× The Sundered Lands are the lands of the Surface. Forever cast in shadow by the Sky Lands, and forever transformed by the merge of the physical lands of Xodod, these are the lands of darkness, keeping with the great balance balancing out the good of the sky lands to maintain perfect harmony. Or so was the agreement derived between Taal Zodo and Tyrius Zodo.

There are no kingdoms in the Sundered Lands. Instead, they are ruled directly by the dark god, Tyrius Zodo, who is Taal Zodo's dark counterpart. Instead of kingdoms, Tyrius Zodo as divided the lands of the Sundered into principalities governed by the great demon princes of Xodod who now call the Surface home.

Life in the Sundered Lands is a struggle. Only the strong and the clever survive, which often times is only those with the capability for cruelty. Often times those found to be good of heart born in the Sundered Lands will be taken to the Sky Lands and those found to be dark in purpose in the Sky Lands will be cast down to the Sundered Lands. Still, the Sundered Lands often find favor for those who want a life without rules and moral constraints, and often seen as a great adventure for treasure seekers and historians.

Academic Pursuit

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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 1 week ago #176 by Raukibo
Replied by Raukibo on topic Academic Pursuit
Rauki'no blinked as the other kaba'ni gave a broken-toothed wheeze and started prattling on as if he had but one breath to empty his head. The archivist's whiskers vibrated as the gina pointed and shuffled along beside him as they walked, full of a skittering energy he could not put a finger on. He looked like a frilled rock lizard dancing sidelong after a juicy emberfly, and that make Rauki'bo even more nervous. Nearby caravaners watched them with sidelong worry, others giving the pair a wide berth.

Rauki'bo could not blame them.

A chance glance ahead made Rauki'bo stop in his tracks. The cleft in the mountain yawned wide like a jagged maw straining upward towards the sky. It was the sky, however, that held his focus: ponderous beasts of shadowed stone looming hundreds—if not thousands—of kilomitras overhead. A curtain of steely light winked at him from between the land gaps, and the archivist shuddered.

All of that stone, tethered to the heavens by the Breath of the Mother. So frighteningly much to come crashing down were he to somehow fail in his mission.

The strange gina rambled on, heedless of his awe and fear, gesturing to the fractured landscape that stretched out before them all. Nodding to nothing in particular, Rauki'bo tried his very best to keep his mind fixed on the stone beneath his feet. Information from his studies on the World Above flooded his mind, his subconscious attempting to plot the next leg of his course in the hunt for the fugitive.

The fugitive, a voice in his head echoed.

Two clerics, wounded. A third dead. The Tabernacle—the holiest of holy places to all kaba'ni—defiled. An artifact, destroyed. An Overland kaba'ni leaving Yvintha'anati, one admittedly with blood on his paws and no stranger to bladework. Likely mad, to whit, Rauki'bo grumbled inwardly. While the desa did not appear outwardly to have the cognition or patience to sketch the diagrams and formulae found within the mysterious journal, there was a keen intensity burning in that eye Rauki'bo could not deny.

Yet mad as this gina obviously was, it would have been sheer folly to make himself known were he a fugitive. Not unless, Rauki'bo worried, his mind was so far gone that he was not concerned with capture. Such a one, his mind rebuffed, would not have eluded detection both into and from the Tabernacle. Puzzles within puzzles. Sighing audibly, Rauki'bo shook his head.

"Whether you know of me, friend," he murmured simply, watching the others over the strange gina's shoulder, "I know not of you.  As the Strategems say, 'Trust in a stranger is trust in the enemy.' Does my offered companion and guide have a name? And—"

Rauki'bo knelt and began scrawling in the dust with a claw. It was only a partial diagram he pulled from one of the pages of the journal and no true work of art, but it would be clear enough for his purposes. Gesturing to the rude depiction of an empyricite formation, the archivist looked up at the madgina.

"—know he of this?"
Last edit: 2 months 1 week ago by Raukibo.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #179 by mythus
Replied by mythus on topic Academic Pursuit
The blackened kaba'ni chuckles, "Of course this one has a name. I not much different than you, ser. I too, had a momo, and though I not have the roots of the Mother to be presented to, a naming day I did have." He pointed to the crude drawing of Rauki'bo, "In fact, I was named before somethin' similar to that. Though I might say, a bit bigger than your masterpiece!" He laughs, "Five gina bigger!"

He bows lowly, "I am called Roak now. Formally Roak'ko, but..." He looks down a bit kicking at the dirt. For a moment, the area about them grew quite, with a sense of sadness and a hint of dread. The rest of the caravan had already moved on without them, leaving the two strangers to talk and likely glad to be without them. By now it was likely they would be half way down the mountain.

Roak sighs, "I nae gonna lie to you. Months prior I'd'a gutted you and picked you of all you are worth." He raises his paws defensively, "I nae proud of it either, for many moons I've had a hard life here and had to learn to survive. Strange things happen to you after your first forced kill, ya know? I knew then that me chances of restin' with tha Mother were gone and had nothin' more for me but to keep on breathin'. The Sundered Lands are no place for the decent."

He shakes his head, "As  the days grow dimmer and the nights darker I began to worry more 'bout me soul. So I began pray'in to the Mother, not askin' for her to forgive, but for a way to save me from the fire. It might have been in vain, why would the Mother answer a mad gina like meself?"

He looks back up at Rauki'bo, "But she did! From the shadows she came to me, and gave me this chance. 'Help the scholar', she told me. 'Help him learn what he needs, find who he must find, and in turn he can lead you back to the light.'"

Roak extends his paw, "So what'ya say then? I told you more than I like already. Truths I'm not happy to utter. I nae askin' your trust. Just to let me help."

Characters: Ian Mercleis Poppy

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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #186 by Raukibo
Replied by Raukibo on topic Academic Pursuit
He listened to the madgina—to Roak, he reminded himself—go on about himself as the caravan slipped gently from sight. While the other desa had confessed to murder and worse, Rauki'bo did not fear him. Truth, there was apprehension and unease. Fear, however, was not in him. And while Roak's claims of redemption did not follow squarely in reality, the gnarled desa at least believed it.

Rauki'bo had been raised to trust in the love of the Emerald Mother, that all kaba'ni were Her children and shared in her love. While his life as an academic did not always provide proof in agreement, he retained enough of his faith to believe it so. Perhaps the core of his love for the Goddess came from the love he had given to his momo. She had believed fully and gone through life securely in that belief, even until her final breath. She had believed all kaba'ni, regardless of birth or deed, deserved redemption.

The archivist was not much familiar with the workings of the Overlands beyond what he could find in tomes and tales. With a given name like Roak'ko, he was not one of the Eleven Clans of Yvintha'anati. Yet the dark-furred kaba'ni had named himself without a clan. Either he was presenting himself in the unorthodox familiar, or he was an exile.

If his admitted crimes were true, Rauki'bo assumed the latter.

While the scholar had grown up accepted—even admired and respected—by his kin, he knew full well the manner of rumor whispered behind paws and in shadowed places about him. He had been called traitor, heretic, and worse even before his Rite of Ascension. Kaba'ni prejudices often ran deeper than a fissure more often than not. The price to pay for having long lives and longer memories, some would say. Goddess knew it had helped keep them alive all these millennia.

"I'm no stranger to blood and battle my own self," Rauki'bo admitted, grasping the desa's paw in a brief but firm grim. "I've no thirst for either, but each leaves a stain on your soul regardless. It's not much my place to tell another gina how to live, but it seems as we could both use a spot of forgiveness."

Rauki'bo stared after the caravan trail and flicked an ear in consternation. "I suppose we should catch up to our impatient kin. It wouldn't do to get lost before I've even scented a whiff of trail."

Without looking to see if Roak followed, the scholar headed off at a forced march. Perhaps if he could reach a Sidheum garrison or Vinaghi legate's office, he could ask around or at least get his bearings. While one hunter had become two, neither knew exactly what they were looking for. That thought alone made Rauki'bo frown.

Like looking for slivers of iron in a dross bin, he grumbled inwardly. And here I am without a lodestone.

A brief flash of insight hit him, and the archivist's glower became a grin. While Rauki'bo had very little idea as to the identity of the fugitive, he did have an understanding of his motives. Whoever he was, their quarry was keen on moving about undetected and would likely avoid larger settlements for the moment. While the Vinaghi appeared to not wish the Sidheum involved, there was no doubt in his mind that they would have dispatched more gina than he to keep eyes open and ears perked. The fugitive had thusfar proven resourceful, skilled, and focused on a particular mission of their own. That left...

"Roak," he called over his shoulder, inspiration putting a bounce in his step, "do you know of any large empyricite deposits nearby?"
Last edit: 2 months 1 week ago by Raukibo.

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