a skeleton. That raised Arthurs interest as to what the paper said. Arthur then brought the mans arm all the way down winning the contest. There was little cheer all eyes were still on the man and his strange companion.

Arthur got up and looked at his opponent who begrudgingly handed him the gold he had won. Arthur then went up to the paper and saw what it said. The Old gods was what this one was in search of. Many before him had tried that, even Arthur had searched. He had only found one once but she was no longer divine. Still this could prove interesting.

Arthur went over to the table and sat down in front of the man. He waved to the barmaid for some strong drink. He then said," Your after the old gods eh. You wouldn't be the first to look for them. I might have some information on them but I need to know your purpose. Somethings after all are better left to those who cause is worthy". By that he meant those who meant only good not ill.

Arthurs drink came and took a long swig and said," I am Arthur by the way. Arthur Mandraeg. Sellsword. Archmage. Adventurer. One of the many who have searched in vain of those who once ruled the heavens".
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Boris and Bones clacked their ales together in toast to the new world order and foamed at the mouth til they were rabid and their glasses were barely syrup-y. Boris listened closely as Bones drank; he heard the sound of rainwater battering a metal sheet. It seemed Bones had the fore-thought to stuff a bucket somewhere in his ribcage to catch the falling ale.

A man after Boris' own heart, one who strolled up and took what he wanted, pulled up a chair and took a seat at the table.

"Take a seat," Bones muttered. The question of whether the newcomer heard it or ignored it was truly a toss-up.

He waved over the barmaid, made a quick order, and said, "You're after the old gods eh. You wouldn't be the first to look for them. I might have some information on them but I need to know your purpose. Somethings after all are better left to those who cause is worthy." He took a sip as his drink came, continued, "I am Arthur by the way. Arthur Mandraeg. Sellsword. Archmage. Adventurer. One of the many who have searched in vain of those who once ruled the heavens."

Boris' eyes shifted towards Bones, whose full head had tilted to glance in his direction, now poking out from under his hood. Boris swore he saw the hint of an eyebrow raise on Bones' meatless vegan face. Boris turned back to the newcomer, Arthur.

With a point to his companion and a thumb to his own collar, Boris said, "Bones. Boris."

Bones said, "He wants to know we have noble intentions."

Boris replied, "Oh yeah?" He nodded to Bones. "My associate here's been cursed with a certain affliction. The kind that you need real power to perform and greater power to fix. Truth be told, I look at him and I see an omen." The barmaid neared and Boris flagged her down, asking, "Croquettes and beers, if you'd be so kind." She nodded and scurried off, mentally totaling up the table's prices. Boris cleared his throat and looked back to Arthur, rapping his knuckles gently on the table.

"Most would agree we approach the end of an era. Borders close off as nations grow ever wary of each other. Globalization following first contact has faced radically different people with one another, unleashed conflict that can only escalate the more they learn of one another. Plagues sweep over continents to further the bitter feuds of their victims. The imperialists get an itch, they conquer, but it blows back on them. The instability shakes them to their core. And when powerful nations fall, where does authority sit?" The croquettes and beers arrived, Boris greeting them with a warm smile. He pushed a beer towards Arthur and motioned with a full hand to the croquettes, one of which he plucked from the basket.

"It wasn't too long ago when ascensionism was a meaningless word," Boris explained. "Now it's a whole world view. Everyone is so split, completely unable to make sense of anything. 'Did the gods lose their power? Were they ever gods? What if their power just went somewhere else?' Everyone's got a different answer. And it wasn't always like that. But the Fragmentation made understanding the universe a little more complicated. People thought there was some sort of plan, or at least a hierarchy that could guide the course of history towards the grand synthesis of ideals. Now, in a time where all predictions for the imminent future are grim, this is when we need someone to turn to. Someone who sits above the problem. This is when the old gods would have seen fit to take the reins."

Boris gulped down some beer before clarifying, "In short, Bones wants out before things get nasty. I, on the other hand, want to correct our course. But the time for speculating about the order of the universe is over. It's time to meet the old gods and get some real answers."

OOC: Message me if you want in.
Edited by Bones, Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:28 pm.
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The strange man told him to take a seat but he had already done so. The strange man introduced both of them. The skeleton was Bone and the strange man was Boris. A smile crept on Arthur. Incredulous names for incredulous people. He should not have been surprised and he wondered their story. The strange man began to speak. About his friends affliction.

So he wasn't undead just cursed. Arthur felt sympathy for the skeleton. Arthur had a similar affliction with Danny still hiding somewhere in the back of his mind. She had been relatively quiet so far. Arthur hoped she would stay that way .The man the ordered food and drink. Arthur then listened as the man continued. He went on the typical tirade of the problems of the world.

Arthur knew to well those problems. He had fixed more than a few but like a hydra more grew to take their places. Arthur had seen much of the world and everything the man said was true. Yet the man possibly missed the most important of things. Perhaps the gods were gone for a reason, perhaps mortals were now meant to make their own destinies as they should. Arthur was no philosopher but dragons did take a different view on the world.

When one wielded immense power like that one was bound to. The food and drink came and the man pushed a beer toward Arthur. Arthur inclined his head in thanks and took one of the croquets plopping it into his mouth. The man then continued, He asked questions many had asked before and explained some of which Arthur already knew. The man was one of those types then that wanted an order to the universe when there was no order.

The man finished by saying the skeleton wanted out and that he wanted to put the world back on the correct course. Arthur took a small swig from his beer and thought for a minute. Arthur replied," So noble intentions it is then. Yet possibly misguided by the definition of order when none is to be had. One of those types you are." he did not mean it as an insult and hoped he did not take it that way.

Arthur then said," Perhaps things are the way they are because it is the way it should be. Perhaps this all part of the plan. Few ever think that way. I myself think things are the way they are because I believe we are meant to make our own path without interference from the gods. Perhaps this is now a world of mortals, those doomed to die and not anymore a world of divine influence. Perhaps it not up to someone to stand up and take control but all people to stand up as one."

Arthur had believed in the gods. He had tried to serve one once a long time ago. Yet he was dragon and his strength now surpassed those who once were gods. How could one rely on something that was not there any longer? Arthur then said," Free will dominates this world now. Free will and this simple rule The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason. It is the hub upon which all things turn. It is not only the most important rule, but the simplest. Nonetheless, it is the one most often ignored and violated, and by far the most despised. It must be wielded in spite of the ceaseless, howling protests of the wicked. Misery, iniquity, and utter destruction lurk in the shadows outside its full light, where half-truths snare the faithful disciples, the deeply feeling believers, the selfless followers. Faith and feelings are the warm marrow of evil. Unlike reason, faith and feelings provide no boundary to limit any delusion, any whim. They are a virulent poison, giving the numbing illusion of moral sanction to every depravity ever hatched. Faith and feelings are the darkness to reason’s light. Reason is the very substance of truth itself. The glory that is life is wholly embraced through reason, through this rule. In rejecting it, in rejecting reason, one embraces death."

He paused and then added," The only sovereign I can allow to rule me is reason. The first law of reason is this: what exists, exists; what is, is. From this irreducible bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. This is the foundation from which life is embraced. Reason is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts, nor are they a means to discovering them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality – it’s our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see." He let that sink in to the man. He rarely spoke this philosophy for it often met with hostility to those who sought faith in something other than themselves. Yet this man might be different.

Arthur then said," Yet you are right now is not a time for philosophy. To meet an old god if that is your desire is no easy task. I have only seen one since the fall. She was mortal and I have not seen her sense. There may be away though. It requires great power, and for that you need a sorcerer of greater skill than I."
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The Faunamancer
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Arthur began to tell Boris that perhaps the world was the way it was meant to be and that an age of mortals was the new way. It was no longer an age of gods, but of reason. It would be free will that guided history henceforth.

"Free will, yes," Boris nodded. "Personally, I consider my path one that remains true to such a tenant. I did not come here because I was ordered to, but rather, I wanted to." He tore into a croquette, dipped it in cheese.

He said, "I do not think we are so different. Where you say there is no order to things, I see that perhaps there never was. Were the gods really gods? Or were they just powerful? I know strength that can topple 'gods' when I see it, and I imagine you've a certain understanding of power limitless yourself. So what is there to stand between such god-toppling figures and godhood itself but whispers? I see a world hurdling towards an abyss not unlike foolsbane. I reason that the world is not just an entity. It is the masses. And the masses are disorganized. You said it yourself, but all people might need to stand as one. But this is a process; the world united cannot proceed when men close their borders to one another. The world needs not a new perspective, but rather confidence in their formerly pragmatic observations. We called them gods, and maybe we are past that, but there is no denying that we saw power and let it guide us. The scepter falls to the ground as the gods are raptured off. Those closest to the throne are best fit to take it up. It is only fitting those with strong arms take the reigns, with powerful voices preach the truth, and with great perception guide the way. I wish to inform my voice, and to make sense of what I see. I wish to turn to those who withhold the last pieces of the puzzle so that the mortals in an era of their own do not feel around blindly in the dark."

Bones joined the conversation, chattering, "Perhaps the universe is indeed cruelly indifferent. It certainly cares not for me. Though I suspect we might be in agreement that the figures that once passed as gods better understand how much of a role divine order plays in this universe than the three of us."

"The skeleton is right. You say you know a way," Boris replied. "Whatever is necessary I will do. Perhaps you might lead us to answers."
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The man said he let free will guide him. That he wanted to do what he was doing that he was not guided. That might be true to seek out beings that once guided the world might be an affront to free will and decision. He was not sure though mayhaps there were answers those who once ruled the heavens might give. Yet he did not want to rely on that. Actions shaped his world, not the word of a divine being.

To let someone other than yourself guide you when you could think for yourself was not his way. The man continued on preaching his own philosophy. Arthur saw value in some of it. But there was the part where he said the mantle needed taking up. He had the memories of his ancestors on his side, he knew what would happen if that occurred. War ceasless and unending, chaos beyond control. A person who thought they knew what was best for everyone when really what was best was to let everyone live their own life by their own choices. To rule was a burden of itself and often times lead to corruption of once noble ideals.

Arthur did not like that. Arthur replied," No it is not strong arms that need take the reigns but those of worthy cause. Those who actions speak the truth of their intent. Those of noble spirit and heart. The world does not need a despot. Those who do not want power for power sake but those who power was thrust upon them unwillingly. Power is not a lone reason for rule nor is strength. I myself have always believed that a persons life is theirs alone and that they should rise up and live it. To not be guided but find their own unique path."

Arthur paused a minute and then said," Good intent however often leads to disaster. The greatest harm can result from the best intentions. It sounds a paradox, but kindness and good intentions can be an insidious path to destruction. Sometimes doing what seems right is wrong, and can cause harm. The only counter to it is knowledge, wisdom, forethought, and understanding the First Rule of Life. Even then, that is not always enough. Violation can cause anything from discomfort, to disaster, to death." Another one of his rules that he lived his laugh by and one of the most violated.

The skeleton then spoke and Arthur shook his head and said," The universe has no feelings at all dear sir. Cruelty has no part in it. Things just are the way the way they are. It is up to the individual to decide how he wants to define his life. As for the gods what can they tell us that life cannot. Life has never been fair, chaos and disorder reign as much as goodness and order. Balance is they key to everything. Life is balance. Life and beauty swirl amongst death".

Then the strange man spoke asking his way. Arthur replied," The way I know is through memory alone. I am not human dear sirs. Dragon blood flows through my viens. We dragons have a thing called ancestral memory. Every event that has ever happened through our history is within us. For another to access it requires a great deal of power. It is not just granted it must be earned. Through the memory there is a ritual that could call a god, one of the old ones. But there is a high chance that it may fail. The god it would call is a god of dragons and he is more unpredictable than the race itself. We would need not only one of the blood but a mana user of great power to access this memory for you to see. I cannot call the memory to mind because to search myself would take more time than you might find worth in".
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The Faunamancer
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When the man before him mentioned the dragon blood inside him, Boris could finally place the feelings he was experiencing. It was not the first signs of attraction after all; it was being in the presence of both a being who had lived for much longer than he himself ever could and seen more than he ever would on one side and a being whose own mind was connected to something greater than himself on the other. Boris wondered if Arthur saw the irony, not in his ideology but in his circumstances: For a figure who spoke so passionately of forging one's own path, Arthur had already run much of the race before he had even laced up his first pair of boots.

The longer the conversation went on for, the more people started to shift their focus away from Boris and onto Bones. "I'll be outside," he groaned, clutching his cloak's sides from within and pulling it tight around himself. His foot rattled as he kicked the chair sideways on his way out the door. Boris grabbed the wooden leg and pulled the chair in order. Boris looked back to the dragon.

"I myself am a reasonably gifted spellcaster, but the gravitas of the situation and of your words lead me to suspect that you were picturing someone whose power I cannot match," Boris said. He pushed the basket towards Arthur, generously offering up the last of the croquettes. "I also suspect that you might know such a person, and if so I can only ask that you take the two of us to them."
Edited by The Faunamancer, Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:19 pm.
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The strange man did not take his relevation of his dragon blood as many would have. Many would have been surprised or taken to thinking danger. Arthur was glad of that as he sometimes met with outright hostility when it came to his heritage. Arthur would also have hated to have a fight here over it. Not that the man would have stood a chance no matter his strength.

The skeleton got up as attention turned toward him. He headed outside and Arthur shrugged and sympathized with the skeleton. The big man then spoke speaking of his own power of the arcane. He then pushed the rest of the food toward Arthur. Arthur plopped a few in his mouth. Arthur then replied," Power is not the only thing we need. We need skill. Yes I do know of one. Old Nathan should be able to help us. He is a Wizard of the First Order and well versed in the arcane arts. He is a strange man but he owes me a few favors. Still that does not mean anything".

Nathan was unpredictable at best. Yet a truer friend Arthur had not found. Arthur then said," I will take you to him if you wish it. Luckily he resides within Taras and not far from the tavern. Though whether we stay within the city is up to him. He might take us out of it because he might feel it is foolish to call such power in such a heavily populated area. I could do the ritual myself but I need to be apart of it not doing it".

Arthur then leaned back in his seat thinking for a minute and then said," Whenever you are ready Master Boris. But be warned you might not get what you are looking for. What you might get is more questions than answers".
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Arthur offered up information on 'Old Nathan' the Wizard of the First Order. Boris nodded along. The half-dragon finished off the croquettes and, upon reclining, said, "Whenever you are ready Master Boris. But be warned you might not get what you are looking for. What you might get is more questions than answers."

"I've nowhere else to be," Boris replied. It was true. This was the mission. His goals, his visions, the fate of the realm--all depended on his endeavor, on Arthur's guidance and Old Nathan's talents. "I suppose I'll cover the bill and then we can fetch Bones."

Bones crept out the front door of the tavern and headed for a nearby alleyway. He needed space. Though it was still a cloudy day, the morning's silver linings had ruptured. Deep shadows fell on streets. The deep shadows beneath his hood would not be so charitable any longer. Naturally, people noticed a hooded figure racing for an alleyway. Here in the High District, that meant something.

Bones had been in the alleyway for only a couple of minutes before two city guardsmen with long spears had gotten word of him. Bones found himself in a corner, facing the wall and trying to appear as if he was not bothering anyone; he had in fact bothered someone.

"Sir, I need you to turn around and remove the hood," one of the guards said.

Bones replied, "Can I ask why?" He did not yet turn.

"Because he said to," snarked the other.

"By the authority of Captain Baross, turn around and take off the hood, now. Do as I say or we will attack you." Damn it all. Bones raised both hands; they were noticeably skeletal. He heard the guards' armor shift as he turned to face them. The guards seemed more combat-ready than before.

"At ease, gentlemen," Bones said, revealing himself. "I'm not here to make trouble. Were I, I would have left the cloak at home."

"We were told that an Abnathean walker accompanied by a strange man entered the New Song asking for word of the old gods. Explain your business in Taras. Explain your business!"

Bones replied, "I've never set foot in Abnathea. I did enter the tavern with a companion in search of the old gods, yes. This much is true." The two guards pulled their spears.

"Your kind are not welcome in this part of Taras," the first of the guards said.

Bones would have rolled his eyes had he any. "This part of Taras? Do you hear yourself? How bad is the echo that far up your ass? You talk down to me like I am a lesser thing than you. You suggest that, even though I am some lesser abomination, that there is a place in this city for me. I imagine you mean the slums. They are people like you though they walk streets of piss-stained sand. They were not so fortunate to see the efforts of your gentrification. It is a disgrace that you should see yourself above it all. You disrespect your position with that bitter talk. You are a plain example of poisoned authority with too heavy a hand. In my time, we would not dare to mistreat the ones we were sworn to protect. How the mighty have fallen."

Boris was up on his feet counting out his gold pieces while the barmaid scooped up the empty croquette basket in her arm.

"This ought to cover it," he said, passing on his payment when she held out her hand. She pocketed the gold and grabbed the beer glasses, heading off to have them cleaned. The Faunamancer looked at Arthur and said, "Lead the way."
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The strange man said he had nowhere else to. Acts of desperation were usually ill advised. Even to the most experienced of adventures they could lead to disaster. The man then said he would pay the bill. Arthur would let him, he would not complain. Then they would fetch the skeleton. When the barmaid came and was paid Arthur left a little bit extra for her. Then he leads the man outside where they encountered a scene in which the skeleton seemed to experiencing prejudice from the Tarasian Guard.

Arthur who knew well prejudice felt anger. The skeleton did not deserve that but Arthur calmed himself and stepped next to the skeleton. Arthur said," Is there an issue here gentlemen? Cause I can vouch for my companion’s companion if need be". He pointed to Boris. The men looked at Arthur and one of them was about to speak when his face turned pale. Arthur saw the look of recognition in his face.

Arthur smiled serenely and said," I am sure your Captain would be fond of hearing of how two of his fine officers were harassing an innocent being. I had dinner with him a few nights ago and I was so proud of you all. I have dinner plans with him in the morning perhaps I should mention this". The men paled even further at that and one said," That's not necessary Arthur. Uh Master Arthur. We was just fooling around. If we had known he was a friend of yours.... I mean we don't bother people like that we will be going now". Then both men turned tail with some dignity and then made a break for it at a distance.

Arthur chuckled and said," Idiots. I had dinner with him a few nights ago but in the morning, I was not going to. Still it might need mentioning. These Taras Guards the new ones anyway think they can throw their weight around on those who are a little different. Tried it on me once they were not happy". Arthur then looked to Bone and said," I apologize for them. They are not all like that and Taras is not all prejudice. Though I do sometimes get a look from them. You learn to accept some of the things you can’t change." Turning to Boris he said," Nathans house is this way".
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The guards were graciously intercepted by Arthur and Boris, the former taking the lead in talking the guards down, "I am sure your Captain would be fond of hearing of how two of his fine officers were harassing an innocent being. I had dinner with him a few nights ago and I was so proud of you all. I have dinner plans with him in the morning; perhaps I should mention this." With some stammers and their tails tucked between their legs, the guards scurried off out of the alleyway.

Bones straightened up, looked less pitiful. "My gratitude."

Boris was impressed. It seemed Arthur's insistence on having connections was true, after all. Arthur certainly seemed more imposing now; perhaps it was blossoming attraction that Boris felt.

With a chuckle, Arthur said, "Idiots. I had dinner with him a few nights ago, but in the morning I was not going to. Still, it might need mentioning. These Taras Guards, the new ones anyway, think they can throw their weight around on those who are a little different. Tried it on me once... they were not happy. I apologize for them. They are not all like that and Taras is not all prejudice. Though I do sometimes get a look from them. You learn to accept some of the things you can't change."

Bones replied, "Though I've grown accustomed, I am much intent on change."

To Boris the dragon said, "Nathan's house is this way."

"Right behind you," Boris said, falling in line with Bones at Arthur's back. This much was certain now: Bones and Boris had fallen into of rhythm of meeting the right person at the right type. Though possible their universe was indifferent to them, it could certainly be said that some sort of guidance was at work. Arthur was without question an important step in the plan; Boris imagined Old Nathan and their god of summons could be, as well.
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The skeleton was grateful for his assistance. For Arthur it was nothing. He just hated bullies. Arthur replied," Your welcome Master Bones." The skeleton was cursed and that gave those men no right to be prejudice against him. It was Arthurs duty as a person to stop that kind of thing. That was how he made his living sticking up for those who could not stick up for themselves.

The skeleton then said he wanted change. Arthur said," We all want change Master Bones. Change is inevitable. Yet it might not always be what we want. Perhaps Nathan can put some insight into your current predicament". Arthur was not sure though. Nathan had never explained the full range of his abilities. Yet Arthur knew the man had power.

Arthur then lead the two down the street. He knew the route well. Never once faltering in his steps. There were a few people that shouted greetings to him people he knew. He would wave but no more than that. Finally, they stopped in front of a small unassuming house. Not the house a wizard would normally use but Nathan was a simple man.

Arthur said," We are here. Nathan is a bit of grump but his is a kind soul. Don't treat him like an old man though or you will regret it". Arthur went up to the door and knocked. Nothing happened and they stood there for a few moments and slat in the door opened and gruff voice said," Go away we don't want any visitors". Arthur replied," How bout old friends". The voice then said," That you Arthur". Arthur replied with only a grin. The door opened and there stood the most rumpled man in history. His hair was wild and everywhere. His clothes were wrinkled with a few unknown stains upon them.

However, there was no doubt the man was a wizard. His eyes blazed with intelligence and magic. And for all his appearance he was no ordinary old man. He looked to be in vigor and showed little sign of age upon him. He said," Arthur my boy it is you. And who are your companions?" Arthur replied," Nate this is Boris and Bones. Boris and Bones, I present to you..." Nathan cut him off by saying," Nathan Nostradamus. Wizard of the First Order at your service." He then looked at the two and said," Bags Arthur I have seen you in strange company before but this is a new level for you. Well come on in"

Nathan gestured them in. The house was clean and neat and in order. It smelled of herbs and spices. Nathan then lead them through the house and said," Don’t touch anything I am working on something important." He then took them to a room in the back. This room was a complete mess with books and tomes stacked all over. He summoned some chairs with his magic and sat down on one.

He said," Now what can I do for you Arthur and companions. Oh, by the way would like some tea. Alena just put on a fresh pot
". At that a beautiful elven woman stepped in and when she saw Arthur she about dropped the tea tray she was carrying. She turned crimson but came on in and put the tea down on a table. And then whisked out the room. Nathan shook his head and said," My adoptive daughter. She still does that every time she sees you Arthur". Arthur only smiled.

Nathan then said," Now again what can I do for you? And have some tea". Arthur replied," Boris can best explain it to you". He pointed to Boris.
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The Faunamancer
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Arthur seemed to have his bearings about him when he whisked them off down High Street. He weaved in and out of the crowd with ease, waving to familiar faces.

Boris was a large man who struggled to squeeze through the crowd; city folk were known to crowd without parting the waters for a big fish. The Faunamancer had to lead with some elbows to cut the crowd. Bones was wise to stay right on the larger man's tail, let the butterknife lead as to not soil his bread.

The journey was shorter than it felt. Though the house was close to the tavern, it did veer off the main road into less trodden territory. It was a tiny house, the kind that never would have withstood the huffs and puffs of the High District's main road. Boris immediately noticed the many flowers lining windowsills and porches. When a balmy breeze rolled by, he understood; it wasn't the slums but the locals were down-wind from some unpleasant scents.

Arthur stepped forward and rapped on the door. A door slat opened, but the resident put a mouth up to it rather than a pair of eyes.

"Go away," he said. "We don't want any visitors." Generally door slats were for taking a look at visitors. Figures who were so opposed to company would avoid them. Boris began to make assumptions about Old Nathan's living arrangements. If he had much agency, he certainly didn't flaunt it.

"How bout old friends?" Arthur replied.

"That you Arthur?" the old man asked, finally taking a look at his guests. It was quite a heel-turn. When the man had confirmed it was indeed Arthur standing there, he pulled the door open.

Old Nathan was a mess. His hair was so messy there was probably a young robin begging his mom for his own separate room in there. His robes were as oily and wrinkled as Bones would be if he still had skin. But his eyes gave him away. The man's mind was firing on all cylinders, twinkling with centuries' worth of forbidden knowledge. He seemed healthy, too.

"Arthur my boy... it is you!" he laughed. He squinted for a peek under Bones' hood. "And who are your companions?"

"Nate, this is Boris," said Arthur with appropriate gesturing, "and Bones. Boris and Bones, I present to you--"

"Nathan Nostradamus," interjected the old man. "Wizard of the First Order at your service." He had tried to sneak a peek at Bones' face, yet it was only now that he took a directed look at Boris. "Bags Arthur, I have seen you in strange company before but this is a new level for you. Well... come on in." A motion.

It wasn't too shabby inside. Surprisingly orderly, air rich with garden fresh herbs and spices. Boris imagined Mister Nostradamus was well aware of conditions outside, secluding himself within the sanctuary of an appropriately well-maintained home. Nathan led them through the home, though it was so tiny and orderly that Boris didn't get a look around.

Nathan warned them, "Don't touch anything. I'm working on something important." What could 'something important' mean to Arthur's first choice god-caller?

The sitting room they were corralled into reflected the man; messy, full of knowledge. Boris couldn't figure it out. Why the well-kept façade if Nostradamus was so opposed to visitors? Was Boris just reading too much into the old wizard, trying not to let the old wise man run circles around him? Quite likely. Plush chairs sprung to being, courtesy of Nathan. He took one over. Bones made his way over to one and quietly sat.

"Now what can I do for you, Arthur and companions?" he asked. "Oh, by the way, would you like some tea? Alena just put on a fresh pot." Alena? So he wasn't so secluded after all.

The lovely elf entered the room, took one look at Arthur, and stumbled. The tea she carried skidded across her tray. Boris instinctively moved in to help, though she caught herself. She turned beet red and set the tea down, wordlessly taking off. There was a story involved.

With a head shake, Nathan said, "My adoptive daughter. She still does that every time she sees you Arthur." Boris caught Arthur smiling. There was definitely a story involved.

"Now, again... what can I do for you? And have some tea."

Arthur said, "Boris can best explain it to you." His pointer fell on Boris, still standing near Nathan.

Boris bowed into a seat next to Arthur and said, "My companion and I want to track down one of the old gods. I have seen how the tides of history turn, and I fully believe that this era plans to culminate in calamity. It is my belief that relevant knowledge from the days before the Fragmentation could be the key to correcting this course. We only speculate as to what the gods truly were. We discredit our former reverence as delusion, or simply invent explanations for them when they have offered us none. The gods hold the answers. I would much like to hear it from one of them, for the fate of all of Chaon."

An impatient Bones tore down his hood and exposed his ivory skull. "And fer gods' sake, can you figure out a way to kill me already?"
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Boris began to explain what he was here for. Nathan listened intently, Arthur sat back with the tea cup in his hand. He sipped, it was savory, Alena always did make a good cup. Arthur looked around the room. He was trying to guess what Nate was working on. Yet the mess gave few hints. The skeleton also lowered his hood and said he wanted to be killed. Nathan started at the skeleton for a minute and said," Bags and double Bags." Nathan stood up and went over to the skeleton and held out his hands.

He waved his hands around him and magical energy began to form. He then set it around the skeleton. The magic began to hum and the hum grew louder and louder. Arthur was about to cover his ears when the room began to vibrate. Books and objects fell. Arthur could hear things crash in the next rooms. Then Nathan cut off the spell and it all ended. He looked about the room even more of a mess now and he said," Bags".

He looked at the Skeleton and said," I have no idea what is wrong with you. Whatever stops you from dying is magic I have never seen in all my years as a Wizard of the First Order." Nathan sat down and took a drink of tea. He then said," I could have destroyed this whole house and possibly more if I continued. Whatever is wrong with you Master Bones would take maybe the entire Wizards of the First Order council to correct and even then, that might not be enough".

He then turned to the Boris and said," As for you and your god searching I am not sure what that has to do with me. The gods are gone boy. And the world and its fate are not up them anymore. Yet I feel for your quest, you seek to save a world that may have already plunged past the point of saving." Arthur looked at Nathan and said," Nate there are other gods not recognized within the pantheon that still exist".

Nathan looked at Arthur and he paled slightly. He said," Bags boy are you crazy. Bringing one of them here. We could die. Taras could be gone. The world could go." Arthur cut him off and said," It depends on which one. I want to summon the one I know would not do that because he literally could care less". Nathan gulped his tea and then reached into a pile of books and pulled out a flask and drank from it.

Nathan said," Alright boy which one is it then. This one that does not care". Arthur replied," Kur". Nathan went deep in thought for a minute and said," Kur, Dragon God, yes I can see why you might choose him. You do know the ritual". Arthur tapped his head and Nathan nodded. He then looked at Arthur and said," What about Danny? She won't interfere will she." Arthur looked inward and Danny seemed content just to watch for right now.

Arthur then said," Danny won’t interfere. She is quiet at the moment". Nathan nodded and got up and said," Alright follow me to the basement. We will have more room there". Arthur looked to Boris explaining about Danny if he had any questions," Danny is a being that resides within me. It takes control sometimes. Yet we have an agreement of sorts for right now". Arthur then looked to Bones and said," I am sorry Master Bones. Nathan is the strongest wizard I know. I had hoped he could do something. Yet it appears not I apologize". Arthur then followed after Nathan.

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The eccentric old man, in response to Bones' pained plea, approached and began to render spells at him. Soon, there was a noisy hum shaking the whole room. Bones clenched his teeth as his skull began to vibrate. Feet away, Boris' hair jiggled to and fro.

Disappointingly, Nathan had no revelations for Bones. Not even a Wizard of the First Order had ever encountered such a curse. Bones felt as if he had hit a wall, especially when the old wizard revealed that the entire council might not be able to solve his problem.

Then to hear that the god they intended to summon was not even "recognized within the pantheon," a Dragon God. Bones was stunned. This road turned to rubbish beneath his feet. He had heard of Kur, but never would consider him an important figure to anyone outside of the dragonkin. Then for the wizard and the dragon to begin discussing some woman that lived inside Arthur's head? He felt cheated.

"Alright," said Old Nathan. "Follow me to the basement. We will have more room there."

Arthur looked at Bones, said, "I am sorry Master Bones. Nathan is the strongest wizard I know. I had hoped he could do something. Yet it appears not. I apologize." Then he turned and followed Nathan. The Faunamancer hung his head, not wanting to look Bones in the face and say he had failed him. He followed Arthur.

They started down the stairs to the basement, three sets of footsteps; when Boris glanced over his shoulder, he found that Bones was no longer with them.
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