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Default 06-05-2012, 08:53 PM

He grinned, "That's great!" Aza's ears twitched and turned, brows furrowing in thought, "I heard that a group of Cats and Wolves gone to the land of the No-Tailed-Ones to sign a treaty, I think... something may have happened... a storm did by pass there. They may be stranded.
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Default 06-05-2012, 09:33 PM

"Where on earth dd you hear this?" Lucy asked, eyebrows raised. "Well, either way, Remy's plan makes the most sense; we should get to the Wolves, who could turn out as potential allies," Lucy said.

Meanwhile, Astarte had changed into ceremonial robed, had brushed her honey-colored locks until they gleamed, and had even filched what little 'jewelry' she owned, most of which were leather and made friendship-bracelet style. She gathered more ceremonial cups, some of the special wine.

She walked barefooted through the temple to where the altar was and began to set up her ritual, carefully painting and going over symbols on the floor, outlining the offering ring. She burned incense, and began to intone quietly in the old language used to commune with the gods, a language she'd picked up from her father.

Still chanting the same few sentences of offering over and over, she took a torch from the wall and lit the offering circle. The flames never went beyond the circle and stayed low, a sight that would be miraculous to outsiders but was commonplace to her. She changed her chant, took out the knife, and made a small incision on her palm. She winced with the pain and there was a slight hesitation to her chant. But, determined and trembling, she continued.

As the blood hit the hungry flames, the flared a little, hissed, and turned disturbingly black. Astarte sucked in a deep breath, lifted her robes around her ankles, and stepped inside the offering ring, normally filled only with bits of food and animals. The flames creeped ever higher, barring her exit as they went from ankle-high to waist high, then chest high.

Lucy suddenly sniffed the air. "Is that- incense? But it's not time for a ritual," he said, standing. He left the other, following the scent to the altar. He stood rooted to the threshold as he beheld what was going on, then he called, "Astarte, NO! What are you doing?"

"D-daddy?" Star said, spinning within the circle. "I- You told m-me once that- that the gods take power from sacrifice. It- it gives them the strength to do what's needed. The g-greater the sacrifice, the more power."

"No, honey, get out of there! I don't want you to give up your life," Lucy pleaded.

"We're going to war, daddy. We need the help," Star sobbed. "Besides- you might lose live an-nyway. Why not st-tart now?" Astarte told her father, tears pouring down her cheeks. Still facing her father, she uttered the last of the chant, this sentence stating that the offering was in place and was to be retrieved.

"Star, star NO!" Lucy shouted, racing toward his daughter and hoping to intercept. Normally, the flames consumed whatever was offered, and the though of watching his charge burn to death was unthinkable to Lucius.

Thankfully, the flames remained where they were. But in its stead, a hideous being appeared behind Star. Its skin was like patches of leather roughly stitched together, its form emaciated and thing, with the rib cage clearly visible. Its hands were naught but bone and long, claw-like nails. It had a grin that was unnaturally wide, and only one eye with a mere dot of a pupil. It was only clothed round the waste, and the flames blocked details of the legs. On its head it wore what appeared to be an old, tattered jester's hat. When it smiled and spoke, its voice was cracked and dead, like the rustling of dry, autumn leaves on a windy day. "Hello, dearie," it said.

Star whirled to face the new arrival, shaking so hard it was a wonder she was still standing. She screamed briefly, but it was cut off by the disappearance of but girl and beast. Sacrifice accepted, the black, writhing went out abruptly as though they'd never been.

Lucy howled an inarticulate, heart-broken scream of pain and scrambled to the altar, though it was far too late. He scrabbled at the circle as though he could bring the flames and his daughter back, then simply collapsed and sobbed hopelessly.


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Default 06-05-2012, 09:36 PM

Aleta ran in, just in time to see her best friend vanish. She let out a scream of purest horror as she fell on the floor in a faint.

Remy was next to enter the room, followed by Victor.

"What happened?!" Remy shouted, then ran over to his unconscious daughter, kneeling besides her.


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Default 06-05-2012, 09:52 PM

Sobbing, Lucy was unable to answer but in an incoherent, desperate babble between his sobs. He hadn't realized how attached he'd grown to hi surrogate daughter, and now she was gone. What kind of god would accept that sacrifice?


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Default 06-05-2012, 09:55 PM

Remy had managed to rouse Aleta, who told him in shaky sobs what she'd seen happen to her friend.


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Default 06-05-2012, 09:56 PM

Also smelling the incense, his ears picked up Lucy making his way to the altar and also the scream of his daughter's name. Eyes widening, Aza scrambled out of his bed, nearly tripping over his long robe and shakily ran towards the screams of Lucy and the sobs of Star. He ran faster, but he was too late. Star was gone. "No..." Azarael's eyes teared up, "Star..." He made his way over to Lucy and held him in his arms.

--------------

"Now, now dearie, no need to scream. I won't hurt you~." The creatures "hand" was on her lower back as he lead her to his Master and god. "You made a big choice in helping your adopted father and mother." The grin was broad, from ear to pointed ear, "A wonderful sacrifice." He giggled.
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Default 06-05-2012, 10:08 PM

Lucy spun around and clung to Aza the way a drowning man clung to something afloat. He sobbed and hiccuped until he could hardly breathe.

~

Astarte stopped screaming but continued to shiver in fear at the monster's touch. For a brief moment, she wondered what the god she's been raised to worship looked like; it seemed like every time she saw an illustration, he looked different. Even the other gods at least had some sort of consistency.

But what she saw confirmed that all the pictures were right; the being before her shimmered as though behind heated air on a hot summers's day. In one moment, she saw a large, furred, lumbering beast, the next she saw a very plain young adult. Sometimes he looked to be made of flames, other times of plants. It was hugely disorienting.

"Your sacrifice shall not go unrewarded," the being said, its voice changing when its form changed. The beast growled, the flames cackles, the leaves whispered and rustled, the man spoke in an ordinary tone. "in fact, you shall be of big help to your family soon enough. For now, Thing will lead you to your quarters."

"But- but we're sanding on nothing," Star pointed out, eyeing the expanse of white.

"That's because my domain is never fixed and is ever changing. You will, however, be lead to a part that is fixed in appearance. Your room will more than accommodate your tastes; take a moment to imagine your dream home, then follow my servant."


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Default 06-05-2012, 10:09 PM

"Star's gone!" Aleta wailed. Remy hugged his daughter, stroking her hair.

"Why would she do this?" he asked, of no-one in particular, and not expecting an answer.

"What possible good could it do?"


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Default 06-05-2012, 10:18 PM

Aza rocked the sobbing man in his arms, kissing his forehead and rubbing his back. His own tears running down his cheeks.

------

Thing grinned and bowed, "Whenever you are ready, dearie."
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Default 06-05-2012, 10:24 PM

Eventually, Lucy stopped, sniffled, and pulled out of Aza's arms. He stood and wiped at his eyes. "My daughter's gone," he croaked. "Sacrificed herself believing that would make the gods give us more strength. Before she went, she said to me, 'this is war', and she was right. In a war, you need allies; I say we go t the Wolves."

~

Star ignored Thing and went over to Gnozza, eyeing him fiercely. "you'd better help m daddy, or else-" she reached out and grabbed at his currently-human wrist. Unfortunately when she latched on, she got a strong jolt of the purest magic, and it knocked her out. Gnozza sighed, shifting to his Beast form. "Thing, carry her to her room. She will recover, but I'm not sure what effect that had on her," he said in his gravelly voice.


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