literature

MQ|July 2020|Betelgeuse

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Curious of the strange new land before her Sanguis set off across the remainder of the charred plains to enter what was rumored to be the mysterious Aether's hoofprint. She had traveled quite some time to arrive at her destination with no more than her phoenix Scarlet for companionship. Not wishing to disturb the hunters milling about the oasis she skirted around the perimeter listening for any information that may be useful in future happenings.


Scarlet chirped, taking off from her master's back and alighting on what appeared to be a very old and deteriorated statue. "Wonder what this is for. It must have been as pretty as the rest of this place at some point. Perhaps it was damaged during the realmwar."


Sanguis rolled her eyes, "Perhaps, though if this place was around during the realmwar why is it not affected like the rest of the charred plains?" She let her eyes wander over the ancient statues, well made by a master craftsman or better than that crafted with magic. Despite the age of the statues there was something oddly familiar about them. No matter how hard she tried she could not place who the figures were or could have been at some point in time.


"Do you know who they are Sanguis?" Scarlet tilted her head curiously inspecting the strange statue that she sat on.


With a sigh Sanguis responded. "I'm afraid I'm not sure Scarlet. Whoever these statues were of were very important individuals to our history and to the Highlords. As this is Aether's Hoofprint I would wager a guess that they were guardians of whatever lies beyond them. Protecting our world from that place. Seeing that its locked away it can't be anything good." Running her eyes over the statue Scarlet was perched on she began to notice what looked like special grooves where stones had once been embedded. "They're damaged and missing pieces, this could be in part what caused the star to appear. If they're missing vital parts of their form the statues cant serve to keep their path locked and protected. We need to find the stones and replace them."


Scarlet squawked as she grinned, "Oooh, look at the shiny things below the statues' hooves! Those stones could work I'm sure of it."


Sana scowled, "I swear if I get anything on my crown I'm taking it out on you." Shaking her head she carefully picked up a stone that looked like it belonged to the star. Gently she pushed it back in a groove on the statue's horns, grinning when a red aura pulsed around the statue. "Looks like that fixes it, wonder how many it would take."


"I say it takes many"


"Shut up Scarlet." Sanguis raised her head to look at the sky and started thinking, "Perhaps the glow is a new high or lowlord. I hope for a highlord who's duty is to protect this place and the crypt, but it could also been a monster from within the crypt that somehow escaped during the realmwars." She was trying her hardest to be optimistic but it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to believe the idea.


"Anything is possible Sanguis, life is not as predictable as we'd like to think. However, we should have been able to predict the reign of Hannibal's terror wouldn't be over so soon. We must stay vigilant, just because the lowlord has not yet shown his face does not mean he will decide not to show at all. Aether is weaker than his self and is vulnerable now more so than ever before."


Sanguis was tired and she could tell that hunger and thirst were beginning to take their toll. Mesmerized by the water she approached and lowered her head, oblivious to the crystalized skulls beneath its surface.


"NO DON'T!"


Startled Sanguis raised her head to look at a Steppe mare clearly beginning to show signs of malnourishment. With a snort she stepped away from the water and turned to give the mare her attention.


"And why mustn't I drink when I am thirsty? It is just water. Who are you anyway?"


"My name is Ophelia. Look around you, have you not seen the other ballators starving as they wander trying to help the highlord in protecting us. We cannot drink the water here nor can we eat the food, no matter how lush and filling it may seem. Look closer beneath the surface of the crystal waters. What lies beneath."


Sanguis looked back at the water and frowned, finally seeing the empty sockets of a skull in the water, covered in red stone growths from ages ago. "What happened to them?"


"I've not been here too terribly long but from what I've learned they were cursed with starcrossed. It makes you insane, slowly killing you as the red crystals take over your body. We have lost many to the likes of the starcrossed curse, some our warriors have put out of their misery others succumbed to the curse of their own will."


Sighing Sanguis nodded, "Thank you Ophelia, had I been starcrossed I would no longer be able to serve Aether and that is what I live to do."


Ophelia really looked at Sanguis, "Many warriors have come here seeking to serve the highlord and highlordess, if only some of them had your spirit. Please, never give up that spirit, you are strong and those who begin to lose hope in this battle will look to you for strength and glimmer of hope in the darkness."


Scarlet cooed from her place on Sanguis' back, smiling broadly. "Oooo, I like her Seer! She talks fancy and she says you're special! I knew it, I knew Aether blessed me with you for a reason. We will be the shiny glimmer of hope for everybody who's lost, we will save the lost souls."


"Scarlet will you shut up already, my word are you ever an attention seeker sheesh. Be nice."


"Let her have her fun Seer"

    Horse(s) Pictured: 3291 BHS Sanguis prophetarum8586 SLS Ophelia
    Prompt(s) Shown: July 2020 Monthly Quest "Betelgeuse"
    Stat Breakdown:
    – Word Count (1001) +5
    – Xtra Character +4
    - Phoenix Companion Bonus +4 Stats & 10 Denarii
    Stat Total: 9 stats + 10 Denarii
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