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Be it hubris or curiosity, no one knows what inspired her creation, nor does it truly matter in the end. The aberration to nature was birthed within the secret laboratories buried beneath the bronze clockwork city, its ticking gears the first fleeting memory as the physical form took shape. The Syndicate, a secret society that prowls the umbra, being funded for edification by the coin of Myrriah, the lioness of the sands. An Arch Djinn was governing from obfuscation, overseeing the modern age forward for the "good of the realm" as she describes it. Birthed alongside her sister V'essa, though, that term liberally applies given their unnatural creation. Mazana was supposed to be the brother in this wicked pursuance; however, the creation did not go as plan, inevitably resulting in a hybrid of the genders. Initially, the minds involved wanted to forsake and recycle the genetic rubbish, the expanding organism cognizant of their ploy as her heart drummed vehemently with internalized dread. 

But rather than cut the study short, the merchant of opulence proceeded with the financing as she had a personal invested interest in the outcomes. Taking her makeup and that of an old friend long since expired, extracting it through the marrow of the bones, as she attempted to reforge a fragmented legacy. Much to the researcher's dismay, the arcane scientist pressed onward, charting the tissues' accelerated expansion as they expedited the development process. V'essa was gifted with synthetic memories; such a nefarious process failed to adhere toward this enigma within a glass jar Mazana. Myrriah, now fascinated, dictated careful observations as her uncanny resilience seemed to be an enthralling concept. The tantalizing nature of the unknown beckoning the inquisitive spirit, sparing the vulnerable lifeform from torment and anguish via the employment of an untimely demise.  At the end of their venture, both siblings were released from their canisters, separated as each had different purposes in mind.

V'essa was taken to live a delusion, a fabricated cruel reality while dreary, provided repose as ignorance can often be bliss. Mazana was trained to utilize her magical prowess to master the schools of ice and wind, becoming dubbed the "Frigid rose" and was meant to be deployed as an enforcer for the ambiguous organization. Due to her heritage, the lady of coin took a fondness to the rapidly aged child, beguiled as they shared a stark resemblance. Respecting the abomination, going as far as to grant her the title of a daughter, though such a nomenclature failed to suffice given the repugnancy she felt toward her duality of genders. The unholy offspring immediately began her training, sharpening her craft and being thrown into the fray of combat with no semblance of delay. Rather than being pulverized, Mazana transcended the chaos that was her upbringing, rising to each provocation and succeeding, notwithstanding various flounderings.  Jumping from master to master, before being taught how to make use of the newfangled APV deployment weapons system effectively. 

The foreign contraption required thirteen years to master. Melding equilibrium with the extension of her Chi as it necessitated a comprehensive equivalence between oneself and awareness.  There within the bowels of heartless sheened metal, she toiled away, navigating, attacking, learning to use both the flesh and the magic-based technology in absolute harmony.  The cerulean-streaked beauty immediately being pitted against numerous mentors and combatants from various styles and schools of magic. It was one thing to utilize this crystal weapon against a dummy was a wholly new affair to do so while being pressured. Time and time again, she failed, being beaten, mocked, and belittled by her opponents with contempt. Each night Myrriah visited within the city, encouraging, supporting, and educating this wretched creature. At first, Marana thought it to be some insidious manipulation tactic, but as time passed and her mentors changed, her perception gradually proved relatively malleable. 

What was once approached with caution waned, giving way to a motherly bond formulating between the two abnormalities within the empire of White Sands.  Mazana may have had her identity, past, future, and cultural relevance stripped, but within the melancholy abyss of her unrelenting reality, the entity blossomed.  Growing, evolving, and rebounding from each challenge presented finding purpose within the furnace as her mettle solidified and was fashioned. Two years later, the woman was deemed ready, as Myrriah offered her a room within each of her estates, a hug, and unconditional and unmerited love within Mazana's eyes. Her first few "contracts" were against monsters as they were testing her ability in the field. But it didn't take long for things to transpire a dismal route, being poised to stand against sentient foes. One may think murder to be a foul idea, but the individuals she hunted were despicable creatures fueling ruination for egotistical objectives. 

The unsung heroine, the downtrodden matron, never to have her tales uttered in melodious song by a bard. The life of an enforcer was never documented, a selfless existence where she roamed across the sprawling dunes of blanched grains, like a shadow those deeds were never genuinely distinguishable. The approval and validation of the common folk held little value; instead, the mage took solace in knowing stability had been achieved. Her unique physiology made it arduous to form bonds, being of both spectrums, the solitude-dwelling horror found it nearly impossible to tether herself with others. A lone wolf, a disregarded hero, predetermined to meander this world in sheer isolation until the end of her days. A lesser woman would be crushed by such a fate, exasperated by the weight bestowed on those repulsive shoulders. In time, the artificial intelligence of sorts uncovered that her creator endured a likened fate, albeit far more grandiose and soul-crushing.

Mazana relished the scantiest glimmerings of merriment from the populace resounding, jubilant clamor. Maybe this ruse of ice wasn't meant for such frivolous, yet vital bonds. A simple query meeting that quandary, a dilemma profound with vast implications. Is it better to tarry alone so that others may bask in mirth? Or to gait in venerating gaze, while foregoing your fellow man? Balance, a fickle concept, though whimsical if achieved given the aberrations lonesome road. The rustling wind, idle whispers, and the comfort of the twilight of eventide providing no epiphany. But a question remained, was Mazana even alive, did she truly possess a soul?



It commenced like any other mission; the inquisitor dispatched to locate the source of a reported disturbance.  The gelid rose had been debriefed, reading over the papyrus parchment within the halls of the syndicate. Ash town, a hamlet tucked within the vast expanse of dunes; it's standing officer proclaiming troubling abductions. A ghastly fog, beings of shadows, and the vanishing of both noble and commoner without prejudice. These tales seemed improbable, the retrospections of a man stricken with delirium. But notwithstanding her internalized deductions, the truth of such frightening stories warranted her deployment. Mazana was destined to interrogate and reach the core of it all. For the virtue of the realm, and the one thing unsullied in her 

For despite all her wretchedness, all the turbulence birthed from her unholy conception and mutation, Mazana still had the unconditional love of Myrriah and her siblings. Bowing before the Lady of the coin, the mistress of frost gathered her things and sauntered far from the security of those bronze walls.

The seclusion brought with it repose, as the lonesome road often proved agreeable enough company. The sprawling expanse of blanched dunes, the arid air, and blistering binary suns. All signs of this callous realm nature, devoid of compassion, as every day was a struggle to survive.  Those who sought safety, groveled behind erected barricades, foolishly presuming themselves secure. Ignorance was a lovely thing; the fabrication varnishing the blood-soaked granules radiating fleeting succor. The denizens blissfully oblivious of the affliction prowling out of sight, the nefarious will often conspired to usher in unbridled demise.  An enforcer's life was seldom a pretty one; working within obscurity usually meant severing many forms of attachment. 

The need to be tethered, beyond palpable, serving as a distraction from this honorable line of work. Tarrying onward in solitude left with nothing but idle thoughts and romanticized what-ifs rallying within the vexed mind. Such exasperation germinating as the ruse that is self-despair always seemed to be encroaching just beyond the horizon. Mazana was an artist, a practitioner of a timeless craft, that being war. Using her mastery over ice to repel off aberrations, sealing their ravenous jaws of oblivion so that this forgetful kingdom could persist another day.  That stride robust carrying her forward, as the fleshly vessel was adorned in black leather, clinging tightly to lithe figure, as the suns rested overhead. Most may sweat under its blistering influence, but her unholy heritage gifted the homunculus with a few bizarre and serviceable traits.

The blood that coursed through veins rather frosty, warding off the want for precipitation, as broad hips swayed faultlessly with gait. The feminine vestige housing a cryptic secret, the source of many banes that offtimes plagued the contemplative mind.  A mutation forced on her, as the syndicate that had given her a semblance of purpose. Also initially stripped the ingrate from frivolous concepts of identity. Those succulent lips widening, curving slightly into a smirk as the gap between herself and the mission dwindled with each expiring moment.  The bleached grains beneath feet being carried by a warm zephyr, pelting the skin as fingerless gloved hands were obstructing their route. Shielding the picturesque features from their abrasive qualities, as the circling and distant cry of a vulture resounded, fragmenting the lack of ambiance. The bosom swelling, expanding outward as the lungs took in a deep breath before deflating from inner frustration.

The small stone structures, the escorting of cattle, and the bustling bazaar serve as a trade hub within an otherwise barren and often disregarded section of the empire. The armed guards were patrolling the walls, clasping their bronze caster rifles, warding off any attempts from the various bandit's gangs' aspirations to raid. Those digits were running through silky strands of the raven and cerulean hair, flicking it back as it twirled effortlessly in the gale. The distant murmurs of the sandworms, the subtle vibrations of their courting ritual, a stark reminder of how truly insignificant she was by contrast. Giants slithering beneath their feet, rising only to venture above in search of love, thankfully keeping themselves far from the settlements strewn across the desert. Those honeyed eyes were peering up as the armed sentries took note. They were evaluating the garb that was flattering toned form. The syndicate enforcers often served as detectives, killers, and keepers of the peace.

The men needn't vocalize their anxieties, for wherever one of her kind traveled, trouble wasn't too far behind.  The head of the guard within this town dispatched a letter, expressing concerns over recent nettlesome happenings, though the imbecile seemed quite keen on remaining vague on the specifics. Such an obtuse approach did little to win the moron any favor, as it only implied more time would be wasted. The silent artist was slipping within the gaped gullet, hands gliding across the worn wooden barrier that kept the wolves out at night.  The prying gaze of others making Mazana's skin crawl, as, despite her fearless demeanor, it was all a farce. A carefully crafted deception disguising the internal anguish, lack of self-worth, and continuous barrage of doubt. This artificial lifeform endeavoring to thwart off a quandary yet to be settled, a corrosive line of inquisitions of which the truth may terrorize the frigid rose.  Was she even alive?

Did a soul exist, if so, did Mazana possess one? Followed by the philosophical contemplation regarding if the who, or the what, transcended importance within the query of self-identity.  The bustle of the market place pleasant, the cacophony of merchants and consumers alike scarcely warranting attention. The abomination was sliding within the masses, zig-zagging between the crowd of people walking every which way. Her signature weapon was resting on the back, resembling that of a shield as it laid inert, fully charged, and ready for deployment at any moment.  The aerial crystal serving the combatant well, as its reflective metal sheened due to the binary stars' luminosity above.  Those travel-weary boots reaching the door, as hands grasped the knob of brass, twisting it and forcing the creaky maw open.

The door parted with no resistance, as ambient light flooded the scarcely illuminated room, perforating the darkness as the commander slumbered with a bottle of booze on the table. Mazana was rolling her orbs as she stealthily secured the door, creeping discreetly before sitting across the way from the slumbering man and his desk. The agent supposing things couldn't have been that grave if he could manage to catch some shut-eye within this godforsaken outpost. Those nimble fingers were grasping the bottle, pressing the opened top against her lips as she chugged the intoxicating refreshment. She was taking out a silver coin, as extremities rolled it about those digits effortlessly. The homunculus nonchalantly reclining back before elevating and thumping the boots against the furniture top.  The oaf banging his palms onto the surface before pitching himself back as confusion cemented itself on the rugged face.

The elder looking on the woman, noting her cleavage and finding her skin exposure to be rather unprofessional, reasoning with ease that this was the mercenary dispatched to aid. The veteran was repressing his breathing as hands raked up and down that coarse facial hair, letting out a begrudging grunt. Sending out that letter by courier was an admittance of defeat, demanding much humility for such a distinguished soul. 

"I see you've made yourself at home? Good, as you may be here for quite some time. I assume you've gone over the letter?"

His raspy voice fractured, as the sluggish mind roused slower than the flesh it seemed. Mazana was gradually tilting her head,  removing the bottle from luscious lips, as strands of blueish hair obstructed modelesque facial structure.  What a silly crusty fellow, of course, she had been briefed, though, not much could be gleaned from his ramblings on parchments. 

"Of course, I am a professional, after all. Don't worry; I am sure you will provide me with acceptable quarters during the duration of my stay? Admittedly, your little message seemed woefully lacking, vague hints at best. The more information that is offered, the quicker and easier this process will go for both of us.  No need to play nice, sir; I am aware you detest having to beckon for assistance, so let us hurry this along?" 

The sultry resonance did not attempt pleasantries, as her name meant little, and she already knew his identity. Those immaculate brows were fanning skyward as the officer sprang to his feet, sliding the legs of the chair across the scratched floorboards.  His armored boots collided with the planks, the noise bouncing off natural acoustics as fingers parted the beady strands hanging over the window. His eyes were shifting about tensely, as if paranoid, pondering if his guest had been followed. 

"Not even a name? Figures, young people these days and their lack of respect. Yes, I was unclear; that was by design, as I fear this outpost's integrity may be compromised. Tell me, enforcer, did your master ever bother to tell you about the phantoms of the sands?"

The Sacrifice

The cerulean streaked beauty remained silent, gawking beyond the window across the vastness of dunes, musing to herself in contemplation. The inquisitive mind was meandering from those utterances from her companions before turning to face the two. Her rear resting on the window sill as honeyed orbs sauntered between her little entourage. The APV system oscillating on the back, as it indicated the charge was maxed, as the finger tapped away on the chin. Her brother's words dissected thoroughly first, contemplating why a group of bandits would seek to "disguise" themselves as aversions? Could they genuinely don a convincing enough disguise so that the guards and their captain fell for such conniving subterfuge? It did seem possible, however, not plausible given other alternatives.

Those groomed brows bending due to confoundment, as Hunter's statement of her erudition caused internalized tussling within the enforcer. The homunculus was shaking the head as a faint exhalation permeated from luscious lips. The abomination that was her sibling indeed did not possess the looks; that honor fell to Mazana and their other sister, which only she was aware even existed. 


"I see; I feel such precision is well beyond the common rabble. Though, if these "specters" are indeed prowling the streets under twilights umbra, it must be with the aid of a skillful spell weaver. Which, admittedly, makes this assignment all the more enthralling, albeit by extension more perilous."

Her thoughts drifting from the illustrious tongue, as the mind mollified over the elegant melody that crept from Mytra's lips. This enchanting beauty only outmatched by her song, yet, this didn't absolve her of fault nor potential lapse in judgment. The two may have shared the night and each other's flesh, but in this theatre, Mazana shined. The inquisitor was finding her idealism fueled by sparse tellings of romanticized delusions. Hearkening though, the executioner found that such whimsical retellings were seldomly so fanciful. The truth behind the veil, offtimes far more mundane than the old stories, seemed inherently focused on exhibiting. The frosty beauty cared little for such rantings, having never floundered across a beast or "horror" that couldn't be felled. 

Such merriment fading, face becoming long as the word Djinn was mentioned, the irony in Mytra's predicament self-evident, given the knowledge both her and their creator was one by definition. The head was shaking as she'd play it off, attempting to parry any suspicions with a simple, though hopefully efficient retort.

"Djinns, I shudder to think what would happen we ran into such a horror. No matter, even if it is supernatural, nothing a well-placed strike or two can't disperse."

The words mathematically precise, seeing little reward in dancing around the issues before shifting back, as the sun had finally set. The eyes were remaining vigilant as the perception remained fixated on the horizon.


"Evening is coming; we shall see who is right soon. I feel It's both—Someone using a thrall or creature for their nefarious means. I also believe that the prisoners are kept alive, given the lack of corpses that have appeared. Though, they may prefer to be dead…."

The visage was frowning, as the inquisitor was forced to languish over the unknown, only made worse by the mention of Myrta and their joining. The cerulean streaked beauty remained inert, postulating in taciturnity as the feline called out to the impulsive Hunter. The curtain of twilight already here; furthermore, Mazana cared little to rouse the denizens' misgivings further. The people were already on a knife's edge; applying pressure with such a delicate balance seemed both unwise and a dangerous avenue of approach.  Those honey-hued orbs strolling toward the feline, knowing what they experienced was a fleeting sensation of carnal release, nothing more or less. The enforcer may be socially inept, but even those cloudy foci could pierce the illusion she fabricated—those fingerless gloves resting on the sill, as a heavy exhalation permeated from the sharp tongue.

"Hunter, please stay, my brother. Mytra, no need to butter me up further; you got what you wanted this evening. Unless your insatiable hunger was not appeased? In which case, let me apologize for not being fulfilling enough in our vulgar tussle. As far as their victims, they took a noble. This bodes ill, as it implies purpose in their prey choosing. Who or whatever is prowling beyond our senses is a crafty one and clever to eluded suspicion to the point we were called in. As far as my plan, it will be partially impromptu to the coming revelation. It's impossible to design a trap for a target whom you know nothing about; every Hunter knows this."

The quarrel evident, as the homunculus had zero interest in permitting it to blossom further. Whether or not Hutner and Mytra disliked each other was irrelevant. All that mattered was the mission, and it's an accomplishment; nothing else entered her scope. Mazana pushed herself from the sill as she made her way toward the crystal lighting fixtures, turning the nozzle as they ceased their illumination. Before returning to the window, permitting the cloak of darkness to keep them sheltered from prying eyes.

"Now we sit in silence, allow our eyes to acclimatize to the eventide, and see what if anything arrives."

The woman embraced the muteness, as the room was so dark she couldn't make out their face or shapes. Having memorized her last location, the artificial soul may have caressed Mitra's form as they waited, giving the regal temptress the attention she secretly craved if they permitted it.

Those hands dared to drum as the three sat within the darkness of the room, that all encroaching umbra of twilight fully enveloped the outside world. The locals were blissfully ignorant of what was going on. They were retired for the night to drift into the bosom of torpor. The stars above twinkling, as their faint illumination would be cast on the granules below. That frigid air of the drifted through the opened window. The utterance of becoming one with Mazana's plight brought a simper to an otherwise stern face. Mytra was an ambitious soul, a manipulator, but the tugging of strings was not always a nefarious affair. The feline was left to endure in introspection, as the homunculus said nothing as those honeyed orbs perforated the best they could through the swarthiness. The pupils dilating, as goosebumps darted across the supple olive-toned figure, as the hand ceased their exploration. 

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