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The entirety of a then-uncharted solar system ripples with a vast energetic wave, announcing the end of a long odyssey. To the watchful eyes and ears peering into instruments forever observing their familiar star, they would be alarmed to find the equivalent of an apocalyptic solar flare encroaching to their ultimate destruction. The first suspicion something was out of the ordinary with such apocalypse was when the asteroid belt surrounding said star remained in place, untouched by the supposed flames from a fiery sun, the dread last until the cosmic wave, harmlessly, caresses the worlds orbiting such star. That was just the beginning.

A week later, news of visitors from the other stars began to spread among the higher circles ruling over the communities in this uncharted territory. Optimistic entrepreneurs publicly proclaim the arrival of a golden age; interstellar trade will bring riches beyond imagination to every man, woman and child, and there are even those who say it'll bring fortune for the more barbaric populace. On the other side, wary generals and ardent zealots warn of the coming end of times, brought by a bloodthirsty space empire seeking to to assimilate all and everything in their conglomerate, all for the sake of fighting an even more grueling demonic force.

Only the few that believed that both possibilities, with no respective order or intensity of which, were the ones that spoke the truth. And there was no way to avoid one without doing so with another.

"This is Captain Wanheed speaking on behalf of The Cosmic Pacification Enforcer King's Might and Expeditionary Mercantile Mercator.", at last, the cosmic silence was broken; a weary voice, both authoritative and uninterested, echoed through the open channels of the largest celestial body in the system; Eyremos. "We represent the Planetary Coalition of Eaudeios and we are to-- Ugh, open vast opportunities for the mutual expansion of your culture, fortune and security.", the voice sounds like it was reading off a script recited over a dozen of times. "We come in peace.", it finishes with a sigh.

By the month's end, over a thousand souls were temporarily added to the count of millions of Eyremos. Merchants, scholars, warriors, people from all walks of life spread throughout the many regions of that world despite its fierce authority and the dangers of the wilderness. To some of those souls, Eyremos was a comparable to a paradise. 'Paradise' was a common term for newly found worlds, even though those were already inhabited. However, a fierce folk mingled among the human lives of the brought in the Mercator, which still hovered far above the clouds, peering into the landscape below.

While any major political power would enjoy and abuse enlightened minds, the scholars that touched down in Eyremos found out that the westerner industrial autocracy to be the most comfortable for them. Or at least, the less reluctant. Like all adventures throughout hundreds of millenia, this one begins in a bustling tavern. A young woman in her early twenties talks through the ears of a disturbingly vast audience. With a bright smile partially covered by her unkempt black hair, the woman shares everything about her homeworld, and the many different ones she's been before, sprinkling her own studies about the countless regions, species and anatomy of such in-between. She captivates the old crowd on how she jokes along the many occasionally mocking her, she takes notes of counter-arguments lifted by her 'fellow' scientists, both resident of Eyremos and foreign.

Even the elusive dragon people seemed intrigued by her inquisitiveness and charisma. The only that remained when people started to get frankly tired of it all. Her thoughts are disorganized, she jumbles information and constantly corrects herself. For a young student, she seemed to speak more her mind rather than explain her discoveries.

"Anyway, you see! Grandad left me a vast enough fortune to pay for my own adventure! Like, like, listen to me, what if you always dreamed to go knowthose oh-so-dangerous wild regions? Now what if you're 'gonna make a pretty buck on top of it?! You can't miss this opportunity, you know??", she stomps her boot on a stool, slams her fist on her chest - probably snapping a pen within the pockets of her vest - and proclaims. "I, Ayla Balaban, shall take any, uh, uhm, Eyremonese...? Eyremosi? Eyremosian? Eyeremosian! I shall take you to the journey of your wildest dreams! And all Eauli and Vursakran shall be also paid handsomely to tag along! We will become the pioneers of the colonization of this new world!", and with that, Ayla had just lost the respect of almost everyone in the tavern. "Wait! I didn't mean 'colonize' in that way! I mean! Our culture is obviously superior, you know?? W-We have faster spaceshi-- P-Please, don't! Don't toss that stuff at me, y-you'll ruin my computer!"

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Even in the most desolate backwater in the universe, the stars shone ever bright.

During what would barely be considered a split-second in the lives of those very same stars, grand happenings had unfolded on Eyremos's rusty crust; happenings that would inevitably make their way into history books for wide-eyed schoolkids and brow-lifting scholars alike, to remind them of an age in which the ferocious natives of the Great Hellhole and the Men from Deep Beyond walked the planet's savage reaches like long-lost brethren.
⠀This event, which in its infancy'd been nothing more than a sudden solar flare and a faraway dot hardly perceptible by the bare, Eyremosian eye, had sent shockwaves through not only the glorious Novaean United Imperium or Konis's stitched-together Commonwealth of Vaults, but the terrestrial shithole as a whole: not a single hamlet or stashed-away tribe was left in the dark about the arrival of these enigmatic extra-galactic toursists.

And, well.. how couldn't they? It wasn't everyday that one woke up to two stranger vessels popping up high up in the ether.

In a matter of a few weeks, the initial shock came to pass and the Men from Deep Beyond scattered across Eyremos, sharing their captivating presence with all (un)fortunate enough to lie on their path. The NUI favored the new company especially, but as always is with this continent, they're not worth the tale of trills, trials and terror we're going to tell.

No, our story takes us to Konis, the untamed little brother of the larger, more civilized land mass overseas. Here, on the arid borderlands between the Western Vault's territory and the uncharted Feral Lands beyond, lay a salt mining village by the name of Backbreaker Flats- once a town unworthy of its own spot on a map, but now a hub for Beyonder activity. For in this village, puny and forlorn as these mining settlements tend to be, was in possession of the most charming tavern known to man: the Limping Hound, pride and glory of the strangest family in town, the aloof, auburn-haired Camerons.

Few knew where they came from or how they'd even managed to raise so comfortable an establishment in a ville that could barely afford proper plumbing, and even fewer knew why it was that so many outsiders were attracted to it.

But to young Blake Cameron, one thing was abundantly clear: nothing said brotherly love like a tub full of shit.

"Hey, thanks again, sucko!" Noon had passed and still nothing useful'd become of Blake's day. He'd crawled off his sack hours too late, as usual, swallowed his mouthful of Scrub-O-Toothdust™, also as usual, and the very moment he'd wandered downstairs to snatch a brunch and check out the commotion at dad's, Franz'd dropped the outhouse's basin into his arms.

"Shoots a scrap-rat with mom once and he's the prince.." Blake muttered between wetted, clenched teeth. "He's t'talker, the second-hand kinda guy! Defo gonna steal dad's spot under our noses if we slack off.. right, Danny?"

As he trotted along, repulsed and weary, a series of affirming clicks emerged from besides his dusty legs. Danny, his trusty two-tailed krathound partner in crime, had eagerly reported for duty! Danny was a chill guy, preferred rotten scraps over quarrels, and probably was the only other local creature in Backbreaker Flats that wasn't content with a mining life on the slow lane. Alas, he did have the privilege of being the Limping Hound's mascot, able to slobber on as many Beyonders and other cool outsiders' shins as he wanted, instead of having to play the part of the unwanted, troublemaking first-born.
⠀With energized tipper-taps his buddy ran ahead, plopping his dry rear down next to the Pit, where all things decaying, fecal and disease-ridden were kept. Yep, he knew the drill. Same one Blake'd always followed for the last thirteen outta nineteen years of his life. He approached, and just when he was about to unload all the stinky goodness onto the heap..

..the thundering eruption of angry screams, yells and spicy bar violence hit his ears!

"Holy- ARGH, SCRAP ME!!" Ka-sploosh went the dropped shit-basin, but the duo of idiots was already on their way: clouds of dust and even a whole person were spat out the cloth-based door of the tavern, where apparently a brawl'd broken out. "Hey, Dan, whaddaya think the catch is this time?" His wise ass knew there was only one way to find out!

Yet when Blake and Danny burst through the entrance, they were met with quite the curious spectacle: somewhere near the bar, propped up on the stools like a hero telling his boldest stories, was a young chick in a many-pocketed vest, remotely Southern in appearance, yelping something about a computer that might.. oh, right. Around this mysterious woman were the patrons at war; some yelled unspeakable things at her and threw their bottles, cups, slippers, some yelled at each other in her defense, but a significant portion just used this out-of-hand argument as an excuse to get involved in a good fistfight! Stools and fists flew, surprisingly few aimed at the woman (it almost seemed as if the Konians were too thankful for her starting an argument that allowed them to hit other people), except- hey, no sneaky moves in his tavern!

"Here goes-" Blake bounced from his position and towards a gray, pox-faced Nnos that was about to attack the strange woman from behind with a broken bottle. If a sucko had to fight, they at least had to fight fair. He took a leap and- BAM!

Youngster and dwarf flew across the floor, their skin and clothing mercilessly grazed by the coarse sandstone floors. Blake groaned and pushed his opponent away, finding the guy unconscious by the impact, and had to dive to stop Danny from ripping his throat open. The furious beast rattled and jerked from side to side, and he had to squeeze Dan's fat, fuzzy tum to calm him down. Except that he didn't. Danny kept on growling, as if something dangerous was near, looming overhead..

"Wha's wrong, boy? We gottem, only needa- WHOAH!" Two enormous cold hands lifted him off the floor. Large and cold, yeah, but not like dad's. These bad boys had claws, talons, unlike any humanoid he knew.. "Uhh.. sorry??" However, it wasn't about him: all around the bar, the fighting seemed to have stopped, sudden like a spill-fever outbreak. Heart in his throat and Danny yapping at his toes, Blake used this awkward, hauntingly silent moment to glare around, look at the former combatants. Regulars, some from the caravans and milder bandit clans, but a whole lot clad in Beyonder clothes too. Just like the strange chick, in her funky little vest. And like.. the.. dragon things that he hadn't noticed before..
⠀Then he saw it: next to the new chick, lounging on the stone-cut counter with the throat of a formerly violent Madman TeGee under her boot, was a pale woman, raising a hand into the air. It was Backbreaker Flats' proudest, flashiest and most cunning mercenary, freshly back from yet another successful gig. Mom!

"I volunteer, missy," quote the stern, bellowing voice that then resounded throughout the inn. "Was 'bout time we had 'em eggheads show up with 'nough balls to look the Feral Lands in its ugly maw. Consider my blazes yours."

Yeah, it was his mom, it really was! Still dangling from the chilling grip of what Blake presumed to be one of those frighteningly big and nasty dragon people, he bit his cheek-flesh and stared at the ground, his thoughts running wild. More open-minded mumbles and chatter began to buzz from the crowd, people looked to each other: it was true that it'd been centuries since anyone in town had dared to even suggest faring so far into the Feral Lands. And all the while, the Feral Lands'd continued to be a handful, spewing maniacs, monsters and twisters at them every season. If they ever wanted to learn that hellhole's secrets and possible turn back its diabolic tide, now was their chance. Although, how sure could they be that this spunky Beyonder had any scrappin' idea what she was talking about? How reliable was she really, where was proof that they would actually get paid after they finished off this gig? Thoughts like these warmed the stuffy tavern air.

Blake's mind, however, was completely elsewhere. Whereas others saw potential risks, he saw a way out. Out of Backbreaker Flats, out of this boring life that his mother'd chosen to never live! He could be with her for once, learn her tricks, and become a badass. Plus, with the promised happy buck, he'd finally be able to afford his own speeder, too!

"I.. I'm on board too!" His chafed skin cried out in pain when he stuck his hand into the air. "I'll.. I'll go with you, to the Feral Lands. Mo- uhh, Madina's right, we gotta take up arms 'gainst that rotten place somehow!" This was his moment. This was his time. Granted this ambition-packed Beyonder could look beyond the green youth in his face, she would give him a free (or more like, handsomely paid) ticket out of this place, to gain the experience he needed to become a merc himself with whatever she was planning to do on that weird suicide mission of hers. At last, he would be free!

Still forced to take short, shallowed breaths thanks to the stoic repitilian holding him by his collar, Blake shot quick glances around the room, skipping over tables to watch the faces of the patrons, his mom and the new chick. He stuck on the latter. This overly rambunctious first introduction to Konis hadn't made her change her mind about going, had it..?
Churchtuary Topic Starter

The young scholar haven't seen such a chaotically brutal scuffle since she proposed, to what was deceptively dubbed a 'multicultural meeting', that lassang and human were once all the same. Her pleas for peace were muffled between the bellowing and roaring amidst the clash of claws and fists. She had her back against the wall, terror twisting her once bright smile. There was no way she could see the usurper of colonialism encroaching towards her, about to strike down this would-be future oppressor of the oh-so poor, poor Konians.

A shriek cuts amidst the fight after a stranger erupts from the cloud and takes down the 'usurper'. "No!! D-Don't fight near me, please! I-It wasn't that bad!!", the woman stands on the tip of her toes, recoiling so much into the walls that she almost merges into the wood boards. But if there was anything scarier than a furious crowd was the broad-shouldered lassang looming towards her. "I... I-I didn't mean it, p-please...", the woman whimpers, sure that those breaths are her final ones.

She doesn't even register the silence once the most troublemakers are either knocked out cold or kicked out of the tavern. Instead, she only hears a deep pitched coarse voice, a hint of serenity in the draconian raspiness in its breather. "How are you?"

When Ayla opens her eyes, she notices the crimson beast is not even talking to her, it had reached down to help the man up to his feet, its fiery gaze scanning him for any wounds from above two hundred and some more centimeters overhead. Only then the scholar begins to somewhat relax, her curiosity soon springing back towards the lassang, the man that had just saved her and specially his little yapping pet, which appeared to have the ferocity of a monster many times its size.

"Who you're calling a egg-- Wait, you volunteer? Really??", its as if someone hadn't just tried to murder Ayla. Her expression becomes sunny and awestruck. "I-I didn't expect to have a warrior to step up so soon!" Ayla rushes towards the woman, hesitating in the last moment, only to them grab her hand anyway. "I-I'm Ayla! Ayla Balaban! I hail from Admiral Waldrom Academy of Expedition!", she shakes the cowboy's hand with a childish eagerness, "I'm also an Olympian!"

It's like Ayla expected everyone in the tavern to know that there is a inhabited world by the name of Olympia. Surely, some would probably do after a month of contact with the Beyonders. She doesn't even wait for an answer before rushing towards on the same fashion, her steps becoming more careful once she takes a glimpse of the tall, red lassang eyeing her. "No arms! Only adventure! I'm Ayla Balaban, sir! It's a honor to have you in my platoon!!", she shakes his hands with both of hers. But then her eyes widen at the critter on his feet.

Without a hint of fear - which might cost her a finger - Ayla gets to her haunches and ogles that furious gremlin, trying to caress the top of its head without a care in the world. "Oh my gosh, she's so cute!! What's her name, sir??"

For such a large monster with a bloody red scales, the lassang inconspicously steps back, its gaze occasionally diverging towards Ayla, the man and his mother. A discrete puff of sulphurous breather rises from its nostrils. The low grunt it gives out hints pity at the three, perhaps envy even, but few are the ways a lassang can make its emotions readable to a human.
Blake didn't have to toss a gander at the bar to know that 'Mighty Mad' Madina Cameron was staring him down. His spine tingled. What could possibly be going on in that hat-sporting noggin' of hers? No doubt that mom'd have her, well, doubts about him joining, him lacking himself a bit of experience and all- but by now, she'd also know that he wasn't that stupid. No one except dad, Franz and probably Danny - although said Danny was too busy sniffing Blake's lizard-like grabber's shoe to care for complex familial tensions - knew who she was to them, and by the looks of it Madina wasn't planning on giving him the maternal slap on the wrist she was craving to give. Still avoiding the eye-contact, he smirked. Checkmate.

That was when all exciting hell broke loose. Mom's three-word application'd fallen on eager ears: next thing he knew, the odd Beyonder chick, once so wrapped in enigma and intrigue, nearly broke out into dancing and chirping introductions.

"Heh, well then, pleasure's all mine, Prof. Balaban. Name's Mad Madina," answered mom, tipping the serrated brim of her wanderman's hat, soaking in her own badassery. "And that young fella over there's-" Woah, woah- did she change her mind? Blake's eye twitched, mouth hanging slack. But nope, the near-spilled beans crawled back into the can, for the chat had ended, and Professor Balaban came bouncing his way. Shit.. do away with the stupid grimace! Act.. professional.

"H-hey. I'm Blake." No, not like that! Paralyzed head to toe, he hadn't noticed that his feet were on the floor again, which was for the better because if he did, he would've dropped. "A Beyonder, talking right at me.." raced his thoughts. "Someone from other stars, wanting me on their mission. Out of town! Just adventure!" Two warm hands grasping his woke him up.
"Oh, yeah, uh, it's really prime t'meet ya too, Ayla. Me and m-Madina, we'll be mad happy to assist ya in any sorta weird- or cool- experiment things you gotta do out there! Know the place like the palm of our hand, after all." No, he didn't. No one did. Raised eyebrows and under-breathy chuckles bit on his skin like acid. Mom'd turned her back on him already.. Fortunately, focus was almost immediately shifted to the single thing keeping him upright: the half-gnawing snuggles from good ol' Danny. And, becoming the first in ages, Ayla genuinely seemed to like the little guy! Not a pest, not a mongrel, nah, she thought he looked cute! Well, Dan did get called a 'she', but nothing a friendly correction couldn't fix!

"This is Danny! He's a dude, I think. Sucko's also my lil' two-tailer bud, keeps me company when I work, and all. I'm sure y'don't mind if I bring 'em along, eh? His mean bite might come in handy, and he's never-" Oh scrap, not the head, not his damn head! "Woah woah- wait, he doesn't like it if ya- DANNY!" He didn't know how quick to squat.

"DANNY! CHILL OUT, BOY!" Despite his whoppingly unimpressive weight of roughly twelve kilograms, catching Danny amidst his rocketing trajectory towards Prof. Ayla's face dragged Blake to the floor with ease. "C'mon, guy, not cool!"

Danny raised his hackles and proceeded to scream and yap for the next minute to come, slowly calming down as Blake, keeping him in a gentle elbow-lock, scratched his chest and blubbery throat. His face a bright red and wearing an embarassed grin form ear to ear, he couldn't even fathom how humiliating this moment was. She couldn't have known of course, but rubbing the snotty nostrils on a two-tailed krathound's cranium generally was just a really, really bad idea.

"Sorry. That's his snout up there, he's usually a pretty okay guy!" Blake stammered, unaware of the slimy pink tongue slithering towards his chin like a malicious worm. "Might wanna try his belly next time, he likes that better. Anyway-"

"Anyway indeed." Two patterned, spurred and all-around magnificent rootleather boots joined the floor-bound party of three. "Now that ya got two-and-a-half of sturdy new folk on ya team, it wouldn' hurt to share with us some mission specs, would it? Where we'll meet, when we'll go, all that good business." Moments like these made Blake feel less sad about his mother's relative absence from his childhood. As gnarly as his dad could be whenever he'd gotten caught throwing rejected salt rocks at the town's Sentry 'Maton again, it never got close to how much fear and unsettlement her cold business-voice struck into him. Even some of Backbreaker Flats' burliest miners hadn't thought of crossing her; now especially they stared down at their drinks in total silence, spooked twice with those dragon people skulking around as well. Speaking of- "Hmh, by the way, is Mr Redhead on board too?" Did she just snark a dragon?!

Lips sealed, Blake slowly rose to his feet, shaking Danny once to get his tongue out of his nose. Having a scale-face of that sheer size on the squad would prove to be beneficial, sure.. but wouldn't they have to worry about, y'know, getting eaten?
Churchtuary Topic Starter

Seeing that alien mongrel stampede forward, its chops twisted with burning ire, did little to move Ayla; she still had a dumb smirk on her face as if Danny was going to lick her cheeks. It was only when she felt the stink of its breather propelled by the violent snap of its jaws, inches away from her rotund nose, that the student hit her rump on the floor, with another shriek. If it wasn't for Blake. And even then, her smirk grow back albeit with a zig-zagging pattern.

"Oh, my!", Ayla climbs to her feet, wobbling, dusting the dirt off her cargo pants. "He got a temper!", the spit flying off Danny's ceaselessly yapping mouth is enough to make the olympian retreat. "Pleased to meet you, Blake, sir!", the woman stammers. "I think I'll give your Danny bellyrubs later.", Ayla still wears a smile full of waryness, eyeing with a certain amazement how Blake effortlessly tames his ferocious hound.

The mere mention of her plans sets Ayla's train of thought back on track. Her eyes widen and she purses her lips, waving her index to Mad Madina. "Of course, of course!", her voice, then nervous, gushes with excitement, beckoning Madina and Blake to her table. Self drawn maps, chaotic data sheets, post it notes and jury-rigged gadgets strewn across its surface; each individual trinket appearing to be completely useless at first glance, but becoming curiouser the more one looks at them. The most of them was the the scholar's laptop; its no more than a pair of slim sheets of a clear, transparent material held together by a thin metal cylinder. A closer look makes the rectangles on the lower sheet - the one supported on the table - become apparent.

"Again, I'm Ayla-- Ayla Balaban! I'm an olympian, student of field biology on Admiral Waldrom. You-- You-- Ah, nevermind, I'll introduce those proper later!", the woman franctically gestures her hands to Blake and Madina. Next she swipes that same hand across her laptop's surface, and the raised screen glows until its white as paper, a collection of logos emerging on its backgrounds before all sorts of objects are displayed on the screen. "So, I'unno if any of you have noticed, but we're all 'kinda of similar, right? You, me, not you Danny! But then--", Ayla hunches on the table, gesturing with her eyes towards the lizard folk eyeing them back. "--So are the lassang! And the many native species in Olympia! And, and, like, listen closely, get this--"

The smile on Ayla's features fade away for a second. She lowers her voice, looking straight into Blake and then Madina's eyes. "--So are the non-humans in this, your, world. You might have agreed to escort me on a little but ambitious scientific journey, but will you still do after I reveal the nature of my, uhm, controversial research?" Ayla shakes her head when Madina invites the red lassang over and she furthers enforces her denial by daring to shake her index finger towards the beast. "Uhm, we're 'kinda full right now! Maybe some other time???"
Sir.. so he was a sir now?! Blake didn't know how wide to grin when Prof. Ayla, steadfast in that enthusiasm of hers as only a true Beyonder could be (not that he knew batshit about how those people were supposed to behave), erupted into cheerful chatter and led two of them to her table, only a few steps away from the former battleground. All manner of funky gear and documents lay scattered upon it, concealing the old iron surface beneath layers of curious baubles. Huh, Proffy wasn't fooling around! Man.. Blake bit the inside of his cheek and, keeping his violent nutsack of a pet clenched to his chest, seated himself on a rusty stool. This was where the real bizz would be discussed, where big shit would hit the fan! He just knew it. An expectant, almost goofy smile crept onto his lips, immediately greeted by a stinky lick of Danny's.

And thus came the.. explanation, or something. Like the academic genius she was, Ayla started off her sales pitch with a bit of a philosophical approach, zig-zagging her way through the concept of sentient species being sorta alike. Right.. uhh-

"D-does.. does he count?" Blake blurted, motioning at the crimson dragon-man. Real professionals asked questions, right? Or was it the other way around..? The very moment he glanced towards Mad 'Mom' Madina for an answer, though, a stern side-eye told him all he needed to know. "What the boy meant to say is that, no, we will in fact not back down from this gig after ya tell us the nasty deets- given ya ever will. Quitting isn't part of our vocabulary." There she sat, legs apart like a burly brute and eyes glaring from underneath her hat with the cold gravity of a veteran. Set in stone that statement was, too; Blake hadn't even considered how a job offer from Ayla could be seen as, well, too controversial. He hadn't seen her throw a single punch during the brawl, so there was no way on Eyremos that she'd be any more unstable and dangerous than the other merc-feeders out there! Leaving how reckless it was to wander the Feral Lands out of the mix, of course. "So, do delight us; what ground-shattering hypotheses are you looking to prove way Out There?"

Out There, in the bustling megaroot jungles and caustic geyser fields. A lush paradise for all that slaughtered and caused misery, from the fiercest storms to the foulest monsters. Mom'd gone there countless times, obviously, and countless times Blake'd only been able to snoop out the details by eavesdropping on her late-night conversations. No matter how vivid her stories of beasts and bandits'd been, she'd never sounded the slightest bit scared. Few Backbreakers could say the same..

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