The Phoviverse https://phovos.net/phoviverse Adventures in Time, Cycle and Stasis Mon, 23 Oct 2017 16:22:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 https://i2.wp.com/phovos.net/phoviverse/wp-content/uploads/Phovosdotnet-favicon-2.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 The Phoviverse https://phovos.net/phoviverse 32 32 98641862 Fan Tale – Candy on the Plains https://phovos.net/phoviverse/fan-tale-candy-on-the-plains/ Mon, 23 Oct 2017 16:22:18 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1952 Read more]]> “COME ON, FROST! YOU’RE TAKING FOREVER!”

Rhino pounded on the front of the white and blue Liset, waiting for its owner to finally open the door and come out. Behind him were Ember and Volt, both being a little more patient than their heavily armoured friend.

“I’m not coming!”

“WHY NOT?” Rhino whined. “You said you WOULD! Don’t make Ember all upset! She got all dressed up for the Day of the Dead, why can’t you?”

Ember shrugged and glanced at Volt. “I’m not sad.” She was wearing a bunch of bone and skeleton-related things, with a bone necklace around her neck and her favourite Day of the Dead syandana, coated in cute little sugar skulls. “But the festivities on Cetus are perfect for you, Frost. The theme is white. You can do that, right?”

Next to her, Volt was wearing a tattered lab coat, a pair of rubber blue gloves and some boots he’d found while fishing. On his back was a crudely made backpack. Rhino continued to bang on the door, but Volt quietly hinted for him to stop.

“Frost, why don’t you want to come?” Volt asked.

“Because I don’t have a costume!” Frost shouted. “I was going to go as a mummy but Rhino is doing that already! I bet he’s all wrapped up in that weird bathroom paper that we stole from that last raid on Pluto!”

Rhino blinked as he readjusted some of the looser bits of his costume. “What do you mean, bathroom paper? I thought this was leftover receipt paper from the Corpus stock exchange?”

Volt and Frost both ignored Rhino. Luckily, Ember had brought a backup costume in case her fancy bone one broke. She pulled a large, white and pink sheet out of thin air and handed it to Volt. “We’ll just make him into a ghost then! You know, like those kids we saw in that Mars colony?”

“Yeah, but ghosts aren’t stripey?” Volt wasn’t sure. “Either way, there’s loads of things Frost could be. He could be a ghost, he could be a snow man, he could even be a white Kavat! I don’t know why Grineer find Kavats scary around this time of year but that’s an option.”

“FINE!” Frost shouted through the door. “I’ll be a ghost! But I have to find a REAL white sheet first. Give me ten minutes and we can head off.”

The trip to Cetus was awful. There was literally nowhere to park. Rhino and Ember had been lucky to get two good spots in low orbit, but Volt ended up parking his Liset miles away and had to walk to Cetus. When he finally met up with the rest of the group, he realised they weren’t in costume, but instead had swapped their normal colour palettes out for white with black, sugar skull spirals and flares.

“Uh, guys?”

Ember looked around and tutted. “No one else is in costume. I actually meant to ask you earlier, Volt… What in the name of the Lotus are you dressed as?”

Volt glanced down at his lab coat. “I’m, uh, a crazy German doctor.”

“What’s a German?” Rhino asked. Volt gave up and took his costume off, leaving it on a rock. It was too much effort to explain. Of course some little kid would probably steal it all later, but Volt didn’t care. The whole costume only cost him a handful of credits anyway.

Frost was not impressed. He sulked to himself, then changed the topic. “So we are just going to stand around with the rest of these idiots, in the hopes that we get candy that we can’t even really eat?”

“Noooooo!” Ember explained. “We’re going to go from stall to stall, saying “trick or treat” and saying thank you when they give us candy.”

“But every other Tenno here is doing that! Plus, Volt’s bright yellow!” Frost protested. “There’s going to be no candy and

“I’m always bright yellow,” Volt frowned. “But I don’t want to walk back to my ship.”

“Volt has a point,” Rhino sighed. “Really, we should go trick or treating out there!” Rhino pointed at the massive Orokin gates that led out to the Plains of Eidolon.

“Now?” Ember asked.

“Yes! Now!” Rhino grabbed Ember and threw her over his shoulder and charged through the gates. Frost, in a panic, grabbed his Tigris shotgun and chased after them. Volt just hesitated, before doing the same.

Out on the Plains, the sun had set and only a few rays were scattered on the horizon. The Milky Way glistened across the sky. The air was still, broken only by the sound of crickets and Grineer sirens, calling everyone to return to their bases.

“This is a bad idea…” Frost muttered.

“As long as a Teralyst doesn’t appear, we’ll be fine!” Rhino beamed, just as the tortured wail of a Teralyst echoed through the valley. Everyone stared at Rhino. “Fine, change of plan. As long as we stay away from that bloody Eidolon, we’ll be fine.”

Ember shrugged and pulled a pink and red bag from an invisible pocket. “Sounds doable. Let’s go get some candy.”

The first Grineer outpost wasn’t too far away. The four Warframes sneaked up on the handful of Grineer minding their own business. It was the only way to not get instantly shot. Somehow, none of the Grineer saw the three white frames and one bright yellow one.

Once they were in talking distance, Frost readied a shield. Rhino stepped forward and made the first move.

“TRICK OR TREAT!”

The Grineer jumped. A Butcher immediately charged forward, but was held back by the Eximus unit.

“Tenno skoom.”

“Tenno want candy!” Rhino shouted as harmlessly as he could.

“Basically,” Frost growled, “if you give us candy, we leave you be.”

“Bloody hell,” Volt whispered as the Grineer complied with Frost’s demands. “When he puts it like that, we sound like monsters.”

“We ARE monsters though…” Ember smiled. “How many Grineer have you killed over the years?”

“If they didn’t always try to kill me, I wouldn’t have to kill them…”

A bag of candy thrown in Volt’s face made him quickly shut up. Rhino and Frost both waved thank you and dragged Ember and Volt off into the tall grass.

As they walked, Ember and Volt chatted quietly, while Rhino and Frost compared bags of sweets. The candy had changed Frost’s mood and he was actually enjoying himself now. They arrived faster than expected at the next camp, which was much larger and had way more Grineer at it. Clearly someone had radioed ahead, as none of the Grineer attacked on sight.

“This is eerie…” Volt whispered as they walked though the camp, straight towards the camp’s leader. They reached the biggest tent, where a Grineer Helion was waiting with four bags of candy. He did several weird hand gestures, which a nearby Hyekka Master translated.

“Tenno not skoom! Tenno stay south. North Tenno still skoom.”

“Thank you,” Frost, Volt and Ember all bowed. Rhino simply waved.

The next few camps were all similar, despite the small amounts of candy. Volt had been forced to calm Rhino down when one camp only gave them one candy each, explaining that resources were scarce around there.

As the team finished the last southern camp, everyone was satisfied, but Rhino wanted more.

“Should we try that camp there?”

“No,” Frost sighed. “They’ll get annoyed and attack us.”

“So? We can take ’em!”

“But they might ruin our candy!” Volt worried. “Then this would have all been a waste…”

Rhino grunted, then relented. “Fine. Let’s head back.”

Suddenly, a familiar wail filled the air. The Teralyst was close. Way closer than they thought. So close in fact that they almost ran into it as they reached the top of a hill.

“Shit…” Ember hissed. “What do we do?”

“Just be really quiet and walk around it…” Volt whispered, pulling everyone close. “As long as no one tries to harm it, it will leave us alone…”

Surprisingly, Rhino did as he was told. He’d not brought his hunting gear anyway. Well, he probably could fight it, but he couldn’t be asked. Candy was more important. Volt led the way forward, around the Eidolon’s rear.

“How do you know this?” Frost asked.

“Done this before… Just don’t use Skyw-” Volt replied, before abruptly stopping. Something had caught his eye.

A Grineer Firebolt ship flew by in the distance, briefly distracting the massive Sentient.

“This is dumb!” Rhino growled, throwing out a beacon. “Let’s just use Archwing!”

Without warning, the Eidolon roared, turned around and smashed Rhino’s Skywing Beacon.

“Shit.”

“RUN!” Ember screamed as she ran down the hill.

“We not gonna try and fight it?” Rhino asked.

“What are you, retarded?” Frost bellowed, chasing after Ember.

“Probably!” Volt shouted back, sprinting off in a shower of yellow sparks.

“Good point…” Rhino shrugged as he picked up Ember’s bag of sweets and followed the others back to Cetus. After all, it would have been a shame to lose all that candy…

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Both Different https://phovos.net/phoviverse/both-different/ Sun, 22 Oct 2017 12:12:35 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1949 Read more]]> “Are you alright?”

Something tapped Veeyel on the shoulder. He rubbed his eyes then slowly sat up. His back ached. He’d fallen asleep on a bench and somehow everything on his body was still intact. Then again, Veeyel didn’t have anything on him worth stealing.

“You don’t look alright.”

Veeyel finally looked up. Standing over him was… well, it was a Rethan. But they looked almost as odd as Veeyel did.

“I’m… not alright…” Veeyel muttered, sitting up straight and stretching his arms. “Who are you?”

The Rethan smiled meekly. Pitch black skin, almost translucent purple armour and three tendrils coming from his skull, just under his head plate. He was some sort of Hertan-type, but the blades that normally extended from his arms had been replaced with admittedly rather hideous tentacles.

“I am Vel.”

“Ah. I’m Veeyel.”

Vel smiled again and sat down next to Veeyel. “I am sorry for disturbing you. And I am sorry for possibly… betraying your privacy. It is just my telepathy picked up on you and I could not help but come over and meet you.”

“You have telepathy…”

“Yes.” Vel stared off into the distance. “I assume many have mistaken you for a Cassid-made monster. You clearly are not. Not horrible enough. But you do not seem truly Rethan either.”

“Would it be wrong to assume you are a… is there a nicer term I can use? A victim of Cassid experimentation, perhaps?” Veeyel asked. He was properly awake now, if only because he wasn’t sure what this Vel wanted.

“Either way, I assure you, you will not be treated well here. You should leave.”

Veeyel blinked. “Pardon?”

“No one here likes beings like us.”

“Well that I gathered!” Veeyel tutted, leaning back. “Kinda hypocritical since most vok here are the kids of outcasts themselves. Alright, yes, I am a… well, a new species almost. But that’s not the point! I just want to go home…”

Vel tilted his head to one side and flicked one of his tendrils over his shoulder. “You have a home?”

“Yeah.”

“Whereabouts?”

“I have a home with my fellow Ksa outside Portalia City.”

“Why are you not there?” Vel asked.

“Because I got lost and have no money and can’t afford a ticket back home.”

Vel fell silent. He quietly reached to a pouch on his hip and pulled out a leather wallet.

“I don’t want money!” Veeyel protested.

“Nonsense. You have a home to go to. I have plenty of money. Would be wrong to leave you here on your own.” Vel removed a hundred Evra and thirty Cassid Lires from his wallet and thrust the money into Veeyel’s hands. “Also, I am taking you somewhere for lunch. You look hungry.”

Veeyel tried to protest some more, but gave up. “Why are you doing this? I’m just… a random stranger.”

Vel shrugged and smiled. “Yes, but you are like me. Different. Only our friends and family look at us and see good beings.”

“You don’t even know if-”

“You’re Veeyel. From the L-Class Ksa, yes? You are good. And I would assume, if our roles were swapped, you would do the same for me.”

“Of course I would!”

Vel climbed to his feet, then helped Veeyel up as well. “There is a nice fast food place nearby. We can have lunch, then I will take you to the taxi bays and get you on your way home.”

“But…”

“No buts. Come now.”

Veeyel sighed, then followed Vel. He was hungry, after all.

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The Fountain of Youth https://phovos.net/phoviverse/the-fountain-of-youth/ Sat, 21 Oct 2017 14:34:57 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1947 Read more]]> Most of the waters in Kinigi were part of the massive rivers that cleansed and recycled souls, erasing their memories and preparing them to be reborn into new bodies. Each one would twist and turn, from the Sea of Death to the Ocean of Birth. This lake though was the exception. A whirlpool in the middle of nowhere, that only seemed to go in one direction, back to the Sea of Death, where all other souls would normally arrive when they die.

That wasn’t the weirdest thing though. What was weird was that there were thousands upon thousands of signs scattered around, all screaming to not swim in the whirlpool, all written in goodness knows how many languages and drawn in goodness knows how many images. Considering the fact that there were bones scattered around, perhaps some being hasn’t listened. There were also large numbers of orange crystals on the ground. Occasionally, one would fall over and slowly roll towards the whirlpool, disappearing under the lilac waves.

Of course, like every other territory on Kinigi, this chunk of land was protected by a Veth. Arkay had never met this Veth before, mostly because his duties involved being on the coasts of Kinigi. But since he had some time off, he decided to come and have a look.

“Buried in egos… Hm… Hello, Veth Prime?”

The Veth seemed happy to see Arkay as they pulled themselves out of a small cave near the water’s edge. Their armour was tattered and scarred, the glowing rings on their body cold and faded, drenched in blood. They clearly got few friendly visitors around here.

“Hello…” Arkay almost hesitated. “I’ve not been around here before.”

“No need for you. Not here. Not at the Fountain.”

The Veth tutted to itself and began to clean itself up, licking old blood off its claws.

“Do you have a name?” Arkay asked.

“Yes. But I want to know yours first. Veth Primes do not visit. Well, they did not. Now you change that.”

“I’m Arkay.”

“And I am Anyparxia. The Veth that should not exist.”

“Why not?”

Anyparxia started humming to himself, ignoring Arkay’s question. He was acting as if Arkay should have already known what all of these things were.

“Forgive me for repeating myself,” Arkay sighed. “But why shouldn’t you exist?”

“The same reason why this should not exist!” the ancient Veth growled. “But mortal and Deitic alike, they all try and come here. Mythopeioa. The act of believing a myth or legend so hard that it becomes real. I was a normal Veth originally. But alas here I am.”

The Veth Prime blinked in confusion. Anyparxia’s words had not explained anything. Did mortals believing in a whirlpool really make one appear in Kinigi?

“There is a punishment though. Wrapped up in amber, eternally. Well, not quite eternally. For a long time. They all die in the end.”

“So is this… some sort of magical beacon or something? Something worthwhile to normal beings?” Arkay edged closer to the water. It was spinning away to itself quite happily. But there was an unusual undertone to the sound of sloshing water. As if something was… crying or shouting…

Anyparxia grunted. His claws were clean. Now he had moved on to picking up bones and throwing them into the whirlpool. “Did She teach you nothing?”

“Not really,” Arkay admitted. “Kinisis… has little patience for me.”

“Probably for the best then. Our Lady is… not a nice being.”

“Obviously.”

“She allows the Fountain to remain here. Despite the suffering it causes.”

Arkay looked around. The confusion was lifting. All these beings, lured into a trap, then frozen alive.

“So many Mortals come here to try and extend their lives. So many Deitics come here, hoping to give themselves souls. They all come here in a desperate attempt to live forever.”

Anyparxia seemed dismissive of it all. He had been here for a long time. He was immune to it all. He just made sure that anyone who trespassed died.

“Most of the time though, I don’t need to, little Veth Prime. They kill themselves. So close, yet so far. They die. They go back to the Sea of Death. They get reborn like everyone else.”

As Arkay approached the water, he realised what this place was. What the faint cries were. What the water was.

“Just throw themselves in. No self-control. Pure insanity. They never realise. Not until they reappear on the beaches of Kinigi.”

Anyparxias smiled at Arkay as he disappeared back into his little cave.

“Everybody is drowning in the Fountain of Youth. Be thankful you are not screaming with them…”

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Fan Tale – A Night on the Plains https://phovos.net/phoviverse/fan-tale-a-night-on-the-plains/ Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:24:50 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1945 Read more]]> Volt seemed uncertain as the heavy Orokin doors slammed shut behind him. This was his second time out on the plains. The last time he had been here, it was day time, and he lacked the proper tools to not only fight the swarms of Grineer roaming around, but he lacked the ability to gather other resources, such as ores and gems. He wasn’t going to make that same mistake twice.

Volt also planned on not making another mistake twice. Today, he was here on the Plains on his own. No more waiting for Rhino to kill everything. No more waiting for Frost to mine every ore in sight. No more waiting for Octavia to get her backside away from that hydro-electric plant while she tries to work out how to scan that stupid glass fish. Nope, it was just Volt and his Carrier and no one else.

Only problem was, it was getting dark. Not quite pitch black. But definitely not day. The sun could just be seen, disappearing over the horizon. There were definitely a lot of stars in the sky, as well as a LOT of shooting stars. Most of the flashing lights were ships flying by, or debris falling back down to Earth and burning up in miniature explosions. The view would have been quite pretty if it wasn’t for the fact that some of them were almost certainly other Tenno going out on missions, and even more of them would have been Grineer, about to die horrible deaths.

With a tut, Volt dropped an energy disc on the ground and waited for it to recharge him. He no longer had access to the Zenurik school, so he couldn’t use cheap energy regeneration. As he waited, he pulled out a small piece of paper he’d brought with him. While everyone else had been out doing bounties and getting pitiful rewards, Volt had decided he was going to work a different way.

The paper consisted of a map, scribbled on a piece of fabric that Volt had borrowed from a previous mission. On it were various rough markers of where all the lakes were, as well as some of the fish that supposedly swim in said waters. Volt glanced at the map, then took several steps forward, pausing only to scare off some birds that were picking at a Grineer corpse.

Suddenly, Volt could hear something. It sounded like one of those old-fashioned disc drives, whirring loudly. Like someone had dumbed an ancient computer by Volt’s feet. It whirred then faded away. A faint Grineer voice could be heard. But the voice was so far away that Volt decided to ignore it.

Glancing at the map again, Volt decided to head west. There was apparently a small pond nearby with a pronged piece of dead Sentient sticking out of the ground next to it and an island in the middle. Volt climbed over the brow of the hill and immediately realised that the lake was a bit further away than the map suggested.

Activating his Speed, Volt raced towards the lake. There were a handful of Grineer wandering around, and as soon as they saw him, they opened fire. Volt didn’t want to kill them, but he also knew that the idiots wouldn’t believe him if he told them he was just going fishing.

Suddenly, one Grineer flew up into the air. They had walked over a geyser, which was spraying hot water everywhere. One of the lesser armoured Grineer, a Grineer Butcher, panicked and ran off, but the others all stayed put. Volt had no choice, they were not going to leave him alone. Unfortunately, before Volt could do anything, some blue, glowing thing killed all the Grineer then started firing at Volt. Not enjoying the energy blasts, Volt fired back with his Sonicor and the being exploded into a blue fog, before reforming. Then it disappeared into a cloud of blue stuff and found itself being sucked up by the last Grineer being alive.

Confused, Volt stared at the strange Grineer device. It was a balloon with a mechanical bottom. It just hovered there, minding its own business. It didn’t shoot at Volt or anything. That was fine. It left Volt alone so he left it alone and headed over to the lake proper.

In the middle of the lake, away from the boiling hot geyser, there were two large rocks sticking out of the water. They were the perfect place for Volt to go fishing.

Deploying his spear, Volt squinted at the water, doing his damned well best not to touch it. He’d heard stories about the bodies of water around here being heavily magnetized, and as Volt was a being who harnessed electricity, going for a swim was probably a bad idea.

Soon, Volt started spotting fish. They seemed to glow ever so slightly in the water, just enough for him to see them. With a little bit of help from his electrical powers, Volt quickly started amassing a large haul of fish.

Something though interrupted his work. An incredibly loud cry. Like a whale. Even though they were on land and too far away from anywhere large enough to contain a whale.

Again, the cry echoed around. It was coming from behind Volt. He cautiously turned around, only to be greeted by a massive, glowing thing rising out of the ground.

An Eidolon.

Appearing right next to Volt’s fishing spot.

Volt glanced at his weapons, then at the monster which towered over him. Luckily, the Eidolon wasn’t interested and didn’t seem to be looking for a fight. It glanced at Volt, then started stomping around the lake. Curious, Volt decided to follow.

The Eidolon though didn’t seem to be doing much. It was just walking around. Minding its own business. Maybe, just maybe, the Eidolon didn’t mind Volt and his fishing. Volt didn’t mind it being around either. It certainly wasn’t scaring the fish.

Once again, the Eidolon stared at Volt. Volt tried to show he meant no harm by placing his Sonicor on the ground. For a moment, Volt was sure he saw the Eidolon nod at him before it turned around and started plodding up a hill to their north.

But just as Volt thought the Eidolon was going, it turned around, glaring at Volt. Its eyes though moved downwards, towards its own feet. A single Grineer Butcher had decided to try and hit the Eidolon with its cleavers.

The Eidolon roared, a tremendous, angered shriek, and began to spray waves of blue energy everywhere.

Rather than stick around, Volt decided to grab his fish and leg it. There was no way he was going to fight THAT thing.

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The Cassid Champion https://phovos.net/phoviverse/the-cassid-champion/ Wed, 18 Oct 2017 18:06:10 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1943 Read more]]> Twenty Cassids. Baxavius had beaten them all. Cassids in heavy armour, Cassids with robots, Cassids in giant mechs. They had all succumbed to Baxavius’s fiery harka-blade, his collapsatic shield, his elegant butterfly knife, his righteous Boson-Initializing Somatic Offensive Nuker. Admittedly, his BISON had done most of the work, but compared to some of the shit those other Cassids had, the BISON was considered rather weak.

All of them had been defeated. There was only one opponent left. All around the arena, the audience was cheering. They hadn’t seen such a large battle in a long time. The biggest turnout for a Cassid Only event ever. Fifty thousand beings watching live, and goodness knows how many watching at home. All eyes watching this plain, dusty arena, similar to that of ancient Cassid civilizations.

“Twenty, my fellow vok! Twenty Cassids! The twenty highest ranked Cassids to have ever graced this arena, and all of them defeated!” Above the arena, on a large, floating platform, was General Retvik Rethianos, a powerful Rethavok and the current administrator of the Dessaron Battle Arena. “But now Baxavius has one more battle ahead of him. Can he defeat the monstrous Lord Lydus the Terrible?”

Behind Baxavius, a stone door opened up, revealing his opponent. Lydus was the best Cassid to have ever fought in the Dessaron Battle Arena, a solo warrior with a single loss in his name. Twenty eight victories and one draw. The only being to have ever defeated him was General Retvik himself.

“Prepare yourself!”

Lydus was wearing some sort of custom body armour which made him tower over Baxavius. He must have been four meters tall without the suit on. Each piece of armour glistened with little sparks of electricity, the otherwise pitch black metal plates glowing with an unholy aura.

“FIGHT!”

Baxavius hadn’t even had a chance to assess the situation as Lydus roared and charged at him, the sort of attack one would expect from a feral Banikan, not a Cassid. Although Baxavius managed to get out of the way in time, he could feel an odd tingling in his arm. That electrified armour was going to make close combat impossible.

Lydus charged again, this time throwing his arms forward. It seemed that his tactic was just to make contact with his enemy and let his suit do the work. Baxavius wondered whether he had any ranged weapons, but a laser blast fired from Lydus’s left hand answered that question. Two rockets fired from a compartment on his right arm closed the case completely.

One rocket exploded somewhere near the crowds, its damage completely negated by the glowing forcefields around the arena. The other rocket made a crater behind Baxavius, knocking him off balance. Lydus took this as an opening and yet again charged forward, only for Baxavius to deploy his collapsatic shield, defending himself from what could have been a nasty blow.

Knowing that a head-on confrontation was not going to work, Baxavius rolled away, trying to put some space between him and the Cassid monster. A simple plan that wasn’t working as intended, due to Lydus constantly moving around. Just as Baxavius managed to finally get some distance, Lydus activated some sort of thruster pack and careered towards him.

With another nimble roll, Baxavius was somewhat safe, but in the process, he’d lost his shield. Lydus smashed it with his huge, clawed foot and laughed.

“How are you going to defend yourself now?”

Baxavius hesitated while Lydus laughed. With a roar, Lydus began firing more rockets, causing Baxavius to leap out of the way.

“YOU’RE WEAK! AND UGLY! AND STUPID!”

As Lydus taunted him though, Baxavius noticed something. His face was visible though his armour. Rolling out of harm’s way, Baxavius drew his righteous BISON and fired a volley of shots. Unfortunately, none of them hit. He needed to do something to distract Lydus so he could line up a shot.

“YOUR SILLY LASER WILL NOT HARM M-AH!”

Baxavius smiled as he landed a shot. While Lydus’s armour had absorbed the damage, the bright beam had distracted and temporarily blinded Lydus, causing to stumble.

That was when he saw it. The power supply. It was embedded on the suit’s neck, just underneath his jaw. That sudden blindness had revealed it, but Lydus had recovered too quickly. Lydus though was furious. He roared and charged once again. As he did so, massive arcs of electricity crackled in the air. Baxavius took a deep breath, reloaded his BISON and fired again. He needed just one shot.

Lydus closed in. Baxavius knew the BISON wasn’t going to do any damage. The last laser in his magazine burst forward, exploding across Lydus’s face.

“YOU LITTLE-”

As Lydus growled in pain, Baxavius drew his little butterfly knife and threw it at the howling monster.

The knife embedded itself in the power pack. Something fizzled. Then something hissed. Then something crackled.

Suddenly, Lydus froze in place. His suit was unresponsive. Baxavius walked over to the immobilised warrior and tapped gently. Lydus could do nothing but scream as both he and the suit collapsed.

The audience fell silent, taking a second to realise what had happened. Once they had worked out who the winner was, they burst into a cacophony of cheers and applause.

“Well, well, well!” The Rethan General’s voice boomed across the arena. “Lord Lydus the Terrible has been defeated! Congratulations, Baxavius, you are victorious!”

Baxavius smiled as the crowd roared around him, cheering for the new Cassid Champion.

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Stuck in a Tree https://phovos.net/phoviverse/stuck-in-a-tree/ Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:17:47 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1941 Read more]]> Ksiel was stuck.

It had all started off rather simple. He’d tried to fly, using his new wings. In the past, he’d used telekinetically powered ‘energy wings’ that weren’t wings at all – he’d simply fly around using telekinesis. But now he had a massive pair of dark, powerful wings, he wanted to fly for real.

The first test flight hadn’t been too bad. He’d glided from the top of the tree house to one of the neighbouring trees, grabbing on to one of the larger branches. He nearly missed, but he was fine. Next Ksiel decided to try and glide from his new tree down to the ground. That also wasn’t too bad. He’s scratched his arms on the landing, but the wounds had healed up fine.

No, Ksiel screwed himself over in his third test flight, as he tried to actually fly back up to the tree house. Somehow, he’d overshot the tree house completely and crashed into a nearby tree, getting himself tangled up in vines.

What made matters worse was that he was hanging upside down. One vine was wrapped around his back, another around his foot. If he cut either, he’d fall straight down and probably not be able to orientate himself before hitting the ground.

His only option was to wait. Someone would come by the tree house. He could shout out to them. Just needed to be patient.

Time passed. Ksiel wasn’t sure how long he’d been hanging there, but he was starting to feel dizzy. Too much blood in the wrong place, perhaps? He tried pulling himself up a bit, so he was more lying flat than hanging upside down.

Really though, Ksiel’s biggest problem was that he was thirsty. Or hungry. A bit of both. He had a weird feeling in the back of his head, as if something was telling him that he wanted to drink blood or something. Ksiel pushed that thought to one side and decided to inspect his new body. Not like he had much else to do.

He did genuinely feel better. Stronger. More muscular. Ksiel had never worn much armour plating over his natural armour, not since his working days as a Ksa. Once he became semi-retired, he wore as little extra armour as possible. He actually had thicker natural armour than most, and now, in his new body, he had even more. What Ksiel liked most though was the plates that ran down his back and his stomach, linking up to several more plates that almost looked like a belt. The plating wasn’t too bulky though and he still had amble mobility in his arms and legs, as well as plenty of access to his nether region. Weirdly, his tail seemed even longer and the end was tipped with more plated natural armour, forming a spiked, mace-like thing.

The wings though, they were amazing. He needed more practice before he used them though.

Ksiel suddenly realised that everything seemed darker. The sun was setting. Or at least it had disappeared behind the hills. That worried Ksiel slightly.

Luckily though, a light turned on in the tree house. Ksiel immediately spotted it and started shouting.

“HELP!”

Whoever it was, they rushed over to the window. There were two of them. Both looking… a bit like Ksiel.

“YOU GUYS GONNA STAND THERE OR ARE YOU GOING TO HELP ME DOWN?”

The first being seemed to tut, before climbing out of the window and flying over to Ksiel. They hovered in mid air, their powerful wings and obvious flying skill putting Ksiel to shame.

“You alright?” Kayel asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine!” Ksiel tutted. “Where the fuck is everyone else?”

For a moment, Ksiel felt himself fall, but luckily Kayel managed to grab him, and carried him back to the tree house. Ksiel’s legs wobbled as they touched firm ground, and he found himself falling forward. Maybe he’d been upside down for too long.

“You don’t-”

“I’m fine,” Ksiel growled. “You didn’t answer my question. What happened?”

“I don’t know,” Kayel admitted. “But we need to go find them. Then we need to work out what we’re going to do next…”

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Stuck in a Dark Place https://phovos.net/phoviverse/stuck-in-a-dark-place/ Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:40:28 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1939 Read more]]> “Nothing mentioned teleportation. NOTHING! Why is this HAPPENING?”

All around was empty space, peppered with debris. Eternal darkness. If it wasn’t for the handful of small, floating platforms, Kayel probably would have died by now. He was thankful that he and Psivee-En had landed on a particularly large platform.

Everything else in the ritual had gone fine. Their bodies were healed. The horrible scar running down Kayel’s stomach was gone, as were the old bite marks on his arm. Weirdly, the tattoo on his neck indicating that he was a Ksa had disappeared too. Physically, Kayel felt bigger and stronger, his armour was sharper and edgier and the small, ghost-like energy wings on his back had been replaced by a dark, black and gold pair of demonic wings that would make a Thraki proud.

But all that seemed pointless if they couldn’t get of this strange, dark place.

While he waited, Kayel was doing his best to keep calm. But after about an hour, he realised he wasn’t going anywhere. They were stuck there. Maybe forever.

“I read everything. I studied the ritual for months. NOTHING mentioned being randomly teleported into some horrible, desolate realm…”

Psivee-En though had remained perfectly calm the entire time they were there. Mostly because he was still unconscious. Taking ages to wake up was an actual side-effect of the ritual, so that didn’t surprise Kayel. The whole teleporting scenario though, that bothered Kayel greatly.

The only thing stopping Kayel from screaming endlessly into the void was pacing up and down the floating lump of rock they’d been lucky to land on. He must have done about fifty laps around it. On the fifty first, Psivee-En finally woke up.

“Ooer, what happened?”

“What happened? WHAT HAPPENED?” Kayel exploded. “WE’RE FUCKING LOST! THERE’S NOTHING AROUND US FOR HUNDREDS OF MILES. NOTHING BUT DARKNESS AND FLOATING ROCKS!”

Psivee-En sat up straight and looked around. “No we’re not.”

“What do you mean?” Kayel’s exclamation had burned him out. “We’ve been here for ages. You’ve been asleep. You have no fucking clue how stressed I am.”

“There’s no need to be stressed out…” Psivee-En slowly climbed to his feet. He too had changed, but not as much as Kayel had. His armour though was much heavier and his wings much larger. His tail was also incredibly long. He wandered over to Kayel and put his arms around him, before quickly letting go.

“So… where are we?”

“The Umbric Realm!” Psivee-En’s tone oozed with joy. “I spent years trying to get here, back when I was young. It was where the Trehavok believed we were first created. That wasn’t ever true, but we did have connections to this place. The darkest place in existence. The home of all shadows and stuff like that. None of that is true ever, but this place has always existed.”

“I don’t care about that, I want to get out of here!” Kayel growled. “And I want to find the others. Goodness knows where the fuck they are!”

“Then just create an exit,” Psivee-En smiled. “Imagine a door leading to where you want to go.”

Kayel tutted. Psivee-En’s words were stupid. But he had no other ideas so he did as he was told. He imagined a large, wooden door, leading to the tree house that he and the L-Class had settled in. To his amazement, that exact wooden door appeared in front of him. Unsure what else to do, Kayel reached forward and nudged the door open. It led back to the tree house he had been thinking about.

“What the fuck.”

Psivee-En grinned. “We’ve been blessed with the ability to access this realm. Only the most dedicated Trehans made it this far, the ability to manipulate the world of shadows. Yet here we are, a new species, doing so with ease. We can- Kayel, where are you going?”

“We have to go!” Kayel shouted as he leaped through the doorway. “We have to go and find the others. We can talk about all this shadow stuff later!”

Psivee-En sighed, then followed Kayel. He was right, they needed to find the rest of their new species.

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1939
Still Lost, Still Confused https://phovos.net/phoviverse/still-lost-still-confused/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:09:17 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1937 Read more]]> Veeyel had been watching from the shadows for about twenty minutes now, as three armoured vehicles were lined up in front of the Astynom station. Armed soldiers made a line between the entrance and the vehicles, one hand on their gunstaff, the other on their electric stun-tasers. They were shepherding three beings into the vehicles, one per truck.

Finally though, they were beginning to move. The armoured vehicles all revved their engines and slowly began to drive away, accompanied by three standard Astynom vehicles.

Veeyel waited until the coast was clear before making his way towards the station. He hadn’t noticed until now, but his skin was a lot darker than he remembered. He must have looked almost black when not under the yellow street lights.

But as he got closer, he realised the office was actually rather empty. A lone Astynom officer sat at the desk in the front. Veeyel gently pushed the door open, not wanting to scare the officer, but they jumped in surprise anyway.

“Uh, sorry…” Veeyel muttered.

“Are you lost?” the officer asked, looking vaguely annoyed that he’d been caught unaware.

“I am! I am lost!” Veeyel exclaimed, again shocking the officer. “Sorry… I’m… I’m rather dazed and confused.”

“Are you drunk? Have you taken anything I should know about?”

Veeyel could tell that the officer was reaching for their weapon, just in case. They may have been completely alone here. Or maybe they’d had trouble earlier and that was why they were on edge.

“No! Please, don’t. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’m just lost. Have no idea how I got here. And apparently there are rogue Ksa running around and I didn’t want to cause any confusion…”

“We just sent the last three Ksa off. They are all accounted for. Are you a Ksa as well?”

Veeyel nodded. “I lost my wristbands though. They’re locked so that’s not a problem, but I’m just… I’m confused. Last thing I remember was being in a hospital outside Portalia City and here I am, in Hertany.”

The officer seemed calmer now. “I see. What do you need?”

A flutter of confusion filled Veeyel’s mind. He’d suddenly forgotten. No. Not forgotten. A hundred different thoughts entered his head. Veeyel struggled for a moment, trying to figure out what question would be best to ask.

“I’m lost.”

Words just weren’t working for Veeyel.

“Yes, you said that already. Are you sure you are not drunk?”

Again, the officer reached under his desk. But he didn’t reach for a weapon, he reached for a drug-testing kit.

“I’m not drunk.”

“We shall test that theory.” The officer stood up and hesitantly walked over to Veeyel. As he did so, he unwrapped a plastic object and attached it to the kit.

“You want me to blow into that?”

“Yes please. One breath, as hard as you can.”

Veeyel did as he was told. The device beeped, then beeped again. The officer glanced at the device in disbelief.

“What does it say?”

“That you are sober…” The officer sighed, then tutted. “Well, we cannot have a confused Ksa running around. Not with the recent incidents. Tell me, what is your name?”

“Veeyel…”

The officer headed back to his desk and pulled out a sheet of paper. After a moment, he quietly put the paper way. “You are not on the list. But others might think you are. Do you have money?”

Veeyel shook his head. “This wristband I’m wearing, it doesn’t have financial stuff on it. I’ve been walking all night, someone directed me here. I just… I have friends in Portalia City. I… just need to get there…”

The officer tutted. “There are storms heading here over the next few days. Transportation will be spotty. I would recommend staying within the town if you can.”

“Where can I stay?”

“I am not sure where is available. If you wish, you could stay in our jail cells here.”

“Uh… I’ll… I’ll pass…”

The door blasted open behind Veeyel, a cold wind slamming it against the wall. Both Rethans jumped.

“Are you sure?” the officer asked.

“Yeah, I’m sure…” Veeyel sighed as he disappeared into the night.

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An Awkward Inconvenience https://phovos.net/phoviverse/an-awkward-inconvenience/ Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:51:13 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1935 Read more]]> Veeyel had been standing in the doorway for about twenty minutes now. In the living room, Frienir was arguing with his partner. Clearly there had been a misunderstanding, but perhaps this had happened before. Frienir bringing someone home who he shouldn’t have. Either way, his partner, Lousanos, was incredibly angry.

The argument mostly centred around ruining their evening. Apparently Lousanos had planned a quiet, romantic evening and Frienir bringing Veeyel to their home had ruined it. This made Veeyel feel awful. He needed help, he was dazed and confused and had no idea where he was, but he didn’t want help at the expense of others.

They were both Standard-type Rethans, but it was clear that Lousanos was the bigger partner. They actually looked rather similar, both wearing basic silver and black armour, but Lousanos’s neon green highlights were far more catching than the stripes of blue on Frienir’s armour.

“And what if he’s actually a criminal on the run! Or maybe one of those Cassid-made abominations? He certainly looks the type!”

“He’s not a Cassid-made abomination. That is rather rude.”

“He’s a Threan-type.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“He could be altering our minds. Hecking Light, he could be one of those rogue Ksa we all heard about!”

That last sentence caught Veeyel’s attention. He peered around the corner, a worried look on his face.

“Rogue Ksa?” he asked, as innocently as he could.

Lousanos growled and stomped towards Veeyel, grabbing him by the arm.

“Haven’t you heard? There was a big bunch of Ksa, all protecting the old High General. That traitorous monster. They were all mind-controlled but some say that a few escaped! Heck, Frienir, you found a news-less idiot!”

Veeyel sighed. “I’m sorry, I… I don’t know what happened or how I got here. I do know though that I’m not a mistake made by amoral Cassids.”

“Then why do you look like an edgy Hertan? Actually…” Lousanos grunted. “You look a bit like a Trehavok. Or the result of a lot of inbreeding. Either way, here you are, in my house, ruining everything.”

“You are being unfair!” Frienir protested.

“No, I’m NOT, dear!” Lousanos shouted. “We have a kid on the way. And here you are bringing another random stranger into our home for no damn reason! I get it, this vok looks pale and lost. But you can’t just bring them home. You have no idea who he is and neither do I. What if this vok wasn’t a good Rethan? What if he WAS an escaped criminal?”

Frienir sighed. “You’re right. I’m sorry…”

“And I’m sorry too!” Veeyel added. “I shouldn’t have come here. Should have…”

“Don’t be sorry…” Lousanos growled. “You’re just lost. And we all make mistakes. Hopefully we’ll learn this time… Do you know where you live?”

Veeyel thought for a moment. “Uh… I think… I have a relative in Palaestra… I’m… My memory is really hazy. I don’t remember anything really.”

“Are you registered?”

“Oh yes!” Veeyel almost jumped with glee. “I just… I lost my wristbands. If you had a spare one… I could put my ID number in and reconnect and work out what’s going on!”

Lousanos wandered over to a small cabinet to Veeyel’s side. He rummaged around and pulled out an ancient wristband. Old enough to still have a solar panel built into the side. He turned it on, checked it had charge, reset it then handed it to Veeyel.

“You remember your ID, right?”

Veeyel nodded and input his unique identifier. The wristband spluttered into life. But both Frienir and Lousanos both noticed a small icon on the display.

“You… are a Ksa…” Frienir muttered.

“Oh…” Veeyel couldn’t think of a reply.

“Maybe you should go to the Astynom… work out what’s going on…” Frienir suggested as he pulled a pen and paper out of the cabinet. He quickly doodled a map and handed that to Veeyel.

“Maybe you should go, now.” Lousanos’s voice was far more stern. He opened the door and pushed Veeyel through it, leaving him on the cold, stone steps outside. “And maybe you shouldn’t take advantage of nice vok like my partner.”

“Sorry for inconveniencing you…” Veeyel muttered as the door slammed shut behind him.

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Separated and Confused https://phovos.net/phoviverse/separated-and-confused/ Sat, 14 Oct 2017 20:09:48 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1931 Read more]]> Shards of frosted glass littered the alleyway. It made a change from the normal large pile of rubbish that would normally cover the ground, but the glass wasn’t exactly reassuring. In the middle of the broken glass was a confused, dazed, young, Rethan-like being that probably shouldn’t have been there.

At first, Frienir wasn’t sure whether to go closer or not. Drunk Threan-type Rethans were common around here, but the one lying unconscious in the alley didn’t look normal. Heck, even winged Threan-types were pretty common. Many powerful Rethans were whisked here back when the KSA initiative was at its peak and they created families of pure Threan-types.

But this one was different. They looked… mutated. New and old at the same time. Their armour was much more streamlined, much sharper, much pointier than that of a normal Threan-type. But they looked too sharp to be a Hertan-type, and they were far too small to be a Standard-type Rethan.

All he had to do was make sure the vok was alive.

“Are… Are you okay?”

The being suddenly sat upright, making Frienir jump.

“What… Where am I?”

On closer inspection, the being seemed… alien. Not a Rethan at all. They mostly looked the part, but their scent was off.

“Uuh…” Frienir hesitated. “You’re… in an alleyway.”

“An alleyway where?”

Clearly the being was disorientated. They definitely seemed drunk. Or at least hung over.

“An alleyway in Tuskan, Hertany.”

“Ah piss…”

The being fell silent and started staring at its feet. Frienir shrugged and was about to talk away. But he changed his mind. He HAD to ask this being what it was.

“So… Who are you?”

The being continued to stare at its feet.

“Are you a Rethan?”

“I… Yeah… I’m a Rethan…” There was uncertainty in his voice. “At least, I… I think I still am…” Finally, they looked up at Frienir. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t answer your question. My name… I’m Veeyel…”

“I’m Frienir. Are you drunk?”

Again, Veeyel stared at his feet. “No. I can’t drink.”

“You seem drunk.”

“I’m not drunk!” Veeyel snapped. “Sorry… I’m just lost. Can you help me up please?”

Frienir did as he was asked. Veeyel seemed genuinely surprised though once he got on his feet. As if he hadn’t walked properly in a long time. On his back was a pair of wings, as pointy and sharp as the rest of him.

“Nice wings.”

“I don’t…” Veeyel paused mid-sentence and glanced over his shoulders. “Oh. I do have wings.”

Frienir shook his head. Clearly this Veeyel bloke was either ill or lying about being drunk. No matter what, he genuinely had a problem.

“I think you should come with me…” Frienir sighed as he watched Veeyel wobble around.

“Are you a member of the Astynom?” Veeyel’s angry tone swiftly returned.

“No!” Frienir protested. “It’s just… you have no idea where you are, you look pale, you didn’t notice that you have wings and you can barely walk. Plus you’re obviously miles away from home.”

Veeyel sighed. But his sigh turned into panic when he realised his wristbands were missing. He fell to the ground and started desperately searching for them among the glass shards. He was completely oblivious to the many scratches and cuts he was causing himself. After realising that Veeyel wasn’t going to stop harming himself, Frienier grabbed him by the arms and pulled him away.

“ARE YOU INSANE? YOU’RE HURTIN- wait…”

As soon as they’d formed, Veeyel’s injuries were healing up and fading away. Frienir let go and backed away.

“You’re… one of those Cassid-made mistakes?”

“No…” Veeyel gave up and leaned against a wall, away from the glass. “I… I don’t know what I am… I was somewhere else. With my friends. And now I’m here…”

Frienir tutted. “Well your friends aren’t here. Why don’t you come back to my place for a bit? We can get you cleared up, get you a drink and work out what to do.”

Veeyel rubbed his face, then got up. He didn’t really have any other options.

“That is very kind of you… er… what is your name?”

“You can call me Frienir.”

“Thank you, Frienir…”

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The Teletourgic https://phovos.net/phoviverse/the-teletourgic/ Fri, 13 Oct 2017 10:08:00 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1927 Read more]]> “Are we ready?”

Kayel stood in the centre of the large, stone chamber. In front of him was a cast iron cauldron, slowly being heated by a small fire. Around him, his friends stood patiently, from youngest to oldest. Zitel first, followed by Thitel, Veeyel and Ksiel, with Psivee-En at the end. On the ground, an intricate pattern had been drawn, using a mixture of water, blood and other, less sightly bodily fluids.

“This is it…”

As if on command, the seven beings all began to hum. A low, deep hum, only just audible. The cauldron began to heat up, its contents quietly simmering within. Kayel gently stirred the mixture, checking a timer on his wristband. After a minute and six seconds, Kayel put out the fire, allowing everything to cool down, sprinkling a pale, silvery powder into the metal pot.

The hums grew louder. Kayel added more ingredients to the cauldron, causing the liquid to hiss and splutter, before turning into a loud, crackling noise. Beneath it all, a faint knocking could be heard. Someone trying to get in. But they were sealed inside. No one was leaving or entering until the ritual was complete.

Finally, the mixture began to thicken, turning from a wet, watery fluid into a heavy paste.

Kayel raised his hand and everyone else fell silent. He stirred the mixture one last time, then closed his eyes.

“Anaveh.”

The cauldron lifted itself off the ground. Kayel walked towards Psivee-En, revealing several ornate, silver knives. He scooped some of the mixture out with the blade and forced it into Psivee-En’s mouth.

“Min Aniigis.”

Psivee-En nodded and kept the knife in his mouth as Kayel did the same with his fellow Ksa, feeding each one a mouthful of the mixture. It tasted horrible, but they knew it was for a good cause. Kayel then returned to the centre, placing a knifeful in his own mouth. Unlike the others though, he removed the knife, instead tucking it under his armour so it was still in contact with his body.

“Pieh Pisoh.”

The cauldron slowly hovered back to the centre of the room. The six beings all stepped forward, their feet constantly in contact with the bloody markings on the ground. Kayel began adding more ingredients to the cauldron, once more heating it up. One by one, everyone took a small, ornate knife, cutting along their index fingers and letting their blood drip into the cauldron, before returning to their positions.

“Migmazeh.”

The wooden spoon Kayel had been using to stir began mixing the cauldron and its ingredients on its own. Once again, after a minute and six seconds, Kayel took it off the heat, kicked out the fire. The mixture had turned into a dark, crimson colour. A paste of blood.

“Ton Allakson Ee Teletorgia, Arkix.”

This time, the others repeated Kayel’s words, removing the knives from their moves and holding them in their left hands.

“Allazomeh. Ginoum Enan.”

“Allazomeh. Ginoum Kenour.”

“Allazomasteh. Mes ke Eks.”

“Allazomasteh. Panton ke Panton. Epsis Panton.”

“Pistevohmasteh.”

“Ginomasteh.”

Once again, the others all stepped forward.

Suddenly, Kayel thrust his arms into the cauldron. It was still incredibly hot. Kayel didn’t care. He swiftly pulled his arms out again. Each being forced their arms into the cauldron, coating themselves with the paste. They all then placed their right hands on each others’ shoulders, while Kayel walked around each one of them.

“Anaveh. Akoloutheh.”

The cauldron rose into the air and followed Kayel. As he stood in front of each being, he ran his blade down their left arm, then their right arm, then coated the shallow cuts with more of the dark paste, muttering a single word as he did so.

“Gineseh.”

Kayel then returned to the centre of the circle. Veeyel stepped forward and did to Kayel what he had done to them, making shallow cuts in his arms and covering them with the paste.

“Gineseh,” Veeyel muttered.

“Ginomasteh…” Kayel replied.

“Ginomasteh!” everyone else repeated.

Without warning, the paste within the cauldron began to bubble and expand. As it did so, so did the paste, slowly crawling up their skin, covering the six beings.

“EIMASTE!”

The paste continued to spread, rooting the six beings in place. The bloody marking on the ground began to glow, and particles became electrified, causing sputters of lightning to flash about. The candles lighting the room were all blown out in a single, strong breeze.

The mixture finally cocooned the six beings and began to harden, trapping each being within a crimson, almost crystalline shell. The shells became less and less translucent, obscuring whatever was going on inside.

Everything suddenly fell calm and quiet, and the room went dark. The remaining paste bubbled and boiled away, dissolving the ritualistic blood markings.

A knocking sound though could still be heard. The knocking turned into banging and shouting. Sounds of anger and concern. There were beings outside, wanting to get in.

Something flashed. A huge bolt of lightning. The room was bathed in a bright, white light.

“GET THEM OUT OF THERE!” a Thrakian voice roared as two smaller Thraki finally managed to wrench the heavy stone door open. “We have to… Oh no…”

Multiple Thraki stormed into the room, rushing around, trying to work out what was going on, where those weird noises came from, what had happened inside the chamber.

But they were too late.

The chamber was empty.

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Jobs for Eternity https://phovos.net/phoviverse/jobs-for-eternity/ Wed, 11 Oct 2017 14:21:57 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1924 Read more]]> Lately, Vahlok had been doing the same jobs over and over. “Go get this, go get that!” was all Stasis ever told him to do. So that was what he did. Endless fetch quests. Today’s job was no different. Vahlok had to capture this rogue ‘Unhumin’ scientist. Apparently this thing was just a disgruntled Thrope with a god complex, but they had recently struck out on their own, breaking a deal they had made with Stasis. Vahlok was there to teach him a lesson and deliver him to the Lord of the Void personally.

Except it turned out, someone had beat Vahlok to it. He could smell an odd, familiar scent. An unusual warmth that should not have been present on the cold ship. Vahlok had planned to charge in, grab this stupid being then charge out again, but now he had to be sneaky. And Vahlok’s primitive, Varga side hated being sneaky.

As Vahlok rounded a corner, he realised just how bad everything was. Inches away from his target was a being that terrified him. The Veth Prime. The loyal servant of Death herself. What made matters worse was that the Veth Prime had spotted him.

Vahlok didn’t want a fight. There was no way he’d be able to defeat that monster.

“What are you doing here?” the Veth Prime blinked as he grabbed Vahlok’s target by the throat.

“I…” Vahlok gulped. It was obvious he was scared. But he was embarrassed too. What if someone else saw the Arch-Warrior, Stasis’s most prized subject, shaking and panicked? “I… was… coming to pick that Unhumin up… and deliver him to Stasis…”

“Huh…” The Veth’s reply was blunt. “Why?”

“Because he planned to betray us?” Vahlok wasn’t completely sure himself. “But you can have him. I… I’m not going to fight you. That would be suicide. Especially after you so easily bested me on the edge of Kinigi.”

The Veth Prime shrugged, glanced at his target, then in a single, swift movement, chopped off their head in an explosion of blood. He then dropped the body on the floor, letting the head roll away, and stepped towards Vahlok. Vahlok considered running, but knew that it would not help him.

“Are you alright?” the Veth Prime suddenly asked.

“How do you mean?” Vahlok was confused. Was this monster taking… interest in him?

“You don’t seem yourself. Is working for Stasis not all you hoped it’d be?”

The Varga had no idea how to answer. He decided to be honest though. He had no idea how the beast would react if he lied. “No. Not really. Better than dying in agony, but I feel like I got the bad end of the deal. Stasis got a servant for life. I got to keep my mind and not turn into a feral monster, but all I do these days is fetch things!”

“I totally get that!” The Veth was smiling. “You can call me Arkay, by the way. I know your name’s Vahlok, so you should be allowed to call me by my real name. Let me walk you back to the hangar.” Arkay put a blood-soaked arm around Vahlok and started walking him back the way he came. Vahlok noticed how small the Veth Prime was, a good twenty or so centimetres smaller than him.

“Yes… Arkay…”

As they walked, Arkay seemed very friendly. As if he wanted to talk to Vahlok. Or rather, as if he hadn’t spoken to another being in a long time. “But yeah, I totally understand. This wasn’t the job I wanted. I assumed I’d just be a normal Veth like everyvok else.”

“You don’t want to be the Veth Prime?” Vahlok asked, still confused. “I assumed…”

“Well I assumed you wanted to be Stasis’s favourite little servant too. But here we both are, stiffed by our masters, doing jobs we hate for eternity.”

“I don’t think I was stiffed…”

“No?” Arkay shrugged. “Well, you’re just being used to do menial tasks. As far as I’m aware, Stasis put all his conquest ideas on hold after that whole Corruption thing. You thought you’d be a hero, a great unifier. But you’re just a mortal that he uses to affect other mortals…”

Something about what Arkay said clicked in Vahlok’s mind. Maybe he was right. Maybe Stasis WAS just using him. But that felt… not right.

“But Ve- er, Arkay, even if he is using me, I can’t…”

“You can’t what?”

“I can’t leave. He provides me with the resources to keep my mind intact. If I leave, then I turn into a horrible, dumb beast, just like every other Varga.”

“So that’s how he’s tied you in…” Arkay muttered. “Suppose it’s better than eternal torture, which is what Kinisis threatens me with if I don’t do as I’m told… Bad enough SHE broke her end of the deal, not me…”

Vahlok didn’t say anything and instead let Arkay grumble about how he disliked his job. Occasionally, Arkay would ask Vahlok something and he’d offer a quick answer. While they were both very different beings, it seemed that Arkay did the same menial jobs that Vahlok did, just with a lot more death and destruction.

The two beings reached the hangar in no time. It had taken Vahlok twenty minutes to get to the Unhumin’s chamber, but there they were, already back at his ship. Arkay grinned as he saw it and climbed onto the bonnet, like an overly excited child. He then slid off and leaped back towards Vahlok.

“Your ship is awesome.”

“Thank you. But…” Vahlok panicked slightly. “What do I tell Stasis?”

“That I got here first?” Arkay suggested. “After all, you don’t have the same travel technologies I do. I can go almost anywhere. You’re slowed down by the transport you have to use.”

“That’s true…” Vahlok sighed. “I have been meaning to ask for a faster ship. I do… have one question before I go though.”

“What is it?”

“Why are you talking to me? Rather than killing me?”

Arkay grinned. “Because you’ve done nothing wrong. You just do as you’re told. You’re just like me, following orders from impossibly powerful beings. You don’t deserve to be eternally punished for a job you had no choice but to take.”

“Well… Thank you…” Vahlok sighed, looking at his watch.“I have to go…”

“Aw, that sucks!” Arkay tutted as he watched Vahlok climb into his ship. “But I understand. These personifications and their insistence on being on time.”

“Yes, unfortunately…” the Arch-Warrior smiled. The engines of his ship blasted into life and the ship began to take off. “Farewell, Arkay!”

“Bye, Vahlok!” the Veth Prime shouted back. “See you soon!”

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Between the Thraki and the Rethan https://phovos.net/phoviverse/between-the-thraki-and-the-rethan/ Tue, 10 Oct 2017 14:29:44 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1920 Read more]]> Kayel patiently waited behind the pile of rubble for the angry Thraki to take a breath. He wasn’t really sure what he had done to anger Vokulunax like this, but clearly the golden wyvern was not willing to sit down and talk things out.

Finally, Vokulunax paused for breath and Kayel managed to get some distance between himself and the Thraki. He hurled himself past more rubble and debris, making sure that Vokulunax had no clear line of sight. If Kayel wanted to get out of here alive, he needed to take advantage of the fact that Vokulunax was old and clumsy.

With a terrifying roar, Vokulunax took another deep breath, readying a blast of both fire and ice. His years of being an agile ruler of the skies were long gone, but his strength and ferocity hadn’t. A fireball left the Thraki’s jaw, spiralling through the air and landing not too far away from the little Rethan. He could almost feel the sudden burst of panic in the Rethan’s mind, realising that his hiding spot was not good enough.

Vokulunax paused and inhaled, waiting for Kayel to appear. He knew he hadn’t hit the Rethan, but he may have injured him. Somewhere off to his left, a voice could be heard.

“Why are you attacking me?”

The fool had revealed his location. Another ball of fire blasted through the air, only to disintegrate into nothing. Kayel had placed a particularly strong water ward, defending himself from the attack. A wall of steam disguised the Rethan’s next actions, as he seemingly faded away into nothing.

“YOU HIDE.”

“Well, yes, of course!” Kayel joked. “You really think I’d let you choose the battle?” The voice seemed to come from everywhere. Vokulunax noted that, despite his affinity for necromancy, Kayel was also skilled with sound manipulation. Perhaps he had intentionally revealed his location, only for Vokulunax to unintentionally hide him again.

“You lied, Rethan.”

“About what?” Kayel’s voice was bouncing around. Vokulunax rose up above the battleground, flapping his huge wings in an attempt to disperse the steam. To his dismay, the more he tried to remove steam, the thicker it got. Kayel was replacing the steam with smoke, using it to hide his actions.

“You said you would not do anything that breaks the laws of nature.”

“Ah, now you’re actually talking!” the Rethan’s words echoed around. Vokulunax did not want to let go of his better position, but there was no way he would feasibly find Kayel from up there. He wanted to capture the Rethan, not kill him. “Also, I’ve done no such thing.”

“I KNOW what you are PLANNING!” Vokulunax roared. He flapped his wings one last time, before changing his tactics, swooping down and breathing small trails of flame into the smoke-filled landscape. The plan was to restrict Kayel’s movement and hopefully trap him.

Kayel though seemed unaffected. The Thraki would catch glimmers of what could have been his unique armour plating, but they may have just been embers or stray flames.

“Is this about our…ritual? Because I’ve checked with everyone I need to check and everyone else is fine.”

“EVERYONE BUT ME!”

“Yeah, but why should this bother you?”

Vokulunax paused, then closed his wings, dropping down into the smoke, only to fail to catch anything. But as he took off once more, he felt something on his wing. He had been close.

“You are trying to bring what was once dead and cold back to life. You are trying to bring back the Trehans. There is a good reason as to why they are gone!”

Kayel’s reply was blunt. “No there isn’t. They were brutally slaughtered by Deitics who feared them…” A small stumble rippled through Kayel’s voice. Was he scared? “That’s not what I’m even trying to do! Listen, Vokulunax, I know you’re angry. But please stop with this trying to kill me.”

“I am going to capture you and throw you in front of the other Elders. See what they say.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake…” The smoke got thicker and started to rise. A low, rumbling sound could be heard. “I’ve spoken to most of them. I explained this to them this morning and they were all fine, because I’m NOT bringing back the Trehans!”

Vokulunax growled, then abruptly roared. A sharp, electric pain tore its way through his wings and down his spine. Kayel had created a miniature storm within the smoke. And with his telekinetic powers, he was protecting himself from the bolts of lightning flashing around. More flickers of electricity shot upwards, forcing Vokulunax to back off and hover around the edges of the smoke cloud.

“Then what are you doing?”

“I’m using the specioallagon ritual to make the six of us into a new species. You can’t even use the ritual to bring an extinct species back to life!” Kayel was frustrated. At this angle, Vokulunax caught a glimpse of his glowing aura within the smoke.

“You know this is… wrong…”

“If it helps my friends, then I don’t care.”

“And what if it doesn’t?”

The clouds suddenly dispersed. Kayel stood in the middle of the ruins, lightning cracking around him.

“If this doesn’t work, then I’ll live with my mistakes. Just like every other mistake I’ve lived with.”

With a growl, Vokulunax landed awkwardly in front of the Rethan. He could see it in Kayel’s eyes. He was not going to back down. Kayel had made up his mind and there was no way Vokulunax would be able to persuade him otherwise.

“Very well,” the golden Thraki sighed. “But consider this a warning. We will not help you if the ritual goes wrong. You and your ilk will be able continue your studies, but our assistance ends here.”

Kayel tutted, then turned around and walked away. “Fine. All you’ve done is hold me back anyway…”

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Burying Personalities https://phovos.net/phoviverse/burying-personalities/ Mon, 09 Oct 2017 14:03:15 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1918 Read more]]> Their request had been odd, but considering how the remaining members of the L-Class Ksa had treated him lately, Psivee-En had no choice but to do as they asked. Behind him was a heavy, stone door, held shut with a pile of equally heavy rocks. Behind that door were the five Ksa, all meditating in silence, sealed within a cold, otherwise empty room.

Why they were doing this, Psivee-En wasn’t sure. Kayel had explained it to him several times, but he just didn’t understand. From what he gathered, they were doing something with their minds, something like creating a backup of their personalities and memories or something. It was clearly an ability the Ksa possessed, but he’d never heard Kayel mention it before. If anything, he was surprised Kayel hadn’t used this ‘burying oneself’ technique in the past. There were plenty of times where he could have needed that. Times when he should have, but he didn’t. Perhaps it just wasn’t as simple as Psivee-En imagined.

Either way, they were doing it all now.

Perhaps Psivee-En should have been preparing himself. After all, this ritual had the potential to turn them all into something bigger. But at the same time, there was a chance that the ritual could turn them into mindless predators, constantly craving for their next meal. The chance was small, small enough for the others not to worry about. Certainly small enough for Kayel to have left that detail out.

But the worry was there.

What if something went wrong? What if-

Psivee-En calmed himself down. He was in good hands. The Ksa were currently in good hands too. He was protecting them. Just needed to wait for them to knock on the door so he could let them out. A quick, panicked thought of whether they had air in there or not flashed though his mind, but then Psivee-En remembered that there was an open window in there. Just a small crack, to let the breeze in.

After a moment of silence, Psivee-En’s mind wandered back to the ritual. The problem was, even if they were successful and they were all healed, they had no idea how they’d look. They were basically combining the genetics of several types of Panvok that could all interbreed anyway, but what if something messed up? What if he ended up being more Rethan than Trehan?

That thought bothered him at first. But slowly Psivee-En realised that it didn’t matter. There would be no more Trehans. He couldn’t have any more kids. He was… neutered. Chemically sterilized. He deserved that. Not that it would have mattered anyway, the one kid he did have was no longer among the living, and even if Psivee-En ended up with grandkids, they would have been more Rethan than Trehan anyway.

With a sigh, Psivee-En reached for a couple of smaller rocks. One flat one, one sharp one. With the sharp stone, he started scratching into the flat one, carving letters and numbers into the surface. But as he did so, he could hear a faint knocking.

“Are you done?” Psivee-En shouted.

“Yes, we’re done!” Zitel answered from the other side.

They sounded tired. Psivee-En quickly started moving rocks away and opened the door for them. One by one, the Ksa stumbled out, half awake, looking exhausted.

The last Ksa to leave was Kayel, who looked only slightly less exhausted than the others. Psivee-En closed the door then went back to scratching into his rock, while Kayel leaned against the wall.

“You look knackered.”

“I am,” Kayel smiled weakly. “But we buried our parts. Shouldn’t need them or anything, but it’s always good to back things up. Kinda wish everyone could do that, but it’s very hard on the mind…” Kayel glanced at the rocks that Psivee-En was messing around with. “What are you doing?”

Psivee-En sighed. “I’m making a gravestone.”

“What for?”

“The last Trehan,” Psivee-En smiled. “After all, come Friday, the Trehavok will be extinct. And we’ll be a new race…”

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Last Day of the Holiday https://phovos.net/phoviverse/last-day-of-the-holiday/ Sun, 08 Oct 2017 10:29:30 +0000 https://phovos.net/phoviverse/?p=1916 Read more]]> “Nooooooooooooo!”

Psiksi almost screamed as Kass pulled the blankets off him. After a brief struggle, Psiksi grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around him.

“What?”

“It’s COOOOOOOOOLD!”

Kass shrugged, then pulled the blanket off him, only for Psiksi to grab the blanket and wrap himself up again. Knowing he wouldn’t win, Kass then got as many blankets as possible and threw them at Psiksi.

“It’s not cold.”

“It iiiiiiis!” Psiksi screeched. “I’m all wrapped up and cosy! It’s so niiiice. It’s not nice when you pull the covers off and make me cold. Especially when you’ve been in a warm bed for… How long have we been asleep?”

“It’s10 in the morning,” Kass smiled. “You asked me to wake you up round about now.”

“Oh. Darn.” Psiksi sighed, kicked a blanket off him, then instantly regretted it and wrapped himself back up. “Are we still on holiday?”

“Yes. It’s tomorrow we both go back to work.”

“Piss!” Psiksi shouted. “I don’t wanna! This week’s been awesome! I don’t wanna go back to worrrrrrk!”

“I know,” Kass grumbled. Suddenly, he jumped onto Psiksi and wriggled under the blankets with him. “You’re right. It’s nice under here.”

“Told you!” Psiksi’s mood brightened up as he snuggled up next to Kass, using his body to warm up Kass’s cold parts. “Holy fuck, where have you been? You’re fucking freezing!”

“I was taking out the rubbish,” Kass explained. “It’s actually slightly nippy out there. There’s a storm comi-”

Before Kass could finish his sentence, something flashed outside, swiftly followed by a low, rumbling boom.

“You mean there’s a storm already here?” Psiksi smirked, pulling Kass closer. “Stay here in bed. We’ll just snuggle. And maybe… go a little further…”

Kass though seemed to have other ideas, his mood abruptly changing. He wriggled out of Psiksi’s grip and clawed his way out of the sheets.

“Sorry, but I don’t really want to spend my last day of the holiday in bed,” he sighed as he pulled a wrap around his stomach, covering himself up. “It just feels like a waste. We can sleep in whenever we want. But with the rain and the storm outside, there’s nowhere really to go either. I wanted to go down to the river or something, go outside, you know?”

Psiksi hesitated, then awkwardly climbed out of bed, slithering out and falling onto a pile of blankets. Kass couldn’t help at giggle at his silliness.

“I get it,” Psiksi smiled. “But it’s not like this is our last holiday ever!”

Kass huffed, sighing loudly. “But it might be our last holiday together…”

The young Rethan stared at Kass, not sure what he was on about. So he decided to ask. “Uh, what?”

“I’m scared I might do something and fuck up and you’ll leave me…” Kass seemed rather tearful. “I’m really scared. Most relationships I have, they generally have fallen apart by now.”

“Where has all this come from?” Psiksi asked. “You were fine literally a few seconds ago.”

“I don’t know…” Kass sat down on the bed. Psiksi sat down beside him and held him tight. “Maybe it’s because I’m sad the holiday’s over. Maybe it’s because it’s rainy and horrible outside. Maybe it’s because I was reading the news before you woke up and some poor fucker got struck by lightning last night and died. And that reminded me of those who aren’t with us any more…”

Psiksi frowned, then wrapped his arms even tighter around Kass. “I’m sorry you feel like that…”

With a sigh and a shake of his head, Kass hugged Psiksi. Something rumbled, but it wasn’t thunder.

“Was that your stomach?” Kass blinked.

Psiksi let go and looked down, giggling. “Maybe.”

“You hungry?”

“Always. Shall we put this behind us and go and eat all the left over junk food before we go back to our diets tomorrow?”

Kass’s smile returned as he pulled Psiksi close. “Sure. But let’s hug a bit more first…”

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