Previously on Aetherius Saga…
Jon the Compassionate, Sage of Water, continued his journey to Jova Village. There he encountered a group of Myurkyurian Samurai who threatened the resident Centaurs. Like the Crustavo who took over Cider Village, Jon purifies them. Now he continues onward to the Mystic Jungles to find the Eternals Guild…
After some much-needed rest in Jova Village, Jon began his three-day walk into the Mystic Jungles. Amongst the trees that were as tall as mountains, he and Tella were horribly lost. For decades, it was believed that entering the Mystic Jungles was a death sentence. To assuage this, Scholars of Endymion created and placed Aether Markers throughout the region. Non-invasive guides that could help point wayward travelers in the general direction of their destination. Unfortunately for Jon, he had difficulty reading them and would stop every five minutes to ensure he was on the right track. His breaks to draw didn’t help either with keeping track of his bearings. If he had a greater sense of focus the trip would be infinitely easier. Especially since the Eternals Guild was on the outskirts of the Kingdom of Nanow.
“Are you still mad at me Tella?” Jon asks his familiar who turns her tail up at him. “I’m sorry! I can’t help wanting to draw stuff. I promise, when we get to the Guild I’ll do something nice for you okay? Besides all the pampering they’re gonna give ya. Slash really loves cute animals like you.” Tella remained unconvinced. “Fine, guess I’ll just get us unlost myself.”
Jon sits down on a nearby log and begins to focus the Aether around him. His presence made it sing and carry his song across the wind. Years ago he had told his brother that no matter how far away they were if he listened to the wind he’d always know that he was okay. If he was still in the Mystic Jungles, Slash would hear it and find his way to him. The minutes pass peacefully as he waits. The sound of footsteps racing eventually breaking the calm. A tall man with pale skin and crimson eyes hidden behind black-rimmed glasses runs into sight. His long raven hair had streaks of blond and he wore an elegant closed white and black spellcasters long coat that matched the black leather boots he wore. He carried a white staff as tall as he was. At its tip was a clear gem surrounded by a pair of wings.
“JON!” he squeals excitedly, running to hug his brother.
“Hey, Slash.” Jon responds moments before getting hit on the head with Slash’s staff. “Ow! What was that for?” he whines. Slash the Ephemeral was the Dhampir, a human/vampire half-breed, Guildmaster of the Eternals and the younger adopted brother to Jon. He was easily excitable and somewhat scatterbrained at times. But his heart and intentions were always in the right place.
“Where have you been all this time? I was so worried!” Slash fumed at Jon.
“Oh you know, Sage stuff. Traveling all over Zeratal helping the helpless. Saving the unsavable! Bringing peace to the peaceless!” Jon boasts with his fists on his hips and chest sticking out.
“Uh huh…” Slash blankly responds. While he did trust Jon with his life, he sometimes felt hesitant to actually trust his word at face value. “Why don’t you just stay with the Eternals?” his face and body languages soften. “You wouldn’t have to wander around and you can still perform your duties as a Sage.”
“Are you asking us to stay with you for free?” Jon snickers inching his way closer to Slash.
“You’re unbelievable sometimes…No you’d still have to work like the rest of the Gui…” Slash pauses. “What do you mean us?”
“Me and Tella. She’s my Familiar.”
“Mew.” Tella goes while cautiously walking towards Slash.
“By…the…Elementals! SHE’S SO CUTE!” he squeals while picking up and cradling Tella.
“Told you you’d get pampered.” Jon smirks cheekily.
“I’ve never seen a real Carbuncle before. How did you find her?”
“She found me actually. She’s…” Jon hesitates to continue speaking. “She’s been with me since I left you and Rose.” he finishes his sentence lowly. An awkward silence fills the air even the Aether couldn’t cover for.
“I’m just glad you had someone to keep you company.” Slash exhales softly.
“Me too. So, mind showing me to your Guild?”
Reunited after being apart for years, the siblings travel together to the Eternals Guild. Thanks to Slash, they didn’t even get lost along the way. It was a surprisingly easy route to find. All one had to do was follow the river bend that went straight into Nanow, and you’d find it sitting perfectly on the edge of its territory. They worked inside a 2 floored mansion. Stone fences protected a yard with a small pond, a spot for a campfire at nights, an awning over a small table, and several worn out training posts. A stable sat in the back for their Urba and Horses which itself was next to a small garden.
“Sooooo, what do you think?” Slash asks trying to contain his excitement.
“It’s amazing! I heard you guys were big but not like this. How’d you pull it off?”
“It wasn’t easy. It took me years and two smaller Guilds but we finally managed to make this. We got so big we had no choice but to branch out. So now we have a few smaller branches in Va’ Sif and the Everfrost Isles.” he smiles proudly. ”
“That’s great Slash. I’m glad things have gone so well for you.”
“Thank you Jon. I’ll give you a warning now. My Guild is…interesting…So just prepare yourself.”
“If you picked them I’m sure we’ll get along well.” Jon reassures Slash. “Besides, can’t be any worse than when the Sages get together.”
“Okay…” Slash relents and enters the estate.
The moment the large wooden doors open, Jon is captivated by what it reveals. To his left was a staircase leading down to the basement while to his right a staircase upstairs. Several comfortable couches rested against the banister above the basement staircase as a type of lobby. In an adjacent room was a workshop filled with several crafting stations. Behind it was a door leading to a room exclusively for smithing. Directly in front of the entrance sat a desk next to the wall. To its right sat a Request Board and a small shop. To the left of the desk was a door leading to the rest of the estate. The walls had a pleasant red coloration and design, the floors a marble covered in carpets, and on the ceiling a chandelier made of purple, white, red, and pink Aether Crystals from across Zeratal. Their lights mixing into a pleasant pastel hue that lit up the room.
I’m back!” Slash calls out at the top of his lungs. “And I got a big surprise!”
“Welcome back Slash.” a female voice replies from the Smithing Room. The woman was a Trelza, a species of humanoid cat people that originated from the Mystic Jungles and were known for being skilled hunters. Her name was Cilia of Nanow and she was the head crafter of the Eternals. Her eyes were brown and hair a short dark red coloration that matched the fur on her ears and tail. Both of which tapered smoothly at the ends. She was rarely seen not wearing her blacksmith’s apron and gloves. “Welcome to the Eternals.” she greets Jon with a welcoming smile.
“This is Cilia, but everyone calls her Cil. She’s my replacement as Guild Leader if I have to go away for a while.”
“Fancy.” Jon notes casually.
“Welcome back honey.” a tall athletic elf says as he walks down the staircase from the upstairs lounge. His hair was a straight teal that extended to his shoulders and his eyes silver. Silver of the Aether Lance was one of the top members of the Eternals, and above all else Slash’s husband. Lagging behind him was a heavyset Chorsingh with light brown fur wearing a beautiful golden necklace. The Chorsingh were a Meerkat-like species with a prehensile tail, quills mixed in with their fur, and opposable thumbs. While the Trelza were admired for their hunting skills, the Chorsingh were renowned as Scholars and to a lesser extent as spellcasters. A field they excelled in despite their diminutive stature.
“Hey Sil-oh come on! Put some clothes on we have guests!” Slash cries. Elves were a whimsical and carefree species even more so than the Trelza. As such, they would rarely wear any clothing by nature. Choosing to wear only the bare minimum in public settings where Elves weren’t the predominant population, if the weather required, or if they were fighting. Even then their clothing was, at best, a shoddily constructed leafen loincloth. To the Elves, the less they wore the better.
“Seriously, I don’t want to walk behind you and see this all the time!” the Chorsingh complains. Na’na the Healer was, as her name suggested, the doctor of the Eternals. Relying entirely on her supportive light magic to heal and aid others. Like Silver & Cilia, Na’na was one of the higher ranked members in the Eternals.
“I am SO sorry Na’na. Jon, I swear Silver’s not normally like this.” Slash tries his best to cover for his Guild while bowing profusely.
“It’s fine, one of my best friends does that too. Tried it myself for a few months. Don’t think many people liked that one though.” Jon chuckles to himself.
Slash shakes his head in disappointment and doesn’t question what Jon said. “My husband Silver of the Aether Lancer and my left hand, Na’na the Healer.”
“Is Slash being ashamed of us again?” a dark purple furred Trelza asks as she enters the main door with a 10 foot tall humanoid Black Dragon. He wore a heavy suit of steel armor with a massive ax strapped to his back. She wore a black bustier, black frilled sleeves with purple highlights, a matching combat skirt, and knee-high black boots. Her arms were crossed and her pink eyes looked straight through Slash and Jon. Shotonte the Witch and her husband Dys of Elysium were both respected and to an extent feared by even their own guildmates. They were nice people but in battle were among the strongest in the Eternals.
“W-what? No, not at all.” Slash stammers.
“My ears aren’t just for show you know, we could hear you from outside.” She points to her cat ears which twitch slightly. Trelza, despite what some might believe, had two sets of ears. The pronounced and highly visible cat ears that sat near the top of their heads and a regular set of ears much like a human. All of which, were fully capable of hearing.
“Er…um…Shotonte the Witch and her husband Dys of Elysium! We just call her Sho and they’re-”
“-You really are ashamed of us. Some Guildmaster you are.” Sho interjects.
“Tal!” Sho’s picking on me again!” Slash whines.
“Don’t you call for-” Sho begins only to be interrupted as a third Trelza appears in a burst of black smoke. His fur was black and smooth while he wore a black ninjas uniform. Although it lacked any torso protection. Instead, it had full-length arm guards connected to his hood. Proudly displaying his dark skin and athletic frame. But his most easily noticeable trait was his left eye was red while the right was blue. Two boomerangs sat strapped to the back of his waist while another two on each side of his hip.
“Yeah, I’m staying out of this.” Tal replies flatly.
“What? Then why did you ninja in like that?” Slash asks with eye twitching.
“I like making dramatic entrances and everyone was already here so…”
Slash hangs his head low as Jon pats him on the back. “When you said interesting you should’ve said fun instead.”
“That’s Tal, my right hand and mansion decorator.”
“I’m a stylish Ninja.” Tal notes with a proud thumbs up.
“I can tell…Kinda…” Jon says with little actual thought behind his words outside of being polite.
“Anyway, I have a surprise for you all. This is my big brother Jon the Compassionate. He’s nothing big just one of the Seven Sages.” Slash puts his arm around Jons’ shoulder proudly.
“I don’t see it.” Sho responds bluntly.
“I have to agree.” Cilia adds.
“Seriously? Why doesn’t anybody ever just get all excited when someone says it?”
“If you are the real Jon the Compassionate then why don’t you run a Guild like Taliesin the Brave? Or have a place like Cerise the Just or Zam the Persistent?” Sho questions.
“Because I don’t want to.” Jon answers annoyed. “I like going where I want and helping people as they need it. Staying in one place is nice and all but it’s not for me.”
“Question; is that a White Carbuncle?” Tal asks pointing to Tella.
“Huh…guess he is the real deal.” Sho’s opinion completely changes seeing the Familiar.
“I swear I’m going to have to keep Tella strapped to my face to get noticed.” Jon moans as all but Slash and Silver focus on Tella.
“So you’re really Slash’s older brother?” Silver asks Jon.
“Yup, that makes me your brother-in-law doesn’t it?”
“Awkward…” Na’na says lowly.
“Someone kill me now.” Slash mutters to himself mortified.
“Maybe later.” Tal replies with a thumbs up.
“It was rhetorical!”
“Pleased to meet you. Slash always held you in high regard.” Silver hugs Jon. “I didn’t think I’d ever meet you. He always said you were a hermit but not that you were one of the Seven Sages.”
“That’s fine. It’s a pleasure to meet you too. You seem nice enough. But if anything happens to Slash I’ll get Taliesin to teach you a lesson.” Jon says with an uncomfortably polite expression.
“Seriously?” Silver shudders at the thought.
“No, I wouldn’t do that to you.” Jon says before switching to a whisper. “I totally would, take care of him or else.” his eyes squint and glow faintly with Aether before he returns to his normal positive demeanor and speaking tone. “Thank you all for taking care of my little brother. Glad to see he found a place to call his own and people to take care of him.”
“Not like you could be assed to do it yourself.” Sho snarks to Jon’s annoyance.
“If I may ask sir.” Cilia interrupts in a formal tone. “What brings you here?”
“I just wanted to visit Slash while I was in the area.”
“We’re kinda busy now actually.” Sho begins forcibly pulling herself away from Tella. “But if you wanted to tag along there is one issue you can help with.”
“Sure, what’d you guys need?”
“Recently we’ve had run-ins with the Guild of the Redmails. They’re small and not far from here. We’ve dealt with them before but they’ve become more hardheaded lately. Quite frankly, they’re terrible. They have no requirement for entry outside of holding a sword and their members keep dropping like flies.”
“Shit, what did you want me to do?” he asks concerned.
“I’ve tried talking to their Guildmaster, Storm the Red, but it hasn’t gone well.” Slash sighs. “He keeps insisting we’re rivals and won’t listen to reason.”
“If it’s talking I can do it no problem.”
“Thank you Jon.” Slash thanks Jon with a big hug.
“Anyone else going with you two?” Sho asks.
“Just Na’na and Tal will be fine.” Slash answers.
“We’ll hold down the fort then.”
“Thank you, Sho. We should probably leave before he does something dumb again…”
“Mind watching Tella for me?” Jon looks towards Cilia. “She’s having so much fun I’d feel bad pulling her away.”
“Oh, it’ll be no problem at all. Just come back safely.”