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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:07 pm

Olympian Tartaros

Giovenith wrote:"Wait, wait," he said. "Get Pegasus back? You mean, she took some of your ability to change into him away from you?"

Giovenith cringed and crossed her arms. "I'm not going to lie Sandy, it might be pretty hard to get him back. Of course we'll help, but..."[...]

[...Starlight] looked directly at Sandy. "You can count on me to help. It's a terrible thing to have your magic taken away from you." [...] Sunburst restrained a sigh but nodded. "Then I'll go too."


Solisian Union wrote:Dom [...] said: "Yeah! If I can handle some paper monsters, and if I can handle being with the beings of the Greek world, I surely can handle seeing the King of the Underworld.

Sandy's face split with huge, delighted smile. "Well, thank you, all of you!" He paused for moment. "Oh! The Metamorphosis..." Uncertain, Sandy looked at each of the faces around him, then stared at the floor.

He decided. He stepped back with one foot to better face Giovenith. "Yes, what the Olympians want, they..." He halted for a moment, head cocked, carefully choosing his words in case any of Them were within earshot. "...have a bad habit of taking. But it sounded-- Morpheus made it sound like Nyx wanted Pegasus for something specific, that he was 'perfect' for 'this sort of thing', in which case, I..." His arms swept a vague gesture. "I should be able to get him back afterwards. I'd like to hope that her, um, whatever it is... with the Princesses doesn't last too long."

"Anyway," Sandy turned back to where he'd started, addressing the Equestrians. "The Metamorphosis still works, it's just that Pegasus isn't all here -- I mean that literally. Here, let me show you." He got down on his knees, explaining, "Less far to fall if I pass out again." To Starlight, he added, "If your telekinesis will bear a ton and a half or so, please catch me if I fall."

He transformed; Pegasus looked the same as before: marred by blackness. If anything, the black marks seemed somehow darker than they were before. Sandy's equine head and neck wandered side to side from wooziness, but he pressed his eyes shut and steadied.

Amanda decided that he looked like he'd fought off whatever had been bothering him, and stopped watching him nervously. Looking to Starlight, she asked, "Do the Princesses ever say anything about their relationships with the other pantheons?" She shifted her gaze to Sunburst. "Ever?

"If Nyx was human, I'd say She's either going to an important business meeting, and putting on Her power suit, or She's going to a fancy social event, and getting out Her finery. Pegasus is a hell of an accessory for either. But since Nyx isn't human, and neither are the Princesses, I'm not sure I'm calling that right."

The ponies wouldn't have had long to answer, because Sandy was suddenly in motion. He swung his head around to look behind him, got to his hooves, and reared up to quickly turn around. As he settled down on all four legs, he almost lost his balance, slipping to one side as though dizzy, but he shifted his wings to right himself.

"Are you OK, dear?" Amanda made ready to hold him, but then she followed his fixed stare and forward-turned ears.

Kottos was holding his hundred arms out in a set of tiered circles around his body, making a rough cone shape, like a stylized Christmas tree. Above each upturned palm, a cloud floated. Most were fluffy cumulus clouds, but some had risen to angry black thunderheads, and more were rising to join them. The sound of rushing winds rose from Kottos's direction as well.

One of Sandy's ears whipped around, facing towards the tunnel to Hades. He shook his head violently, and started to rock, then started to lean to one side. A wingtip flicked: Sandy cancelled his spell, and he stumbled to his now-human feet.

He caught Amanda's outstretched hand as she stepped forward to catch him. Eyes again pressed shut, he said, "Time to leave! Now! Kottos is already drawing about a tenth..." He collapsed against Amanda, then pulled himself upright with great effort. "About a tenth of the Weather Factory, and he just sent--" He shook his head again, hands over his ears like he was trying to hold out some deafening sound.

Blinking rapidly and lowering his hands, he went on. "Kottos sent some spell down the tunnel.

"I'll be fine, but we need to go. Now!" With Amanda's help (and Adonis' help as an assist) Sandy led the way into the tunnel as the first gusts of wind started to blow on the group.

Giovenith belatedly realized she probably Saw the spell head down the tunnel, but she Noticed it solely as a message between the Olympians, this one meant to cross between dimensions.

Without Sandy's explanation of the magic involved, the tunnel could be mistaken for a mundane construction. Careful observation would reveal that it seemed that the color slowly drained out of the stone walls, as did the texture, so that as the group neared the other end, the tunnel walls were simply a smooth, grey arc above them.

Sandy managed the walk down the tunnel reasonably well, though his blinking and headshaking seemed to have been replaced by him staring into the distance ahead, as though trying to see something impossibly far away.

"Wait! Stop!" Amanda's left arm shot out as she waved people to a halt. "I hear something." She reached across her chest for her stunner.

Sandy refocused, glancing around like he was suddenly aware of his surroundings. "Yes, getting louder. Footfalls. I Hear... It's a variation on the Olympians' Theme. Different, but definitely getting closer." Amanda drew her gun, took the grip in both hands, and stepped behind Sandy to hide her gun from whoever was coming.

The Equestrians could now hear the footsteps as well; to their ears, whatever was coming sounded four-footed. They and the Belas started to hear it sniff the air as well.

"The dog, Sandy?" Amanda's whisper was barely audible to humans.

"Must—" He froze: the footfalls became a bounding gait. "Shit!"

Giovenith and Domenica started to hear the fast, paired, heavy thuds: "Bumbum! Bumbum!". Sandy stepped out in front of the group, raising his hands to the first casting gesture of the spell that called Pegasus.

Three immense, black heads poked out from around the corner at the tunnel's end, ten feet above the ground. They turned, caught sight of Sandy, and barked, growled, and bared arm-length teeth at him (respectively). Sandy started into his spell.
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Giovenith
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Postby Giovenith » Fri Mar 12, 2021 4:50 pm

The ponies all shook their heads and confirmed that there was no discussion of other pantheons from the Princesses or anything else. Sunburst in particular confirmed that nothing had been said about it at the Canterlot school.

"There are stories of all sorts of fantastical things, but no, nothing precisely like what you're describing," he said.

Giovenith was especially concerned. She didn't voice it, but she was caught between not feeling like they could leave Sandy in this position and knowing that demanding his spell back could potentially be suicide. It was cruel to rob someone of the ability to fly (she was sure, anyway) but it definitely wasn't the most cruel thing that could happen to them...

All of that was put on hold as disaster struck. Nobody said or commanded anything, they just flew into action to duck for cover in the tunnel. When they stopped, before anyone could ask what the hell happened or begin to try to explain, they already had another problem on their hands: Cerberus.

Giovenith sweated slightly but locked her jaw, firmly. "Starlight, give me the 'chief!"

The pony complied but she asked, worried, "What about you?"

"I'll be fine." Or at least she would recover much better than any of them would. "Put up a shield to protect everyone else though!"

"Gio-" Willow started, but even he knew there wasn't much he could do to stop her as she took off.

As the shield went up Giovenith raced in front of it and visibly past Sandy, turning briefly mid-run to gesture a plea to wait a moment, before stopping ahead of the group, planting herself between them and Cerberus.

"Wait!" she shouted towards the dog. She held the handkerchief in the air. "Good boy, do you see this? See?" She waved it a bit.
Last edited by Giovenith on Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Fvaarniimar
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Postby Fvaarniimar » Sun Mar 14, 2021 3:03 am

Nick liked flying, but this was ridiculous. Yes, of course he wanted to catch up to the others. He still yowled in indignation. He'd be yowling even if he wasn't irritated; this was the thrill ride all others aspired to be. Following the stomach-dropping fall, his momentum had had to go somewhere, and, as though on an invisible track, he had hit a sharp curve which didn't properly exist. Now, he was hurtling through the air belly-first, legs splayed out comically.

The cat knew his terminal velocity - roughly the highway speed of a car. Although he didn't know this, that was rapid enough for the Doppler effect to be in play, and thus the group would hear the pitch changing as he hurtled towards them. Due to long acquaintance, Willow and Sandy would perhaps be able to understand from the tone of the caterwauling that Nick was uninjured. He was merely stuck on the worlds' longest rollercoaster without so much as - actually, he had a harness, but it wasn't attached to anything but his snake. If he'd had control of his path, or at least the ability to see it, this might be fun. Unfortunately, he had neither, and he felt he'd come to a stop at any moment, and then -

Everyone he'd lost track of was there. There was a tense standoff occurring between his loved ones and an enormous dog. A Cerberus. Giovenith was facing it alone, so it was out of Nick's league. She wasn't attacking. It wasn't their friend, but it might not be their enemy. Yet. His ears flattened. I'm going to crash into the dog, aren't I.
The cat gritted his teeth. The lizard was out of my league too, he thought as he shot past the bubble. He had still tried to communicate, and fought when that failed. Recalling, his mind reached for theirs; he pulled it back. This isn't an emergency - yet. Terrifying them won't help -

But there was one thing that might keep the situation from worsening. With a truly herculean effort of will, the cat sheathed his claws as he shot past the young goddess. They re-extended, and he pulled them back in. Just in time, too, for that was when he bounced off an enormous and moist nose and landed behind Sandy. Trembling, the cat pressed against an ankle - not to talk, but for comfort. Familiar scents surrounded him - as well as two which he didn't recognize at all. New people?
Come to the light side.  We have teamwork, waffles, popcorn, grape juice, and way too much ramen.

Unless one is a genealogist, therapist, geneticist, or FBI agent - who is acting within the scope of their job - to claim that anyone is wrong about their own identity is not merely absurd but also extremely rude.

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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:30 pm

The Entrance to Hades

Giovenith wrote:As the shield went up Giovenith raced in front of it and visibly past Sandy, turning briefly mid-run to gesture a plea to wait a moment, before stopping ahead of the group, planting herself between them and Cerberus. [...] "Wait!" she shouted towards the dog. She held the handkerchief in the air. "Good boy, do you see this? See?" She waved it a bit.

As Giovenith took the lead, the huge dog took a couple of steps forward, bringing its whole body into view. Other than its size and number of heads, it could be mistaken for a black bulldog, at least if a bulldog had a whip-like, serpentine tail that ended in an asp's head with a mouth a handspan wide.

Cerberus barely noticed what the godling was holding, because as soon as she got in front of the others, his middle head dropped to just above hers, eyes softening and ears flopping down. But while that head smiled at Giovenith, the flanking heads growled at the others, and snapped at anybody trying to get past. The asp's head hovered further back at the end of Cerberus' tail, flitting around, seeming to watch everybody.

Fvaarniimar wrote:Due to long acquaintance, Willow and Sandy would perhaps be able to understand from the tone of the caterwauling that Nick was uninjured. [...H]e bounced off an enormous and moist nose and landed behind Sandy. Trembling, the cat pressed against an ankle - not to talk, but for comfort. Familiar scents surrounded him - as well as two which he didn't recognize at all.

"Behind us!" Amanda shouted as she turned towards the sound behind her. Even with Boon-boosted agility, she couldn't quite track the flying noisemaker with her stunner, but she did her best as it sailed overhead, bounced off of a surprised dog's schnoz, and landed at her feet.

Fvaarniimar wrote:New people?

"Nick??" Incredulous, she just stared at the tomcat. Deciding that Giovenith had the situation more or less in hand, she holstered her gun, thinking of picking Nick up.

Sandy's spellcasting finished, and he metamorphosed. Cerberus's head's joy was doubled, and Sandy stepped around Starlight's shield to nuzzle the big head with his own. He was still a bit unsteady, but he'd gotten better at balancing himself with his wings, like a wire-walker with a balance pole. Sandy's nuzzle was returned, and Cerberus affectionately licked him, leaving Sandy's head covered in divine dog-slobber; Sandy was less than thrilled, but there was little he could do about it.

Amanda smirked at him, and then a penny dropped: he's just a big dog. Incredibly threatening, but just a dog. Thinking quickly, she yanked open one her pants pockets and pulled out the ball of Babylon Thread, and showed it to Cerberus' happy head. "Here boy! Fetch the ball! Goodboy, fetchtheball!" She hurled it over one of his shoulders, and he chased after it, immense galloping strides carrying him into the distance.

Behind where Cerberus had been stretched a grey landscape, dotted with buildings. The inhabitants – humans, kentauroi, minotauroi, others Amanda didn't recognize – looked up as Hades' Hound raced past them. Some turned to see who had thrown him the ball.

Sandy, still wobbly, crossed the threshold. As he passed through, his coat intensified: the white parts were brilliant, somehow brighter than they could be, and the blackness was now the gloom of deepest night, unsettling to look at directly. He turned his head to look himself, seemed to realize something, and stood stock still, Listening intently.

Amanda hesitated, waiting for some kind of verdict from her husband. After an agonizing wait, Sandy let his spell dissipate. Amanda could hear the gasps of the nearest residents of Hades; a minotaur started towards them, puzzled by the transformation.

Apparently not noticing, Sandy used a sleeve to try to clean his face, then recast his spell, but very slowly, with careful, elegant gestures, and in one part, slightly changed – just a few different words. The babblefish, struggling as usual to make sense of Sandy's incantations, muttered something vague about stars, and when the spell finished, Sandy was indeed different.

Before the black splotches and slashes were random. Now, Sandy looked like a negative of the night sky: black stars on a white body, the stars properly covering his body as his constellation showed it in the night sky. Each of his eyes was framed by an eerie, midnight-black twelve-pointed star.

With a huge grin, Sandy gestured with a forehoof for the others to follow him, and he made to meet the approaching minotaur, who was now completely baffled. Others, further off, had turned to face Sandy, and some who'd been sitting had gotten to their feet.

Amanda stepped forward and cautiously poked a finger through the threshold. Its colors seemed muted as it crossed, but when she yanked her hand back, it was normal-colored. She tried a couple more times, once with her phone, and decided whatever it was was harmless, and stepped into the grey lands of the dead.
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gollum died for your sins.
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Giovenith
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Postby Giovenith » Thu Mar 18, 2021 9:07 pm

Even with everything strange that happened so far, still no one in the group could have guessed that a cat would go flying past their heads, let alone one that they personally knew. Luckily, the furry newcomer was able to scramble over to the protection of the group rather than further into the depths of Hades, where he was soon recognized.

"Nick, what are you doing here?" he asked, bending low to greet the furry newcomer. "I thought you were watching the pets at the hotel."

Starlight looked over at him with at first a confused but then deadpan, critical expression. She looked Willow up and down. "You, sure do have a lot of unique friends, don't you...?"

"You're one to talk." He sniffed, scooping Nick up into his foreleg.

Thankfully, the plan worked as expected (or, at the very least, they had gotten the result they had wanted): Just as the Ponyvillian had remembered, Cerberus was just a big guy who got out of his yard sometimes. Smiling, he confirmed to Starlight that it was safe to lower the shield, and Sunburst bit his tongue as his Babylon Thread was confiscated.

"Oh- But- Um..." His protests died awkwardly. "Ohhhh, that cost me seventy bits..."

Starlight gave him a slap on the back. "Willow will get you a new one."

"Hey." The artist objected, but not too vehemently, as the two exchanged a light-hearted look. They were all soon rejoined by Giovenith, who pointed out that the task was easier than expected.

Northwest Slobovia wrote:Sandy, still wobbly, crossed the threshold. As he passed through, his coat intensified: the white parts were brilliant, somehow brighter than they could be, and the blackness was now the gloom of deepest night, unsettling to look at directly. He turned his head to look himself, seemed to realize something, and stood stock still, Listening intently.

Amanda hesitated, waiting for some kind of verdict from her husband. After an agonizing wait, Sandy let his spell dissipate. Amanda could hear the gasps of the nearest residents of Hades; a minotaur started towards them, puzzled by the transformation.

Apparently not noticing, Sandy used a sleeve to try to clean his face, then recast his spell, but very slowly, with careful, elegant gestures, and in one part, slightly changed – just a few different words. The babblefish, struggling as usual to make sense of Sandy's incantations, muttered something vague about stars, and when the spell finished, Sandy was indeed different.

Before the black splotches and slashes were random. Now, Sandy looked like a negative of the night sky: black stars on a white body, the stars properly covering his body as his constellation showed it in the night sky. Each of his eyes was framed by an eerie, midnight-black twelve-pointed star.


The group blocked their eyes from Sandy's unexpected transformation. They adjusted, but just barely, enough to marvel at the new pattern the wizard had given himself.

Sunburst removed his glasses to help against the glare. "He's, reacting to something? Is it dangerous?"

Giovenith shook her head. "It's an acknowledgement of his status here."

"He is happening," Willow remarked, biting the tip of his wing slightly in a grin as he strained as hard as he could to take in the whole scene. He couldn't help but call out, "Sandy, my man, you look positively transcendent! I know you want to get Pegasus back, but damn, wouldn't be the worst thing if you kept that look!"

He was booped by Giovenith, who encouraged him to stop risking his eyesight. That, however, soon became moot as the rest of them stepped forward and she also began to glow. She fetched out several pairs of very dark sunglasses from her pockets and passed them out to everybody. The light was so overwhelming that they barely noticed at first when the color was sapped from them (hardly noticeable on Willow, of course). This didn't seem to hurt them either, though Giovenith still felt the need to reassure:

"We're in the home of the Prince and Princess now," she explained. "We'll have to be on our best behavior especially now."

"The one you told us about before?" Starlight asked. The godling nodded. "Will, we be able to talk to him?"

Giovenith thought. "Maybe, but I wouldn't try to initiate. Just try to follow my lead."

Sunburst nodded and looked out on the horizon. "I didn't expect it to be a city. Who lives here, just... different creatures?"

Willow squinted his eyes and tilted his head at the minotaur that Sandy was trotting towards. "... Is that the guy who gave that assertiveness seminar a few years back?" he absently mumbled in question to Nick, though the intelligent cat wouldn't have known the answer.

Giovenith, somewhat oddly, reached out her hands in offering to hold them with both Amanda and Domenica, a concerned and sympathetic expression on her face. She would have done the same with the others had she had more than two hands and had they all had... hands.
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Solisian Union
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Postby Solisian Union » Sat Mar 20, 2021 5:43 am

After she was told the answers she needed for her questions, Domenica diligently nodded along as she noted every single important point she could. She later tapped her pen against her notepad, even as she listened to her babblefish translate and explain. Then she sighed and closed up her notepad before she said: "Thanks. That sounds good. Though I may have some more questions. This is all...interesting to me."


Domenica quickly opened up her notepad again to take notes. The Metamorphosis. Heh. She cracked a smile, reminding herself of the story by Kafka. But she couldn’t imagine Sandy becoming an insect like Gregor did. So she shook her head as she finished scribbling on the page. Then she looked around, paying attention for a while before she closed up her notepad. Nothing else to note down.

But she at least took note of how Sandy behaved. He was…interesting. She chuckled again, whispering under her breath, “Wala gyud kabalo si Amanda gaano ka swerte siya.” The babblefish would translate that as: “Amanda doesn’t know anything at all about how lucky she is.”

She blushed. The babblefish caught her voice. How sensitive. But she just rolled her eyes and gave a thumbs up to Amanda before she turned to observe Sandy again. The transformation immediately caused her to sigh and open up her notepad. “I should keep this thing open at all times instead.” She scribbled down what she saw. Then she noted what Amanda said. Good observation, but not easy to understand when Nyx is not human. And hearing her admit that made her nod.

Then things happened. She heard what Sandy warned them about when Kottos drew, according to him, a tenth of the Weather Factor- what? A weather factory? She-

WWOOOOOOSH!

She too had to put her hands over her ears. But as soon as they were told to go, she went through the tunnel with him and the rest of the group.

She was running. But she slowed down to a jog and stopped to lean against a wall as the others stopped.

Domenica remembered what the ponies talked about in response to a question. And she was noting that down along with whatever she could remember when Cerberus came around.

Dog.

Big dog.

She dropped her notepad and pen, fetching her pen of destruction and her pen of magic and removing the caps of both. She didn't care at that moment where the caps went. She could pick them up later.

Domenica concentrated on her pens, but the shield was put up, and she let out a hiss through her teeth before clicking her tongue. She whispered out a curse. Then she shook her head and picked up the caps, putting one over the destruction pen but not the magic one. She looked for her notepad but it was outside the shield. Dom frowned. But she observed how things went between Giovenith and the guardian. And she smiled.

She was able to concentrate on calming herself down when she heard the noise from above. And then...

A cat. Talking. To her friends. She blinked her eyes and just said in shock: "Unsa ma ning butanga?" Which meant, theough her babblefish, "What the hell?"

Eventually, she, when things calmed down, and after the guardian ran away from them, causing her to clap a little in relief and celebration, went out to pick up her notepad but forgot her writing pen.

The writing pen lay on the ground close to Amanda's feet. The cap was on the bottom of the pen.

But Domenica did not notice. Not yet it seems. She could only come closer and try and help the cat as the others did. And after she joined them, she had to shield her own eyes from the transformation of Sandy. It was only when she was passed a pair of sunglasses that she put them on and gave her eyes some better respite. She reached her hand out to Gio and said, "Thank you. I-"

She froze. Then she looked around, asking, "Ay yawa, where is my pen? My writing pen. I dropped it!"

Unfortunately, the babblefish translated her first two words as: "Ah, the Devil!"
^_^

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Fvaarniimar
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Postby Fvaarniimar » Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:01 am

Nick spoke up, via the magical collar which let him articulate his thoughts. "Is this it?" With the pen's end grasped firmly in his jaws, he continued. The cat's words remained clear, which might make it more obvious that he wasn't using his mouth to speak. "I thought it might be a neat souvenir. I didn't know it was yours."

Domenica might be surprised by Nick's mouth. The cat wasn't a paragon of dental hygiene - had Utherwishwashum met him, the animate toothbrush might have had some harsh words. Compared to a baseline cat, however, he had a very clean maw. His teeth were yellowed, but otherwise healthy. His breath smelled no worse than her own. The pen would be slightly damp, but wouldn't stink.

The sunglasses did help. Swatting them further up, Nick wondered how much of that help was mental - did their transformations have a physical basis? Moments later, he concluded that they seemed to. This was a different realm, with different rules. He barely noticed himself graying as his first friend began to glow. Normally she was unassuming. In this moment, she reminded him of Mother Bast and certain moments within the Library of Alexandria. The cat thought she might sprout wings at any instant - not to fly off, obviously, but simply because her power was so clearly displayed. She was part dragon, after all.
Come to the light side.  We have teamwork, waffles, popcorn, grape juice, and way too much ramen.

Unless one is a genealogist, therapist, geneticist, or FBI agent - who is acting within the scope of their job - to claim that anyone is wrong about their own identity is not merely absurd but also extremely rude.

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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sun Mar 21, 2021 4:10 pm

Hades

As Sandy reached conversational distance with the minotaur, he could make out details of the latter's outfit. The minotaur's clothing seemed contemporary, perhaps a European style, but the minotaur's collar had a contrasting frill, and the seams of his shirt and pants had contrasting flounces. The minotaur had elaborate inlays set into his horns; to judge by the way they caught Hades' grey light, they were probably silver and gems, though distinguishing precious stones from merely pretty ones wasn't possible without their colors.

The minotaur looked Sandy up and down. "You're Pegasus?" Sandy nodded. "And a man, too?"

But before Sandy could even think about replying, the minotaur's gaze was torn away by the entrance of a more important immortal, and he turned to Giovenith. "Goddess," he said, bowing his head. He pronounced the word dea, confirming Sandy's guess that he was speaking a Romance language, though not one Sandy had ever heard.

As Giovenith and her companions entered Hades, it seemed that everybody in sight was suddenly on their feet, and the approaching people were suddenly a chattering crowd. "Goddess" seemed to be on everybody's lips, though most pronounced it thea. Through the hubbub, the sharp-eared could pick out other excitedly repeated words: unicorns, cute little pegasus, cat – monoceroi, pegasoulis, gata – and surprise that they spoke.

Giovenith wrote:"He is happening," Willow remarked, biting the tip of his wing slightly in a grin as he strained as hard as he could to take in the whole scene. [...]"Sandy, my man, you look positively transcendent! I know you want to get Pegasus back, but damn, wouldn't be the worst thing if you kept that look!"

Sandy fixed Willow with a single eye, and his equine mouth turned up into a delighted grin.

Giovenith wrote:Sunburst nodded and looked out on the horizon. "I didn't expect it to be a city. Who lives here, just... different creatures?"

"This is their heaven," Amanda explained, nodding agreeably at what she saw, "This is where all those who worshipped the Olympian Princes and Princesses go when they die."

Giovenith wrote:Giovenith, somewhat oddly, reached out her hands in offering to hold them with both Amanda and Domenica, a concerned and sympathetic expression on her face.

Amanda, more than a little surprised at the offer, took Giovenith's hand. Is she concerned about our fates? If Heaven is like this, death isn't so bad.

Solisian Union wrote:[Domenica] froze. Then she looked around, asking, "Ay yawa, where is my pen? My writing pen. I dropped it!" […] Unfortunately, the babblefish translated her first two words as: "Ah, the Devil!"

Fvaarniimar wrote:Nick spoke up, via the magical collar which let him articulate his thoughts. "Is this it?" With the pen's end grasped firmly in his jaws, he continued. The cat's words remained clear, which might make it more obvious that he wasn't using his mouth to speak.


As the swelling crowd reached them, one elderly woman seemed to half take the lead and half be chosen to take the lead for them. She and a number of others stepped forward in small groups; the woman and her group were right in front of Giovenith and those with her, and the rest formed a loose semi-circle around her, though it bent outward on Sandy's side out of respect for the Olympians' winged horse.

The elderly woman wore an ankle-length, pleated black skirt, much like the ones Amanda typically wore. But above that, she wore only body art, perhaps some form of body paint, but it shimmered in Hades' light. Whatever it was made of, her body art consisted of intertwined images of all sorts: geometric figures, landscapes, realistic objects, and isolated words, though the script was unfamiliar. One set of pictures caught Sandy's eye: on each bicep, she had an image of three black dogs sitting side by side, marking her as a cultist of Hekate.

The bald, portly, middle-aged man to her right bore similar attire, though his body art was a bit different, yet still featuring two trios of black dogs. To her left was a youngish, dark-haired woman wearing a Doric chiton, a garment so ancient that Sandy had seen it only on pottery. She wore a three-dog pendant.

The elderly woman took another step forward and faced Giovenith squarely. "In the names of Hades, Persephone, and Hekate; and the Olympians Hera, Athena, Hephaistos, Poseidon, and Hermes, we welcome you to Hades. Our gods seem to be concerned with something of importance right now, but they should offer a more appropriate welcome shortly.

"I am Glyke Achilleos, once the Voice of Hekate on Ephesus." She followed this with a cultic pedigree, reeling off a long list of previous Voices of Hekate, ending with "Zoë Protos, who was with Hekate when she revived Hekabe." She turned to Domenica and then Amanda, "And we welcome you, Chronicler and Priestess." Domenica's title was pronounced kronographos. To Nick, "And you as well, Stylus-bearer to Her Chronicler." And finally to the Equestrians, "And all of you, in your roles as aides to Her Divinity." Glyke spoke a Greek dialect, but so unusual that even Sandy was reliant on his babblefish to understand it.

Glyke then bobbed in a curtsy to Giovenith; the man with her did the same, though their third companion bowed her head and kept it down. Behind and around them, others in crowd offered various obeisances: bows, elaborate gestures, prostration, formal pronouncements of blessings and goodwill upon Giovenith, and other indications of their respect for her power and station.

Amanda, suppressing a smile, turned her head towards Giovenith, and whispered, "Need a Voice? I'll waive my usual representation fee." She was tickled by the thought. A refugee from the Baptist church mistaken for a 'pagan' priestess. What would they think back home? After a second look at the sincere and well-reasoned but mistaken display before her, she added another thought. But this religion works, and Giovenith's will too.

Still looking at Giovenith, Amanda gave her head a tiny shake, and provided a whispered adendum: "Just tell them."

Sandy watched most of the introductions with solemnity: welcoming a visiting deity was something to be handled with care, especially since none of the dead recognized Giovenith. Even as a minor Olympian immortal, Pegasus had their respect, and Giovenith was several steps higher on the divine pecking order. And as a living mortal, Sandy intended to show Hekate's former head cultist the same respect. But a cult in Ephesus? And in another timestream? Wow! That's something to ask about!

Sandy got no further in his speculations, because a small group stepped forward to speak to him. In their lead was a kentaur about as tall as Celestia, wearing a bronze panoply that Sandy guessed was Mycenaean. Even his equine parts were armored, including a bronze-scaled girdle around his midsection, and a bronze-scaled skirt around his hindquarters.

He wore a closed-face helmet that men called Corinthian, but there seemed a faint, translucent overlay of a deep cut in it on the left side. When the kentaur removed his helmet to speak, it revealed an overlay of a massive head wound on his fair-haired head: somebody had hit him with a heavy sword or an axe. Oddly, despite the wound's appearance, it was neither horrific nor disgusting; it was simply matter of fact. Sandy chalked that up to one of the many enchantments on Hades.

Amanda recognized the implications a moment before her husband did: bodily resurrection of the dead! The kentaur died on the battlefield, so that is how he was in the afterlife. Thus, the Voice probably died of old age, the fat guy to her right might have fallen to stroke or heart attack, and Amanda would put $50 on the young woman having died in childbirth.

Behind the kentaur was a group of men and women, and towering over all of them was a gryph, with a wingspan nearly as broad as Sandy's. The Euro-style minotaur stepped out of their way.

The kentaur stepped in very close to Sandy, almost nose-to-nose with him; Sandy wondered if that was cultural, as it seemed unlikely one of the dead would try to intimidate an immortal. "I'm Eurynomos. Welcome, brother magic-worker, Many-gods Favored!" Eurynomos saluted Sandy with a brief hand over heart gesture; the others with him made similar welcome.

Spellcasters! Well, well, well! Sandy returned to human form. "I'm Sandy-ford, sometimes called 'the Ruddy'. Glad to meet you, Eurynomos, um... Battle-gloried."

"Yes!" Eurynomos showed a huge, wolfish smile. "Ah, brother-mage! I had the honor of death in battle! It took spell and bronze to bring me here, as I clung to life and took it, inspired by a hero who later went west to the Elysian Plains, would I had gone with him!"
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Solisian Union
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Postby Solisian Union » Sun Mar 21, 2021 7:41 pm

"Yes! That's my pen! Thank you." Domenica gently reached toward the cat and took the pen from his mouth. She felt how damp it was but she simply wiped it against her pant leg before she smiled at the cat and said, "It would make a neat souvenir, yes, but it's a special pen. It has powers." The Filipina then chuckled and then, as she let Gio take her one hand, she looked over the cat and said, "So you know the others? I assume you're friends."

Then she looked toward the minotaur and Sandy, observing them as they spoke to each other. She blushed at seeing the clothes which the great horse creature wore. She was about to say something when she saw how the minotaur addressed Gio. Goddess, the minotaur said.

And when a crowd came to them, Domenica instinctively reached for her destruction pen, hoping she need not use it. She never felt this nervous and fearful before, not before so many people, but these were not people, no, they didn't look like normal people, but they were still intelligent, they were like people. The writer slowly removed her hand away from her destruction pen, choosing to observe what happened. And she took note mentally of what they said. Strange terms.

"This is their heaven," Amanda explained, nodding agreeably at what she saw, "This is where all those who worshipped the Olympian Princes and Princesses go when they die."


"How many princes and princesses does their heaven really have?" she asked. Her voice shook. She apparently was more nervous than she thought, but was holding on.

And when she did take Gio's hand, she hadn't realized that she was holding her hand quite tightly.

And she looked on, absorbing as much detail as she could mentally. She wished she had some more magic, some more power, or some more abilities that would enable her to write without needing a pen or a notepad. Somewhere. And she wondered if she brought a recorder. She sighed. Should have brought a recorder. But the body art did draw much of her attention, as did their names and what they were.

She turned to Domenica and then Amanda, "And we welcome you, Chronicler and Priestess." Domenica's title was pronounced kronographos.


She blinked. Chronicler? Kronographos? She swallowed nervously and pointed to herself, bewildered. But at least it seemed to break her out from the fear and nervousness which gripped her.
^_^

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Fvaarniimar
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Postby Fvaarniimar » Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:19 am

Nick, too, was somewhat bewildered. Stylus-Bearer? That's a new one. Fortunately, Nick hadn't been present for Sandy's hailing as Book Rescuer, and as such didn't feel overlooked.

Willow would get the impression that if convenient and if he didn't plan on standing on two legs for a while, Nick would rather sit on his back. He'd also find his friend rather thoughtful following their new neighbor's queries. Domenica clearly wanted additional information, and the cat was willing to help, if she would be okay with that.

From same place, twelve main, scissor motion. With that sorted, he met her eyes. It wasn't for power reasons; he wanted the girl to have some idea of who was talking. Willow would be able to pick up that Nick was communicating, and could listen in if he liked, but he'd also understand that his friend meant simply to go over some basics.

"Hi 'Chronicler,' this is the cat who had your pen. My name is Nick, and yes, I'm friends with most of these people. We've been neighbors for quite some time. Anyway, their heaven has twelve 'main' princes and princesses, the 'Olympians,' with many more that are also important but not as...obvious? Visible? For example, Hades -" Maybe throwing around that name could be unwise, but it wasn't like they were avoiding His attention, or even could at this point. "He rules Hades-the-place, where we are now, along with 'Persephone," his wife. He's an - wait - not an official Olympian. Ditto for his wife. They're not as recognized, but they're a really big deal -"

"Oh. Right. If you want me to disconnect, make a scissor motion. If you want to ask something else, you can think 'at' me. You should know -
" Domenica would sense frustration, and resignation. If Willow was paying attention, he'd additionally understand that Nick wasn't frustrated by the ability, but rather by the fact that it could upset people. "If you do that, I will be able to pick up on your thoughts and emotions. Right now this is one way - you can hear me, I can't hear you."
Last edited by Fvaarniimar on Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Giovenith
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:55 pm

Oh jeeze, no… Giovenith looked down and pulled her hands away from Amanda and Domenica to not-so-stealthily cover her face. Not that it would do much with her beaming like a lighthouse. The greeting wasn’t unexpected, though she had been hoping they would have gotten in through less public means, but the attention still made her tummy churn and her skin tingle unpleasantly. Don't be rude, she reminded herself. They're not doing anything wrong, and they’re praising you.

It still bothered her though. Nobody deserved praise just for being what they were, in Giovenith’s opinion (though she understood that there were many situations where one had no choice but to give it.) When it was just given to you, it was difficult to tell whether or not you earned it. Whether or not you were worthy. And that in particular was something she had been struggling with as of late.

“I have a feeling you’re not used to a lot of eyes on you?” Starlight pushed her glasses further toward her face as she leaned in to quietly exchange with Giovenith.

“Oh, I’ve handled crowds,” the glowing girl said. “Just not, necessarily for me.”

The purple magician smiled, though the sunglasses made it difficult to tell what her expression fully conveyed. “Twilight still isn’t big on being greeted as a Princess either.”

“I wish they knew they didn’t have to…”

“Then why don’t you tell them?”

Giovenith considered this for a moment. Moving her hands to her cheeks to cover up her blush, she smiled awkwardly and gave a few brief waves to the people they passed. “Heeeey,” she called out to them, tentatively. “Yeeeaah it’s me, a goddess… my name is Giovenith! Oh, it’s okay, you can just call me that…” She made a waving down gesture as if to gently push away the awe.

“Where they go when they die…” Sunburst repeated Amanda’s words, mulling over them, as if she had pointed out something obvious but newly recognized. “Hmm.”

Willow blinked and shifted Nick to his back. “I guess it’s not really something we think about, is it?”

“Many cultures outside of Equestria have complex death traditions,” said Sunburst. “I have heard about the concept of afterlife, ancestor worship, things like that. But no, I don’t think I’ve really ever thought about the equivalent for us.”

Giovenith pinched her brow, confused. “Don’t you go anywhere? No offense, but you guys don’t exactly strike me as nihilists.”

The ponies exchanged a look.

“Well, there’s no official answer, so I couldn’t tell you for sure what happens to us,” Sunburst admitted. “But ungulatologically speaking-” Giovenith guessed that the word ‘anthropology’ wouldn’t be appropriate for their world. “-ponies have often been characterized by a certain here-and-now approach to life. Some theorize that it’s influenced by a mixture of our cutie marks and our ecokinesis, and I would say that the physical presence of the Princesses contributes as well: We need to place so little of our fates in the hooves of wider unknown forces, either for our paths in life, the state of our environment, or our spiritual satisfaction. Most of both our lower and higher needs are fulfilled in very direct, material ways, and given that, I suppose it wouldn’t really occur to us to think much about the immaterial — such as what happens after death.”

Giovenith nodded, believing that she understood. “If life is all-around satisfying, then why do you need to fixate on going anywhere when it’s over? Kind of how like in our world, nations that are more prosperous don’t have many god-worshipers… um, Princess-followers.” She clarified. “But does that mean that Princess Celestia doesn’t do anything with you when you die? Does she recycle you? That’s what my mom does.”

A deeper, naughtier part of her mind chirped in: Maybe if she does, she wouldn’t mind if I kept Willow. But she quickly batted that down. Sadly, she knew that neither Celestia nor Willow would ever agree to that.

Things suddenly became a lot more tense as the group faced the clergy of the Hekate. They listened in somewhat stunned silence as the religious dynasty was rattled off and took turns nodding in humble acknowledgement at their epithets. Things soon became very awkward for Giovenith again as the praise from before was cranked up to eleven, and she had to actively resist the temptation to roll up the turtleneck on her sweater dress over her face. Ohhhhh, jeeeeeeze…

Still looking at Giovenith, Amanda gave her head a tiny shake, and provided a whispered adendum: "Just tell them."


The godling looked to Amanda, assuming she was repeating the same advice Starlight had given before. Amanda was correct, though, that this probably called for being more direct.

“It’s okay everyone,” she piped up, gently raising a hand. “Really, it’s really nice to meet all of you and I appreciate the respect, but you can go ahead and skip any formalities. I don’t mind at all, really. You can just treat me like anyone else.”

"Hi 'Chronicler,' this is the cat who had your pen. My name is Nick, and yes, I'm friends with most of these people. We've been neighbors for quite some time. Anyway, their heaven has twelve 'main' princes and princesses, the 'Olympians,' with many more that are also important but not as...obvious? Visible? For example, Hades -" Maybe throwing around that name could be unwise, but it wasn't like they were avoiding His attention, or even could at this point. "He rules Hades-the-place, where we are now, along with 'Persephone," his wife. He's an - wait - not an official Olympian. Ditto for his wife. They're not as recognized, but they're a really big deal -"


Willow listened intently but without comment as Nick explained their situation to Domenica. He had only heard here and there about the Olympians from Giovenith but he did remember the gist of Hades and Persephone, especially the latter, which caused his chest to sink a little bit. Obviously he would never say it out loud here and now when the consequences for offending anyone were high, but suffice to say, Willow didn’t have a high opinion of kidnapping. She was a flowers and sunshine kind of goddess before, right? He couldn’t help but imagine how he would never be able to get over it if something like that happened to Giovenith.

I hope this isn’t too sad to deal with, he quietly thought to himself, resigning himself to the possibility that it very well might. He exchanged these thoughts with Nick through the link, hoping to at least mentally get his concerns off his chest.

All Equestrian eyes narrowed in confusion and the three backed up somewhat at the arrival of the centaur. They looked at the creature, then their human friends, then the centaur, then at each other, then at Sandy specifically, then back at the centaur again. Well, they supposed there was more than one way to be a horse-human!

"I'm Eurynomos. Welcome, brother magic-worker, Many-gods Favored!"


Starlight, quietly making note of the lack of reaction to Eurynomos’ injury to jot down later, waited politely for him and Sandy to finish speaking before gently trotting up next to the now-human historian.

“Excuse me,” she ventured, lifting a foreleg somewhat anxiously. “Did you say that you’re magicians too?” She gestured to herself. “My name is Starlight Glimmer. My friend and I are magicians who came to learn about your culture.”
Last edited by Giovenith on Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:13 pm

Hades

Giovenith wrote:“It’s okay everyone,” [Giovenith] piped up, gently raising a hand. “Really, it’s really nice to meet all of you and I appreciate the respect, but you can go ahead and skip any formalities. I don’t mind at all, really. You can just treat me like anyone else.”

Some in the gathered crowd gasped at Giovenith's statement before they descended into a confused hubbub. It was easy to pick out repetitions of "treat me like anyone else" in the murmuring, along with puzzled looks from some of the dead, the odd side-long glance, and an undercurrent of, "Is she really a goddess?"

Glyke motioned for silence, quieting the the dead behind her, then retuned to facing Giovenith. "But how are we to treat you like us? You come and go as you please; we are in our reward forever. You have your worshippers to care for." Her sweeping gestures took in everybody but Sandy, "but we have no more physical cares, and few other ones. And you have the Olympians to speak to." Uncertainty crossed her brow. "Do you not?"

Amanda's impatient glance hopped from Giovenith to Glyke and then to Sandy. We've got to get this straightened out. But despite staring hopefully at Sandy, Amanda's husband didn't notice.

She caught Glyke's eye. "We're her friends, not her worshipers."

Another round of consternation in the crowd was quelled by the Voice's insistent hand motions. "Is this so, Goddess? You held their hands; are they your lovers?"

As Giovenith listened, she became aware that a distant Olympian – how far was hard to tell – had started to move in their direction. But judging by the speed and distance, it seemed that she had a little while before the local god arrived.

Giovenith wrote:“Excuse me,” she ventured, lifting a foreleg somewhat anxiously. “Did you say that you’re magicians too?” She gestured to herself. “My name is Starlight Glimmer. My friend and I are magicians who came to learn about your culture.”

Eurynomos' surprise at realizing Starlight was talking to him was complete: his gaze indicated he expected a taller speaker, perhaps another human, and when he lowered his eyes to her, he blinked and rubbed his eyes with his hands. When Starlight was still there, he exclaimed, "I had no idea there were pink and purple monoceroi!"

Gently teasing, Sandy prompted,"Or that they could speak?"

"Not at all! Nor that-- I'd thought you would be more my size." He'd addressed Starlight and Sunburst with his comments. He stood straighter. "Yes, I am Eurynomos, a sorcerer... and a warrior too! I fought with both--"

The gryph draped a wing over Eurynomos' head, covering his face. "Don't encourage him, please, everybody here knows how great a warrior he is." Her dripping sarcasm was nearly visible. The gryph's voice sounded feminine, made up sounds more appropriate for songbirds than eagle cries.

Eurynomos brushed her wing away, but she added, "All of us here..." Swirling wing gestures indicated the group that was talking to Sandy, "...work magic, but each of as has a different Gift... and not all of us are Sighted."
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Giovenith
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Postby Giovenith » Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:44 pm

"Oh noooo, no, no," Giovenith shot down the notion politley but firmly, waving a hand to dismiss it. "I was just hand-holding to reassure them! Touching like that isn't just for lovers where we're from. But yes, they are my friends!" It may have been a bit more honest to point out that Willow was also her Favorite, but assumed it would be best to keep things simple.

She tapped her own face, slightly, in thought at how to go about this. She didn't want to cause a bigger stir than necessary or offend anyone. Not to mention she didn't want to say anything that could be used against them.

"Well, when I say treat me like anyone else, I mean you don't have to be formal with me," she clarified. "You can relax and just act like I'm your friend too, I won't be offended at all. I did come here to help my friends though, they wanted to explore your world and we knew that nothing bad could happen to them so long as I was with them."

Giovenith tried not to let her concern show as she glanced over the shoulder of the Voice and stared into the distance. She had spoken to many fully grown gods on her own before, but rarely in their own territory where it would the onus would be more on her to be polite. She didn't have a whole lot of experience with the Olympians specifically either.

"I wouldn't mind speaking with them if they wanted to," she affirmed. "But it's mostly just a casual visit."


Starlight was susprised but not particularly awed at the sight of the griffin. The gryph in question was larger than she was used to, but she had seen her kind before. Griffons in their world came from Griffonstone, the land across the eastern sea, a former kingdom that had once been an international rival to ponykind but eventually fell into toothless poverty after the collapse of their monarchy several millennia ago. Incidentally, they had once had a particular distaste for the pegasi, presumably for having the audacity to think that the skies were big enough for the both of them, and the records before Celestia's rule was strong were occasionally splattered with the blood and fire of talons and lightning. Now...?

Starlight glanced over her back at Willow, who was currently caught between trying to keep his sunglasses in place while gripping a black marker in his mouth to crudely doodle imitations of Sandy's new markings on his own foreleg for later reference.

Now it was pretty safe to say that any harsh feelings about that were dead in the past along with the griffon monarchy. Besides, that obviously would have nothing to do with this gryph, who was surely just as much from another world as Sandy was.

"Yes, I've heard that great warriors tend to do that," Starlight chuckled knowingly. She reached backward with her telekinesis and pulled over Sunburst, who had been hanging back with a somewhat concerned expression. "Me and my friend Sunburst are magicians from the queendom of Equestria. He went to school and I'm self-educated."

"Only for a little while..." Sunburst said somewhat quietly, folding his ears.
Last edited by Giovenith on Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Monfrox
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Postby Monfrox » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:32 pm

Island

The water lapped at the shoreline in a soft way, not unlike that of a white noise machine. But the woman lying on the beach didn't own a white noise machine, nor did she know what such a thing was. Her white noise had always been distant gunfire and howls of wolves. She was tall, pale, and a bit on the slim side at first glance, but that could be attributed more to her height. Her hair was as white as her skin and flowed out from under her hood. Her eyes opened slowly, their red irises dull in the sunshine. She coughed a bit behind her metallic mask that looked like a jagged pair of jaws. The side of her face had been scarred from her forehead on down to her left eye, all the way to her neck. Likely some sort of burn or infection long since dealt with.

The woman slowly sat up and looked out to the sea. She hadn't been here when she fell asleep, but she was here now. Somehow...it felt familiar. She felt calm as she watched the waves roll along. But her cloak was wet and now there was sand on it. Hell, there was sand everywhere. She made a click of the tongue in disdain as she brushed a few grains off her knee. Her rifle lay half buried in the wet sand next to her, earning a sigh. Guess that'll be the first thing I'll do. She stood up and pulled it out of the ground, giving it a small shake to get off a few loose-clinging clumps before slinging it over her shoulder. She turned around, looking inland.

"Where am I, anyway?" She mused aloud.
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Giovenith
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Postby Giovenith » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:15 pm

A pale face emerged from the glare of the sun as it's owner primly bent down to take in the new arrival. It was always hard to read Ms. Prism's true feelings with her permanent smile and dollish eyes, but given that Varona had gone this long without getting stabbed, it was safe to say that there was at least a lack of hostility.

"Well, well, they're always sending us the newbies, aren't they?" Sallow said to his companion as he landed next to her, lowering his sunglasses at Varona. "They could drop in just to say hello once in a while."

Ms. Prism held up a pair of scissors.

"Welcome home, miss," Sallow greeted, offering to help Varona up. "You must be tired from your swim, hm?"
Last edited by Giovenith on Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Fvaarniimar
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Ex-Nation

Postby Fvaarniimar » Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:07 pm

Giovenith wrote:

"For example, Hades -" Maybe throwing around that name could be unwise, but it wasn't like they were avoiding His attention, or even could at this point. "He rules Hades-the-place, where we are now, along with 'Persephone," his wife. He's an - wait - not an official Olympian. Ditto for his wife. They're not as recognized, but they're a really big deal -"


Willow listened intently but without comment as Nick explained their situation to Domenica. He had only heard here and there about the Olympians from Giovenith but he did remember the gist of Hades and Persephone, especially the latter, which caused his chest to sink a little bit. Obviously he would never say it out loud here and now when the consequences for offending anyone were high, but suffice to say, Willow didn’t have a high opinion of kidnapping. She was a flowers and sunshine kind of goddess before, right? He couldn’t help but imagine how he would never be able to get over it if something like that happened to Giovenith.

I hope this isn’t too sad to deal with, he quietly thought to himself, resigning himself to the possibility that it very well might. He exchanged these thoughts with Nick through the link, hoping to at least mentally get his concerns off his chest.


While the cat understood Willow's concerns - if someone kidnapped Giovenith, they'd get very badly scratched - he'd seen it somewhat differently. Making sure that Domenica hadn't overheard and wouldn't overhear, Nick clarified, "I don't know which version of their story is most true. Persephone likely didn't choose to go, any more than you chose to come to the Building - but she might have chosen to stay. If I recall correctly, her mother always treated her as a kid, at least before this happened. She was actually called 'Maiden' - as in, it was used as her name. Hades had her father's permission to marry her, but tried to win her heart anyway. Respect...respect can change things."

Both "cute" animals, and their friends, had dealt with people assuming they were foolish or immature, and Nick brought that to mind. They'd also dealt with people who didn't make that assumption and, Nick wordlessly pointed out, often felt much more comfortable with those people. "Hades may - there are multiple versions of the story and I'm reading between the lines - but he may have been the first person to see Persephone as an adult, and as her own person as opposed to her mother's...child and helper."
Come to the light side.  We have teamwork, waffles, popcorn, grape juice, and way too much ramen.

Unless one is a genealogist, therapist, geneticist, or FBI agent - who is acting within the scope of their job - to claim that anyone is wrong about their own identity is not merely absurd but also extremely rude.

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Monfrox
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Monfrox » Thu Apr 01, 2021 3:32 pm

Island

Home? Well, it certainly didn't seem like home. Home was a lot different than this. Hazy overcast, dreary rains and mists and fogs, swamps and marshes, frozen cities and lakes, endless forests...if anything, this was as far from home as she could ever be. A tropical island paradise that was full of rich, vibrant flora and fauna with the sun shining down. Varona took it all in, slowly turning her attention down to the pair that had approached her. With her current outfit and equipment, coupled with her stature and trademark stoicism, she could forgive them if they found her...unnerving. Well, it wasn't her fault honestly. She just had that natural aura about her no matter how she looked.

And yet, her expression hardened a little as she stared at Sallow and Ms. Prism. Her eyes, carefully making judgements and calculations. Was she trying to figure out if they were a threat to her? Well, the scissors being brandished seemed rather unwarranted, but still she leaned forward to get closer. Her dark red eyes moving all over each of them and looking back and forth between them at points. This carried on for almost a full minute before she spoke up finally.

"Haven't I seen you two somewhere before?" Varona asked, putting her hand under her chin.
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Giovenith
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:27 am

Hades

A sharp wave of dismissive cynicism briefly shot from Willow before mellowing out.

Sorry, he thought with an emotion that might have vocally manifested as an apologetic sigh. He narrowed his eyes slightly while drawing on his foreleg, pretending to be focused on the task. He hoped none of these people could read minds. I'm not trying to be mean Nick, really, but I'm not sure I can buy into something like that. It's too convenient, sounds like something someone made up to make themselves feel better about the situation. We know too much about how things worked back in that time and place and with these people, it comes across as denial. And either way, I really don't believe that you can build respect on a foundation of cruelty, not really.

Willow's thoughts briefly dropped into static as he internally sorted through them before delivering something concrete.

It's not a good thing, he thought, more carefully and gently. To be in denial to make ourselves feel better. Especially not when something bad happens to someone. To me, it's the same in principle as telling them to their face that it didn't happen or that they should have liked it... even if there's nothing we can do or say to help, we can at least give them the small justice of not doing that, of not pretending that it's okay.


The Beach

Sallow put a hoof to his chin and tilted his head, smiling. "Have you?"

Ms. Prism made a bobbing motion and showed her teeth through her smile, indicating a laugh. Neither seemed to care about her appearance.

"I don't think we have," Sallow ran his hoof down his face, along his chest, and back to the sand. "Met, that is. But we could, right now."

With a dazzling flip of them, the pair of scissors disappeared into Ms. Prism's sleeve and she raised her hand above herself like a ballerina before cartwheeling across the sand toward the direction of a hut. Sallow flew after her, indicating that Varona should follow.

"You'll live there from now on," he said, pointing to the hut. "It's bigger on the inside and will look however you need it to. Magic, baby! Fuck squares who complain about it, they know it's great. Ammirite?"

Ms. Prism, in a flash, wheeled onto her feet and sent a pair of scissors whistling through the air, whereupon they lodged themselves into Sallow's head. His neck jerked violently backwards but soon recovered. He grinned back at his friends, pulled the blades out of his bloodless wound, and held them aloft to the sun.

"That's right, babykins!" he called, laughing.
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Monfrox
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Monfrox » Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:23 pm

Island

Varona could hear in her mind the sound of a coin spinning on top of a table until it settled down onto it. She could swear she had seen these two before, and yet she also didn't entirely recognize them at the same time. They way the pony chatted to her and how carefree they seemed gave her a vague sense of reminiscence. She felt conflicted in her brain, as if she had forgotten something very important and couldn't remember it. But could she also be remembering wrong? That was a real possibility, unless this was some sort of deeply-rooted illusion in her subconscious that had occurred in the Zone. Varona couldn't remember what exactly she was doing before she washed up on the shore, and that worried her.

Slowly, she reached down and pulled out a small knife that was strapped to her armor-plating on her leg. She held it up and put out her opposite arm. Before either of them could say anything, she took the knife to her forearm and sliced across the side of it. She barely flinched as she watched blood drip out from the wound. Half a minute passed before Varona looked around, as if taking in the scenery for the first time again. She made a small hum of amusement as she wiped off the blood from the knife and returned it to its sheath. She pulled a gauze bandage out of her IFAK and applied it to the cut.

"Well at least I know I'm not in some weird dream." She mused.

Varona opened the door and noted that there was a staircase with a small landing leading down past the floor outside. She could faintly smell the odor of concrete and stale air from it. She didn't know how, but she reached in and flipped on a lightswitch she thought should be there. A single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling illuminated the stairs.

"Cozy."

She vaguely regarded the paper pair again.

"Are there others?" She asked plainly.
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Northwest Slobovia
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Founded: Sep 16, 2006
Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sun Apr 04, 2021 5:38 pm

Hades

Giovenith wrote:"Oh noooo, no, no," Giovenith shot down the notion politley but firmly, waving a hand to dismiss it. "I was just hand-holding to reassure them! Touching like that isn't just for lovers where we're from. But yes, they are my friends!"

The corners of Glyke's mouth rose into a tiny smile. "We know of many customs among mortals. The bronze-clad centaur your companion is talking to –" A wave of her hand indicated Eurynomos and Sandy. "Is from thousands of years before my time, if he is from my past at all. My world, Ephesus, is named after city we thought mythical until we found people here who'd lived there.

"And, yes for mortals, hand-holding can mean many things, and the same between gods. But between a god and a mortal? That it doesn't mean they're your lovers is new to us." There was nodding and sounds of agreement around her, but a few whispered disagreements.

Giovenith wrote:"Yes, I've heard that great warriors tend to do that," Starlight chuckled knowingly. She reached backward with her telekinesis and pulled over Sunburst, who had been hanging back with a somewhat concerned expression.

Her spell's aura was silvery rather than turquoise, and there was something odd about the way the local magic felt.

Giovenith wrote:"Me and my friend Sunburst are magicians from the queendom of Equestria. He went to school and I'm self-educated." […] "Only for a little while..." Sunburst said somewhat quietly, folding his ears.

"Self-taught! Despite the magic school?" Sandy was amazed: he'd managed a lot with an apprenticeship and books, but Starlight seemed better educated still.

He turned to the Hadean casters. "She raises an interesting point. Were there schools of magic where you're from?"

Sandy got a babble of responses: "No, just lessons from the more skilled." "Of course, at Alexandria!" "I was an apprentice until 20, then a journeyman for a year." "Yes, we did, along with mundane subjects, with the for-us usual holosynaptic instillation." Sandy's eyes dashed around as he tried to keep up, and remember who said what.

Giovenith wrote:"Well, when I say treat me like anyone else, I mean you don't have to be formal with me," she clarified. "You can relax and just act like I'm your friend too, I won't be offended at all. […] I wouldn't mind speaking with [the Olympians] if they wanted to," she affirmed. "But it's mostly just a casual visit."


The words were barely out of Giovenith's mouth when the gaze of the approaching Olympian flickered across the group. For most of them, it was a momentary strange sensation without cause or explanation. Nick, more than familiar with gods and their ways, knew an Olympian was somewhere, but neither who nor where. Giovenith knew she'd been noticed, if not acknowledged, by one of Hades' retinue, and that whoever it was was continuing their rapid approach. Others nearby began to look around for the approaching god; they knew what the sensation meant.

Sandy leapt back in terror; were it not for the Boon, he'd have fallen over backwards in a frightened heap. But as it was, he stumbled badly and crouched down.

"Oh, shit! Somebody potent is coming, and he's not happy with me!"

Glyke's strong voice cut through the sudden commotion: "Can you tell who?"

"Just a second..." Sandy cast the Metamorphosis, though he had to slow down twice: once to avoid bobbling the gestures in fear, and once to get the adjusted part right. He transformed. Instantly, his eyes widened and he felt the urgent need to take flight, heart pounding, and snapping his head towards the tunnel to Tartaros. He willed the spell away.

"Yes! Minos!" Sandy nodded vigorously, his voice quavering. "He's looking right at me, like He's... He's using me as a, uh, landmark to home in on." Sandy's own fixed stare indicated a distant group of dots, appearing to cover ground at an incredible rate, but there was still a little time before they arrived.

Glyke, the group with her, and the others who'd stepped forward with them coalesced into a huddle, while the other dead began frantic conversations among themselves: the appearance of one of the Judges of the Dead was unheard of, and an angry Olympian almost always meant that something bad was about to happen.

Sandy turned to Giovenith and her 'followers'. "I don't know what I did! We're-- The living aren't supposed to be here, but He seems to be hunting me specifically, and I can't imagine Had-- the Boss would send a Judge-- the appellate Judge of the Dead unless it was a major screw-up."

Amanda, used to projecting her voice, made herself heard over the crowd. "Do you want to cop a plea?"

"I..." Sandy stared blankly at her for moment. "I don't think I have a choice."

"I'll do my best." A beat passed. "No, I'll ask for a continuance. If His court is at all fair, you're entitled to time to prepare a defense and arrange for competant counsel. I can argue your case – I can try – but I need somebody to prepare the briefs for me."
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Sun Apr 04, 2021 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Solisian Union
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Founded: Apr 22, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Solisian Union » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:21 am

Fvaarniimar wrote:"Oh. Right. If you want me to disconnect, make a scissor motion. If you want to ask something else, you can think 'at' me. You should know -[/i]" Domenica would sense frustration, and resignation. If Willow was paying attention, he'd additionally understand that Nick wasn't frustrated by the ability, but rather by the fact that it could upset people. "If you do that, I will be able to pick up on your thoughts and emotions. Right now this is one way - you can hear me, I can't hear you."


Domenica locked eyes with the cat and blinked a few times. Oh, right. She waved at the cat and smiled politely. Then she did her best to listen to what the cat had to say. She nodded along what the cat said and soon got what he meant. She smiled more and said, "Thank you. I really appreciate the explanation. So you are neighbors. Nice. And thanks for telling me about the individuals we are gonna deal with." She almost stopped herself from saying 'individuals' but she didn't want to exactly say that they were 'gods' or so. She was still unsure and was just sticking to what rule she was told about by Sandy and Amanda. Domenica eventually tried to at least 'think at' him. She didn't seem upset. Just surprised.

So she shut her mouth and tried to think at him, saying, "Thank you. I hope this got through. What stuff have you done with them, Nick? When you were neighbors, I mean. It feels like I'm suddenly a new friend to all of you."




Domenica felt Gio pull her hands away from her but she did not pull back at her, even as she glanced at her and saw her seem to try and cover her face up. Embarassed, I suppose.

She did her best to listen in to what the ponies were saying to her about life and death and how the ponies viewed the question of going anywhere. She blinked a few times and almost forgot to try and take notes. That and she also forgot to disconnect from Nick. So all her mind was about thinking, taking notes, feeling excited, curious, and basically interested.

When she finally took note of what was said, she put away her writing materials and then realized she had to disconnect. She quickly did a scissor motion at Nick and apologized by bowing her head a few times.




On the centaur, especially after his arrival, Domenica could not resist simply...staring. Intently. At the centaur. But she quickly snapped out of that when she observed how the crowd was reacting to all of them and to what was being said. She felt her face redden with embarassment and some insult to the assumption that she was a possible worshipper or lover of the Goddess.

And then she sneezed, quickly catching that with her elbow, sniffling later before she apologized for that and tried to step a bit away from Giovenith because of the crowd.

And when her friends and the crowd started to react to what seemed to be a coming presence that even she seemed to feel and dread, Domenica quickly rushed back to her friends, putting a hand around someone, anyone, and taking their arm or so. She tried to keep calm, even as her fear returned, most especially with how something warm seemed to...

She looked down and cried out, "Ahhh, fuck! I just pissed myself!" Domenica hurriedly put a hand over her pants and tried to wipe at herself with some paper she tore from her pad.
Last edited by Solisian Union on Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:33 am, edited 3 times in total.
^_^

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Giovenith
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:26 pm

"Oh no, I just held their hands for the same reason a mortal would," Giovenith assured once again. She then sucked in her lips and bit down on them, briefly looking down and blinking rapidly. Her eyes glimmered slightly with moistness. "I don't, have a lover right now, actually." One long blink, a deep breath through the nose, and she was smiling again. "I understand how you could have thought that though, mistakes happen."


Starlight silently noted the shift in her magical aura, testing it a bit by tugging a strand of her mane. She supposed that in an infinitely magical place like this, some shifts were bound to occur. "I wasn't invited and I didn't apply," she said, regarding the topic of magic school. She absently ran a pinch of telekinesis along a strand of her mane, smoothing out the slight curl to it before releasing and letting bounce back to shape. "I suppose I could have gotten in if I wanted-"

"You could," Sunburst stated, dryly, folding his ears.

Starlight paused and flicked her own ears, considering her words. "... But it was too elite for my taste at the time."

All this chatter came to a very sudden end when the fearsome force approached. The ponies rejoined Giovenith, who gave them a look silently reaffirming what she had told them before: Not to interfere. She turned around quickly, ushering them, Domenica, and Nick together before whispering in a solemn, sad tone: "If you see me make a signal, close your eyes..."

"But," Willow started. "They ca-"

He was silenced with a sharp shake of her head. Giovenith hurried to the Belas' side.

"Amanda," she said quickly and quietly. "I don't know for sure if your ability will work here — it may come from another pantheon that will refuse to interfere, and even if it still works, the people you're arguing with probably have entirely different ideas about what's fair..." She wrung her hands. "... please be careful. Once he's here, I won't be able to do anything on your behalf. Sandy's my friend but he's theirs."

Sunburst, meanwhile, trembling a bit, offered some cloth to Domenica. Willow decided to urge the group to just sit down on the ground since this would be intense enough.

"What's going on?" Starlight whispered close to Willow, pretending to be occupied searching her supplies. "What did he do?"

Willow shook his head, eyes staying down. "I don't know. It could be anything in their eyes."

"Can't we argue alongside Amanda?"

"I want to, but it will probably make things worse." He turned to Nick. "Nick, do you think maybe you could show her the stories...?"
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Northwest Slobovia
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Founded: Sep 16, 2006
Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:35 pm

Hades

Solisian Union wrote:[Domenica] looked down and cried out, "Ahhh, fuck! I just pissed myself!" Domenica hurriedly put a hand over her pants and tried to wipe at herself with some paper she tore from her pad.

Amanda wrinkled her nose. "You'll get used to this sort of thing, don't worry." Still, she was grateful that Sandy was standing a fair distance away as she crossed to stand by his side.

For his part, Sandy simply let the Wolf's Nose dissipate; he didn't need to smell that. He turned to take another look at the approaching god. He was now a tiny person, holding Cerberus' leash. Other tiny people surrounded them. A retinue? Court staff? Whoever they were, they were zooming across Hades' landscape. The dead were parting before them, though without visible show of fear or subservience. Sandy judged their distance and speed, and started into his casting. I might as well look the part.

Even with the delay for change to adapt to... whatever Nyx did to him, Sandy had long seconds to spare as Pegasus before Minos and company arrived. And between what he could see and Hear, it was clear that Minos and those with him were surrounded by the distance distortion they'd experienced descending into Tartaros. Did we look the same from the outside? Hmmm....

Giovenith wrote:"Amanda," she said quickly and quietly. "I don't know for sure if your ability will work here — it may come from another pantheon that will refuse to interfere, and even if it still works, the people you're arguing with probably have entirely different ideas about what's fair."

"My what?" Amanda gave her a confused look, but there were more important things to worry about. "Sandy's told me about Greek law, yes. Ocho's warned me that we're not part of the bar for divine courts. I'll do my best."

Amanda started to be able to make out Minos' features: He was a bit on the handsome side, but nothing special. He wasn't even unusually tall, perhaps even a little shorter than Sandy. But he was ageless; Amanda guessed He looked about 35: an adult, but still young enough not to show any sign of aging.

"Here we go..." She took a deep breath, stood as straight as she could, and neatened her clothes. Sandy straightened too, tucking his wings all the way in, so they touched smartly above his back.

"YOU!" Minos' voice boomed across the remaining distance; the Belas found that they and Giovenith were alone, everybody else having taken a healthy step or ten back. Minos' accusatory finger jabbed at Sandy. "STAY RIGHT THERE!"

Amanda barely got "Your Honor" out of her mouth before Minos' aura washed over them. She was in Court and the Judge had just entered. But Minos' Court was unlike any she'd ever been in: only matters of ultimate importance were decided here, and anything out of order Wasn't Going To Happen. She stood as straight as she could. Minos stopped a few feet from them, Cerberus at His side, and His clerks – at least, that's what Amanda decided they were – clustered on either side of them. The clerks had traces of color to them, making them distinguishable from the dead close up.

Minos' aura pressed unconfortably close to Giovenith. Where Morpheus' aura seemed limited to His dream-cloaked form, Minos' aura was huge and powerful. It stopped just at her sweater-dress: this was His turf, and He was In Charge. If Minos wasn't following The Etiquette to the letter, Giovenith would be as swallowed up in His aura as the mortals and the dead were.

"Now you make is easy to find you! Fool!" Minos scowled at Sandy, who started to shy, but he seemed to dig into whatever traces of Olympian will Pegasus had and didn't cower. Minos continued: "You had the sense to give Nyx what She asked, but not the wit to follow Her when She left!"

Sandy's mouth hung open for a moment, but Minos was far faster than he was. "No, don't protest that you couldn't. By the time Morpheus finished with Willow, you could have, even if somebody would have needed to help you walk, and as you've already discovered, in Hades you can compensate for what Nyx took."

Cerberus, apparently uninterested in the procedings, took a step forward and dropped the ball of Babylon Thread at Amanda's feet, smiling at her, tail wagging, eager for another toss.

Minos seemed to finally notice her, and His gaze flicked to her for an instant. That instant was more than enough for Amanda: she felt like He'd popped a hole in her forehead, looked in, and read her like a comic book. If it hadn't have been for the half-familiar court-like atmosphere and the need to be absolutely serious, she'd be in Domenica's situation; as it was, she'd have to summon the courage to go on. Way out of my depth here. Way out.

Fortunately, "Clever, Counsellor," was all He said before looking back at Sandy. "Your presence is required elsewhere. You will come with Me. Now. We must make haste; the delay in finding you again has left us very little time."

Sandy nodded with enthusiasm: I'm not in trouble? Oh, wow! He relaxed, wings settling into a more natural posture.

"However, it is too soon for Pegasus. Your approach would ruin the symbolism." Sandy Heard Minos scooping up the ousia to bring the Metamorphosis down, so for a change, Sandy was ahead of the god, and let his spell fade. Minos gave him the slightest of nods. "Good."


Minos glared at Giovenith. "You should not be here, Youngster. Hades is Our domain, and you did not ask for permission before entering. I should send you home, followed by the Cloerith paying the usual fine for trespassing."

While Minos hectored Giovenith, Sandy rubbed his chin, thinking and mumbling to himself. "Symbolism...? Symbolism?? As stars... Pegasus is a spring constellation. So, he was 'perfect' for..."

"However," Minos went on, in the same stern tone. "In the interest of expediency, I am empowered to offer an alternative." He raised a hand, palm up, and a scroll appeared in it. Sandy flinched: he Heard that! And now his eyes tracked its every motion. They-- Mother Earth and Father Sky still move in mysterious and potent ways.

Minos handed the scroll to a clerk who offered it to Giovenith on a platter that wasn't there a moment ago. The scroll was held closed by a wax seal bearing the interlocking signatures of Gaia and Ouranus, and "For Giovenith" was written in a flowing script below that. Giovenith could See that the scroll, the seal, and the ink were all made of what Creator Beings spun universes from. Everybody else saw it as just a plain paper tube, though Sandy was certain that its real nature was hidden from him: conjuring paper didn't take the thunderous fanfare of ousia he'd Heard.

Minos' tone softened, just a little. "You are invited to a ceremony and celebration in honor of Persephone's annual return from Hades to Olympus." The last part had trace of an echo, as Sandy's whispering was just being Minos' pronouncement. "I suggest that you accept, and without delay."
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gollum died for your sins.
Power is an equal-opportunity corrupter.

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Giovenith
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Founded: Feb 08, 2012
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:22 pm

Hades

Giovenith said nothing, passively listening to the immortal with a moist-eyed, chastised look. At the very least, it sounded like Sandy wasn't in trouble. She blinked and titled her head when the message appeared, carefully accepting and opening it up, reading. She gave a quick grimace before returning to a more neutral expression and nodding politely.

"If it please the Most High," she said. "Will the others have to attend as well, or may they go home?"

To be honest, the last thing Giovenith needed was keeping her figurative hands clamped over Willow's mouth the whole time. This was all painfully uncomfortable enough as it was.

Beach

Sallow and Ms. Prism stared, smiling and undisturbed, at Varona as she cut herself.

"Not unless I count as a dream!" Sallow declared, fluffing his mane and doing a vain spin through the air. "I am super hot after all!"

The handles of a pair of scissors lightly clunked him in the head. One could suppose it was Ms. Prism's way of gently teasing him. When the two enter Varona's cabin they took to running and flying around it in circles freely like children, enjoying the new open space. They both stopped at her question.

"Oh yeah," said Sallow, counting on his hoof, which was odd considering it had no digits to count. "Sandy, Amanda, Giovenith, Domenica, Nick, and the less cool but still pretty hot version of me. They threw themselves into the sea."

Ms. Prism appeared next to Varona and slowly stroked her arm, leaning in for a snuggle.

"They'll be back though," said the paper pony. "Unless they drowned. That would be pretty unfortunate for us all, wouldn't it?"
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Solisian Union
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Posts: 677
Founded: Apr 22, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Solisian Union » Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:21 pm

Domenica somewhat tried to smile when she heard Gio speak about why she held their hands. She later let that smile fade as she blushed, incredibly embarassed by her pissing herself. Fortunately, she was grateful for the cloth offered to her by Sunburst. She gave the pony a quick nod and a really soft thanks before she used it to try and wipe off some of the fluids on her. Then she blushed even more as she looked around for somewhere to hide and do some more cleaning of herself.

She did sit down at Willow's urging, but she kept trying at least to clean herself up.

And as she did, she meekly said to everyone, "I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself. I got scared."

Dom remembered what Amanda said and how she reacted to what she said about getting used to this. She thought she had pouted at her. But right now, she just wanted to clean herself up. And she scolded herself for not bringing a change of clothes.

And it made her flinch and jump at times when Minos just boomed with his voice and when the others were talking but she couldn't really understand much because she just wanted to get her pants cleaned up with the cloth.

Dom also thought that when Minos was looking at them, specifically at Amanda, the being was gonna come at them or something. And Dom just tried to cling to someone, anyone, closest to her.

And just as she was coming close to what could have been a break in her composure, the softening of the tone in Minos somewhat allowed her to let out a big sigh of relief as she trembled while wiping herself clean and later saying, "I-I'm sorry, but if I may, I...I gotta change. Clothes. I mean. Change clothes. I...I wet myself."
^_^

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