The Ritual of Lunar Turmoil (Part 3 & 4)

SibattiSibatti Mamba dur NayaAmidst vibrant flora and trees
edited August 11 in Roleplay Logs
Part 1 & 2 (Prep) - https://forums.aetolia.com/discussion/4487/the-ritual-of-lunar-turmoil-part-1-and-2#latest

NOTE: I cut down a lot of this log for the sake of readability. There were a lot of moving parts and a lot of offerings. I'll leave the first two offerings in full, so the flow can be understood, and condense the rest into a digestible summary. Everyone did a fantastic job with their offerings and ceremonial garb, it was an absolute joy to witness!

Content warning: Gore

The eve of the ritual approaches, and a gathering of Duirani in strange, animal visages begins to assemble...

Beside a reassembled stone altar.
The sun sets, its dimming rays lancing across the sky and lighting the dim edges of cloud that hang there. The collapsed remnants of the stone building now stand in a haphazard circle about the area, the space meticulously cleared and cleaned to make way for a potentially large gathering. At the centre, shattered stone and cracked rubble shape themselves into the form of a grim, foreboding altar, towering some four feet in height. Curved in places and jagged in others, the edifice bears numerous detailed carvings along its edges and planes, spiralling symbology of vines and foliage interspersed with animal motifs and beasts in mid-hunt. Palpable silence lingers heavily in the air, an ominous portent of ritual magic to come. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A glowing golden crown bound by chains sits atop a marble pedestal here, armaments scattered about its base. A chute is visible just beyond the knothole, traveling down the mountainside to far below. Humming with energy, a crystal aegis has been attuned to this location. A dark altar draws the eye with an inexorable magnetism, the rune-etched stone awaiting its grim purpose. A simple wooden offering bowl to Srahda, the Seer has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Kree-sa, the Broodmother has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Griash, the Keeper has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Rhulvok, the Warden has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Takaros the Fury has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Vo'acha, the Shadow has been placed near the altar. Resting on the ground is a cube-shaped silver sigil. An enormous drum has been set here, rimmed in bone and rope. A pitcher of dark red wine is placed on the altar. A pouch is conspicuously placed near the entrance of the grounds.
You see exits leading down, northeast, and northwest.

Your pose is now set as:
Sibatti stands beside the altar, possessed by some potent energy.

She is an intelligent Azudim of Mhun heritage and of a monstrous, unfettered form, every inch of exposed flesh bristling and trembling with unspent energy. A crown of twisted, charcoal antlers competes with an array of chiseled bone spikes forming the crown which floats around her head. The voluminous length of a dark veil descends from its tines, shrouding further the form of the Azudim, her stormy eyes subdued behind the gauze, her lips in a perpetual pout. The rest of her is slender and distinctly feminine, her attire clinging to accentuate a trim form that welcomes a particular energy, one seemingly ready for anything. Her body is sinuous and refined in posture; a serpentine tail emerges from her hips to follow the curve of her spine at a great length until it terminates in a chaotically-vibrant array of feathers. Despite this anomaly, much of her is darkened and shrouded by the dark chiffon surrounding her, temperamental and restless as quicksilver and creating a chaotic energy in and around her legs where they swirl. She tends toward keeping her extremeties close to her body, but when you do see them you would find each one terminating in an elongated, sharpened claw, something mutely reflective coating their surfaces. Eldritch violet light surrounds her - a blessing of chaos and dreaming. Shoots and flowers are left in the wake of her steps, showing she walks with the Hunter's blessing. Her skin looks supple and fresh, the healthy glow surrounding her evidence of the musky and psychedelic smelling lotion she has recently applied.

(veiling the entire body) : a hovering veiled crown of moon and stars
(prominent at the brow) : an eldritch thirdeye framed by eight twisted legs
(swirling and animated) : the unhallowed gown of Lunar Turmoil
(eyes leering ominously) : four feathered wings of the Seven-Eyed
(creating wavy shapes in the air) : manacles of red string floating weightlessly
(adding nearly a foot of height) : horrific spiked high-heeled shoes

Sib's Special Ritual Wear:

Crown
Over a dozen long human bones have been arranged into a semi-circular starburst crown, each one sharpened fanatically into tapering, pointed ends and bleached a severe white. Every other bone spike is of slightly varying height, alternating between long and short in an even spread, with a thin band of hammered-thin obsidian creating a circular loop binding the skeletal pieces together into a cohesive piece of headwear. Another disc of moonstone appears halfway up the length of each bone to create the added effect of an inverted crescent moon above the wearer's head. When worn, it does not settle onto the head so much as hovers around, suspended a few inches shy of contact with the body, and from the sharp peak of each of the crown's tines descends the dark gauze of a floor-length veil. Its wispy, semi-transparent length darkens the complexion, shimmering faintly with pale silver droplets not unlike the twinkling of a night sky.

Gown:
The gown spied here eschews known methods of tailoring, the nature of its construction enigmatic and in particular defiance of the laws of Creation. It is a gown by name only, piecemeal and fragmented into individual components clinging to its wearer by obscure means and fitted in such a way that it appears to be made for one individual's proportions in particular. The shoulders, arms and back are left entirely bare, and the gown boasts a chestplate of a humanoid ribcage, butterflied open and painted in bright metallic silver. A fan of luxuriously long, black feathers drapes overtop the bones to spread upwards over the chest, playfully obscuring any revealed flesh in the gaps. The plume of shadowy feathers are backlit by a prismatic glow, where a heart might have once been found within the ribcage now serving as a chromatic ornamentation for someone else. From the waist down, luxurious silks of iridescent, monochromatic hues shimmer and churn around the legs, never quite settling at rest and perpetually at the whimsy of some eldritch, unseen gale force wind. As temperamental and fluid as quicksilver, the chiffon silk claims a shimmering aurora of both stygian darkness and the luminosity of a full moon simultaneously, never fully embracing either extreme but perpetually warring for supremacy against the other.



(Duiran): Aisling says, "Those that have not done so, cleanse yourselves at the Moonglade, pick up a bucket and fill it with its water. Once you have it, bring it to the Core. We are now gathering here."
(Duiran): Haern says, "I will soon bar entry into the Heartwood, and there will be no way in or out for the duration of the ritual. If you have not cleansed yourselves yet, do so, and await your garments at the Core."
(Duiran): Mati says, "May the Spirits strengthen and guide all of you. And thank You, Lord Hunter."


(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Stine, "This is it."

A font of flaring green flames blossoms in the air before you, molding together to create the hulking form of the Hunter.

Holbrook suddenly appears, looking bewildered.

Holbrook:

He is an intelligent Idreth of Human heritage with dark hair and light skin. Despite his slight
physique, his moderate height at a touch under six feet and lean frame help to contribute to his
solidity. Framing his pallid and somewhat gaunt face is short and well-groomed hair, neatly parted
to the side. His nose is short yet sharp, with a prominent bridge, giving him a hawkish appearance.
Below is his thin gray lips - no longer dry, but marked with old, poorly healed scars of cracked
lips. Completing his wan countenance, his tired heavy lidded eyes can be seen keepin a wary
attention on his surroundings - though the tint of colour surrounding his golden irises is something
reminiscent of the radiance of the sun. Translucent strands of spiderweb periodically weave around
his form, empowering him with Iosyne's blessing. Shadows drape him with the blessing of Severn, the
Manipulator. He is suffused with the fervor of the Warlord, carrying His blessing.

(gleaming below the collar) : a pendant of a midwinter star
(around the neck) : an octagonal pendant
(studiously slung over a shoulder) : a sturdy scholar's book bag
(covering the body) : a formal uniform of the Argent Legion
(covering the body) : a shade-mantled suit of chainmail
(displayed proudly on the uniform) : an insignia of the Blades
(worn upon the forearm) : an argent bracer of oaths
(around one wrist) : a flickering elemental brand
(inked on the back of his right hand) : a geometric linework tattoo
(worn on a finger) : a simple silver ring
(worn on a finger) : golden geometric rings
(upon a finger) : an Archivist's silver ring
(worn on a finger) : an arcane black ring
(worn on a finger) : a silver ring
(worn on a finger) : a crystal-magnified, thirteen-pointed star ring


You say, "My Hunter."

There is a rumbling from the Hollow of the Duiran Council as the great Durdalis barricade all passage in and out of the Heartwood.

"Bind Him," Haern orders as He appears, tossing the unconscious figure of Holbrook down beside the altar in a none-too-gently fashion. "We have our sacrifice, My Fang."

(Tells): Breezy, harmonic voices echo Mati's words as the Yeleni tells you, "My heart is with you, Esrytesh. There is no invocation of well wishes you need, nor that will serve any better than I know you will."

You have emoted: Sibatti's eyes find the unconscious form of Holbrook, only briefly cognizant of his identity. Acting swiftly, she does as commanded, drawing out a few lengths of rope to bind him separately at wrists and ankles. A third rope secures each binding together, effectively hog-tying him.

Haern watches the binding with an impassive solemnity, only nodding His approval once the deed has been done.
"Are you ready for what comes, Esrytesh?" He moves to meet your gaze, unblinkingly calm.

"What comes next?" Holbrook breathes, aurous eyes aglow with growing panic. "What is the meaning of this?"

You have emoted: Sibatti brings a heeled foot to Holbrook's back to keep the man pinned in place, the iron spikes of her footwear threatening. The Azudim's eyes are firm on Haern. "Ready, Boss."

Despite the slim possibility of escaping, Holbrook's body tenses into steel against the bindings - but Holbrook had always valued intellect more than brawn, afterall; his efforts proving less than a poor attempt at freeing himself. "What is this?! Tell me what this is about!" The man demands once more.

Ignoring Holbrook's questioning pleas, Haern, the Hunter says to you, "It is time to begin, Esrytesh. Bring them."

(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to ???, "Your time has come. Are you garbed?"

Haern gives a speckled white rabbit to you.

(Tells): From an unseen place, ??? communicates to you, "I am garbed."

Haern, the Hunter says to you, "And you will need this."

The visage of the Coyote arrives from the northeast.

The visage of the Coyote closes her eyes, draws in a deep breath, and then releases it slowly.

The visage of the Coyote pours out a wooden bucket on top of a grim altar of runic stone, covering it in moonglade water.
The water spills across the altar, sacred fluid seeping into the stone.

You nod your head at the visage of the Coyote.

Holbrook's eyes track the rabbit, then to you, and then to the visage of the Coyote. As recognition sets, a sort of fury sets behind his eyes, lips curling into a wordless snarl.

You have emoted: Sibatti is holding the small form of a rabbit in one hand, standing beside the altar with her heel firmly planted on Holbrook's prone and bound body. "Offer to the Guardians, Speaker," she instructs the visage of the Coyote. "One by one."

The woolen cloth glides effortlessly across the stone, soaking up the crystalline waters with each pass you make. Meticulously wringing it out, you repeat the process until the shattered altar is as clean as it can be, prepared to receive further sacrifice.

The visage of the Coyote spares not a second of attention for Holbrook, her head nodding for your instruction.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Coyote presents a vividly colourful children's ball in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Coyote's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Srahda, the Seer, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Coyote presents a vicious dark brown dhurive in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Coyote's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Coyote presents a stack of 58 teeth in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Coyote's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Rhulvok, the Warden, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Coyote slices away a piece of her own flesh in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true.
Deeming the visage of the Coyote's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Vo'acha, the Shadow, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

You think:
Yes, yes.... His favorite.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Coyote presents an obsidian dagger in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Coyote's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Griash, the Keeper, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

All Holbrook can do is observe, of course, and his lips fall open as his breaths begin to come in a ragged panic, at the sight of the cleansing of the altar, then the offerings. Realization dawns, and his wide eyes shift to the bindings on his arms, then to his legs, his gaze shifting this way and that - undoubtedly looking for some way out of his bindings.

Quietly, the visage of the Coyote says, "I freely offer blood to the Fury."

You say, "What do you offer, then?"


Going to one knee, the visage of the Coyote presents the shrunken head of Asaraii in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Coyote's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Takaros the Fury, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

You say, "You have offered all. Take your place at the drum."

Haern just thought:
Sturdy offerings. He hopes the rest of the Council has put such thought into this moment as has this girl.

Holbook just thought:
I must get out. Where is my token? Did I leave it in the manor? Is it on the monolith? Damn it all.

Finally, the visage of the Coyote spares a look for Holbrook. Whatever it is she feels beneath the mask, the coyote's face conceals it.

(Tells): From an unseen place, ??? communicates to you, "I am ready."

The visage of the Otter flits in carrying a wooden bucket beneath her, held with both hands. She carries it all the way to the altar and, carefully, tips it over.

The visage of the Otter pours out a wooden bucket on top of a grim altar of runic stone, covering it in moonglade water.
The water spills across the altar, sacred fluid seeping into the stone.

Holbrook just thought:
This is wrong this is wrong this is wrong.

(Tells): From an unseen place, ??? communicates to you, "Strike after each offering is accepted."

(Tells): From an unseen place, ??? communicates to you, "Beat after all accepted."


The woolen cloth glides effortlessly across the stone, soaking up the crystalline waters with each pass you make. Meticulously wringing it out, you repeat the process until the shattered altar is as clean as it can be, prepared to receive further sacrifice.

You have emoted: The weight of Sibatti's leg comes to bear down on the prone and bound Holbrook as she nods to the visage of the Otter. It would be uncomfortable, but he is in no real danger.

The visage of the Otter produces a ring of blue topaz and lavender amethyst from one of six cloth bundles and reverently offers it to the Seer. "This ring was gifted to me by a dear friend many moons ago, and I have treasured it since. I have cleaned it in the flowing waters of six rivers to prepare it for You."

Going to one knee, the visage of the Otter presents a ring of blue topaz and lavender amethyst in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Otter's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Srahda, the Seer, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

The visage of the Coyote raises a mallet encased in moss-green cloth up high and strikes it against a massive, barrel-shaped drum in one swift, thunderous peal of percussive noise.

Holbrook just thought:
These offerings... sacrifices? Are they making an offering to the Hunter's Hoard?

The next bundle that the visage of the Otter produces is a wooden bowl filled with the butchered remains of a heart. "This heart was taken by a beast of Corruption and imbued with the blood of a shadowy rojalli and that of a powerful vampire, felled in his own domain by Duirani's hunters."

Going to one knee, the visage of the Otter presents a simple wooden bowl in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Otter's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Vo'acha, the Shadow, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

"This is right," Haern corrects aloud to some unbidden thought. He looks down upon the hog-tied Holbrook with deeply set approval in His eyes. "Rejoice that you have been chosen for this honour - and for now, hold your tongue." His attention returns to the offerings being provided, a visage of cool, calm confidence.

After the next offering, the visage of the Coyote once more delivers a booming strike to the drum.

Next, the visage of the Otter unwraps a hunting knife with a bone-carved handle and holds it up with both hands, letting its red-stained blade catch the ambient light.
"This knife is twice-bloodied; my own, given to sanctify the ground for Your Totems, and then with that of a powerful predator slaughtered in a ritual of Divination."

Going to one knee, the visage of the Otter presents a hunting knife with a bone-carved handle in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Otter's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

With this third offering, the visage of the Coyote once again rattles out another strike to a massive, barrel-shaped drum.

Striking firmly at the drumskin with both hands, the visage of the Coyote elicits a booming note of acknowledgement for
the offering, the sound cleaving through the air to drown out all else.
BOOM!


The visage of the Otter produces a set of fetishes next and lays them out as offering to the Warden. "I crafted these fetishes from the bones and tusks of a great Bull Elephant at the culmination of a long and tiring hunt, and cleansed them in the waters at Abelaas."

You think:
[ She briefly wonders how disruptive it would be to cut out the man's tongue ].

Haern just thought:
He has already considered it.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Otter presents a bone fetish in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Otter's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Rhulvok, the Warden, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

Striking firmly at the drumskin with both hands, the visage of the Coyote elicits a booming note of acknowledgement for
the offering, the sound cleaving through the air to drown out all else.
BOOM!

Cold, panicked eyes lift from the altar to Haern's address, and Holbrook's breath quickens, lips trembling. "Honour? Hold my tongue?" Despite the apparent fear, Holbrook is able to at least growl his venom. "You choose me as a sacrifice and expect me to bleat like a lamb?"

The visage of the Otter's next offering also comes in a bowl, held towards the Keeper. "These lungs were claimed from a powerful crocodile, whose hunt nearly cost my life. The obsidian blade was used to let its blood and prepare for this offering to You."

Going to one knee, the visage of the Otter presents a simple wooden bowl in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Otter's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Griash, the Keeper, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

Striking firmly at the drumskin with both hands, the visage of the Coyote elicits a booming note of acknowledgement for
the offering, the sound cleaving through the air to drown out all else.
BOOM!

Lastly but not leastly, the visage of the Otter unwraps the final bundle and holds the claws within out to Takaros. "I crafted these fetishes from the claws of a mighty arctic bear - the largest I've ever encountered - after a fraught journey through the rot that seeks to claim us all."

Going to one knee, the visage of the Otter presents a claw fetish in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:
Deeming the visage of the Otter's offering to be a worthy one, you accept the tribute on behalf of Takaros the Fury, placing it in their symbolic bowl.

"I expect you to be quiet," Haern orders, features momentarily contorting into a similar mask of predation and savagery as He wore upon Holbrook's taking. The Hunter bares a single knife, its obsidian edge glinting in the light of green fire as He twists it in morbid demonstration for the man to see.

Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!

The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

Following the Voice's instructions, the visage of the Otter steps away from the altar and finds her place at its edges, silently observing what is soon to come.

The visage of the Crow enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Crow presents a colorful pouch in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Crow presents a tongue slice in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Crow presents a wickedly sharp shortsword with a serrated edge in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Crow presents a massive hunk of Ogre bone in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Crow presents a stomach slice in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Crow presents a lion's claw in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)


Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

Haern just thought:
Despite His warning, the Hunter finds pleasure in the bleating cries of the prostrate man. It is fitting for the unwilling sacrifice.

The visage of the Coyote just thought:
She admires the savagery of this moment. The way in which the Wilds makes their will known, manifest in each councilor.

The visage of the Coyote just thought:
In the helpless horror of the unwilling sacrifice.

The aurous hue of Holbrook's eyes are well and truly bright, now - whether it be from fear or fury it cannot be clear. His voice, however, is full of the latter when he speaks, "You act without THOUGHT. You react without thinking of REPERCUSSIONS. Of what you are SACRIFICING." Words have always been his friend, afterall, and now they come tumbling out from the man, despite Haern's threat - whether or not by virtue of bravado or simply having missed it in his growing panic.

The visage of the Rabbit enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Rabbit presents the corpse of a reticulated planthopper in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true
You declare the visage of the Rabbit's offering to be a poor tribute for Vo'acha, the Shadow, declining what is presented and asking that they instead spill their blood.

You say to the visage of the Rabbit, "You can do better than the weakest of prey for the Shadow. He will take it from your flesh, now."

Drawing a curved steel scythe along his palms, the visage of the Rabbit allows his blood to spill into the bowl of Vo'acha, the Shadow, his life's vitality given freely in sombre obeisance.

You nod your head at the visage of the Rabbit

Going to one knee, the visage of the Rabbit presents a bone slice in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Rabbit presents a piece of obsidian in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Rabbit presents a single wolf's claw in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Rabbit presents a pawprint cuff bracelet in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true

You declare the visage of the Rabbit's offering to be a poor tribute for Srahda, the Seer, declining what is presented and asking that they instead spill their blood.

You say to the visage of the Rabbit, "Not good enough. She does not care for something so plain."

Drawing a curved steel scythe along his palms, the visage of the Rabbit allows his blood to spill into the bowl of Srahda, the Seer, his life's vitality given freely in sombre obeisance.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Rabbit presents a curved steel scythe in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

You have emoted: Sibatti lends the entirety of her weight to bear on Holbrook's body, an iron spike jutting from its sole threatening his neck. "Keep quiet, and I will spare you the worst torment."

Haern just thought:
Offerings chosen in haste, with little thought to their meaning. Displeasure bubbles within Him as He watches one of His own fall so short.

All Holbrook can do is spit his useless venom, and so he does. "What a paltry sacrifice. You all make a joke of the very notion of it."

Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

The visage of the Night Tiger enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Night Tiger presents a moonlit trinket of a three-eyed raven in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Night Tiger presents a celestial knife of trailing stars in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Night Tiger presents an elegantly curved, obsidian bowl in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Night Tiger presents a fluffy, pastel green Taerilan hatchling in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

You have emoted: Sibatti pauses.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Night Tiger presents a twin-bladed, dragonbone dhurive in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

You think:
[ She swells with pride ].

The visage of the Night Tiger exhales slowly, allowing a long fluid breath to creep from her lungs.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Night Tiger presents a rawhide necklace of vampire fangs in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true:

Bubbling out into giddy, manic laughter, Holbrook spills, "A ... taerilan?"

The visage of the Otter just thought:
Why not a taerilan? I bet it was tasty!

Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

The visage of the Boar enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Boar presents a dragonbone and heartwood bastard sword in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

the visage of the Boar just thought:
Dragonbone blade. Cuts well, holds better.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Boar presents a draekite warrior figurine in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

The visage of the Boar just thought:
Draekite's nice and colorful. Carved it myself.

Haern just thought:
The manic bumbling of the unwilling sacrifice remain but a sweet tune to His ears, only serving to enforce His decision to bring this man.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Boar presents the decapitated head of Xenia in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

The visage of the Boar just thought:
Enemy of Council, Pride, and Hunter.

You bare your teeth at the visage of the Boar in a feral grin.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Boar presents a whorl-patterned magewood scythe in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

The visage of the Boar just thought:
Seen its share of blood. Took three heads earlier this week.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Boar presents a curious obsidian cat charm in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

The visage of the Boar just thought:
A charm of protection for the curious.

Near exhausted at the helplessness of his plight, Holbrook simply whispers, "Why me? Why was I chosen? There was so much more I am to achieve."

Holbrook just thought:
Taye... my Spring. We finally just got engaged. I kept you waiting, yet... I'm sorry.

The visage of the Otter just thought:
This weird guy doesn't know how lucky he is!

Going to one knee, the visage of the Boar presents a length of beads punctuated by tooth and claw in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

The visage of the Boar just thought:
Tooth and claw, the Wilds' weapons.

Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

Holbrook just thought:
Rosie-Pie, Treeling, Hoplite, my pets... who will look after you now?

A subtle reverbertion begins to sound in the air, which stretches and twists as if pulled by some far-away thread.

The visage of the Wyvern enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Wyvern presents a small white coral bee charm in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Wyvern slices away a piece of his own flesh in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Wyvern presents a steel shortsword in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Wyvern presents a massive hunk of Ogre bone in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Wyvern presents a stack of 5 pieces of obsidian in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

Drawing in a deep breath through his nostrils, the visage of the Wyvern holds the air in his bloated chest for a few seconds before throwing his head backward and expelling a violent torrent of wildflame from his mouth straight into the air, wings outstretched to their limit in tribute to the Fury.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Wyvern presents a tooth fetish in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

Holbrook just thought:
We needed to have finished the project with the Mirror.

Haern squats down beside Holbrook even as the offerings continue undeterred. "I knew it was to be you, lad," the Hunter imparts with quiet intensity. "The moment My baby Brother so proudly announced your rise to His ranks this past week, I knew it would be you." The Immortal reaches out with the obsidian blade to tap Holbrook gently on the nose with the tip, drawing a brief spot of blood. "Rejoice, lad - for this night you have been chosen for something far greater than what He could have ever offered you. This night, you will ascend into history as few others ever have before."

The visage of the Golden Deer enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Golden Deer presents a heavy Qalla bracelet with caged gems in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Golden Deer presents the corpse of a golden scale rattlesnake in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Golden Deer presents a golden honeycomb dagger in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Golden Deer presents a splinter of a dragon's skull in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Golden Deer presents an anaconda's guts in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

You think:
Many parts....

Haern's words draw a measure of despair to Holbrook, slumping against his bindings. Burying what might have been a sob into the ground, Holbrook curls into a helpless ball - or as much as he can in his predicament.

Holbrook just thought:
Taye... My Spring! Our Promise... I have failed you. I have failed our children.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Golden Deer presents a wyrm's eye gem in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true.

Holbrook just thought:
Just a season shy of our marriage.

Illikaal just thought:
"A shame. He will have no Starlight to fall from the heavens to save his life."

You say to the visage of the Golden Deer, "This does not please the eyes of the Fury. Offer your flesh."

You declare the visage of the Golden Deer's offering to be a poor tribute for Takaros the Fury, declining what is presented and asking that they instead spill their blood.
Drawing an obsidian dagger along her palms, the visage of the Golden Deer allows her blood to spill into the bowl of Takaros the Fury, her life's vitality given freely in sombre obeisance.

Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

Haern reaches out to muss Holbrook's head in what can only be described as an almost paternal show of affection. "There, there, lad. I've given you an opportunity to finally be useful, here in these last few moments of your life." The Hunter stands finally, moving back to stand beside you as He continues watching the procession of offerings.

The visage of the Direwolf enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Direwolf presents a stunning blue topaz in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Direwolf presents a stomach bag filled with entrails in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Direwolf presents an antediluvian scythe marked with Kalsu in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Direwolf presents a defiant, snarling bone mask in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Direwolf presents a beating phoenix heart in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

You think:
How curious.

Going to one knee, the visage of the Direwolf presents the decapitated head of Lysaer in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

"Useful. /Useful/ Useful is NOT dooming the world to Czjetija." Despite the venom in Holbrook's voice, the fear of what is to come draws a quiver to it. "I hope you know what you are doing. First you began worshipping Albedi. Then you attack Sterion despite our warnings, and now this." Finally, he casts his eyes towards Haern, and there is no deference here - only venom - an snarls, "Are you sure the rot does not come from within?"

The visage of the Boar stares implacably at Holbrook.

The visage of the Otter just thought:
I wonder if this weird guy knows his tongue isn't very hard to detach?

The visage of the Boar just thought:
It only gets funnier knowing Who put us up to it.

The visage of the Night Tiger just thought:
A flicker of irritation finding its way into her thoughts, finally. "The man needs to shut up."

You have emoted: Sibatti's heeled foot lashes out in a strike against Holbrook's side, the iron spike of a heel surely uncomfortable in its jab. "Do not speak to Him."

The visage of the Wyvern just thought:
[The idea of immolating Holbrook entirely flashes through his mind. But the Hunter is more than capable of handling it Himself.].

Wincing against your heel, Holbrook snarls, curling against the floor once more.

Rife with unyielding conviction, Whirran's zealous intonation rings clarion across the land, "Right. I'm gonna use real small words, 'cause apparently ya folks are REAL dumb."

The visage of the Tiger enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Tiger presents a shifting essryn in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Tiger presents a beaded choker of lion's claws in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Tiger presents a stack of 5 boar heart slices in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, Sekeres presents a pair of heavy wargauntlets in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, Sekeres presents a carved bear tooth trinket in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, Sekeres presents a tongue slice in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

Haern's lips curl gently around the tusked protrusions that extend from His jaw as He watches you lay foot to unwilling sacrifice.

Rife with unyielding conviction, Whirran's zealous intonation rings clarion across the land, "Ya didn't kidnap just anybody. Now, y'know, usually I wouldn't care 'cause Spinesreach is awful. But ya kidnapped an Officer of the Argent Legion, and that's where ya messed up."

Haern just thought:
No sweeter sound has He heard in centuries; the cries of this man before the gravity of what comes. It is as they told Him it would be, and the Guardians are rarely wrong in such things.

Bowing her great-maned head, the visage of the Tiger situates herself by one edge of the altar with a crossing of her arms.

The visage of the Panther rolls a medicinal pouch for ritual offerings in her hand as she approaches, the multitude of teeth within clattering against each other.


The visage of the Panther just thought:
[The teeth within the pouch clatter in her mind].

Going to one knee, the visage of the Panther presents a smooth black dragon bone in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Panther presents a medicinal pouch for ritual offerings in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Panther presents a shimmering chromatic selkachoar in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Panther presents a stack of 200 boar heart slices in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, Jhura presents dangling nymph's eye earrings in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, Jhura slices away a piece of her own flesh in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true. (Accepted)

Mati dur Naya's voice resonates across the land, "Your Argent Legion is a sham, falling into line behind a simpering pup that begs for the scraps of an errant, lying Creator. Silence."

(Duiran): Haern says, "Silence, girl. That errant, lying Creator is about to give us an opportunity that was thought impossible."
(Duiran): Mati says, "I am no girl."
(Duiran): Iesid says, "The ritual. Let us remain calm."
(Duiran): Sekeres says, "We shall not rise to provocation. The Guardians require their due."

Rife with unyielding conviction, Whirran's zealous intonation rings clarion across the land, "Reckon I'm gonna make you eat those words whole, yeah? Though bein honest, you'll prob choke on 'em."


Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
Boom!
BOOM!
Boom!
The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

Holbrook just thought:
What an odd turn of events. I was galvanised into action by the Duirani those years ago, and now they put me to my end.

The visage of the Direwolf just thought:
"At least one of His officers are gonna do something useful for once."

The visage of the Bear enters:
Going to one knee, the visage of the Bear presents a gilt mechanical lioness trinket in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
Going to one knee, the visage of the Bear presents a raw slab of stag meat in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

Her clear, untrammelled voice ringing across the land in a sharp and forceful tone, Kagura shouts, "Duiran. Enough of your silence. I act now as the Strategos, and my only words for you: Come, the Dragon of the North accepts your stupidity. You will die under our boots."

You have emoted: The rabbit in Sibatti's grip has grown more agitated, over time, between the Azudim being occupied with keeping Holbrook in place with a heeled foot, and the way she arbitrates the offerings of the various visages of animal spirits surrounding the altar.

Kagura of the City of Spinesreach has performed an act of war against the Duiran Council!
LegynIesidValeriaEakuValorieMaeve

Comments

  • SibattiSibatti Mamba dur Naya Amidst vibrant flora and trees
    edited August 11
    (Tells): A cluster of ninety-nine durdalis tells you, "General! We're under attack at 'Before the face of a forest hollow' by one hundred hoplites!"

    (Duiran): You say, "The durdalis are under attack by our hoplites, so everyone is aware."
    (Duiran): Aisling says, "The ones at the gates?"
    (Duiran): Valorie says, "Their sacrifice will not be in vain."

    Bulrok, Oje Dibi Viru's voice resonates across the land, "Not gonna lie, didn't expect that."

    The dispassionate cogitation of Linne intones with clinical cadence, "Observation: unplanned diplomatic excursions are non-conducive to geopoltical stability."

    You see the visage of the Rabbit raise his voice and shout, "You're more than welcome to try..You'll feel the fury of the council again if need be."

    The Lost One, Taj Aquila, The Defiant's voice resonates across the land, "You missed it Daelares, THEY ARE TRYING RIGHT NOW."

    (Duiran): Valorie says, "This is more important."
    (Duiran): You say, "Yes."

    Soft and soothing despite the volume, the dulcet tones of Arista echo, "The pit is a Kagura? sounds like bear feces."

    Stine D. Emerson's voice resonates across the land, "Remain focused."

    (Duiran): Daelares says, "I understand. I'll keep silent."

    With manic excitement, Rijetta screams, "Geopolitical stability is overrated. May Avarice and Malice win the day. Duiran, blessed of Esityi for their debased morals, fights in Her name!"

    Molotok Znaniye intones, "Yes. And look how well the fury of the council turned out last time?"

    (Duiran): Akrios says, "Pay them no mind."
    (Duiran): Aisling says, "No one enters. No one leaves."
    (Duiran): Illikaal says, "We will trust them to hold the line."



    Going to one knee, the visage of the Bear presents a throwing axe in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Bear presents a hollowed out elephant skull in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Bear presents a bowl of obsidian-stuffed intestines in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    You think:
    [ That one in particular appeals to her ].

    Going to one knee, the visage of the Bear presents a stack of 1000 teeth in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
    Boom!
    BOOM!
    Boom!
    The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

    Lieutenant Tetchta V. Mesis, The Tick's voice resonates across the land, "WHOAH! SOMEONE HAS SOME SPINE UP THERE! CITY MUST BE NAMED AFTER THEM."

    (Duiran): Illikaal says, "Be silent until that changes."
    (Duiran): Haern says, "They will hold."

    Rife with unyielding conviction, Whirran's zealous intonation rings clarion across the land, "You touched an Officer under our banner, ya shitty Rabbit."


    Beyond the Hollow, the sounds of battle drift into the ritual area as the durdalis and hoplites clash in bloody war.

    (Duiran): Devin says, "We're at the bridge just in case."

    With the fury of a sandstorm, Kurak's voice sweeps across the land, "Glory to your battle! Eschew the path of the meek. Peace is a shelter for weakness. For it is written in the Apocalyptia: And so the sacred earth did tremble beneath the relentless thunder of drums beyond counting."


    The visage of the Boar just thought:
    If we must crush Spinesreach a second time afterwards, we will.

    The visage of the Shark enters:
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Shark presents a golden sun pinwheel in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    You think:
    Very bright, very good to the eyes.

    Going to one knee, the visage of the Shark presents a sprightly grig in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true.

    You say to the visage of the Shark, "This does not please the eyes of the Shadow. Offer your flesh."
    You declare the visage of the Shark's offering to be a poor tribute for Vo'acha, the Shadow, declining what is presented and asking that they instead spill their blood.

    Drawing an obsidian dagger along her palms, the visage of the Shark allows her blood to spill into the bowl of Vo'acha, the Shadow, her life's vitality given freely in sombre obeisance.

    Going to one knee, the visage of the Shark presents a driftwood club in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Shark presents a stack of 2 hunks of Ogre bone in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Shark presents a piece of obsidian in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Shark presents a fragile glass jar in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
    Boom!
    BOOM!
    Boom!
    The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

    Morrinth shouts, "I was promised no big words!"

    With the fury of a sandstorm, Kurak's voice sweeps across the land, "May we be harrowed unto eternity through battle unending! Glory to war eternal! Feed the ever-thirsting earth!"


    You have emoted: "It will change nothing," Sibatti reminds Holbrook, easing up the pressure she places from her heel. "Take your last comfort, there."

    The visage of Mamba enters:
    Going to one knee, the visage of Mamba presents a simple wooden bowl in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    The visage of Mamba just thought:
    "The gems within, colorful and a handful of them."

    Going to one knee, the visage of Mamba slices away a piece of his own flesh in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of Mamba presents a pair of heavy wargauntlets in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of Mamba presents the cleaned skull of a massive bear in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of Mamba presents an obsidian-hewn staff of the Rhythm in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)
    Going to one knee, the visage of Mamba presents a crate of decaying bones in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true.

    You say to the visage of Mamba, "Such is the domain of the Warden. The Fury does not care for old bones. He demands violent pieces only."
    You declare the visage of Mamba's offering to be a poor tribute for Takaros the Fury, declining what is presented and asking that they instead spill their blood.

    Drawing an obsidian dagger along his palms, the visage of Mamba allows his blood to spill into the bowl of Takaros the Fury, his life's vitality given freely in sombre obeisance.

    Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
    Boom!
    BOOM!
    Boom!
    The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.

    Though your heel had lifted, there is no change to Holbrook's form, as he sobs into the stone once more. "Taye, I am so sorry."

    The visage of the Wyvern just thought:
    "And now all the Starlight in his life has left him."

    (Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to ???, "Hope you're thirsty."
    (Tells): From an unseen place, ??? communicates to you, "Me? Always, Esrytesh."


    The visage of the Night Tiger just thought:
    [Apprehension. Excitement. Reverence. Restlessness. All mixed up into a cocktail of emotions that all but burst out of her still form.].

    You have emoted: The monstrous, wyvern-like wings surrounding Sibatti's form twitch and shudder with barely-contained energy, sending their black feathers whispering through the air.

    The visage of the Orgyuk enters, a thick, folded pelt held under one arm, and a bucket filled with water in their other hand.

    The visage of the Orgyuk reaches for a length of beads at their belt first, glittering with many jewels.
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Orgyuk presents a length of colorful, mixed beads in honour of Srahda, the Seer, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    The visage of the Orgyuk reaches for the charm that had been hung by it next, gnarled hands handling it with surprising grace.
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Orgyuk presents a delicate charm of hollow bones in honour of Rhulvok, the Warden, an offering to the wilds given freely and true: (Accepted)

    The visage of the Orgyuk unfolds the pelt they'd brought, revealing a bowl filled with what seem to
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Orgyuk presents warm orgyuk hearts in an obsidian bowl in honour of Griash, the Keeper, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    The visage of the Orgyuk brings forward the pelt next, flesh and fur.
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Orgyuk presents a plush, monstrously large white pelt in honour of Vo'acha, the Shadow, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    The visage of the Orgyuk reaches for their belt once more, taking from it the torn jaws, preserved and pinned, of their visage.
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Orgyuk presents a trophy of orgyuk jaws in honour of Takaros the Fury, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    Finally, the visage of the Orgyuk undoes the wraps that bind their fists, bloodstained and worn.
    Going to one knee, the visage of the Orgyuk presents worn, bloodstained hand wraps in honour of Kree-sa, the Broodmother, an offering to the wilds given freely and true (Accepted)

    Putting all her strength into the effort, the visage of the Coyote beats the drum with savage fervour, its booming note sounding out across the Heartwood in acknowledgement of sacred offering complete.
    Boom!
    BOOM!
    Boom!
    The booming notes of a drum echo forth from the altar, signifying that the next supplicant should enter.


    Haern squats down beside Holbrook once more, tapping the obsidian blade against the palm of His hand in an steady rhythm. "Still with us, lad?" He presses not-unkindly. "Is that stunned silence that got your tongue, or a misplaced hope in your troops?"

    Following the Voice's instructions, the visage of the Orgyuk steps away from the altar and finds her place at its edges, silently observing what is soon to come.

    Beside a reassembled stone altar.
    The stars glimmer down from a clear and cloudless sky, bathing the landscape in silvery light. The collapsed remnants of the stone building now stand in a haphazard circle about the area, the space meticulously cleared and cleaned to make way for a potentially large gathering. At the centre, shattered stone and cracked rubble shape themselves into the form of a grim, foreboding altar, towering some four feet in height. Curved in places and jagged in others, the edifice bears numerous detailed carvings along its edges and planes, spiralling symbology of vines and foliage interspersed with animal motifs and beasts in mid-hunt. Palpable silence lingers heavily in the air, an ominous portent of ritual magic to come. There are 2 monolith sigils here. A glowing golden crown bound by chains sits atop a marble pedestal here, armaments scattered about its base. A chute is visible just beyond the knothole, traveling down the mountainside to far below. Humming with energy, a crystal aegis has been attuned to this location. A dark altar draws the eye with an inexorable magnetism, the rune-etched stone awaiting its grim purpose. A simple wooden offering bowl to Srahda, the Seer has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Kree-sa, the Broodmother has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Griash, the Keeper has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Rhulvok, the Warden has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Takaros the Fury has been placed near the altar. A simple wooden offering bowl to Vo'acha, the Shadow has been placed near the altar. Resting on the ground is a cube-shaped silver sigil. An enormous drum has been set here, rimmed in bone and rope. A pitcher of dark red wine is placed on the altar. A pouch is conspicuously placed near the entrance of the grounds. Like a bird-shaped hole in space, a dark raven spirit glides through the air. A brutish, muscular ancestral simulacrum stands here with arms folded and a bespectacled stare. Eerily still save for breathing, a vine-laden, immense toad rests here. Hovering nearby is the sight of a black and yellow honey bee. Pacing and prowling, a shifting cougar spirit blends with nearby shadows. Inspecting its surroudings, the fluctuating form of a feline prowls nearby. Flying in wide patterns is a bevy of bees. The visage of the Shark is here. She is riding on a tusked mezilkree. She wields an obsidian dagger in her left hand and a jewel-encrusted sacrificial dagger in her right. The visage of the Orgyuk is here. The visage of the Tiger is here. The visage of the Night Tiger is here. The visage of the Panther is here. The visage of the Golden Deer is here. She wields an obsidian dagger in her left hand. The visage of the Rabbit is here. The visage of the Wyvern is here. He wields a tower shield in his left hand and the heart of a wyvern in his right. The visage of the Boar is here, wrapped in an aura of bright energy. The visage of the Otter is here. She wields the heart of an otter in her left hand. The visage of the Coyote is here. The visage of Mamba is here. Haern looms here, His hulking form dominating the area. The visage of the Crow is here. The visage of the Bear is here. She wields a throwing axe in her right hand. The visage of the Direwolf is here. He wields the heart of a direwolf in his left hand. Holbrook is laying here, bound in rope. This area has been overgrown with a swathe of seething plantlife.
    You see exits leading down, northeast, and northwest.

    Holbrook peels away from the blade, exhaustion clear in his eyes. Yet when he turns his eyes to Haern, there is once more, only venom. "Waiting for your Gods-damned long ritual to end, Hunter," he spits.

    Haern just thought:
    They could fight from sunup to sundown and they would still fail to stop what is planned for this boy.

    You discern that at all supplicants stand before in a ring around the altar. A petition must now be given to the Guardians.

    You have emoted: With the final offering, Sibatti leaves the hog-tied Holbrook to stand before the altar, assessing the entirety of the offered contents, each placed within a dedicated bowl. She is silent for only a little while. Turning quickly, facing the visages of various animal spirits, she raises both of her hands up into the air, her black claws fully extended. It is an obvious gesture of prayer, one without kneeling nor silence, but the great and trembling energy she clearly carries in her being channeled into her discordant roar.

    You yell, "RHULVOK! Your council has come to you in duty and with purpose. You will see them bear, but not break, in what is asked of all of them..."

    You yell, "GRIASH! The sharpness that Your council finds knows no limit. See how their claws are readied. See how they tremble before Your guidance."

    You yell, "SRAHDA! Look upon us with Your three eyes. May they all glimmer in reflection of the treasures offered to You, and bless us with Your sight."

    You yell, "TAKAROS! The blood of Your Fury rages in the veins of so many of us. Witness the fervor and passion of our people, and know they feel Your blood in their veins."

    You yell, "KREE-SA! You have lurked within us for long, waiting for the right time to strike. Strike through us NOW, and channel the ecstasy of our bite."

    You yell, "VO'ACHA! Yours was the voice that spoke first, urging us to strike, to kill, to consume. We have saturated the world with blood in Your name."


    Haern's features crease in frown before He reaches out to tap the blade once more against Holbrook's once-pricked nose. "You will not be here to witness its end, I am afraid." He turns away as your voice rises up, silent and appraising once more.

    In a fervent tone strengthened by conviction and valor, Rasani the Godsmith declares, "It is in this, the darkest point of the night, Sapience, that I come to you speaking of Valor. Those only who know their actions are lacking in it use the Shadows to hide their actions. Does not our enemy wait until the cover of night to descend upon us? Even the strongest among them lies in wait, unable to handle the valorous rays of the Dawn. I tell you, Sapience, it is never too late to act with Valor. Even those who now scoff might one day find themselves remembering these words in a moment where they too choose valor. So feel it in your spirit, feel it flow through you! IT IS ONLY WITH VALOR IN YOUR HEART THAT YOU SHALL SEE THE NEXT DAWN. UNTIL THAT DAWN, WE ARE THE LIGHT!"

    It begins as a gentle breeze, light stirring at the edges of the area. In moments, the gentle innocuity of the nascent wind climbs to a chorus of primordial whispers, the hiss of a snake, the gnash of a spider's maw, and the growl of a cougar heralding a raven's chirrup, a wyvern's shriek and, finally, a bear's mighty roar. Fel flame kindles in the gathered bowls, Dendaric fire flickering in hazy manifestations of the Ancient Ones. The Guardians are with you.

    Preceded by low drumbeats, smatterings of verdant green spark incandescent, the air electrified with the working of a ritual in the Hollow of the Duiran Council.

    With a tilt upwards of her feline nose, the visage of the Tiger lets her amber-teal eyes fall closed as she basks in what resounds on the breeze. She sways in a slinky line of her body as she were the wheat bowing against the rhythm of the drums. A straight spine makes her rigid as she gazes upon the altar, taking in each visage with reverence.

    The visage of the Night Tiger just thought:
    [Her heart beats like a drum.].

    With the presence of the Guardians now palpable, you must offer your thanks to them for answering.

    Holbrook's eyes lift to the skies, and despite his fate, even Holbrook has to appreciate the power of the ritual before him.

    Holbrook just thought:
    If only I could keep a record of this.

    You have emoted: There is no more reverence given beyond what Sibatti has already crowed loudly. She lifts her emptied, clawed hands into the air a few inches more, before bringing them to clasp before her bone-and-feather-clad chest. Her lips spread into a smile, not wide enough for them to part. "We have Their attention. Now we must continue to earn it," she proclaims. Speaking more loudly, she addresses the beings beyond with her coarse voice. "Your presence continues to be a gift, my Guardians. We will not disappoint You."

    Haern just thought:
    He does not understand that his place in this moment will forever be etched into the bones of this land.

    The rabbit bestowed to you by Haern earlier squirms awkwardly within your grasp in the presence of the Guardians. You should now GUT RABBIT.

    Your knife plunges between a speckled white rabbit's ribs and you draw it upwards, cutting through bone and sinew in a single slice. The creature's death sends sprays of arterial blood into the air.With the blood still fresh, you must now PAINT HAERN IN BLOOD.

    You smear some of the rabbit's blood onto your fingers and approach the Hunter. Haern remains still, stoic and unshifting as a statue while you work, daubing His coarse, tattered flesh in runes and symbols. Your fingers brush scar tissue and barely knit wounds, the Hunter's skin a rugged tapestry telling tales of endless battle.

    Haern:
    He is an Immortal monstrous, hulking creature that looms high above the heads of even the tallest mortals. Horned protrusions fan out from His brow and into a short curve of yellowed ivory that reaches far past His head. A fel green glow pours out from a pair of hollow sockets set deep within the swollen mutated flesh of the Hunter's face. Just below, a pair of nostrils flare periodically, lacking any nose to speak of. A pair of long, jagged tusks peel back His lower lip and reveal a row of worn, crooked teeth jutting out at odd angles. Bristling black hair erupts from His back and sweeps down the length of His massive arms to a pair of large, bear-like hands, tipped with an array of black claws. The rest of His hide seems to have been worked into a tapestry of horror, with scars and tattoos fighting one another across a chaotic battlefield that extends across every inch of His flesh. Blood marks His features with ancient runic symbology of the wilds.
    (cinched neatly) : an unornamented hide loincloth

    You lift the rabbit by its haunches and hold it over the bowl. Gravity and death soon conspire to work as one, and the remaining blood of the animal sacrifice descends in a slow, viscous trickle into the bowl.

    You have emoted: Addressing her kin, Sibatti says, "When I paint your flesh, chant aloud these words. 'Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew'."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Coyote, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Coyote chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Orgyuk, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Orgyuk chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Night Tiger, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Night Tiger chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Bear, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Bear chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Direwolf, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub his cheeks, his forehead, his chin, and his neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Direwolf chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Otter, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Otter chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Shark, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Shark chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Boar, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub his cheeks, his forehead, his chin, and his neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Boar chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Panther, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Panther chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Golden Deer, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Golden Deer chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Rabbit, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub his cheeks, his forehead, his chin, and his neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Rabbit chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Crow, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub their cheeks, their forehead, their chin, and their neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Crow chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of Mamba, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub his cheeks, his forehead, his chin, and his neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of Mamba chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Wyvern, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub his cheeks, his forehead, his chin, and his neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Wyvern chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You dip your fingers into the bowl and allow more blood to gather in your grasp. Turning to face the visage of the Tiger, you utter no words; instead, your hands say all there is to say as you painstakingly daub her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, and her neck in ancient symbology of the wilds.

    The visage of the Tiger chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."

    You have emoted: Taking an empty bowl in hand, Sibatti seizes several components with her other hand, taken from a small medicinal pouch near the altar. A reishi mushroom and a sprig of cactus weed are tossed into the bowl, crushed and muddled into a crumbling dust by the force of a pestle. A fresh boar's heart is pushed into the bowl once the herbs are dusted, and the organ squelches and spurts out leftover traces of blood as it, too, is ground into something workable. Finally, a generous pour of the ruby-hued wine left on the altar is added to the bowl, and the Azudim lowers the hemispheric vessel until it is just below her heart.

    You have emoted: Speaking a prayer murmured to the bowl, too quiet for mortal ears to hear, Sibatti waves the palm of her hand over its open contents. With purpose, she strides away from the altar to the massive drum being attended to by the visage of the Coyote. She waits for her attention, standing with the bowl held before her, for her to accept.

    Rife with unyielding conviction, Whirran's zealous intonation rings clarion across the land, "This is your final warning. Hand over the Officer, or what you wrought on Sterion will be eclipsed by what the Argent Legion brings down upon you."

    From utter calmness, Haern stirs, with one hitched breath marking the beginning of an increased rise and fall from the Hunter's chest. The blood of the marking drips freely down the tapestry of battle that is His flesh, sinking into still-healing wounds as something wild settles into the Immortal's gaze.

    As if there were no other purpose for she dressed as Coyote, the visage of the Coyote stands at attention at her place at the drum even as you approaches. She reaches out with her slender hands and takes the bowl from your hands as reverently as such an auspicious moment might call for. Steeling herself, she brings a flat clay bowl to the thin lips still uncovered by her ceremonial garb.


    The visage of the Coyote imbibes from a flat clay bowl overflowing with Tempo.
    The reaction upon the visage of the Coyote's face is near-instant as the red liquid slides down her throat: her breathing becomes rapid, her pupils dilate and her eyes widen. There is a sudden, sharp inhale as the visage of the Coyote drinks in her surroundings with an expression of renewed wonderment.

    The beating drum rouses your heart to a similar ferocious beat, the pulse of the rhythm felt by all gathered.

    You have emoted: Returning to the altar, Sibatti takes the second boar's heart in one hand, her clawed fist squishing the pliable organ until it leaks spurts of blood. A crimson Madder root is added to a second bowl, and is soon eviscerated by the slice of her long, dark claws through the curved bowl. The blood and viscera of the boar's heart is mixed with the pulpy, crushed Madder until it is worked into a squalid paste. She lights it aflame, and an acrid, crackling aroma of burning fats and material permeates the ritual grounds.

    You conjure up the illusion:
    Inhaling the fumes brings with it the lust for blood in your heart. The longer the smoke lingers with you, the greater you feel the attunement of your life force weave itself to the unforgivable wrath of nature.

    Despite his fear, his apprehension, and his trembling, Holbrook is not some beast, afterall, standing as he is, with his head held high. His eyes do, however, flit nervously before the visages of the animals, before settling on the altar.

    (Everyone saw this):
    As smoke wafts through the air and teases your nostrils, you feel compelled to INHALE it further.

    Curling tendrils of ruby-red smoke enter your nostrils, your deep inhalation driving the fumes deeper into your lungs. At once a sense of anger starts to smoulder in your belly, a wan flame that soon brightens, flaring to envelop you in nature's wrath.
    You must now chant aloud: Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew.

    The visage of the Wyvern chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Direwolf chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Rabbit chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Night Tiger chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Crow chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    You chant, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Orgyuk chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Panther chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Boar chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Golden Deer chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of Mamba chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Bear chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Coyote chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Otter chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Tiger chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."
    The visage of the Shark chants, "Let the Rhythm be purged, and from purity grow anew."


    The visage of the Coyote sways on her feet for a matter of mere moments during your return to the altar. When she finds her bearings, however, the palms of her hands begin to fly. With swift strikes and thunderous booms, the visage of the Coyote fills the air of the council's midnight ritual with the thuds of a beating heart. There are slight, arrhythmic variations, her chanting and inhalation bringing with them the stutter of a prey's heartbeat - yet soon, when it picks back up, it is the boom of a predator soon triumphal.

    The unwilling sacrifice should now be prepared, you must lay him upon the altar and then STRIP HOLBROOK.
    You should allow the unwilling victim time to react between each following step, giving him time to drink in his coming fate.

    You have emoted: Sibatti sucks in a deep breath through her nose, letting it out slowly. Behind her, a serpentine tail lashes violently against the ruined stone of the altar, as active as a starving predator. Setting her veiled gaze to the visage of the Night Tiger, she orders, "Lay him on the altar." Her eyes move to the visage of the Orgyuk. "Assist your kin with it."

    The visage of the Panther just thought:
    [The beat of the Coyote's drum echoes in her mind, melding with the staccato song that weaves through her thoughts].

    You start to wield a nephrite-handled dagger etched with leaves in your left hand.

    No further words are needed. The visage of the Night Tiger moves to the bound Holbrook, the rope that ties him providing easy handgrip for the woman to drag the sacrifice over without much ado to the altar. She waits for the visage of the Orgyuk, her strength required in lifting Holbrook up the four feet high surface.

    Snarling is as much as Holbrook can do, and so he does, as before.
    "Get- get your hands off me!"

    A goggle-bearing hound blinks into existence and falls into line behind Stine.

    You have emoted: Sibatti draws a nephrite-handled dagger etched with leaves from a concealed location from the unhallowed gown of Lunar Turmoil, holding it reverently in one hand and cradling the narrow blade in the opposite's palm.

    The visage of the Orgyuk steps forward, startling in the way they rise from the stillness that had befallen them. They look to the visage of the Night Tiger, large hands, deeply scarred and knotted from the healing of many breaks, draw forward, gripping at Holbrook's bindings and lifting in one clean pull, a grunt of effort coming as they make to place the Idreth down upon the altar.

    Your instructions only solidify Iesid's tempo and force: the drum remains predatory in its savage thrum, thundering out the ensuing fate of this evening's sacrifice. Holbrook's protestation seems to be a challenge for her, for she soon slams harder upon the drum in an effort to drown out the plea of captured prey.

    Now Holbrook's breath comes faster, quicker, when his eyes catch sight of your dagger, eyes growing wide and unmoving.


    (Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to ???, "Drown out his whimpers. We will hear your drum until the blood rings within our ears."

    Hardly able to stand still, the visage of the Wyvern begins to faintly bob his head and bend his knees in perfect rhythm with the drumming, his own heartbeat pounding loudly to match it.

    The visage of the Coyote just thought:
    The Voice's private command only gives her greater confidence. She doubles down upon her cacophonous effort.

    Haern's lips rise unbidden into a savage depiction of a snarl, His lips curling around tusked protrusions with a feral intensity.

    The visage of the Rabbit remains cross-legged and sways to the beat of the drum while whispering a chant harshly in Djeiri tongue.

    Breathing in the primal windings of fumes along the air, the visage of the Tiger looks on to the altar as her body move to the drums. Her dance a sinuous one in place much like the tail of a feline ready to pounce. The ropes of her thick dreadlocks scatter out along her shoulders as she lets out a ululated call - sudden and distinctive.


    Haern just thought:
    Each uttered word is sweet succor to His ears, every cry and whimper only further igniting the growing excitement that roars through Him now.

    Haern just thought:
    Soon, now.

    You have emoted: The drawing of the dagger was but a temporary show for Holbrook's benefit, cruel as it is. Sibatti sets it at one end of the altar when she approaches it, and him.

    Staring down at the prostrate form of Holbrook with your knife, you cut away his clothing and lay his body bare beneath the night sky.

    Thumb tracing idly over the heart of a direwolf, the visage of the Direwolf looks on silently as the ritual continues, features hidden behind ceremonial mask in the likeness of a direwolf.

    The visage of the Boar does not dance - he breathes in rhythm with the drumbeats, fingers flexing and curling to fists before releasing once more. The boar's head and tusks swing to face the sacrifice, and he waits, still.

    The flickering fire of the visage of Mamba's gaze is visible behind the facial covering, staring across toward Holbrook and you.

    The visage of the Night Tiger lingers near the altar until further cues are given, watching your knifework up close, a glimmer of chaotic starlight visible where patches of her skin peek out beneath the heavy pelt of the garb covering her.


    "Get-- get your-- leave that uniform alone!" Though he had been full of spittle and venom before, a measure of a plea comes from Holbrook's voice, wide eyes staring at his torn uniform in despair. Stripped, and all measure of dignity removed, the man gives a singular breath of a sob, clenching his jaws and eyes shut.

    Caught now in the wild Rhythm, the visage of the Coyote acts as its vessel as she continues to hammer down upon the massive ritual drum. BOOM! BOOM! Each blow is a louder thud, drowning out Holbrook's cries.

    The visage of the Orgyuk watches, still and silent, though even a single glance would reveal the way muscles coil, as if in preparing to chase or pounce, eyes never wandering from their prey.


    You should now POUR BUCKET ON HOLBROOK when ready and then SCRUB HOLBROOK, or do so according to your own methods.

    You have emoted: For all of Holbrook's protests, they are not seen, heard, or otherwise acknowledged by Sibatti. She raises her own bucket of crisp, cold moonglade water high over her bone-crowned head.

    With the fury of the Rhythm echoing in her ears the visage of the Panther sways in place, her eyes fixed unmoving on the altar and the sacrifice atop it while her muscles tense, the visage poised as if to spring at a moment's notice.


    You pour out a wooden bucket on top of Holbrook, covering him in moonglade water.
    The water spills across both the altar and Holbrook, the crystalline fluid spilling out in droplets sparkling with lunar motes as they land.

    A series of barks precedes a light brown warhound as it bounds into the room.
    A light brown warhound barks loudly and drops a supple loincloth into Holbrook's hands.

    Eyes focused on the scene before her, the visage of the Golden Deer absently lifts a hand to the amulet around her neck, clenching it for a few moments.

    A light brown warhound turns its snout up and barks before bounding away.

    You offer no words to Holbrook, your effort spent on girding your features in the grim practicality the situation demands. You work efficiently, scrubbing the flesh clean to prepare for the sacrifice that comes.

    Tension hangs in the air with the intensity of a taut bowstring, threatening to snap at any point. The eyes of the Guardians, beyond your sight and ordinary senses, look on, silently judging the proceedings.

    You have emoted: Holbrook would be afforded the full brunt of Sibatti's heavy gaze, veiled as it is behind the thin gauze of her dark veil. "Do not be afraid of those who merely kill the body," she informs him, and her voice drips now with syrupy bitterness.

    Holbrook's breath comes ragged once more, as he winces from the coldness of the water, and the roughness of your work. No tenderness here, clearly. The man's eyes remain shut, as his body remains taut.


    You say to Holbrook, "But you should be afraid of the Ones who can destroy both body and soul."

    When ready, you can now CARVE HOLBROOK OPEN to expose his chest cavity - but this will not kill him, not yet.

    Your words draw a gasp from Holbrook, jaws coming apart in quick, ragged breaths.

    Showing no empathy for Holbrook, Naeda's eyes fix you, taking in every movement and every word of the ritual.


    You have emoted: Unhurriedly, Sibatti retrieves her dagger from where she had left it.

    Steeling yourself for the task ahead, you lift the knife and regard Holbrook only with sombre gravitas. You bring the blade down in a single swift motion, piercing flesh, defying bone, and cutting through to expose his trembling heart.

    When the knife strikes home, the visage of the Coyote's drum ceases - in mimicry, likely, of Holbrook's heart.

    The visage of the Wyvern watches every bit of the gruesome display, the sight only seeming to instill more fervor in him beads of bone strung about his locks begin to rattle from his increasingly vigorous movements.

    Body tensing into a arch of chorded muscle, Holbrook screams his pain and defiance into the air, a volume so loud that his voice quickly grows hoarse.


    You see Holbrook raise his voice and shout, "Witness, Sapience! This is Duiran at its best - a wounded animal, lashing out at anything in its dying throes! Take heed, my beloved Dragon In the North. Take heed, Beacon of Light. They stand with you now against the Shadow, but they would push you into the pits of Czjetija to save themselves."

    Rife with unyielding conviction, Whirran's zealous intonation rings clarion across the land, "Cease your heretic efforts at once, in the name of the Lord!"

    You see Holbrook raise his voice and shout, "I come to this as your sacrifice - but what sacrifice is it to you? As an Officer of the Argent Legion? As a Senator of the Spires? What drible. What tripe. Choose from your own ranks for it to be a /sacrifice/. What I am today is greater - GREATER - than what /any/ of you can offer."


    The visage of the Boar just thought:
    It is a shame he will die ignorant.

    Holbrook just thought:
    [[And at last, with the fury spent, as Holbrook had done so often in his past, his mind slips into /himself/, into more pleasant memories and pleasant times. Trespassing in his father's old library with his late brother. Speaking with his Spring atop the Dragon Spire, those years ago on that cold night. Nestling in bed with his fiance amidst their odd menagerie of pets in their manor.]].

    The visage of the Coyote just thought:
    She hoped the Voice would draw back the knife and strike again. This one's bleating annoyed her.

    Holbrook just thought:
    [[I'll see you soon, Tomas.]].

    Haern's flattened nostrils flare wide as flesh and bone are sundered beneath the implacable force of of blade. He looms from behind you, His chest rising and falling now with a reckless abandon as He watches with an unblinking gaze the ministrations of your blade.

    There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. RIP HEART FROM HOLBROOK.

    With a sharp intake of breath, the visage of the Tiger watches on as Holbrook shrieks in agony - silence falls in her lanky form as she is balanced on the balls of her feet and forward.

    You see the visage of the Rabbit raise his voice and shout, "How...tragic.. anyway!"

    In a fervent tone strengthened by conviction and valor, Rasani the Godsmith declares, "Is this what it has become, Duiran? To hide in the shadows even from those you would call allies?! Have you so little heart left in you?"

    You shout, "Your flesh is a prison, and They will take it from you. Do not be afraid of Their sweet relief."


    Laying before you with his chest sliced open, Holbrook's life is in your hands; that which sustains him, so vital and so hale, beats within the exposed cavity of his body, waiting to be seized. After slicing away the valves that bind the organ to its body, you reach into Holbrook's chest and rip the heart free, holding it aloft in ceremonial display. Holbrook writhes in pain against his bindings all the while as his life is forcibly surrendered in sacrifice to the future of the wilds, the light rapidly fading from his eyes to shine nevermore.
    You have slain Holbrook.
    LegynIesidValeriaEakucinnamaeValorieHolbrookMaeve
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