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Messages - Shifting Sands

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Art Gallery / Re: Halloween-Sketch-a-thon 12 -- Open!
« on: October 14, 2022, 10:29:08 PM »

with #48 and #69

Art Gallery / Re: Halloween Sketch-a-thon 11 (Closed)
« on: October 24, 2021, 09:49:02 AM »
#97, posted with permission

I'm with #90 and #98


Art Gallery / Re: Halloween Sketch-a-thon 10 (Open!)
« on: October 24, 2020, 07:48:44 PM »
#73 with Zavier #74 and Dray #75

Virmir, appearing very small in the foreground, has displeased the Three Gods of Big, who loom over him in the background. He is far too tiny, and is imminently going to be enlargened.

- Medik, the Egyptian God of Big, is dressed in a shendyt and jewelry. Otherwise he is Large and Muscled, which is shown by the disregard for full covering. You've drawn him in that sort of style before ( and I actually quite like that depiction (aside from the lines on the muzzle up to the head), so that would be great to use as the base.
- Draykin, the Shinto God of Big, is dressed in a full kimono. Some of his nine tails are seen from the sides of his form, as they are fanned out behind him, with foxfires atop their tailtips. You've drawn him before ( minus the pudge), and if you need a reference on a kimono,
- Zavier, the Mesoamerican God of Big, is dressed in a minimalist fashion, like Medik, and he, too, is Large and Muscled. You've drawn him before (, and he wants me to tell you the basic idea of his clothes are 'Aztec,' 'Mayan,' or 'Mesoamerican,' but I don't know if you should be left with zero reference on that, so this was a good compromise on what to show you. Basically, something akin to that, but with far less emphasis on the headdress, and probably just less dressing, fewer feathers, etc., overall. (You might be appreciative of that - I don't know if clothing or muscle is harder for you to draw.)

If you want to include fun things for more ideas of size, you can throw in a pyramid or two (Egyptian style versus Mesoamerican, for example) or a Shinto gate that only come up to about a third the height of the Gods of Big. Otherwise Virmir will just be speck-ish for size comparison. Likewise, if you wanted to spring for dialogue to make it clear that the bullying is about the fox being too small, you could include that. As a suggestion:

"Awfully tiny for a great mage..."
"It's kind of endearing, really."
"But, I think he could do with being..."

...with the last line being said by everyone, of course.


Art Gallery / Re: Halloween Sketch-a-Thon 9 (Open!)
« on: October 19, 2019, 04:23:23 PM »
#57 with Dray #58

Medik dressed up as Issun, sized up to be an actually visible and "normal" rider upon a feral Draykin posing as Amaterasu (you know, from Okami). If you can fit it in, slot some sort of foxy mirror on Dray's back, but I'll probably be in the way, unless you have some idea of how to make it work.

Medik: you can find your own
just kidding here
Dray: also in ref above, he's up to 9 tails but you can draw as many as you're comfortable with

Game Room / Pokemon Go Friend Codes
« on: June 15, 2019, 03:20:38 PM »
I live around pretty few Pokestops and I hear getting the friend code gift things can sometimes give you Pokeballs and stuff. I need them in order to, like, play the stupid core gameplay loop, so I figured compiling them here and just tossing stuff at each other would encourage me to walk and do stuff with the dumb game.

My code is
8600 9174 4460

Art Gallery / Re: Halloween Sketch-a-Thon 8 (Open!)
« on: October 13, 2018, 07:21:09 PM »

Sharing with Draykin (#66). Since everyone is getting princesses and all that, figure they need to know what better royalty is like. Both me and Dray (no changeling ref, but fox ref if it helps know the character) as changeling queens.

Being that vague should hopefully let you do as you like, but Chrysalis ref just in case

Another bit of choice: either have the two of us just looking haughty and regal, or can have the both of us upset while dangling a Virmir in a cocoon. Annoying that there can be *too* much food in one little thing.

Art Gallery / Re: Halloween-Sketch-a-thon 7 (open!)
« on: October 21, 2017, 06:39:20 PM »

Medik ( ) as a gigantic kaiju (your interpretation - as a suggestion, tentacles) fighting against a gigantic mech stylized like Draykin ( and again, your interpretation but as a suggestion, fire)

Writer's Guild / Re: Fae-med
« on: October 15, 2017, 11:59:21 PM »
While Virmir was asleep, she dreamt plenty… or so she thought. There were probably birds singing and bugs buzzing around outside while she was holding herself away in sleep, and more than once she was certain that was reflected in her mind. But no major disturbances happened while she kept herself out, the occasional blink of consciousness happening but quickly being quelled. She had to wait for the best moment, and that would only happen when someone else was moving around outside of her tree… someone her size, her shape, with her form…

Her ”nap” went on for some time that she couldn’t sufficiently track, but when she woke up, she was certain of the time. The sun was setting, putting a twilight over the grove around her. No one, not even Nespa or a bothersome bird, was around. Yet she could still feel something around, something that she had been looking out for since she put herself to sleep. No matter where she set her sights, she couldn’t see anything moving, not even out of place…

Until someone who looked just like her before that stupid queen had changed dropped from the branches above her. The gray fox, complete with cape, clambered around on the forest floor, sniffing low to the ground. Virmir was tempted to grab her doppelganger already, but she held back for him to get closer and into position.

Inch after inch, he moved towards the plants that she knew Nespa had planted, the seeds now sprouting into something with fronds and drooping flowers. The nose on the fox trailed along the ground, raising up to meet the flower of what must have been the waryseed, taking a deep whiff…

That was the moment. Virmir threw herself out of the tree, all the effort she could have put into magic going into her push and follow-up grab of the copycat. She wrapped her wooden arms with vice-like strength around him, squeezing his sides and holding him in place.

Immediately the clone yelped and fought back, trying to elbow Virmir in her own sides and finding stiff resistance. With another yelp and groan, the fox pulled his arms back from the too-tough block, panting and struggling with weak wiggles. “Let me go!” it demanded, though its voice was nothing like she expected it to be.

Apparently, it couldn’t copy everything; it was too high-pitched and squealy.

With a solid hold on the copy, Virmir started marching forward, fighting the grasp of the tree on her form. All her energy was being put into physical use… and it wasn’t something she particularly enjoyed, but she needed to do it. “I’ll let you go as soon as you drop the act and admit you set me up,” she demanded, struggling with step after step.

The terror set in immediately; the changeling craned its neck to look back at its captor, and in seconds the color literally drained from its face. The foxy shape of it melted away, leaving a pale and only vaguely humanoid shape behind, still held in place – but only briefly. Upon recognizing that its framing wouldn’t work anymore, the creature tried growing, but the branch-like arms were as strong as Virmir needed them to be to stop it from shifting. It kept up the fight, refusing to stop trying to change, from bigger things to smaller things to scaled things to furred things. None of them could get out of her grip, though, and she just kept marching.

“Just admit it!” Virmir growled, still pressing against the spell trying to hold her back. “Admit it and I can… let you go!” The strain was starting to show in her voice, but she hoped her bargaining would hide that.

“Why do you even care?!” The changeling fought and fought, even putting on the illusion of being on fire, but the lack of pain and heat made it too obvious. “You got caught, not me, so it doesn’t matter anymore!”

“You’re right,” she grumbled, her movements forward coming in jostling, unsteady steps. “But… m-maybe it’s… for my conscience! Ad…mit it!” Virmir held for dear life on the changeling, pressing forward with her prisoner like a life jacket.

With her eyes shut tight (like it would help against the strain she felt), the changeling finally stopped shifting, still struggling… but began to speak. “If I say it, you swear you’ll let me go?” It sounded like it was pleading now – she really had it on the ropes.

Opening her eyes to be sure of something, Virmir closed them again and held like an oak in a storm, the changeling ahead of her. “I swear,” she said, arms like vines around the creature.

The thing’s mouth started to open… but abruptly closed, glaring back at her again. “You swear it on your power! Not that you can use it, but do it!”

Man, Virmir was going to enjoy having the ability to roll her eyes again. And fur. And… everything. “I swear on my power; if you admit to framing me for your crimes, I… will let… you go!” she forced out, the strain wearing greatly on her now. The nap had prepared her somewhat, sure, but this was not something she was meant to do with this form!

It took a miracle to force the thing to finally cough it up, but it did: “I admit it! I framed you! I stole as much as I could with your form since they’d never suspect me, and I had to lay low after I nearly burned down all Titania’s grove just looking for some more of this waryseed! Now let me go to gather that stuff!”

“With pleasure,” she sighed, letting her arms off the changeling, the squirming from before sending him forward… and up against the front of Queen Titania. Slipping back against the binding force, Virmir flat-out let the tree pull her back into it, able to see the Queen grab the changeling by the wrist, sporting the same wicked grin she had before when working her magic.

Back to sleep, then, she figured, relaxing and hoping things were in capable hands.

“I was wrong about you,” were the first words Virmir could hear when she came to. No, he was back to being he now, that ever-present feeling of being chained to a tree dispelled – and thank goodness for that. He opened his eyes to find himself sat before the same sort of grand throne that was in the courtroom before, Titania sat up on her perch.

Rubbing his fleshy and furry arm, the mage nodded up at the queen. “I’m glad I could show you that,” he said, figuring that was about as snarky as he would be able to manage in her presence. He also figured he wouldn’t manage to extract an apology greater than that from her, even if doing otherwise would kill her.
She seemed amused that Virmir was fighting to worm his way around in words to find the most passive aggressive responses possible. “As am I. I would hate to dole out justice incorrectly,” Titania said, but it didn’t come with any sincerity. “While I figure out what to do to deal with the true culprit, I ought to give some sort of recompense for your year served.”

Virmir sputtered, unable to hold his voice back. “A YEAR?” he repeated, eyes wide open. “I was in there for a whole YEAR? A year, wasted?”

“I wouldn’t call it wasted,” the queen mocked, showing her perfect teeth off. “Your quick friend, Nespa, told me all about your plan and talk with you. I’m sure you knew that it would take so long for the waryseed to grow. Why else would you be so eager to start the process and stay in waiting so long?”

Grumbling, Virmir thought about everything that he had missed for a year. All the rescheduling he would have to do… but at least the worst of the meetings had been put off, maybe forced to a whole annual delay. It was bad, sure, as it was a whole year of progress lopped off his life. It could be worse, though; he could still be in a tree.

“However,” Titania continued, “seeing as you treated my subjects with respect after being wrongfully imprisoned, and you went so far as to redeem yourself by finding the true criminal, I believe that you are entitled to claim possession of the grove that burned because of that careless thief.”

A mix of emotions ran through Vir’s brain at that. At first, rage – “redeem” was not the right word for what he’d been roped into doing to prove himself right. Then, some sort of joy or fulfillment – he was going to get some land in this realm after all! Followed up by strong disappointment… what use was a burnt wasteland of a grove to him?

Sensing the final of those emotions, Titania leaned forward in her throne. “I’ve salvaged most of what was there. It’s a clean slate – just a covering of grass over fertile dirt. You may do with it as you wish, though I get the sense that you wouldn’t mind building over it.” She moved back to relax in her seat, and waved a hand dismissively at the mage. “We are on even terms now, ‘Virmir.’ You owe me nothing, nor I, you. Although I admire your tenacity, I don’t especially enjoy how you believe yourself above a royal. Due to that, I’d appreciate if we kept out time together to a minimum.”

“Agreed.” Virmir stood and walked his way out from wherever he was, the spot too forested away for him to even guess the location. After he had walked a few steps out, his vision blurred, and after blinking it out, he found himself in a plains-like spot of the plane, complete with a portal like the ones the burly bodyguard elves had conjured up before off to one side. Peering inside, it looked like it led right into his tower, maybe even the very spot he’d been stolen from. Off in the distance, at the edge of his sight, trees stood guard, blocking what must have been the grove off from any intruders. If he squinted especially hard, he thought he saw a wooden form working its way through the tree line, tending to their branches and leaves… or maybe he was seeing things.

As he approached the portal, studying it and wondering if he could cut the thing off to recreate it when he liked, some more thoughts ran through his head. The foremost of them all… there were even more types of those annoying changelings?!

Writer's Guild / Re: Fae-med
« on: October 15, 2017, 11:57:59 PM »
As quickly as his awareness had left him, Virmir felt it return in a flash. He hadn’t gotten off this insanely and creepily beautiful plane, but that was about the only similarity he could feel off the bat. Everything else felt… wrong. To begin with, he was taller, or at least he felt so. He wasn’t sitting anymore, he knew that much, and his view over the colorful and varied grasses and plants was more elevated than he was used to.

Even though he wasn’t strung up in the same place as last time – the open space ahead of him proved as much – he still felt bound to the spot. It was difficult to move against whatever power was held over him now, but with his trademark stubbornness he could fight it now. It felt as painful as snapping a bunch of wooden cuffs on his wrists and ankles, and the noise that accompanied his fight matched the sensation too well to be purely coincidence.

Carefully, the fox looked down to see his limbs encased in bark and moss. Blinking – which he found very difficult to do – he slowly lifted them and moved them around, and rubbed one against another. Strange – they felt more hollow or entirely wooden than like a covering. He rapped a paw against the opposite arm, and the sensation was the same in his hand as it was in the arm. There didn’t appear to be anywhere to peel off a wooden coat, either. It was possible, though unpleasant and unlikely, that there wasn’t any fur under it now.

And, as was increasingly becoming the case, he had a pair of juts below his collarbone that were shapely and round. Great; another pronoun shuffling.

Adjusting to the slower pace that her body forced on her, Virmir took more time to inspect her form, but nothing more was very shocking. All over her foxy form was bark and wood, though there were occasional patches of green, either moss or leaves or other assorted plant-life to break up the knots and grain of the wood. Without giving it much thought, she tried to call up some fire as a test, but was both relieved and upset to discover it did exactly nothing. Irritated, her tail swished behind her and smacked up against the tree behind her, sparking a bit of pain in her gut.

She bent over to cover her stomach from any further smacks in it, but when she realized there was no one else around to possibly hurt her like that, she began to put two and two together. A feminine form, made of moving wood and plants, tied to a tree… making her a dryad was an obvious choice to revoke her mobility. And, she hated to admit it, but it had a certain charm in terms of solving the problem. Not only did the fae stop what they saw as a problem, but they also got a tree and nature spirit out of it.

Virmir shook her head at the same tree-like pace. Whatever they did to handle their problems, they still had the wrong person. Not to mention she still wouldn’t be okay with this if she were to blame!

“Ooh, a new sprout?” a bubbly voice burst forth behind her.

Turning around and putting her hands out uselessly as a shield, Virmir spun to find another dryad reaching out with a gnarled, barky hand just a few steps ahead of what must have been their own tree. Without any further action on her behalf, the creature took her outstretched paws as an offer and shook them both with all the gentleness of a snapping branch, over and over. She pulled back from the powerful grasp and held her paws behind her instead, squinting angrily at the offender.

“Are you a mute?” they asked, jumping to conclusions quickly despite their wooden appearance.

Virmir tried and failed to roll her eyes and moved her hands and arms to fold under her chest. “I just don’t feel inclined to speak with strangers who nearly rip my arms off,” she answered, wishing for the power to summon a bit of fire to get this chirpy creature off her back.

“Oh!” the dryad gasped, covering their mouth (though it didn’t really open… there was just as much wood behind those lips). “I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize you were so freshly grown!” She reached out again as if to apologize, but thought better of it. “I’m Nespa. Have you decided on a name or title yet?”
Taking some time to mull it over, she figured it was probably fine to disclose whatever she could with this… thing. She seemed clueless about her situation, after all, so what was the chance that she was there to spy on her? What could she do to escape, anyway? “Well, I’m not naturally this, and my name is Virmir,” she said, laying out as much as she could. She explained that she was brought here (unfairly), and this was her (unfair) punishment for a crime that she hadn’t committed.

Nespa looked her and the tree behind her over, listening to the explanation provided. When Virmir finished, she nodded. “I can’t say this grove has ever gotten ‘prisoner’ type dryads courtesy of Titania, but I’ve heard about her turning others into fae before,” she said, gesturing widely around. “Sometimes dryads, sometimes faeries and other stuff. But most of them lose themselves in what they become, if it’s any consolation!” Her tone was cheery, and not the kind that was trying to lead Virmir on; she genuinely thought she was being helpful with that piece of information.

Obviously, it wasn’t so. Virmir shook her head and groaned, looking around the place and rubbing at her temples. She still hadn’t worked on any hypnosis or mind control defenses, seeing as they only worked on her once in a blue moon, but this would have been a very good time to have them ready. The place around her looked beautiful, it was true, but she was worried that that thought wasn’t her own. Maybe Titania was already planting ideas in her brain.

Was “plant” the word she would have chosen there? Or was it a side-effect of this change?

“Look, Nespa, I’m sorry if you wanted a friend…” Huh, did friend always sounds so much like “fir-end” before? “But I don’t plan on adjusting to this.” Virmir stomped her foot down and spun on it, facing away from both her tree and the other dryad again. “I’m going to march right back to Titania or to anyone who can fix this and get back home. And if they don’t want to fix it, I’ll convince them.” Without her magic, she wasn’t exactly sure how, as her words hadn’t helped her coerce the brick-headed regals before. But she wasn’t going to be rooted here any longer!

Nespa tried to say something from behind her, but Virmir was too busy stomping along the grassy earth to listen. She made a few steps forward into the unknown of the realm, but it was only those few steps that she could manage. Her own body began to betray her, pulling back her limbs, one by one, leaving her leaning forward against what felt like an invisible net. She pushed against it, bringing every ounce of power in her to bear. Finally, she was beginning to match it, maybe even overpower it…

But in the next moment the force against her doubled, and her effort didn’t compare. She faltered for a second, and the invisible energy sent her flying back, all the way into her tree, the feeling of falling stopping as soon as she made contact with it. Groaning and struggling against the tree, she fought like she would to surface in a pool of water, breaching the surface once more and falling onto her knees in the process. She grumbled and rubbed at her sore and stiff limbs from having been put back into the plant, testing and stretching her joints to be sure they still worked.

“Yeah, um…” Nespa cleared her throat, and when Virmir looked up to her, she blushed in response. “I was going to say, dryads are typically bound to their trees. I figured Titania would only make it even more so. The ones who aren’t prisoners learn to shift from tree to tree and plane to plane, but… well, sorry, but I don’t think you’ll be able to, even if you learned the process.”

Vir just sighed and stayed a few steps away from her tree, determined to not end up as a part of it again at the least. Pushing off her knees to stand, she looked around the area again, trying to spot anything at all that would be of use to escape. Maybe she could try to “climb” her way across a whole bunch of trees to escape, using each on the way as a sort of anchoring point? That is, if they didn’t absorb her just like her own did. Not to mention she had no idea if that binding force got stronger the further away she got. She doubted there would be any way of burning down the plants here, either, considering so many of the fae were themselves all planty.

She was, too, which made being around fire all that much more dangerous. Maybe that should just be disregarded as a plan.

So she didn’t have any way out of this, then. She truly was stuck, rooted to the spot, turned into some form she was totally unable to understand and properly utilize.

…but she did just so happen to have a very bubbly and talkative dryad at her side.

Virmir turned to face said dryad, looking as calm as she could manage despite the panic she had almost let seep through her veins. “Nespa, you seem like you know and talk a lot with fae.” Unfazed, Nespa nodded and smiled, looking like she was ready to go rattling off every single one she knew, but Virmir was able to hold control of the conversation by just continuing to speak. “Since you do, do you have any idea of who people suspected of irritating the nobles?”

Even with how much Virmir suspected of her being a gossip, Nespa could only shrug at the question. “I mean, lots of folks don’t really appreciate them. And it’s not like anyone knew exactly all that had happened; there were some murmurs and warnings of just not going near Titania and those close to her after they got all buzzy. I don’t think there’s any grouping of fae who try to steal from or annoy them on the regular…” She trailed off, putting her hands out, wooden palms up as if to offer all the nothing she had on supply.

This was the only idea Virmir had left in her hollow head, though, and she wouldn’t part with it so easily. “Are you sure? There’s nothing, nobody you could ask about it?”

Nespa looked down, frowning and avoiding Virmir’s fiery and determined stare. “I don’t know any chain gangs or anything!” she declared, kicking at the ground. “You’re the first person I’ve ever met to have personally wronged Titania.”

Well, she hadn’t, Virmir wanted to insist, but yelling that at the other dryad probably wasn’t going to jostle her memory. She kept her mouth shut on that front, but refused to give up. “Okay. If you don’t know how you could find offenders, do you know who or what would steal wine, gems, dairy, and art?”

Unfortunately, all Nespa did to answer that at first was giggle. “I’m pretty sure most every fae, ever, would try their hand at taking all those things if they could get away with it. …sorry if that’s not helpful. But wine and dairy, they’re the ambrosia of our kind! I know your plane’s people enjoy them, too, but it’s just not on the same level for us. Gems and art, well, I suppose they’re probably worth a lot to some of the more materialist fae. Not worth so much if you stand out in a forest for all your life.” She rubbed her chin at that, and broke out into a wider smile. “There! That’s something, at least! They’ll be someone more like the nobles than us.”

As angry as she was that she still had a ways to go, Virmir had to admit that she was somewhat closer to the culprit than before. She rubbed at her temples uselessly, trying to pry out some other clue or evidence she had left out before. In a flash, it came back to her, and she spun to Nespa once more. “What about fires? Who would burn something owned by the queen herself?”

Nespa gasped, and not just from the sudden turn by the fox-turned-dryad. “By Queen Titania herself? No one!” She took a moment to look up and down, searching for the right words. “No… no one would even… they… I don’t think anyone could even use their magic on her property. How would they manage that…?”

Virmir sighed and slumped back to the ground. If something shouldn’t be able to cast around Titania’s place, then she was stuck on the same question as Nespa. How powerful would they need to be to bypass that super-powered queen’s spells? Dejected, she readied to fall back into the tree behind her. Maybe she could just come back to it later. She wouldn’t be on the same level as someone able to beat the queen and start a fire around her…

Unless maybe they didn’t mean to cast it, or otherwise cause it. With some renewed energy, she stood straight up, her mind racing faster and faster now. Her own experience with fire told her plenty – it was unruly, dangerous, and easy to spark. Whoever had been behind those crimes didn’t take anything from the grove, either, yet they had stolen from everyone and everywhere else they’d been to. Why else would they have left so suddenly without some sort of prize unless they had slipped up and ran?

“Quick, Nespa,” Virmir prompted, trying to speak as fast as she thought, “is there anything that can, I don’t know, accidentally start a fire somehow?”
Nespa snorted and laughed. “N-no?” When Virmir’s expression deflated, she kept talking, trying to prevent that. “Er, uh, maybe just about anyone could. I’m not sure how. Maybe Titania has… lanterns in her grove? Someone could have bumped one, knocked it into the grass…”

“But they’d be hanging from trees or something, wouldn’t they?” Virmir asked. “They’d have to know they’re there. Why would someone be sneaking about so closely to the trees and then knock an open flame off its perch?”

Already she had some more to work with than minutes before. Whoever was truly responsible somehow had the same fur as her, yet was fae, and might be… unwieldly enough to end up ruining a sneak session when they otherwise hadn’t many times before.

Nespa giggled again. Virmir lifted an eye as much as she could in her direction. “S-sorry,” she said, still giggling, “I just thought of something funny, something like that. I’ve heard of changelings trying to get away with thefts like that. They make themselves all burly, taking on the form of an ogre or some furry monster, rough-arm their way into stealing… and then they get caught in the doorway on the way out!” She laughed, covering her mouth.

Virmir facepalmed. Were those crazy bug things responsible for this? She had already had enough of just one in her lifetime, and this was only going to worsen their standing with her. “Nespa, do you know any changelings? Or any way to get a hold of others who do?”

“Oh, uh… not really,” she murmured, rubbing at the vines along her neck. “Most changelings are put over in your plane, or they just move there on their own. I’ve heard they really like the smell of waryseed, if that helps? Apparently it’s good for identifying them, and if they get a hold of it, they can brew something that makes any imbibers all totally complacent –“

Virmir gently grabbed the dryad’s side to stop her rambling. “Do you have any? Can you grow any?”

Unsure eyes meeting hers, Nespa nodded; slowly at first, then over and over, beaming. “Yes, yes I can grow some! Do you think that…”

Returning the same sort of nod, Virmir allowed herself to smile, the tension in her wooden body changing from despair to excitement. “If there’s a changeling still here, and the smell might lure them… that’s our best chance.”

Already Nespa was moving back to her much better-looking tree and the fertile ground around it, coaxing some seeds free of the earth and working to find a spot to set them in. As she started planting and tending to them, she looked back at her company, asking the obvious question. “But even if we do bring this changeling by, how are you going to catch them? And turn them in?”

Trying to relax, Virmir slid back into her tree, letting the wooden hold of the planty prison embrace her. “Don’t worry about that,” she assured her. “I have an idea for that. I’m just going to rest.”

“Alright,” she heard Nespa say. And then she did her best to sleep, the tree all too accommodating for that purpose.

Writer's Guild / Fae-med
« on: October 15, 2017, 11:55:19 PM »
read like "famed" or "framed" ha ha ah

There was a reason that Virmir tended to avoid civilization, beyond the general hermit nature he possessed. When he got around others, there was this nasty habit of him causing collateral damage with fire when he was irked. Honestly, the people who received the collateral should have been thankful that they weren’t the ones that were being aimed at in the first place and only received some brush-off damage. Still, it ended up with him constantly being brought to answer for the things he did, often with some sort of payment or service. Being a hoarding mage, it was simple to do either of those things.

He didn’t recall doing a single bit of arson off in another realm, however! This made for a very suitable reason to grump and complain at the surprisingly bulky elves that kidnapped him and drag him back with them to the realm of the fae.

“Why are you pulling me away from important research?” he demanded of them, dropping a cookbook while they gripped his arms and slammed cuffs onto his wrists. They had already made it clear that they were sent by some very important something or other fae royalty, so he didn’t try and turn and burn them when they just walked into his library.

“Queen Titania and the Circle of Nobles wish to have you answer for numerous crimes committed in their places of dwelling,” the one who looked to be manipulating the portal behind him said, wearing heavy leather gloves that shone with runes. “They all have eye-witness accounts of your crimes. They will be administering your punishment, as well.” He sounded… bored, almost, like he did this daily.

“Ah, that’s funny, you see,” Virmir piped up, shaking his cuffed hands, “I never actually went to their homes or anything, because I absolutely hate portals and going to different realms. I try to avoid it at all costs, after, uh, failed tampering. Usually other people end up pulling me through. But that didn’t happen here either!” he quickly added. “I was here for the past few weeks!”

Neither of the two elves said a thing in response.

“Don’t I get rights or anything? You have to tell me my rights,” Virmir insisted.

More silence.

“Lovely,” Virmir grumbled. Apparently, this was going to be a painful and long trip to an uncaring monarchy. If he was lucky, though, he might be able to prove them wrong and slip out without having to pay anything at all.

When the temporary examination done by the cuffing-elf failed to produce whatever he was looking for, he grabbed Virmir by the arms and pulled him along like a rolling suitcase towards the portal. The fox winced, trying to move his much smaller legs in time with the towering elf and failing miserably. His strides were just impossible to match, and it ended up making his paws drag across the stone floor.

“Could you be a little more careful with your prisoner?” Virmir asked, nudging at the arm of the elf before he stepped back through the portal.

To his surprise, the guy did turn around and give him an answer. “Certainly,” he said, and gripped the mage by his waist, lifting him in one arm and throwing him on his shoulder, moving his vice-grip down to his legs to keep them bound together.

Virmir sighed and grunted, the force of the toss pushing the air of out him. When he got his breath back, he thought about complaining and grumping to the elves some more, but with the record he had so far, it would probably only lead to him having his tail tied to his back, and then his muzzle strapped down and held together. And as tempted as he was to respond to the overwhelming rudeness of having two random elves teleport into his home with fire, he was sure that they would be tough enough to handle some spells, and would have back-up at the ready. If they thought that two was a large enough force to bring him in against his will, then he didn’t want to try and either get them to dismiss that thought, or worse, prove them right.

So he just allowed himself to be pulled through the glowing green portal instead, the elf maintaining it stepping through after the one carrying him did.

The area on the other side of the portal appeared a lot like the forest outside of Virmir’s tower, surprising him momentarily. Then he remembered all those books he’d been reading in his downtime, saying something along the lines of the realm of fae being a more naturally perfect version of his own world – naturally, as in, the green, planty kind. All the trees were full of leaves on every single, strong branch, forming a beautiful canopy over him with the occasional sunbeam breaking through and warming him (when it didn’t catch in his eye). Thick strings of moss, almost like vines, grew along every tree trunk. The forest floor itself was full of numerous shrubs and grasses, each of them so colorful to appear as if the ground was just an enormous painting that had larger plants worked into it after the fact. Between the trees in the distance, a few antlered animals looked on at the group of burly elves and fox cautiously, while the rest of their herd grazed peacefully.

Wow. This place was an even better forest than what Virmir had to work with at home. Maybe he should have visited sooner and tried to get established here first.

Then the elf carrying him hefted him with all the gentleness of a log, squeezing him on his shoulder, and started moving forward at a brisk pace, the sights of the forest turning to a blur around him.

Hmph. Well, maybe he could come back a different time and see if there was an appropriate place to set up, far away from these unpleasant fae folk. Maybe a garden would grow some exotic stuff here. That would certainly broaden his tasting horizons.

Quicker than he would have liked, the forest gave way to a slightly urbane environment. “Slightly” was the only descriptor he could use, considering everything was still built into the trees and plants around the place. This spot was probably no different from the rest of the forest until the fae set up shop, though he did wonder how sections had been seemingly clear-cut while the rest of the trees were still standing, untouched except for additions of tiny platforms here and there, bits of additional flora force-grown in occasionally…

Did they reverse the growth of plants that were in the way, or were they just exceptionally skilled in covering up their lumber work? Could they will the plant life around them to part? Or were they somehow involved in the original creation of the plane?

Vir found himself feeling the most secure in them just being good at covering their tracks, of course. It was the simplest explanation and it meant he was dealing with people on the same magical level as him.

Okay, maybe they were a bit higher up – when he burned things down, it was impossible for him to hide the smoking debris. But what practical use was there to hiding your handiwork, anyway? Sure, it might look nicer, but he didn’t need to worry about that. He just made sure to protect the stuff he cared about the most with protective spells, or better yet, make it out of something fireproof.

His train of thought was derailed immediately by the elf “dude” shouldering his way through a doorway that he hadn’t seen. The air felt different, cooler, as he passed through the absent doorway, and on the other side, things appeared from nowhere. This new zone looked somewhat like a court room from his own realm (which he was unfortunately aware of thanks to jury duty), but enough items were changed to make it look scarily uncanny. The jury box was there, but it was occupied by many similarly dressed and shaped people, all in exquisite and fanciful dress. Their faces were so aesthetically perfected, like they had been shaped from stone rather than born into the world in some imperfect organic way, and they were all bordering on the line between androgynous and elegantly female. Their noses came to the barest of points, and their ears all went up past their heads, the tips of them disappearing into their labored presentations of hair. Moreover, each of them towered over the jury box containing them, and Virmir placed their heights at somewhere between seven and eight feet.

The fox didn’t think he had offended any people out of olden paintings or marble statues lately, so he wondered who exactly these elven beings were.

The disturbing game of “spot the difference” didn’t stop at the people, of course. He noticed that most of the benches that would seat anyone else involved in a case were gone. Those that remained were animate beings of wood, but the sections of them that made up the furnishings were locked in place. What must have been their upper bodies bent at the end of the bench, standing straight up. They moved around and locked eyes with the mage – their faces almost looked like carvings, but again, they were too well made to be shaped out by hand. They didn’t seem in pain, at least, so that made sitting on them the tiniest bit less creepy.

Even though there were only enough benches for a defense and prosecution, that didn’t stop anyone from forming a crowd behind them. Unlike the very eerily picturesque people that formed the jury, those sitting out in the grass that was the floor of the open court room (courtyard room?) were widely varied. There were extremely tiny, almost mote-like people with wings that were almost double or triple their size. He figured these were probably the titular faeries that so many books covered, but he was certain that now was not the time to try and procure one of their antennae or wings for a potion. Next up on the size scale were feral animals that held themselves like anyone with sentience would, and a notch above them were people like him, most of these people taking after the sorts of animals that would normally inhabit the forest, from foxes to wolves to deer, on and on. There were more of those elven types, though none were nearly as unnaturally pretty as the ones in the box. In fact, most of them looked… well, nasty was the nicest word to use, with blemishes and too-big eyes and teeth that had assuredly never seen a dentist. The sizes only kept going up, with what Vir thought to be ogres and the fae equivalent of dragons, serpentine creatures devoid of wings and arms, yet still standing on hindlegs, with scales in many bright colors.

The burly elf carrying the mage finally set him down in one of the uncomfortably alive benches, letting him finally move his limbs again… briefly, he discovered, as more twigs and strands of wood grew from the front of the seat to bind his legs to the spot. Virmir sighed and slumped forward, accepting that he was going to be very desperately in need of some stretching after all of this was said and done.

Now that he was properly facing forward again, he discovered the final major difference in the court. Rather than a tall bench or desk for the presiding judge, there was only an equally towering throne, occupied by the most flamboyantly and irritatingly royal woman Virmir could even hope to imagine. Her hair, in rich oranges and greens, fell all the way to the legs of her seat, billowing in equally careless and flawless amounts. Just like the nobles nestled in their jury box, her facial features were perfect – maybe even more so than the others, if such a thing were possible. For as conventionally beautiful as she was, she was bordering on unnaturally thin, like a bundle of vines that had come together to rule over the rest of these unruly fae folk. And with the way she twisted her arms and hair about restlessly in her throne, she very well could have been.

“With the accused present, the trial will commence,” she announced, projecting her voice throughout the area, a warm breeze accompanying the noise. No doubt this was the queen.

His analysis cut short, Titania went on to establish the proceedings, which, try as he might, Virmir was compelled to listen and take in. Order this, order that, and – right, trying the accused.

The queen looked over to the gathered fanciful elves and gestured, urging them to speak. One of them, a beehive styled hair atop their head, spoke; their voice did nothing to change their androgynous nature. “No doubt this rat here is the culprit,” they said, glaring with exceptionally squinty eyes down to Vir. “The monster scrambled out over my bedchamber’s balcony with gems worth his life a thousand times over. None of my magic could locate him. I’m certain he must have fled to that other plane of his to escape with the loot.”

Virmir scoffed. “Like I blasted care about –“

The wood binding him to the bench suddenly tightened, and that same breeze of warm air he felt earlier intensified… right in his gullet. He gasped for air and struggled, and not long after the seizing powers let off him. He could feel the glaring eyes of the queen on him, accompanied by a restatement of the proceedings: “The accused will stay silent until prompted.”

Grumping and bowing his head out of respect to the power she had, Virmir stayed silent and endured many, many more whining nobles accusing him of things he most certainly did not do.

“That very fink rifled through my milk and cheese stores,” one of them said, though they didn’t look like they would eat, to maintain an unnatural figure like theirs.

“His fur was found in my vineyards… as well as a sudden lack of jugs and vases with my newest creations.”

“And my foyer was torn apart after I returned from tea. My gathered works of art, dashed or stolen.”

Virmir rolled his eyes, and was immediately grateful that the queen was looking away when he did so. She turned back to him, and he simply met her gaze as steadily as he could manage. She was radiating heat like he did when he was really tapping into some magic, but she looked awfully calm, even bored. Now was the time for silent cooperation, no matter how much it bugged him.

After all twenty-four of them had spoken – he counted, with how long it dragged on – Titania held a hand up to stall them from further complaining. Her gaze stayed on him, now. “The accused may now defend themselves.”

Hesitantly, the fox looked around, back to the crowd, and back to the queen. “Do I get a lawyer?” he asked. That was a thing you got in courts. He was smart, but he didn’t watch crime dramas.

Putting on a wicked smile, the queen pointed out to the crowd behind him. “You’re welcome to choose any one of those to speak for you, if you’d rather,” she told him, settling back in her throne.

Once again Virmir looked out to the crowd. Many of them were jeering, some were drooling, and others still looked like they were desperate to see the spectacle that would unfold from him losing. The fiery fox shook his head and looked forward again, sighing. “Okay, point taken.

“As I was saying before, I couldn’t care less about anything that you all mentioned,” Vir began, looking up to the nobles. “I’m not decked out in jewelry, you might notice, and I tend to forget to eat sometimes, so I wouldn’t need to steal any dairy. Let alone wine! You could sniff my breath, I don’t drink,” he said, and puffed out a breath up at the nobles.

The way they recoiled at the thought of breathing in the same air as the accused below them made it worthwhile for Virmir, but he continued.
“Also, I tend to burn things. If I was going to demolish any of your stuff, I would have used fire, believe me.” He thought about conjuring a fireball to prove it, but he liked breathing too much to risk it. “I don’t do running very well unless there’s a wall of fire behind me.”

Titania cleared her throat, an errant rush of air forcing the fox to look back at her. “About that,” she said, pressing his muzzle closed with the same current. She thrust her wrist once, power spilling out from it like water, and the ground before both her and Virmir sprung up with vivid images… images of a grove burning, the underbrush scorched and the fire spreading into the treetops. “If you thought you could ignore the slights performed against me, I was there to witness the aftermath. You set my work back by decades. Nothing major in my rule, of course, but in your lifetime…” The same smile of hers grew wider, her bone-white teeth glaring in the light. “Well, the numbers just work out well. A lifetime punishment simply makes sense.”
Virmir gulped. He had too many other things to do to deal with in his lifetime to have some crazy powerful beings get upset at things he didn’t do. Unable to protest, he just bit his tongue as the queen went on.

“While the duration of your punishment is easy to decide on, I had to confer with the others you’ve offended to get a good idea of how to deal with it. They all seem to agree that the most important points are removing your troublesome magic and mobility. As such, I believe I’ve come to a fitting punishment…” The queen pulled her hand back like she was toying with a yo-yo, the magic that depicted the grove returning to her. She gathered it anew, tendrils of power dancing around her wrist and fingers, and slowly began to funnel it into the fox.

That would have been the perfect time to try and retaliate with copious fireballs, but unfortunately, the magic she was working with was already taking effect. Virmir had trouble keeping his eyes open so as to even aim any fiery projectiles, his limbs wouldn’t even struggle against their bindings, and he couldn’t open his maw… except to yawn. He fought and struggled to try and throw off whatever sleep or weakness the crazy powerful fae was working, but it was pointless. His senses left him in moments, and soon, so did his consciousness altogether.

Random Topics / Re: Arro's Month Long TF October 2017 Part 1
« on: August 31, 2017, 06:49:44 PM »

Writer's Guild / Vir-gnette
« on: May 09, 2017, 11:10:15 PM »
you know, cuz it's like a vignette with Vir?


Virmir grumped and folded his arms while he leaned back in the hard-oaken chair provided – he was very used to this by now. “I’ve told you a million times that hypnosis doesn’t work on me,” he grumbled, slumping down further in the furniture, his eyes barely coming up over the edge of the table. It’s a good thing they did, too, as it was very important that he got to glare at his apprentice across it.
Said jackal of an apprentice was standing tall in his own copy of the same chair Virmir was in. He had his hands busy digging in to a tumbling pile of junk and trash that was, presumably, meant to let him hypnotize someone. There were at least a dozen things that the gray fox had already seen used against him, none of which had worked in the slightest. A golden pocket watch with a swirly amethyst in a prominent position in center of the face of the item went over the side of the table and clanked against the wood floor, sliding under a shelf. Virmir sighed and rolled his eyes. “You’ll be getting that eventually, I hope,” he mumbled.
“Relax!” Medik chimed in from across the way, using both paws to scoop a sizable chunk of items out of his face. “You should be relaxing anyway to make the hypnosis work. It’s kind of important! Your blood pressure might be too high at a resting point normally to make hypnosis possible.”
“I am calm!” Virmir told him in an admittedly not too calm fashion. He cleared his throat and adjusted his cape professionally and smoothed an antenna of hair. “I am perfectly calm. All the time. At least, when you’re not around.”
Medik shifted his own eyes. Apparently some of Vir’s habits were rubbing off on his apprentice, which both made him happy, for he wouldn’t have to try and force them through his thick skull magically, and displeased, as he didn’t want someone else copying his style. Dodging glances was his thing, blast it. So was his vocabulary. At least that was still all his own.
The jackal took his sweet time to sort through the copious garbage he had amassed on Vir’s furniture. Eventually, he finally recovered a silvery link of jewelry that fed into a single swirly pendant, the swirly bit sliding along the links with each little jitter of movement. It might have been a necklace at some point, he thought, but black-and-white swirls were most definitely not in fashion now. He sort of doubted they ever were, which made him wonder why there was any valuable metal at all involved with its creation.
Rather than putting it around his neck, Medik held it at some random point along the chain and lifted it up high, almost eye-level with himself. He even bent his head and the higher half of his spine forward, moving the swirly pendant along with him. He focused hard and put on his best piercing stare, looking right at the fox across the table. “You think hypnosis won’t work on you at all, ever, huh? This one is strong! I’m sure! I found it in a trash can one time!”
Virmir resisted the urge to gag. At least there was no lingering trash smell – he had been promised that everything his apprentice brought to bat today had been washed thoroughly before being brought onto the premises. “I’m certain that it won’t, ever. Especially not if you found some discarded trinket in the garbage somewhere. That doesn’t make me even want to fake it out of pity.”
“You won’t have to!” Medik reassured him. He started shaking the silvery pendant from side to side, prompting the swirls to start… well, swirling. “This thing should be so strong that it will hypnotize the entire world! …I think. Look, if you want me to prove that hypnosis can work on you, you have to be willing to let it happen, okay? It doesn’t work on anyone that’s unwilling, that’s the whole point! You’re just trying to go against the whole thing on principle!”
Sighing, Virmir decided he would indulge the ridiculous attempt. He sat up enough to be straight and looked forward, locking eyes with his apprentice. When Medik shot looks at the pendant over and over again, with matching exaggerated expressions of annoyance, Virmir groaned and complied, looking into the swirls. They were artsy, he supposed, but they didn’t hold any power in them. He would be able to tell, after all, being an accomplished mage! If there was some sort of spell going on, then he would absolutely know. Since there wasn’t even a tiny trickle of energy flowing free from it, he allowed himself to keep staring it over and lose his focus on other things, if only for a short while.
“Good!” The pendant stopped moving in such exasperatedly desperate ways, settling into a slow side to side motion like that of a pendulum. Somehow, the swirling of the pendant was perfectly matched with the sliding it performed while moving left and right. One never interrupted the other – each happened in a perfectly natural manner, a dance in utter harmony. Virmir admitted that that much was cool, and was promptly shushed and told to keep looking at it instead of speaking up.
“The longer you watch this pendant of mine, the sleepier you are going to feel,” Medik promised. Virmir felt no such thing, but he did feel like the room was a bit… darker, somehow. Maybe his vision was getting blurry from having to stare at the that swirl for so long. Still, just to keep his apprentice from getting upset, he kept on watching it.
“Over time, my suggestions will become more powerful to your hazy brain. It’s hard to focus when you are so sleepy. You feel much better allowing someone else to think for you and let you know what’s going on so you can rest your precious mind.” Again, Virmir could not say he felt this happening at all. He made some sort of affirming grunt under his breath, but didn’t say anything more than that; this hypnosis thing was a load of hokey but he wouldn’t voice that just yet. He could let the jackal keep trying, just to keep him appeased.
“Since you are so tired now, I will let you know how things are, as I’m sure you’d like to know,” Medik continued. “Your body is shifting. You are changing shape, from your old self into a more powerful and larger size, with dangerous claws and teeth.” Virmir almost laughed at that, and snuck a glance at his right arm while he could. Just as he thought, everything was perfectly in order, with his long crimson claws and lithe arm. He relaxed and slowly put it back down, going back to watching that pendant without any worry.
“Your clothes – um, what little there are – are blending into your body. You don’t really need to bother with them. You look iconic enough already.” Virmir couldn’t help but snerk and feel at his collarbone, feeling the generous amounts of fluff that stretched far past each shoulder. Of course he didn’t have any clothes. They looked ridiculous. All he needed was the V-shaped, collar-of-a-cape-like fur he had bunched up below his neck.
“Your hair has extended far beyond what it was before – not your fur, your hair.” Breaking eye contact with the pendant for a longer period of time, Vir snuck a look back to his hair and felt at it to boot. No; though it was already plenty long, it didn’t feel any longer than before. His ponytail bobbed and bounced as he turned back to look at the pendant.
Medik glared down at him from above the bridge of his wide nose, turning to put the tip of his nose back at the swirls, instructing him to keep focused. Virmir shifted his eyes before doing as he was asked, albeit with some more disgruntlement than before. His patience was wearing thin. It was obvious that the act wasn’t working, so why try and keep things going along?
“That hair has been bound up near the end like an actual tail,” Medik said. Virmir could catch him bobbing and tilting his head this way and that as he spoke, his own collar of fluff hiding the odd neck muscles at work there. “There’s a nice black band keeping it from falling all apart.”
Virmir scoffed. Of course there was – that was how his hair had always been. Now he was just saying obvious things to try and make the hypnosis seem like it was working, eh? In that case, he’d only allow a bit more of this big joke before he called things off.
With his eyes back to dwelling on the sliding pendant, he did feel a bit more at ease, though it was probably just because it distracted him from the overall ridiculous scene Medik was putting on. He kept moving his head around, almost trying to match the pendant as it moved, now only pinching the top of it with a finger and thumb. With how he was hunched over while he stood in the chair, he looked much more like someone squinting to read a sign than a wannabe hypnotist. Virmir put all the focus he had left in his peeved mind onto those swirls, allowing a few final attempts.
“Your power in magic is unparalleled – you manipulate shadows and fire as easily as one might feel their way through the air or sand. You can bend reality around you as you please.” Again, Medik was just stating the obvious at this point, and Vir had finally had enough of it. He shook his head, and bared his teeth, rolling his eyes.
“Okay, okay, that’s enough of that,” Virmir said, climbing out of the tiny chair and pushing it far into the corner of the stony cave. He wondered why he had ever agreed to stopping their expedition further into the dungeon here to allow Medik to try his ridiculous hypnosis against him again. This hovel of a room was plenty cramped for his long, tall foxy body and he was sick of his hair resting against the floor, and even worse, being threatened with being crushed by the rickety legs of the chair and table.
“Fiiiine.” Medik jumped down from his spot in the chair, readjusting his pose from an intense and attemptingly-hypnotic one to a normal and relaxed one, standing just as tall as Virmir himself. He grumbled and slipped his hypnotic implement around his neck, the steely ring bouncing against his chest as he walked while the leather that held it practically disappeared into all that white fluff above it. “I guess hypnosis doesn’t work on you. Whatever!”
“I already told you that, yes,” Virmir grumbled again, walking out of the side room and opening his maw to incinerate an enormous spider web that was further down the cavernous way. “Just get ready to move, alright? You’re still an apprentice on a mission with me and you’re going to be doing your best to help.”
“Sure, ‘leader,’ lead on,” he mocked, stepping behind Virmir while being sure not to step on that precious ponytail of his that kept dragging far behind.

Art Gallery / Re: Mass Virmir Clone TF Commission Idea
« on: March 21, 2017, 02:44:27 PM »
If I have to put something down in order to be considered for the picture then I'll put this here

I'd very much like to know the pricing and the date necessary for money to be tossed on, though

Oh yeah, for the actual picture: just wanna have Medik (which I swear Virmir has drawn enough by now that he doesn't need me to show him a ref he can open up faster than I could) dressed up like Virmir and actively mocking him. "I am so great," "I'm amazing," "blah blah blah ego," so on

Writer's Guild / Re: Stand Tall; or, Glass
« on: February 10, 2017, 05:22:40 PM »
“Slay the beast!” the captain of the guard screamed, watching as his men were tripped and tossed away by merely the tail of the giant, fiery snake-woman. None of his soldiers could even get close to her, the heat from her too intense and her tail too quick and powerful to evade. She had even casually grabbed up some of the scimitars his guards were using to begin practicing with, picking up on the movements of his own soldiers in no time.
Meanwhile, Virmir thought to herself that she probably should have been a little more careful with her reentry to the palace with how she looked. It was too late now, though. She continued her gradual slithering across the courtyard, doing her best not to cause any permanent damage but keep her path clear to the throne room.
She took particular joy in getting to swat the burly pair of guards that stood in a panicked huddle at the doors to the throne. “I can’t even kneel now!” she yelled as she passed, grinning and showing her new fangs off.
Putting up a wall of fire and smoke behind her and in the doorway to the throne room, Virmir cleared her throat and pulled her cloak free, shaking it to loose the treasure inside. Gems, jewelry, and assorted priceless stuff free, she did her best to put it back around her, but it was still much too small for her grown body. She shrugged and put it around her neck as a scarf, beaming and twirling her new weapons in her four hands.
“When are you going to give me my new room?” she asked pleasantly, feeling in a great mood now. “I think that the old guardian down there said I was supposed to be guarding the pharaohs and their legacy, but I still want to be doing whatever I please with my free time. Imagine how much more I could get done with more, useful limbs!”
The pharaoh gulped and forced himself off the throne, gathering up his requested items and holding them in his arms. “I, uh… I’ll get them right on that,” he promised. “And, um, thanks, I think?”
“You’re welcome.” Virmir bowed at the waist, her tail still holding her much taller overall. She walked back to the magic wall she had brought up and smothered it just by walking through it, demonstrating even more of her power to the guards out front, who stood in awe. Only one of them still charged, thinking himself to be helping, but Virmir moved her tail slightly and let him trip over it and fall face-first into the sand.
“I am the new guardian of the pharaoh!” she announced. “…not by choice,” she muttered under her breath, “but still! I can do your jobs better than you can. Meaning,” she continued, “you can be the ones to handle the pharaoh’s finances and I can just, you know… breathe fire.” Virmir grinned and demonstrated, hissing and spitting out a ball of flame that scorched the sand in front of her into an elaborate pane of glass.
Hesitantly, and unhappily, the guards grumbled and started dispersing, finally noticing that, while she was certainly rough, the snake-fox-monster-thing was not trying to take their lives, or their pharaoh’s. And she did look kinda familiar to the little angry mage that had been pushing their way through them earlier in the day.
With the courtyard to herself, Virmir sprawled her tail out into the sand and let out an audible “ah,” resting atop it and looking at the glass she had just made. Maybe she could replace those garish holes in the wall with her own art, too. Protecting the pharaoh wouldn’t take up much time, especially if she could just look threatening enough and never have to deal with any threats. The unneeded guard force could be the pharaoh’s new errand runners, instead. It would leave her much of the day to just “write history” for the pharaoh, like he had said before. She could certainly get used to this whole monster thing.

Writer's Guild / Re: Stand Tall; or, Glass
« on: February 10, 2017, 05:22:01 PM »
The couple of pages that the pharaoh had ripped free from their home-of-a-tome looked just like a terribly torn up foldout map. The crumpling hadn’t done it any favors, either. It was going to be difficult to gauge the exact distance from anything with all the tiny folds and pieces of paper that had fallen or been torn free. In fact, figuring out what the landmarks given on the map were meant to be was a challenge, too. Virmir was pretty sure that one of the little icons was meant to be the palace he was departing from, but it wasn’t a certainty. On the map, it was simply a planned spot for the future god-kings to have their place of power set up.
There was nothing that guaranteed that spot was where palace stood today. Maybe it was moved over a good half mile or so. Still, it was the only remotely close landmark he could use for reference – most of the other icons were halfway across the domain.
Even so, Virmir was left with a trek of a few miles. He took a copious number of waterskins, enchanted on the inside to keep their contents cooled, storing them in the back of his cloak. He thought about bringing along some food, too, but decided against it on the grounds of chancing gritty sand getting into his snacks, or worse, his mouth and teeth. His journey was only taken after filling up on some of the best delicacies that sat on the pharaoh’s tray, left lazily out in the halls.
Sand was not easy to trudge through, but it was better than snow. While his feet were singed then and again by the ground soaking in the midday sun, they at least were not freezing off at the toes – and though the dunes could sometimes be slippery, the worst he risked was falling into a soft bed of the stuff, as opposed to slipping and face-planting on ice.
He was forced to go slowly, cloak pulled closed to guard his front from gusts and cowl down to protect his face and ears. He allowed himself a chance occasionally to peek out and check his surroundings, the height and placement of the sun, and compare it all to his map before continuing to push against the environment.
Fortunately, Virmir found the remains of some sort of temple before he slammed his feet into the wrecked pillars it possessed. The sandstone, a slightly darker color than the environment about it, seemed to have fallen in on itself. Only a single support was still standing.
Treading through the ruins, the fox was surprised not to see a slab on the pillar that professed to the world how it should tremble before the great works wrought here. He figured that ego was one of the few things that persisted across all cultures. After all, if it stuck with him throughout all of his different encounters, then it had to have some power to it.
 Maybe their lack of confidence was part of what led to it crumbling. Whatever was responsible, he spent the lesser part of an hour digging all around, trying to find something worth bringing back.
If there ever was anything of importance strewn around, it had long been carried away by the sands or by bandits. Virmir sighed and readied himself to head back with only some scraps of stone, but before he did, he decided to down one of his waterskins to prepare. He moved to the singular pillar and leaned against it, pulling a waterskin free –
But there was a click. Virmir bolted and jumped up, stepping nice and far away from the architecture before it had a chance to crush him. …but it didn’t move after the initial noise, still looking just as solid and secure.
He hmphed to himself and marched back to the pillar, putting a near-identical amount of pressure on it and listening. Again, there was that clicking, but nothing more. He looked all around the ruins, inspecting the ground to see if the sand dunes started to fall or rise in any odd spots.
Yet everything was just as serene as it could be with a strong, stinging wind. No hidden passages were raised up out of the ground and no big drops appeared from nothing. Virmir gave it a few more testing pushes, just to make certain that nothing had slipped by his sight…
Satisfied with his investigation of the surrounding area, he stepped far away from the pillar and gave it a solid blasting of fire and force.
There was no small click, suffice to say. Shards of sandstone scattered into the surrounding dunes while Virmir guarded himself behind his cloak. After the kaboom had run its course, he cautiously stepped over to where the pillar had once been, being careful around the now somewhat glassy surface that he had made.
That was certainly something that Virmir had to appreciate – sand had an exceptionally positive response to being toasted by loads and loads of fire magic. While some of the dust cleared, he grabbed up a glassy fulgurite and pocketed it for decoration later, or at least as a reminder of his time spent out in the sands.
With the olden architecture destroyed, Vir was able to see underneath where it once stood. A conspicuous square-shaped passage was now open to the desert air. Around it was a raised barrier, just low and slim enough to allow the pillar to move about some and let anyone who pushed up against it know what was in place just below. There were even some steps carved into the wall, making for easy climbing.
And so he stepped down into the passage after making sure that there were no traps on the opposite side, eager to impale him after years of acquiring dust. It was too dark to tell initially, but another, slower fireball illuminated the way down and made sure that anything organic was going to be nice and warmed up to him before he made his way down.
Virmir was alone at the bottom of the passage, ending up in some sort of chamber. In fact, it reminded him of the same throne room that was home to the current “pharaoh.” Apparently royalty didn’t hire very innovative contractors when they got their fancy, ornate palaces made. Of course, being underground, it was much darker, the only light source being the thin beams that barely reached the bottom of the passage behind him. He could see a couple of sconces raised up on the walls on either side of him. It took only a flick and a bit of focus to light them, and then the sconces ahead and behind them, until he had the entire area illuminated.
Things weren’t in a good state of repair. The ground was littered with cracks and splinters of stone, and some chips of paint that might have once been making up hieroglyphs were resting sadly in the corners of the room. Although much of it seemed identical to the throne room he knew, the whole area did seem more… open, somehow. Maybe the pharaoh of the past was much, much larger. He seriously doubted that they were any more godly than the current one was, though. Maybe they were older and had some magic in their arsenal, but that didn’t make them any less challengeable. Maybe duels were had in the throne room for amusement?
All his musing was just wasting his time, though. Virmir cleared his head and continued to walk through the room, searching for anything of worth. It didn’t seem likely that a hoard of artifacts would be kept out in the main entrance, however odd of a spot it was. Once it was clear that nothing of worth was nearby, he set his mind on finding any doorways or hallways to bust open and check out.
He eventually found one, in the obvious, cliché spot – right behind the throne, which was dilapidated and cracked down the right side, a chunk of it resting on the floor. The fox stepped over it with a stretch and continued down the new, open passage.
Down this way, there were no sconces or torches. He settled on just carrying his light in his hands, shaking his cloak a bit further down so as not to obscure it. With one paw raised and providing the only light in the darkened hall and the other pressed up against the wall to check for secret buttons or indents, he continued his march through the ruins.
It was somewhat suspicious that no priceless items were just tossed around lazily, Virmir thought to himself. If this were really some sort of pharaoh’s living space, they would have surely indulged and shown off their riches all around rather than hoard their collection like a dragon. If they were really so powerful, why would they have to hide their junk? Especially when the only people who would be around the pharaoh would be loyal and hand-picked…
He really hoped there wasn’t a dragon taking up residence down here. Most of them were pretty resistant to his element of choice. The only other explanation he could attribute to the disappearance of gold and jewels would be thievery, and he wasn’t in the business of tracking.
At the end of his thinking-hallway, Vir found a room that wasn’t nearly as devoid of items as the previous one. There were other hallways to follow out, but they weren’t as important. Gathered in a gigantic pile in the center of the room were all the ancient and priceless items that he could imagine, ranging from little golden trinkets to jeweled scepters and anklets and bracers. There were probably a few hundred things all grouped together. It was lopsided and uneven, too. He briefly wondered why dragons always just hoarded stuff in that manner; it couldn’t have been very comfortable to be sprawled out on.
For as suspicious as the treasure pile appeared, he didn’t see any draconic monsters nearby, nor was the loot cursed with some sort of guard-conscription magic. If he was quick about it, he might be able to gather up a sufficient amount of stuff to sell and hand over to the “pharaoh” before whatever had gathered it all up came back to check on its stash. He started with things that had fallen free of the pile, easily taking them and pocketing the smallest before moving on to ones that were stuck near the bottom, being careful to not upset the balance of the whole thing and send it crashing down like a glittery Jenga game.
But other than the jingle and clacking of gems and gold, Virmir could hear some sort of sliding, dragging, down one of the far corridors. Being on the opposite side of the pile from the noise, he stopped all his movement and looting to lay up against it and take cover to listen.
It was consistent and slow – not the kind of “lacking-in-speed” slowness, but a lazy, uncaring pace. He thought he could pick out alternation in what side the sound was coming from, too. Left, drag, right, drag, left… soon there was a louder echo to the noise and some of the items on the other end of the pile were clanging and being sifted through.
When it came to fight or flight, Vir was very dedicated to giving fighting a fair shot to begin with. If he could handle a threat, either by burning it down or by scaring it off, then that was definitely the way to go. If it failed, well… then it was a good time to run.
So he pushed himself off from the loot with a bit of force and whirled a fireball up and over the obstruction in the room.
Being short was sometimes a great slight to his combat abilities. For example, he had no clue if he had even hit anything thanks to being unable to see over the golden mountain. If he had only angered what was on the other side, he would be in for a world of hurt if he was unprepared. On the other hand, if he had incapacitated the enemy, it would have been a great time to traverse around and let loose with more fireballs.
Without any way of safely gathering information, Virmir just stood there, ready for another toss of a fireball, waiting on some sort of response.
It took longer than he would have liked, but eventually his target began climbing the pile. There were dark green scales – how typically draconic. But the scales didn’t form the shape of a draconic head. It was much more traditionally reptilian, without the sharper edges and raised cranium of a fire-breather. The head was slim and streamlined, going down to a neck that flowed right into the rest of the slim body. However, unlike what he thought the creature might now turn out to be, it possessed arms, and four of them, at that. Each of them were used to ascend in turn until the snake-thing lifted itself atop the hill, bringing its tail along with it. The very tip of it was decorated with a golden spade, rattling just like another, non-artificial one would.
“You would dare infiltrate a sacred tomb of the pharaohs and attack its guardian servant, chosen by the gods themselves?” it questioned, rattling again. “You would take the precious items of divine royalty?”
Virmir considered his words. “Yes,” he answered. “But it’s not like I came here with the intention of either of those things.”
The snake-monster cackled and shook its tail all around, sending some riches onto the ground, some of them smashing and cracking. “You tell me that a thief does not break and enter with the idea of stealing! Did you come here to admire these ruins, then, and just decide you may as well leave with a souvenir?”
Virmir sighed. “It’s a longer story than that and I don’t need to tell it to you.” Now that the snake was a little more balanced and elevated, it was easy to land a precise hit on its snout and send it tumbling back down with a long hiss.
It was probably time to get going. Vir grabbed a few assorted things up from the ground before spinning around and rushing back, leaving by the same passage he had entered.
The snake-monster was not so ready to let him go. As he neared the exit, he could hear a grunt from far behind him, and turned just in time to see the coiled reptile spring off of the treasure and land on his four arms and tail, right in his path. As it got back up, he missed its head and flung a ball of fire straight at its chest.
This time, it resisted the force. It didn’t seem phased at all. Moving so fast that it blurred, the monster lunged forward, fangs out, and sunk them into Virmir’s leg.
This bite was not anything like any that he had suffered before (usually from unruly upstarts like that “pharaoh king”). The pain was unbearable at first, but it began to fade quickly after. In its place came a numbness. Soon his legs were working completely against him, or rather, just not at all. He crumpled down and had to brace himself with his hands and arms.
With one paw busy keeping him from collapsing entirely flat on the floor, Virmir lifted his free one and readied another blast – but the beast was already on fire. Maybe this thing had some sort of magic resistance that hadn’t toughed it out long enough. Oddly, the monster-snake seemed entirely satisfied with its life, standing still and looking at his bite with pride.
“If you wish to be with these riches so badly, then so you will be.” It slunk down and coiled in on itself, gradually growing smaller and smaller. “I have done my part as guardian to the pharaohs. I pass the debt, and curse…”
And then there was only a belt of ashes, curled up in the vague shape of a snake.
Blast, that was NOT a good thing.
Frantically, Virmir rolled over onto his back and began dressing the bite wound. He could feel that numbness starting to spread. There were a number of things it could do, and although dying was probably the worst one up on the list, he was confident he could stop that if he acted fast. Some scraps of his old cape were good enough to wrap tightly around it as a tourniquet; infection and physical spreading would be the first to stop.
After he tied the cloth tight, he sat up and tried to put his magic to work on curing the venom out of his system, or at least stop its spread. He was woefully inexperienced in applying his magic this way, so he quickly settled on only halting it in his legs. He wasn’t sure if he could manage even that with how numb he was becoming. The whole process was taxing.
Once he was sure he had done the best job he could, he did his best to recover anything that had dropped from his cloak. He swore that he could feel some trace parts of that venom still slipping through him, but he couldn’t do much about it. Loot in hand, he began the slow and trudging process of dragging himself back down the hallway he had come in.
His legs and tail may have been numb, but that didn’t stop his hands from feeling the cold and cracked ground. He did his best to crawl along without slamming his palms down onto anything sharp and painful, but there were still occasional pebbles and sharp edges to avoid after grazing them. The light up ahead from the throne room was promising, at least.
Virmir finally emerged into the fiery light, pulling himself up against a pillar and panting. Upper body strength was not his forte. At least he could take a short break in the lightened room and check his wound again. He didn’t dare take that tourniquet off… but the temptation was there, just to be sure that he was still alright. The numbness was still very strong, and even had a tingling reach up in his sides and his gut. His skin was flaking and losing fur around the bite, too. He reached nervously to feel at his dressing…
And yelped and fell back at seeing a pair of numb, previously unknown arms reaching along with his normal ones.
Fumbling with them under his cloak, he tugged and pulled at them by the forearm, bending them at the elbow, testing their every function. They were connected to him, for sure; he just couldn’t feel through them yet with how the venom was working its way through his body. Carefully, he tried to focus and wrap them around his body and keep them there, out of the way from his working and inspection.
It wasn’t looking too swollen or infected, but it did look red. It was a bit darker lower down. Hesitantly, he reached at the spreading and barely felt over it, careful to not let it spread to his fingers somehow. It felt rough and scratchy.
Sighing and catching his breath, Virmir let those extra arms come free of his cloak and numbly help crawl him across the ground again. If they were going to be there, they should at least be useful, he thought. He tried to not let his legs drag too much against the ground now, worried that he might just be irritating the wound and its spread, but his body wouldn’t cooperate. His back felt like it was giving out when he attempted to lift his lower body off the ground, so he just gave up on that and let it slide about behind him. He would probably be paying for that later, but right now, he had to get out of here as fast as possible in case this was a location-centralized curse… or something. He had no idea how to treat curses. He certainly wouldn’t be able to walk back to the palace in this condition, so he would have to figure something out very, very soon.
He took much longer to traverse the throne room the second time through. Going at a literal agonizing crawl, he brought himself back to the steps in the wall and took another break. His body was surprisingly not as sore as he expected it to be, but he had a nagging feeling that he had less and less movement with his legs the further he moved.
Four-armed, the fox slipped his hands into the steps in the wall and struggled to begin the slow climb back out. Without feeling in his legs, it was going to be nigh-impossible, but he had to give it his all to try and get free. He grabbed the first step, leaving two hands propped there, and lifted up to the next. He kept going, gradually stretching out the whole of his body to reach as high up as he could. He huffed and leaned hard against the spots in the wall without steps, straining his body…
But he heard some sort of pop, and was sent right back down to the bottom of the climb with another batch of clattering and pain.
Thankfully, he wasn’t that high up, and he still couldn’t completely feel all the pain he should have been. Sprawled on his back, he craned his head to look what had caused the odd push.
…those were new. And unfortunate.
Embarrassed and blushing, even though he – or she – wasn’t in the sight of others, the cloak wrapped up tighter around the front to try and cover the pair of bumps that had ruined the climb. It wasn’t fitting quite right, now that it was trying to be brought over a rather hourglassy body. Her hips were incredibly large now, but they weren’t even properly fluffy. They were thick with more of that red, flaky hardness that she had thought was just the wound at first. By now, it was covering everything below her waist. In its wake, it had even “consumed” her tail, feet, and the space between her legs, bringing it all together in one scaled and speckled limb.
She was so close to getting out, though! She grumbled as she tried to force the extrusions on her chest to go back in, finding no way of getting that to work. With that and her lack of legs and feet, she had no way of escape.
Well… that wasn’t true. She had seen that infectious monster coil and spring a huge distance only minutes before. Maybe she could manage something along those lines. Just… only vertically, and a good twenty feet or so.
Even twenty feet didn’t seem like too much right now. She felt much bigger, taller, wider, and stronger over all, especially with a whole four arms to make up for her other missing limbs. Maybe it was possible.
With a great deal of focus, and her best attempt at infusing some magic into her “jump,” Virmir leapt up and out of the underground ruins, grasping at the stone at the top for a spot to hold to. She dug her claws, which felt suspiciously longer, into whatever she could, and brought the rest of her body up and out with her.
Natural light had never felt so good. Her tail felt radiant in the sand with the sun pouring down on her. The heat was so much more bearable, and the sand couldn’t bother her lower body in the slightest, which was slowly losing the effects of the venom… some of them, anyway. The tail certainly wasn’t changing.
She allowed herself to pant again after more exertion and finally working her way free of the ruins, finding that her jaw stretched much, much wider, with an accompanying longer, thinner tongue that forked at the tip, as well as some sharp, hollow fangs occupying the spots of her former canines. That could make eating her typical diet much more difficult, but she was already feeling hungry for more savory things...
Bleh. She could deal with the repercussions of her trek down under the sands later. First she had to get back with her loot.

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