GGE 15 | Cyril Bailey

As they arrived from the west, the rising sun outlined the Empire’s capital, and it reflected in Priscilla’s inky eyes. Her unnaturally pale face was cropped by a ring of thick brown, and she’d been thickly bundled in a lot of furs. The sea breeze’s kiss was as gentle as it was cold on her nose. Priscilla vaguely remembered that she had hated the cold, and loved the warm indoors.

Now, she didn’t really feel it. Rather, she felt Layla may have over bundled her in furs.

“You look ridiculous,” Cyril’s laughter broke the still morning air.

Priscilla turned her head slightly, but could really turn her entire body. She was sitting in a crudely fashioned wooden wheelchair. Because she’d been crippled. Reminded that she’d failed to even protect herself, she felt ashamed. A dark desire to throw herself over the ship’s railing had fluttered into her mind.

“Miss Steel had said I needed to keep warm,” Priscila said as Cyril appeared beside her and sat on the railing. She was wearing her black dress, but this time, she wore strange black trousers along with it. Still, it made Priscilla feel cold just looking at her.

“Psh, she would,” Cyril rolled her lovely golden eyes, then she looked to Priscilla. “How’s your back doing?” She pointed down to Priscilla’s midriff, and the teen unconsciously brought her hand over to cover it.

“It’s… Doing well,” Priscilla gave a brittle smile. “I have some feeling returning, but Layla won’t let me walk yet. She said that Bishop Luis said I needed three more treatments before I could even bother to try walking.”

“When’s the next one?” Cyril asked.

“Tomorrow, after dinner,” Priscilla replied. “If you don’t want too… I could have one of the priests from the Alistarian Captial chapter to help me. Bishop Luis left me a letter of introduction and–”

Priscilla stopped when she saw Cyril’s icy glare. It wouldn’t have been that disturbing if she’d been normal. The black webs that hung under her left eye, along with that new four-inch horn that broke past her bangs, made her feel more menacing; demonic.

“I will do it,” Cyril said slowly, enunciating each word. “I never said I didn’t want to do it,”

Priscilla stayed quiet, and simply nodded her understanding. Ever since that night, with the undead, Cyril was prone to anger over simple things. Priscilla had only tried to be nice, and offer her an alternative should she not desire to treat her anymore. Yet, that had only roused another calm flame from her.

The goddess blinked twice before she turned away, she did not understand where this agitation was coming from either. But she couldn’t bring herself to apologize for it either.

“Ah, Lady Cyril,” Layla’s voice broke the tension that had settled between the girls. “It’s nice to see you.” The woman bowed to Cyril as she held a warm drink, then she handed it over to Priscilla before she took a step back. “The Captain said we’ll be docking shortly.”

Cyril nodded, displeasure still hung from her eyes as she slid off the railing.

“I’ll get Fenrir ready then.” She said as she walked away, leaving Layla confused. Priscilla felt bad for even broaching the subject, though she hadn’t been the one to even do so.

When they docked, the wharf was teeming with activity that was, much to Cyril’s surprise, like a well oiled machined. Several small wagons attached to donkeys were being loaded beside several ships. The dock hands were quick with their work, their burly bodies maneuvering crates, barrels, and sacks into tidy stacks before the wagons were pulled away. Tens of warehouses lined wharf that seemed to gut out from the city over two miles, until the cliff. That was where the ships became much more military in nature.

The frigate was made to dock on the closest open station to the civilian section. From there, the ship had been inspected. The captain had brought several letters out for the naval officers to read, whereupon doing such, the navy began to quietly rally. The whole affair had been done in less than ten minutes, mostly because they held no cargo.

Cyril’s horn had been covered by a thick fur hood, and the black webs had been passed off as tattoos. Nothing else had been scrutinized closer. After their inspection had been completed, they’d been brought into the customs office. There, they’d met the Harbor Custom’s chief – a plump man in his thirties – and he’d been the one to personally process them. As well as the reports sent with them.

Their treatment had been lukewarm all around but upon the reports being read, the office had gone solemn. Nothing came of it immediately, other than promises to get them to the Palace. From there, the treatment had gone up a hundred-fold. Tea had been brought in, and the Chief paid lip service to the girls as the secretary recorded them in their ledger.

Because Priscilla was of the Hammel House, one of the powerful noble houses within the city, she’d acted as Cyril’s guarantor. Much to Priscilla’s relief, Cyril hadn’t been as cranky as she’d been with the deceased Lord Gulley, and she’d spent most of her time asking about the city. To which, maybe because Cyril was an exotic beauty, or because her backer was the Hammel household or both; he’d been more than accommodating of her.

By the time everything was completed, Cyril and Priscilla had been escorted out of the office with smiles and flattering words.

The sun had risen high over the city by a good margin, to which Priscilla knew it was midday. Layla and Fenrir had waited for them just outside, along with the captain and a lot of uneasy soldiers. And a rather fancy carriage that made Priscilla stiffen in the chair as Cyril pushed her.

“My Lady!” The guards had saluted at once when they saw her before one stepped forward. “Your father has sent us to retrieve you, and your guests.”

“That was rather quick…” Priscilla gave a weary wave of her hand before looking up to see Cyril’s expression.

Cyril’s mood had been rather good after the treatment she’d received in Customs, and she had a curious sparkle in her eye; a sparkle aimed at the carriage.

 


 

Much to Priscilla’s protests, Cyril had sent her off to her father, who’d summoned her to the Imperial Palace where he was. The guards had also wanted to take her and Layla, as Lord Hammel had summoned all of his daughter’s entourage; Fenrir had put them in their place though, and the two girls let the wharf on their own two feet – guarded by the trusty wolf.

Cyril didn’t feel like heading to the Imperial Palace, and Layla had to find her daughter. As such, Cyril was much more interested in Layla than to go deal with some annoying nobles. She remembered her father complaining about nobility, especially the antiquated “noble houses” of England and Britain. The irony that Priscilla was nobility wasn’t lost upon her, and neither was that the three that had left them at Port Gulley were royalty.

But that was neither here nor there. Much rather, she felt stifled by being around Priscilla. Cramped aboard that frigate, Cyril found herself unable to be around the young girl. She was either fretting, crying, or clinging to Cyril for comfort. But a heavy sense of guilt and anger rose in her when she was. She could not forget how she failed, failed. 

She had failed to keep her promise, and the number of promises she had failed to keep could be counted on one hand. It was a blight on her mind that she pushed aside because it only brought up ill feelings for her.

So, she thought a little time apart would do them both some good. A breather in a sense. As such, the trio made their way through the crowded streets of the Capital.

“We’re almost there if I remember correctly,” Layla said, impatience in her voice as they made their way up the snaking main road. It cut side to side up the hill the capital had been built upon. It was wide enough for three of those fancy carriages that picked up Priscilla to travel side by side, however, the street was packed with street-side vendors and left enough for two carriages to travel side by side.

The city had been built into districts, the Salt District -where the wharf was- the lowest one, and the Cloud district being the highest, second to Dragon’s Landing The wharf district contained mostly warehouses, smithies, and other industries. Most of the loudest ones pushed further away from Dragon’s Landing, where the Imperial Palace stood – encompassing several grand elven built buildings. They were in the Market District, the second district.

“You can find just about anything here,” Layla leaned close to Cyril to say as she held her arm in hers as not to get separated easily. Fenrir in tow. “This was where my husband and I use to travel in my adventuring days to get the best gear for our coin. There, on the corner, that’s my friend’s shop. My daughter should be there.”

With the street backed, music drifted out of several taverns that dotted the main street they walked. Thick rope crisscrossed overhead, and red decorative paper lanterns hung from them. There were vendors yelling out their wares. “Tomatoes!” Or, “Cabbage here!”, or “Fresh meat for your festival dishes!”, or “Selling guards for the festival, one gold coin per–“.

And amongst all this chaos, Layla pointed to a building a quarter-mile up the cobbled road. A large two-story building, nearly identical to the rest – aside from the large painted wagon across its second story building. The trio slithered through the crowd, making their way towards the left edge of the street where the building sat. A few minutes later, Cyril found herself inside a rather strange shop. Or rather, it was different than what she thought a shop should be.

The first observation that Cyril found strange was that there were very little patrons. The second was that there were no goods on display. Cyril hadn’t seen what the shop sign, that had been displayed outside its door, but Layla had gone inside before she could read it. If she could’ve read the language.

However, the third observation had been the strangest of them all. Even with the first two observations noted, the shop was nicely kept. Its floorboards had been neatly polished and swept. The walls were decorated with signs that displayed different numbers, but as Cyril quickly found out, it was in a language she didn’t know.

A large counter had been set further in the shop, unmanned. When they had entered, a bell hanging just past the door had been rung. A few seconds later, a small child appeared behind the counter from a doorway just behind it, covered with two hanging pieces on cloth that’d been painted with a wagon.

“How can I–” Savannah’s usual greeting had been cut short as she saw the woman in front of her. “Momma!” The little girl’s smile was like watching the sunrise again. With practiced movements, she hopped off the stool and ran around the counter. Layla crouched down and her daughter leapt into her arms. Savannah wrapped her arms around her mother’s neck and buried her face into her neck.

“O, sweetie,” Layla purred with relief. “Hope your uncle Tenni isn’t working you hard.” While her daughter working his counter had been unexpected, it certainly had been welcomed. Savannah had been bored in that backwater mining town, and manning Tenni’s shop would give her something to do. That aside, Layla found herself oddly calm. Having survived three undead assaults, and traveling half the empire to see her, she only felt waves of joy and love wash through her.

But she imagined it’d be a much more emotional reunion.

 


 

Tenni stared vacantly into the dark tea before him, his old wrinkled hands barely touched the cup. He had seemed to age before Cyril as Layla told him the tale of what had passed since he left. He seemed to slowly slump over more and more as his eyes clouded over. By the time she had finished, the only man was paler than before.

“Tenni…?” Layla asked softly as she reached out and grasped his hand gently. “Do I need to call for a healer?” The man didn’t look well at all, and Cyril thought he may just kill over at any minute. But that didn’t happen as he shook his head softly.

“No… I’m fine…” Tenni gave out a studdered sigh, then he looked up to Layla. “But you survived. Savannah will still have her mother, but… I’m sorry I didn’t believe you when you told me something was wrong.”

“It’s okay, really,” Layla gave a brittle smile. “Even the miners thought I was crazy when I told them. If not for Fenrir out there taking me to Port Gulley, I wouldn’t have survived Quinn’s Woods. Even then, Lady Cyril here and Fenrir helped me as well.” The undead had been merciless in their attack and slaughtered thousands upon thousands. Most of them, may their souls rest in peace, had been conscripted into the flesh-eating ranks only to be cut down again.

The wolf in question was not present along with the child. He’d been left in the reception area with Savannah. He was playing with her so the adults could speak in peace, as Tenni had said. Cyril didn’t feel like an adult, rather, she felt bored. She felt that something should have stirred in her, but nothing came when Layla spoke. Not a sliver of emotion, aside from the desire to leave the room.

Cyril stared down at the empty cup in front of her, then looked to Layla’s cup. Her hands clutched it tight as they trembled. The mother’s face had a calm and tranquil mask, but her fingers gave her emotions away. Cyril decided that the conversation was just not her flavor. She got up from the chair as quietly as she could, exiting her role as a wallflower.

“Leaving?” Layla asked as if she could guess the goddess’s intention. Cyril nodded, and Layla gave a weary smile before she mouthed an apology. Tenni had already gone back to nursing his cup, mumbling about the good people that’d been lost. The last thing Cyril heard as she slipped out of the conference room was Tenni slowly breaking down.

She slinked down the dim hallway, avoiding the employees that went about their duties. The few that saw her gawked at her, but she only smiled and slipped by. Cyril felt pent up in this shop. Maybe it was Tenni’s misery that hung over it that felt so suffocating to her. Once Layla had informed him of the tragedy, the building began to dull. That was what Cyril felt at least.

It only began to brighten as Cyril heard Savannah’s gleeful giggling from the reception front did it brighten. Cyril saw Fenrir on his back, wiggling side to side as the little girl scratched at his belly.  His head pointed towards Cyril, but his eyes were closed as his tongue hung out in bliss. Even when she stepped through the doorway, and stood a foot away, Fenrir still hadn’t reacted.

Savannah was about to greet her, but Cyril smiled and put a finger to her mouth. The girl nodded as the goddess got down onto her belly and laid her head next to Fenrir’s. Then, she stared at him as Savannah sat back as she tried to hold back her laughter. For a few moments, Fenrir remained as he was before his ears twitched. His scratching had stopped and he opened his eyes, intent on figuring out why it had stopped. Only, he found Cyril’s golden eyes staring into his silvery ones.

It was pandemonium for a few minutes afterward.

Fenrir had yelped in surprise and tried to roll to his feet. He rolled into the wall with a loud thud. The two girls began to laugh, but Fenrir still struggled to his feet. He thrusted for a moment before he was able to catch himself and huffed in embarrassment.

“I meant to do that,” Fenrir declared with a huff and avoided Cyril’s mirthful eyes as she silently giggled. Fenrir lowered his head in embarrassment, and the display earned him small kiss between his fluffy white ears.

Afterward, Cyril and the wolf both departed from the shop, which was Tenni’s transportation business as she found out. From the few bits of information she heard, she surmised that Tenni was quite the prominent merchant. None of which interested her in the least. As they stepped back out onto the busy street, the sun had moved further west, and the shadows had begun to cover more than half the street.

Having come from the wharf, somewhat south, Cyril decided to head further norther into the city. Fenrir had offered no help in this decision, falling in line with the “Anywhere you want to go,” excuse. That’d earned an eye roll from Cyril before Fenrir offered his back to ride. That’d had made her smile, and she took the offer before they entered thick of the crowd.

As it was afternoon now, more shops had put up more displays. Many of them some variation of red paper dragons, or black dragons painted onto red paper lanterns. Each of them hung from balconies and archways as the buildings varied in height. From one story to two, eventually, as the two wandered up the road, they found three-story buildings.

As they wondered, Cyril found that the crowd wasn’t timid of being around her wolf. They kept a respectful distance and split around her. Some even gawked in awe, but very little was scared of the large lion-sized wolf. The reason became apparent when they’d stopped to eat at one of the large restaurants.

The shop had allowed “Familiars to pets who behaved”, and thus, Cyril had gotten both of them a seat on the second-story balcony. The street bustled with many heads as humans went about their business. Most wore lightly dyed clothes, and most of them were commoners. This she could guess from when those who weren’t passed near them. The nobles wore deeper colors and traveled with guards. Or maybe this was just those she noticed.

The sat alone as they waited for their meals. The balcony tables, four in total, were empty. Most of the patrons ate inside, where it was warmed by their bodies and food along with the kitchens. But it was louder inside than on the balcony, so both of them settled for this.

Down below, Cyril could see several noble-looking men and women. They were dressed in the blue robes of the Academy, and while most of them rode destriers, the head of the group rode upon a panther. Its glossy fur shined in the light faint sunlight as the crowd was quick to move around them without so much as a complaint. In fact, they looked even scared to be close to them, giving them a wider berth than they’d done for her. She found that observation interesting as nicely made clay plates thudded against their table.

For Fenrir, he’d gotten a large rack of ribs that’d costed a solid silver coin. It’d been grilled and slathered in spices and a brown sauce that even made Cyril take a second whiff. However, when she sampled it before Fenrir, she found it was… Not to her tastes. Her plate, on the other hand, had been just a bowl of grapes and red apples.

And when she bite into one of the grapes, the sweet juice ran across her little tongue in bliss. She gave a small moan as the taste washed over her. Yes, she had found that she only really tasted fruits and vegetables, or much to Layla’s dismay, “raw” food in general. Somehow, the act of cooking the ingredients made it bland to her. She could still eat it, but she’d much prefer the VR pressure sensory than the bland food.

“So what do you plan to do from here?” Fenrir asked as he licked his lips. He’d already devoured one-fourth of his large beef ribs. The sauce temporarily staining his muzzle.

“I need to find everyone a Christmas gift,” Cyril answered. “I can’t just hand out my stuff. Desmond and Randol already had a meltdown when I gave them that Lash Wishy thingy.” Cyril swirled a half-eaten apple in her hand as she spoke. Randol had been a nervous wreck and told her it was much too great to gift them to ease their father’s wrath. She had done so when Mai had explained what’d most likely happen if they didn’t come with something amazing. Thus, the orb was placed into their possession.

“Tranquil Last Wish?” Fenrir asked. Cyril gave a lazy nod as she was half distracted watching the flowing crowds below. “That, in of itself, is worth more than this nation. I would suggest not worrying about those noble kids then.”

“Really?” Cyril shot him a curious glance.

“Really,” Fenrir nodded seriously.

“Guess that solves their Christmas gift then,” She shot him a smile grin, and the wolf chuckled.

“I think they’ll be set on gifts for the rest of their lives,” Fenrir replied. “The last Tranquil Last Wish was made during the Elven Wars nearly five-hundred years ago.”

“Were the Elves fighting amongst themselves?” Cyril’s attention now shifted fully to the wolf. “I mean, there were only three elf races.”

“Three, yes, but none of them the same. Remember?” Fenrir asked. “You created the base elves, beautiful and elegant. They roamed the forests as their citizens. Then, you created the Dark Elves, citizens of the sand Wastes. Then, before you died, you created the High Elves, citizens of your mountain and the ones who tended to your grave.”

“Yeah, about that.” Cyril pointed her apple core towards him. “They’ve done a shit job at that. Everything was in ruins when I woke up.”

“Of course it would be if they were all dead,” Fenrir said as his ear twitched. Silence fell between the two, and the wolf’s fur prickled on his neck. He could feel her now narrowed eyes borrowing into his, and out the back. He could feel the mana around them tremble for a single moment before everything returned to normal.

“What happened?” Her voice was no longer lazy and disinterested. It was cold and smelled of anger. “Everything was fine when I left, you remember, right? You were an AI when I did it, though, obviously, you’re not now. I figured you would have looked out for things here.”

Fenrir sighed. “I tried to do that, but I am only one wolf. I was considered no more than your pet to most of them. Am I your pet?” Fenrir asked.

“No, you’re my best friend,” Cyril answered immediately. “You should also know this.”

“I do, but I wanted to confirm. Live long enough with others telling you otherwise, and you begin to doubt yourself.” Fenrir gave a brittle smile. “However, as you can see, we’re all more than just numbers and codes now. The high-elves were quite arrogant and believed themselves better than everyone else. If only for the fact they were created solely to tend to your mountain. They believed themselves to be your angels.”

“Psh,” Cyril rolled her eyes to that. “More like I just wanted some pretty dudes tending to my mountain. Prettier than… You know who.” Cyril looked away. Jax had offered to keep his avatar as her eternal sentinel. She loved that man with her entire being, but after… What he’d done… It felt wrong to let him do that. Even know, the pain cut as she thought about him cheating on her. But she understood.

She understood more than anyone else what laid in the future with her. It was best they had cut where they did, least she’d keep him chained to her in the grave. She didn’t want that, but… She did want that at the same time. A love that’d follow her in her death. Hindsight proved that it’d been for the best. They still held love for each other, but neither was locked into any false notions…

“Anyways!” Fenrir pulled her back to the present. He saw the black lines begin to crawl even so slightly more as she was pulled into the past. “At first, the three elven races – and every other race – lived in peace for the first few hundred years. However, ever slowly, the high-elves began to think of their stations of more than just pretty gardeners.”

And so, racial tensions began to bloom Fenrir explained. It started with minor things, such as the high-elves sticking their noses high over the others. To which, no one had any real problem. The fact that they’d been the race created to tend to his mistress’s grave hadn’t been lost upon the others as well. No other races had been set in her garden and none after.

“So,” Fenrir continued. “Little by little, the high-elves’ ego had inflated well past any reasonable size, and they’d declared themselves a Kingdom rather than neutral territory as they’ve all agreed upon.”

“They made me Poland?” Cyril asked.

“O, yes. Just, without any foreign forces trying to ruin you,” Fenrir gave an amused huffed. “But in all seriousness, it’d been everyone’s fault, to begin with. Even us, your precious three.” Fenrir lowered his head apologetically.

“How so?” Cyril asked. “How could any of you three be responsible for a race war? It’s not like you guys knew what I wanted, so this falls squarely on my shoulders.” Because it did. Cyril hadn’t thought about the consequences of making a single race to tend to her digital grave. In fact, the thought that any of this becoming really hadn’t even crossed her mind. Well… The hope did, but no real thought had been given towards that hope.

“I and Akyryss had allowed it to happen,” Fenrir said. “Glynii had tried to get us to act, but neither of us would. So for the next few hundred years, things shifted around, and before we knew it, the high-elves had numbered in the millions. They were magically blessed and most people believed them to be the ‘superior race’. Eventually, they’d conquered everything short of the Endless Wastes of the south.”

“And what stopped them from taking that?” Cyril asked, feeling like the worst for not thinking about any of this. Of course, this would happen. Given her luck, she would cause a massive race war with one careless move.

“For one, you laid quite a lot of magical monsters in the desert,” Fenrir smiled. “Not to mention a bunch of nonsensical geographical placements. With all that, it wasn’t worth the amount of blood they’d have to spill to take it. Most of all, you left a fucking Terrasque in that desert. Even Akyryss stays well away from that, and she’s supposed to be more powerful than me.”

Cyril’s eyes went wide as the apple in her hand went still, a mere centimeter from her lovely pink lips.

“Yes,” Fenrir restated. “You left us with a Terrasque.”

“How are you all not wiped from the world already?” Cyril’s chest trembled as she held back a laugh. As adorable, and sexy as it was, Fenrir couldn’t share her mirth.

“I don’t see how this is funny,” Fenrir stated, his laugh slipping away. “That Terrasque has been terrorizing the southern hemisphere for quite a long time. Several demi-gods and gods themselves have already perished by its fangs.” The only reason Alistair was the only god to survive this long was that he wasn’t stupid enough to try and kill it. As much as that peeved Fenrir and Akyryss, it also a breather as each god it killed made it stronger.

“Only a few?” Cyril gave a wicked smile. She did find it odd that it was funny to her. But she couldn’t help it, her little middle-finger towards Jax had turned into a menace for everyone else. It felt just all the same to her.

“Yes, only a few,” Fenrir said. “I’ve had my paws busy killing more up-coming gods before they could throw this world into more chaos. Though, this Terrasque had found its way off the southern continent after food stopped coming its way. Afterward, it tore apart the land from the southern time of this one to Fable’s End itself. It cut across the highlands and killed nearly half the Errol Realm’s army.”

“Errol Realm?” Cyril asked. “What kind of stupid name is that?”

“Not sure,” Fenrir gave a cute wolf shrug. The last of his ribs left untouched as he explained. “But it was the name the high-elves settled with for their empire. Afterward, the cracks began to appear. By this point, the high-elves had become so full of themselves that they saw all the other four races below them.”

“Four?” Cyril asked. “Wasn’t there like ten?”

“Ah, there was,” Fenrir agreed. “The dark elves and regular elves were segregated into one race. The Tabaxi were kept as pets who were commoned used as sexual toys. Worst of it, elders of the high-elves even ate them. Eventually, they were eventually bred to the point they were no more than humanoid cats that people ate or fucked.”

“Are you freaking serious?” Cyril’s mirth died away, replaced with pure disgust and shock. “The Tabaxi are my favorite race! How could they’ve done that!?”

“No one actually knew what your favorite race was, aside from Akyryss and I.” Fenrir explained. “At this point, both of us were too busy dealing with the sudden influx of rising gods and demi-gods to care much about what the mortals were doing. After the terrasque had decimated the Errol Realm’s army, everyone saw they weren’t all they were chalked up to be. The land broke out into war everywhere.”

And it was true. Glynii had finally gotten her elven revolt in the west, and Alistair joined her. If not for Glynii shielding him, Fenrir and Akyryss would’ve slain that man before he could’ve ever done what he’d done. It’d also been the reason why the Big Three had turned into the Big Two, though even that’d been falling into myth for a long time ago.

Fenrir looked to his mistress, his love, and found her silent and still. Her golden eyes narrowed with a slow simmering rage. He felt shame and guilt boil along with it. He and his “sister” had been given the express command to care for this world, and it all blew up in their face before she could ever come back. There was so much he would have done wrong. So much he had the choice to right, with the first was taking those bastard’s heads before it ever got to that point.

But he hadn’t, and the past was set in stone. Maddin had died and Edward was an insane lunatic – while silent for the past few hundred years – was hell-bent on murdering all the surviving races.

“So what happened to the rest…?” Cyril murmured.

“The last vestiges of the Tabaxi live on the satellite islands of Haven,” Fenrir said. “Akyryss was able to save them before they were wiped out. She’s been trying to rehabilitate them, but a few thousand years of enslavement and cruel breeding practices had devolved them into mere shadows of their former beauty.”

They were no more than slinking pretty panthers that were in heat half the year. They had to be culled yearly, or they’d strip the islands bear. Even now, Akyryss had to import game animals to the islands to keep them healthy. The last report he’d gotten on them, two years ago before he’d gone hunting another rising god, was that one Tabaxi child had been successfully nurtured into a viable sample.

Bringing one or two Tabaxi that’d been bred well enough to be intelligent wasn’t hard. The issue was they were quite primal, mentally five-year-olds in their adult ages stages. There’d been a few times they’d been able to raise a good specimen, but it’d been killed when it raped several female researchers. The Tabaxi hormones were something fierce after being used for sex toys for so long. They became insanely violent when not regularly “played with” throughout the day.

“I see…” Cyril said. “What about the other races?”

“The Arakocra similar, though they weren’t kept as sex pets,” Fenrir reported. “They were bred down to their base instincts. They were used in fighting pits and war. After the Errol Realm fell, they were forgotten and eventually became ‘Griffins’.”

The Arakocra were nearly hunted down to extinction. They escaped by hiding away in unreachable peaks or mountain passes. Eventually, they became populated enough, breeding with previous griffins and a few other flying beasts the become bigger and stronger. Now, they were menaces that even Akyryss didn’t bother to try and rehabilitate. They were hunted down without a thought.

With their wings, they’d reached every corner of the world. They were ever problems for Edward’s devils.

“Gnomes were killed off by the Dwarves,” Fenrir changed the subject seeing Cyril’s face grow darker. “It was a spat between their two kings, and unfortunately, the gnomes had neither the technology or strength to stand a chance. Their war ended two years after it started, with total genocide. Apparently, the Gnomes had been quite the thorn in the Dwarves’ asses for a few generations.  The high-elves were using them as engineers, mostly because they could create more elegant if weaker, versions of what the dwarves could do.”

The two races’ spats had been but a small bump in the history of this war. Neither of the races had many numbers behind them. They’d numbered less than a million put together, but that’d been by Errol’s council’s design. They were excellent tinkers, the gnomes. The Dwarves had been excellent smiths. Each played a role in Errol’s war machine, but during that little war; they’d been more focused on trying to stamp out hundreds of wars raging across the continent.

It wasn’t until the war was nearly over that Errol ever find out about it. Fenrir never did understand how a racial war, one that raged for nearly two years between their two most important vassals, had escaped them. They’d not been missed though, because Errol had been finished off a year after the Gnomes fell.

And so on it went, Fenrir recounted the casualties of their own World War. The Triton had stayed out of the war, and history. Keeping to their watery depths, they remained hostile to those above their seas and thus, were not considered a race at all but monsters. The Giants, for all their sweetness, had been enslaved and culled to the point that they were myths. Exiled to far northern reaches of Edward’s lands.

The race never recovered from their bondage, and the last giant had died nearly fifty years go. Tundra, the Last Giant, had died of old age. Last of her kind and scared, though, Fenrir had been with her in her final moments. The four races had never taken a liking to the giants, only seeing them as tools of the high-elves and thus, had forever been hunted down until only Tundra had been left as a child along with her sister, Marble.

Marble had died at the hands of a Devil for not joining him, but Cao Hu had ended that one quickly. Tundra had lived the rest of her hundred years in a lonely and cold peace on the Northern Walrus Harbors.

And of that, Fenrir could no longer remember what other races had lived. Their populations had never risen beyond a high enough headcount to matter. Though, he knew that beyond the mentioned, they were hunted down. Maybe small pockets of these races still existed in some far corners of the world; like the Tabaxi.

But after Tundra, Fenrir no longer looked. He’d grown tired of his failure, and no longer looked to be reminded more than he needed. Akyryss had gotten her island, and dallied herself with that. He, however, roamed the lands and watched it grow. When the tale had been told, the sky had already darkened. The lanterns illuminated the street. Everything, but their balcony, basked in the warm orange light of candles

They left a handle full of single coins, more than enough to cover their bill; neither wanted to count it out. \Cyril no longer rode Fenrir and they walked side by side silently. The crowd slid around them all the same as beautiful music played over the cheery voices. Cyril did not share their joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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