|PAGES: «prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 next»||REPLY TO THIS THREAD QUICK REPLY START NEW THREAD|
|Tiger of Wu||
Apr 01, 12 at 4:00am ^re: The Chronicles
Log in to remove this sponsored message
The April Fool
"I want you to know, that I'm happy for you,"
As the song played, Amadeth leaned forward. She snorted as hard as she could in her current state, and leaned back with a long and contented sigh. The straw stood upwards out of the hole where her nose should have been, before she exhaled strongly and blew it out of her face.
"I wish nothing but the best for you both."
"You don't have to do this," Firinar stated, his voice coming from Amadeth's armour which lay in a heap on the floor. Amadeth chuckled.
"Why not? It's over. I've failed." She laughed.
"Who cares!" Firine yelled. "We can still have fun!"
"And I'm here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away,"
Amadeth looked at the super computer in front of her, built into her ship's walls. She looked at the vial of liquid, the straw surrounded by flecks of cocaine, and the pistol that rested in front of it, then she looked to Arimus who slept peacefully in the corner, before a final glance at her robotic armour.
"You look very well, things look peaceful; I'm not quite so well,"
"We can find another universe, twy a new Malali. Or we can twy another Ion!" Firine suggested. Amadeth perked up, and grinned happily.
"That sounds great," she stated warmly. Leaning back into her chair, she silently sat unmoving for a short stretch of contemplation.
"It's not fair to deny me, of the cross I bear that you gave to me,"
Flicking a few switches, Amadeth remotely deactivated her armour, and Firinar and Firine along with it. She popped the vial in front of her and drank what was inside, a potion that would counteract her healing, and then she held the pistol to her head.
"And I'm not gonna fade as soon as you close your eyes."
Arimus awoke as Amadeth pulled the trigger.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Apr 23, 12 at 1:50am ^re: The Chronicles
The Coil: Ged Tenshi
Welcome. How would you introduce yourself in your own words?
Ged: Normally I would be sure to make a lasting first impression, but I'm afraid you would not survive to continue this interview. We can't be having that, so it will suffice to say that my name is Ged Tenshi. I have been described as a monster.
Ged (smiles): That would not be inaccurate.
What reason or reasons lead you to become involved in duels?
Ged: The simple answer is that the duelists present me the option to gather far more powerful souls than even thousands of ordinary mortals could provide me. And that is after their soul is shredded by pulling it out of their body. Though outside of the practical reasons, I have found the duelists to be the only form of entertainment truly left to me.
Do you have any favourite people/places/events from your past?
Ged: I do miss Rrrrr. I always tell myself not to get attached, but it's so hard when they're so eager to please. You should have seen him, dragging his torso along the ground, bits of flesh in his mouth.
Ged (sighs and rubs his eye): Excuse me for a second, I seem to have gotten some blood in my eye.
What are you currently up to?
Ged: Oh this and that, I tend to get around. I'm looking into taking back my home, but these things take time. I don't mind so much, time is one thing I have in abundance. And while I wait I get to keep making new friends. You see, everybody wins.
What are your hopes/plans/expectations for the future?
Ged: I haven't really been subtle about this, but I will destroy Heaven and Hell. Well, my Heaven and Hell anyway, you mortals seem to make new ones every day and I really can't be bothered cleaning up your mess. Though if I ever get bored living the retired life maybe I could be talked into it, and I do get bored so easily.
What is your favourite part of designing the monstrosities you're fond of creating?
Ged: Monstrosities? You wound me. I know on the outside they look haphazardly thrown together, but I am a craftsman first and foremost. I cannot speak for other magic users, but it is my will, and in fact my very life that animates my creations. It is hard to put into words, but seeing the thing that was just moments ago a corpse rip off the head of some unsuspecting victim just fills me with so much pride.
What is the most inventive contract you've ever made?
Ged: I know it is common practice for my peers (scoffs), to twist the words of those they contract with to make them as unhappy as possible with their deal. I've never seen the sense in it myself, the price most ask for their soul is so trivial that to cheat them just seems pointless. It is often the demons you'll see doing things like this, they have no greater understanding of what it means to be a salesman. In this business, reputation is everything.
Is a gingerbread man a cake or a biscuit?
Ged: I'm afraid I don't understand your question. Is a gingerbread man some sort of golem?
Ged (rubbing his chin): That doesn't seem very practical, though you would certainly have the element of surprise. Then again the golem wouldn't be able to rip into anything, you'd have to rely on pure size to crush your target. Where could you get so much gingerbread so easily?
Ged (drumming his fingers): Wait, why would it be a cake or a biscuit?
Is there anyone special you're waiting to grab the soul of?
Ged: There are a few duelists I'll admit to being hesitant to go after. Consider Maxwell for instance, he's undeniably powerful and should be a prime target for me. Still his soul is... Weird. Beside the fact that it is somehow rainbow-coloured, it twists and contorts and shifts so randomly that I have no confidence in its ability to be useful to me. Until I understand it better I have no desire to play around with it. What if it broke?
Whose soul do you think has the most potential from those you know?
Ged: The interesting thing about duelists is that for the most part they are in their prime. It's almost as if they just pop into existence with all the experience necessary. In other words most duelists have no potential at all, because they have already reached it. The young witch Kira Storme has my interest, as does the young necromancer Saxionomie. But from personal experience I would have to name my good friend Jonathan Larswick. I am almost relieved I didn't violently mutilate him to death.
What would you do if you ran out of blood?
Ged: You ask more than you may realize. I do not have blood in the sense that you may think. I essentially am a combination of spirit and blood that creates a homunculus in which to look presentable. If you were to drain my body of blood all that would mean is that I was no longer in my body. I am my blood.
What advice can you give to up and coming necromancers and such?
Ged (looks pleased): Now here's a topic I can sink my teeth into. The great thing about necromancy is that there is just so much material to work with. As the saying goes there are two sure things in life, death and taxes. Depending on your personal situation, I would recommend working on learning how to dig quickly, getting caught grave robbing is always a tricky one to explain. You should also experiment early and often, you really never know what you can do until you try.
Ged (leans in conspiratorially): If I may share a trade secret with you, you should also invest in black clothing and a staff. You'll also want to have some sort of skull motif. Trust me, no one will take you seriously until you do. And it does become a hassle to keep killing all the people laughing at you.
What do you consider your greatest triumph?
Ged (eyes gleam): Some might think it would be my escape from Hell, but I can't claim all the credit for that one. Not long after that though I had my first ever fight with an angel. Ripping its soul from its broken body was the first time in a long time that I truly held hope in my own. I have gone on to do greater things, but that one moment will forever hold a soft spot in my heart.
If someone (theoretically, mind you) wanted to bargain with you for a sports car, a big mansion and some very skimpily-dressed women, what would it cost them?
Ged (interlaces his fingers): I only deal in one thing, and I think you already know what. I can be very flexible on the terms, provided you're worth the effort. If you're interested come to me after this interview and we'll talk business.
How do you honestly come up with all those terrifying transformations? Does it just come naturally, or do you 'study up'?
Ged: Alas, I cannot take credit for all of them. Sometimes all I do is open up what is already inside of you humans, but you are right to respect them as terrifying. As for the golems, knowledge is certainly important for their construction, but once you know the fundamentals of the magic it can be applied in quite a number of ways as I have demonstrated in the past. Their appearance though, comes solely from the materials available and my imagination, make of that what you will.
Do you like pie? If so, what's your favourite flavour?
Ged: While I am still capable of taste, my concept of what is good and bad are vague memories from when I used to be a man. If I were to eat something that I once enjoyed it would not taste good to me, I would just remember that it tastes good. To answer your question, Apple Pie was my favourite.
Assuming you have no option other than to work with someone, which duelist would you choose as an ally in arms?
Ged: As you may know I have had the... Pleasure of working with some of the 'greatest minds' there are. Which is why I can safely say I wouldn't trust a single member from that organization with their own lives, let alone mine. They may be fun to hang around with, but that's not the kind of company you rely on when things are serious. I suppose Malali might make a good ally, though she does seem to be unable to get over the similarity between me and Tetrath. Not to mention she threw me in Hell so we're not on the greatest of terms. Lanate is certainly capable, though I haven't heard from him since he was assigned to me. He'll get over that I'm sure. Hmm.
Ged (is silent for a moment, appearing to mumble to himself): ... Ion is just the kind of bastard I could get along with, but he may still be slightly upset about my welcoming gift. Raphius? I spared his life, that has to count for something right? No, probably not.
Ged (sighs and continues trying to think of someone, finally clapping his hands together): Chase! I haven't done anything to Chase, save for insult his Gods when he wasn't looking, surely he would prove useful? I mean there was that business at the Coast-n-Shop, but I never attacked him directly. Surely he wouldn't be upset about something as small as that? Nah, there's no way he could be. Definitely Chase.
Are you sexually attracted to anyone? If no, then why? If yes, that means your sex drives work fine, how many seconds is your orgasm?
Ged: I was wondering when I would get to a question like this, you humans are such slaves to your lower regions. I do not have a sex drive because as I explained I do not really have a body. Now I could certainly give this body one if I desired, but why would I want to? What is the benefit?
Ged (suddenly gets a wicked grin): You do realize the same fate waits for you right? Spirits are not properly 'equipped' so to speak. When you die you will no longer be able to have sex, and given enough time you won't even be able to remember what it feels like. I imagine that may be a terrifying prospect for you, but I actually know of a way to delay this fate. For the right price of course.
Souls obviously mean everything to you, or at least are the most important thing. So which is it, quality or quantity? Are all souls equal to you, do you prefer powerful ones or simply more souls?
Ged: I prefer more powerful souls of course, but it is far easier to gather the weaker ones. Ultimately the greatest situation for me is when a soul is given to me rather than taken by force, they are much more valuable intact. The annoying thing about targeting the duelists is that every time I fail to capture their soul it somehow becomes public knowledge. Luckily for me most duelists just seem to fade away from history (lets out a dark chuckle).
What happens to these poor souls anyway?
Ged: It does depend. Some of the souls that I have first came to me on the condition that I grant them peace, which is exactly what I do, letting them sit in some private memory to keep them calm and tranquil. These are perhaps my wisest clients, and it is no surprise considering they came from Hell. Most of the others I leave to themselves, so they'll live in whatever private purgatory or paradise their mind conjures. Usually they simply relive their most powerful memory over and over. It isn't often very pretty. And ultimately when the time comes I will drain the souls of their power leaving nothing but husks, or perhaps less. Pity them if you will, but there are worse fates out there, I will not feel guilty.
Would you take an opportunity to turn back into a normal human being?
Ged: No, I have no desire to go back to being a weak human. Every step of the way I have been aware of what I had to give up to get this far, and I would make the same choices again and again.
You hate Gods right? In detail explain why is it so.
Ged (gives a bitter laugh): You try spending a few centuries in Hell and tell me about your opinions of God. Admittedly that only applies to my God, but I've had a long time to become aware of how the world at large works. Trust me when I say that Gods make any atrocity I have committed pale in comparison. That's not a defence of myself, I have no illusion that I'm a good person, I'm simply saying there are worse. Sure there may be some winners out there, but their very existence often necessitates some evil version to act against them. We would truly be better off without Gods, but that's not my problem. I will play my hand and see how far it goes, and if everything works out I'm cashing in and keeping to myself. Perhaps I'll collect seashells.
You seem to be a power people turn to when they need to do a deal of great magnitude. Are there any powers you've turned to though, even once, to get something you yourself could not?
Ged: Yes, though turned to may not be the best way to phrase it. It actually came to me, it wanted a favour, it promised me freedom and more. It set me on the path to becoming what I am. I owe it a lot, and believe me when I say I have a constant reminder of that debt. I'm not resentful though, it is no less than what I do to humans all the time. To complain would make me a hypocrite.
Do you still celebrate your birthdays at all (or even know what day to celebrate)? Maybe every decade or century perhaps?
Ged: I do remember the date I was born on, but it holds no significance to me. Consider why you celebrate your birthday. It's a celebration of your own life. Believe when I say I celebrate mine every second.
Are you looking for an apprentice? (Note: powerful, young, evil, can offer the souls of VERY powerful people...)
Ged: You know that is my favourite kind of apprentice. I do admit looking myself over, it just makes sense that I would go out and teach the youths about how to be a proper necromancer. Professor Tenshi has quite the ring to it. Though I suspect I will insist on Master Tenshi. By all means contact me with your information and we'll get this apprenticeship started. I forget, do I still need to go over things with your parents? I remember my own master, had a thousand different ways to torture and humiliate his apprentice. That bastard. I will thoroughly enjoy getting to try them out.
Barshka: I hear a rumour that you cannot feel pain. What would happen if I cut your toe off with nothing but a butter knife? I know what it is like from personal experience, so I wonder if you too will get to enjoy the excruciating agony?
Ged (eyes the crazed-looking man cautiously): I was not aware that we would be having guests included in this interview. Remind me to thank you for that once we're done here.
Ged (turns toward the man, who is actually holding a butter knife): I'm not immune to pain, just very skilled at separating it from myself. Unfortunately it doesn't always work, but I've come to terms with the feeling's necessity. If you were to hack away at my toe with that knife I'm afraid I would not feel the sweet agony you would wish me to. It takes far more damage than that for me to get my kicks (watches the man exit the room, only to be replaced by another wearing a familiar jacket).
Everyone knows that there are two things no one should leave the house without, one of them is a towel. This question is about the other. What do you think of Jackets?
Ged: Is that an offer to leave that fool Arthur and ally with me? We'd have to turn you black of course, maybe have a few skulls added for appearances' sake. Have you ever considered being more robe-like?
Ged (watches the clearly annoyed man - and somehow clearly annoyed jacket - mutter some choice obscenities and leave, only for a blind man to walk in): I suppose not.
Why are you such a penis?
Ged (looks confused as the person runs out of the room saying something about bubble wrap before he can grasp what is going on): What?
Ged (sees another person with a powerful presence enter, giving Ged a grave look, the necromancer returning it and knowing innately that what this man was about to say would be profoundly important, leaning forward expectantly): Yes?
Why are you such a dick?
Ged (feels a little bit of his remaining humanity die): Of course. Honestly, I didn't think I was that bad. Sure I play the occasional joke at another's expense, but isn't that what friends do? We rib each other and then we go out for drinks. Provided everybody survived of course. You guys try to kill me all the time and I don't hate you at all. Well not that much anyway.
Ged (watches the man just kind of ceases to exist in front of his eyes, regardless of the illogicality): Curious.
Do you have any last words you'd like to add?
Ged: I feel like I have been a part of things since the beginning. I look at you all and how you've grown and I can't help but feel proud. If you guys weren't around, this world would be far less interesting, and I'm grateful for every second we get to play around. I will be truly sad when I've killed you all and stolen your souls.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Apr 28, 12 at 4:26pm ^re: The Chronicles
Ishmael/Skahrscherad & the murder
Ishmael was sat on the edge of a table, his eyes fixed on the window. On the other side of it, a bird locked eyes with him, its head perpetually tilted slightly to one side.
He’d been pacing in frustration when it landed. He was bored, above all else, but also irritated by his enforced powerlessness. And the fact that he couldn’t walk past a reflective surface without wanting to pitch magic at the disgusting reflection it showed him.
He could see his own face in the window, but his focus wasn’t on that. Phillip’s face blurred out into irrelevance as his eyes focused on the bird.
It was a pigeon.
Ishmael didn’t like pigeons. He’d never liked them. They were a step up from rats, flying plague-carriers festering with dirt and covering everything in their filth. They weren’t even important. Ishmael had been half way through mentally putting together a spell to look for crows, in the hopes that it would find him Torlinus, but he had no use for a pigeon.
It cooed, that horrible warbling sound, but didn’t take its eyes from Ishmael.
He broke away from the impromptu staring contest first, rising sharply from the table and stalking across the room, slamming his fist down into the window hard enough to make the glass quiver in its frame. He brought it down again and again, until his hand began to ache, but the pigeon didn’t move.
“Flying rat,” he muttered, turning away. He wouldn’t let it get to him. What did it matter? Perhaps it was a little more intelligent than the average pigeon because of the inherent magic that lingered around the building. Not that ‘more intelligent’ was saying much in this case.
He could feel it looking at him.
Still angry, Ishmael stalked out of the room, slamming the door shut behind him with a near-deafening bang of wood in frame. Nobody looked at him. The one person he passed quickly averted her gaze and pretended he wasn’t in the corridor. He’d picked up a reputation as a weird one, as someone who played with dark things. He liked that it hadn’t taken long for his name to spread.
One day they’ll be afraid to even speak of me.
In the main chamber, the most important people in the Wizarding Circle were casting some sort of spell, to try and determine the cause for the black light in the ley lines. The darkness didn’t particularly bother Ishmael. Even though it wasn’t his, he was used to it.
A pigeon landed on the windowsill of the room he was in, and looked at him. A vein twitched in his forehead, and he stormed over to the window, opened it, and grabbed the bird with both hands.
“Listen here, you filthy creature,” he hissed at it. “Leave me alone. Stop following me. Stop looking at me. You’re a damn pigeon, there’s nothing you could want from me.”
The pigeon tilted its head to the side and cooed.
Ishmael’s fingers twitched. He was seconds away from just snapping its neck, but something was telling him to stop. The pigeon hadn’t struggled, hadn’t pecked or scratched at him or so much as attempted to get away. Something was obviously going on. he’d worked that one out when a pigeon had landed on his windowsill and had a staring competition with him, though.
Still snarling and muttering under his breath in irritation, Ishmael walked back up to his room with pigeon in hand. He let go with his left to close the door, then released the bird into the confines of his room. It fluttered onto his table and cooed.
“Pigeons,” he muttered darkly, pulling his book of Naming spells from under his bed. Maggie would have had a stroke if she knew it was there, which was why Ishmael had been toying with the idea of letting her find it, but for the moment it remained hidden. He disabled the protective charms with a few quick words and flicked through it, looking for Names that would help him work out why exactly he was being stalked by the most devoted pigeon in London.
He tore the rug from the floor and flung it onto the bed, the pigeon watching, entirely unruffled. He flicked open his pocket knife and tore symbols into the wooden floor, a snarl etched permanently onto his face as he worked. Reduced to this. He hated it, hated how powerless he had become despite having access to some of the strongest magics in the world. Oh, how he hated it. it was Torlinus’ fault.
He barked out Names, and the pigeon squawked in alarm as a dark-touched arm reached up and pulled it into the centre of Ishmael’s circle. Ishmael frowned at it. That was not a spirit that was supposed to have darkness in it, of that he was certain.
He sat down and cupped in his hands the liquid that was pooling on the floor, putting the edge of his hands to his mouth and tipping his head back, drinking it. Images and ideas flashed through his mind, and he gasped aloud at the pain brought on by the sudden rush of them all. He heard the pigeon fly up to the wardrobe as the spirit dissipated, but groaned and lay on his side rather than anything else. Pain. Did spirits feel pain? Ishmael doubted it. It was a very mortal thing to feel.
In one of the images, he saw a coin. There were birds, and not pigeons this time. He lay tense, hardly daring to hope. Had he found him? Had he finally found Torlinus?
No. He could twist the world in his favour, but he never got things like this just by chance.
The pigeon was cooing insistently as he pushed himself back into a sitting position, one hand on his forehead to counteract his encroaching headache. The last few fleeting echoes of the spell ran through his head, and with a huff he forced himself to his feet and pulled the rug from the bed, pushing it back into position over his circle with one foot. He glanced at the pigeon, then opened the window. The bird stayed exactly where it was.
“Fine,” he murmured, pulling Phillip’s coat from the door with a look of distaste. He needed new clothes. He needed to find a better host than Phillip. Maybe some appearance-altering magic, if such spells existed. His skin was already starting to tan with darkness exposure, he’d been casting so many spells.
“Where are you going?” Maggie demanded as he headed for the door. He stopped mid-step, repressing the sigh of irritation.
“Out,” he responded. She folded her arms, the scowl on her face enough to deter armies from war. Ishmael started walking again.
“No. You’re not,” she told him, and marched in front of the door. “I told you. Stay here. I can’t be having you wandering around London with what’s going on.”
“I think I can take care of myself,” Ishmael responded, perhaps a little too curtly. Maggie gave him a searching look, reaching out to grab his wrist as he moved forwards again. He smacked her away, anger flaring within him.
“You’ve changed too much, Phillip,” she muttered. Ishmael could smell the spell components in her pockets as she reached for them, narrowed his eyes and spat out a spell.
She froze. Panic hit her a few seconds later, fear in her eyes as she found herself unable to even breath. She couldn’t make a sound, so immobile had he made her. He wrapped one hand around her throat and pressed her against the wall, waiting until she had begun to turn blue before murmuring the words to reverse it. she gasped and coughed and sputtered, struggling against his grip with everything she had. Even against Phillip’s meagre body, it wasn’t much.
“I am not Phillip,” he growled, and she choked as he tightened his grip. “I will not tell you who I am because Names have power, even if you and your pathetic Circle refuses to use it. suffice to know that I have not been Phillip since the ley lines changed, and you would do well to fear me.” There was desperation in her eyes as she looked at him, but it didn’t sway him. “I am leaving. Chances are I will not be coming back. Do as you will with your Circle, I care not. But do not try to look for me.” He scowled. “If anyone comes after me and brings a fight, expect that I will kill them. I wield more power than you and your components will ever hold in a lifetime.” He threw her violently to the side, and she cried out in pain as she hit the stone floor, scrabbling for her pockets, to reach the materials for a spell. “Goodbye, Maggie,” he snarled, opening the door and slamming it behind him as he left.
There was a pigeon sat on one of the cars in the parking lot.
Ishmael gritted his teeth and walked straight past it.
Ishmael could always tell when he was dreaming because there was far more darkness than there should have been. He awoke into the dream curled up on the cold, dark floor, blinking in an attempt to get some light into his eyes. He tried to move, and found his movement severely restricted. Cursing, he shifted, trying to get a better look at what had restrained him.
He froze. The shudder that had gone through him at the sound of his Name meant that there was power behind the invisible speaker, and he was bound and, as a failed attempt to reply revealed, gagged. He was helpless, and all his senses screamed in protest at the intrusion.
The spirit knelt by him, the faint light exuding from her form enough to show Ishmael that he was bound by the darkness itself. He tried to twist away from her, but made little traction. He hissed through the gag as she ran the back of clawed, scaly hands across his cheek. The contact burned, and left in its wake a raw, red mark and the faint smell of charred skin.
“You may think of me as Light, Ishmael,” she remarked in response to his unspoken question. “I have invaded your dreams because I require your help.” Ishmael narrowed his eyes, wriggling in a renewed attempt to free himself. She was not going the right way about securing his aid. “In return, I will give you Torlinus.”
Ishmael froze. He, like all sane wizards, was wary of making bonds with a spirit, but there were not many ways that sentence could be twisted. He attempted to make a noise, and with a wave of her hand the gag disappeared.
“I do not trust you, Spirit,” he spat. “If you want my help, release me from these restraints.” She only raised a delicate silver eyebrow in response, and Ishmael narrowed his eyes and invoked Names. The darkness coiled around him, then slithered away like snakes. Red marks tracked over his joints where it had touched, and as he stood with a swish of robes he felt pain in his ankles.
“I am sure that you have seen the Change,” Light began, starting to pace back and forth. Ishmael folded his arms, his eyes following her progress with unease. “There is darkness seeping into the world, Ishmael.”
“And why should that concern me, Spirit?” he responded, waving a pitch-black hand as if in example. “There is no wizard alive who knows the darkness better than I.” Light’s smile caused the tiniest spark of concern to bite through Ishmael’s self-assured shell.
“That will not stop it from devouring you just as it will devour all the magic in this world,” she informed him bluntly. “Everything will be lost to it, even you. Perhaps you will be lost the latest, but you will still die. And it will not be a pleasant death.” Ishmael scoffed.
“Your words do not scare me, spirit,” he dismissed. “You want my help, and you offered me a deal. Cease trying to make me commit to something for nothing.” Light’s face flickered in annoyance, then she inclined her head once.
“Torlinus,” she murmured. “That is who you chase, yes? The man who stole your immortality.” Ishmael’s hands clenched into fists just at the reminder of it. the fool, the cheat, the coward. How he hated him.
“And you know where he is?” he demanded. The spirit smiled, and Ishmael took an unconscious step backwards. A pleased spirit was never a good thing for a mortal wizard, and he felt very mortal at that moment.
“I do,” she agreed, inclining her head. “And I need you to help him.” Ishmael sputtered in incoherent confusion as a response.
“Help him? You want me to help the man who cheated me and ran like a coward with my right?” he demanded. “How is that ‘giving me Torlinus’?” Light shrugged, the action seeming almost effortless.
“If you succeed, and you defeat the darkness,” she responded, “then I no longer care what happens to either of you.” Ishmael paused, thoughts racing through his mind. Working with Torlinus. Could he do that? What if the man simply fled once more once they were done?
No. This time he would be ready. Once the darkness was defeated, there would be nowhere on the earth that Torlinus would be safe.
“Deal,” he responded. Light held out her hand, and he shook it despite the way the contact burned into his skin like a hot brand. She nodded, pleased.
“Good,” she decided. “So it is bound. When you wake, the birds will show you where to go.” Ishmael made a slight noise, unconcerned.
“I will be ready,” he responded.
We must kill the darkness, wizard.
The rest of his dreams were nothing but darkness.
The alarm call of the birds went off mere seconds before Skahrscherad felt his barrier fizzle and die as though a mere child had put it together. He narrowed his eyes, on the alert, the Names for a spell lingering on his magically-enhanced tongue.
“Torlinus!” a voice called out. The tone was unfamiliar, but the name made Skahrscherad’s blood run cold. “I know you’re here, you coward.”
The man – or, perhaps, boy – was nothing much. Scrawny and skinny, a coat two sizes too big for him slung over his shoulders and sporting a healthy coating of the winter snow. His hair was dark and blonde, his skin a light tan. His eyes were wicked, and his gaze met Skahrscherad’s almost immediately.
“A little friend told me you’d be here, Torlinus,” he whispered. “Did you miss me?” Skahrscherad remained entirely silent. “Oh? Can’t talk? That’s a shame. I have magic that will bind you more than well eno-”
“How do you know my old name?” Skahrscherad demanded. The boy looked put out.
“How could you possibly forget me?” he responded in kind, and smiled. Even in the unfamiliar form he was wearing, Skahrscherad knew that sly, wicked smile.
“Ishmael,” he muttered. A silence fell over the forest. The murder knew the name, more as a vague, evil spectre than anything solid. To them, Skahrscherad had just named the thing he had, perhaps unwittingly, made them fear the most.
The air was tense.
“Hm? More attack birds,” Ishmael muttered, sounding put out. “Well, as much as I’d like to, I’m not here to take back what’s mine. I have a deal with a spirit.” He shrugged, dislodging some of the snow that had settled on his shoulders. “To help you kill this darkness you seem so unwilling to face.”
“I had thought you would be on its side, necromancer,” Skahrscherad as good as spat. Ishmael looked wounded.
“Dark magician at the very worst. I prefer grey, actually,” he disagreed. “And my multiple sources tell me that it wouldn’t be in my best interests to support it. some are admittedly more reliable than others, but you can’t deny a consensus, can you, Torlinus?” Skahrscherad remained unimpressed, which seemed to throw Ishmael off somewhat. The wizard was invoking his Name, and it was not working. Likely he’d been battling with the same frustration ever since he reappeared, whenever that may have been.
“Even if I am willing to work with you, which I am not,” Skahrscherad informed him, “I do not see what we could do.” Ishmael grinned. It was feral and hungry for blood, and reminded Skahrscherad uncomfortably of Hooktalon.
“Isn’t it obvious?” he responded. “You find out what you’re fighting.” He leant back against a tree trunk, the impact sending flakes of snow drifting towards the ground, shaken from their branches. “And you learn how to kill it.” Skahrscherad made the noise of the terminally unimpressed.
“You make sound easy what is near-impossible,” he disagreed. Ishmael shrugged.
“If you believe so, clearly you are not as powerful as I believed you to be,” he responded. “As Light believed you to be.” That brought Skahrscherad up short, and Ishmael saw it. “Shall we race, little bird?” Ishmael taunted him. “shall we see who is the first to bring it out, who is the first to truly dispel it?” In a few murmured words, a coin so mockingly similar to the one Skahrscherad had been bound with all those years ago formed in Ishmael’s hands, and he flipped it. “I’ll be in touch,” he continued, standing properly once more. “Don’t go anywhere, now.” He smirked. “Not that I can’t find you if you do, of course.” Skahrscherad said nothing as the boy walked away, staying silent even as Roosts-high-trees landed next to him, her unbreakable stick held tight in her beak. Soars-with-clouds landed in one of the boy’s footprints, looking up at the two of them with concern in her eyes. The question was obvious, and all of the members of the murder that he could see were asking it: what do we do?
“Tell Strongbeak I need to speak to him,” he muttered, his gaze hardening. “I have a message to send to Ishmael. I will do what he will find impossible, and I will spite him in the doing of it, too.” He ruffled his feathers, unblinking as the snow began to fall.
“We’re going to break his coin.”
There will be no rest, wizard.
Not until the darkness lies dead.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Jul 03, 12 at 9:27am ^re: The Chronicles
Luther & Remiel
File.18: Darkening Sky
“...Don’t know, it makes me uncomfortable.”
Luther came round to the sound of voices talking in a language he didn’t understand.
“Give the guy benefit of a doubt. They’re not stupid, you know that.”
His eyes opened slowly, but didn’t get much beyond a crack, the high light immediately painful. He closed them again and held in the groan. Was he captive again? He wasn’t willing to test it until the voices had gone.
“But you know the kind of things the slave-corians have to live wi-”
“He still has his horns! Does he look like the rest of them to you?”
Luther recognised, although barely, the word for corian. At least, he thought it was the word for corian. It was certainly similar enough.
“Remiel,” he managed, and the talking stopped immediately. He cringed, yelping as he was dragged upwards. Pain radiated out from his shoulder as he was pressed against the wall, and he cracked open an eye to be confronted with an angry Clyrian face right up against his.
“I don’t trust you,” he spat, in near-perfect Inermian, although his accent was unmistakeable. Luther cringed.
“I could say the same,” he croaked back, his voice not being kind to him. “What have you done to Remiel?” The Clyrian paused, looking taken aback.
“Don’t pretend you give a shit,” he dismissed, tossing Luther back onto what turned out to be a bed. He gasped as a fresh round of pain shot through him.
“You’re just as bad as him,” the second voice, definitely female, dismissed. Luther gritted his teeth at the pain still throbbing in his shoulder, one hand on the source of it. he felt bandages, and pushed himself up slightly to look at where he was being kept. It looked something like a field hospital, with two beds and a scattering of basic medical supplies around the place. The other bed was empty. “Your corian friend is fine,” she added to Luther, who relaxed slightly. The other Clyrian scoffed.
“We’ll see,” he muttered, storming from the room, the rest of his mutterings in his own tongue. The woman rolled her eyes. She was dressed in combat gear, although the colours were the greys of city or mountain combat rather than the greens and browns Luther usually wore. He was in a dirty hospital shift as it was, and he felt very vulnerable in it, even though the combats didn’t exactly grant him much more protection.
“He has a difficult time trusting your people,” the Clyrian told him. “As do I, although you are weak enough that I feel it doesn’t matter.” Luther’s hand left his shoulder, as if to show more strength. He knew just how weak he looked, and he hated it.
“I’ve been weaker,” he muttered. “Why did you save me? At least, I assume that’s what you did.” The woman frowned at the question, lacing her hands together behind her back and beginning to pace the room.
“Well,” she said, turning away from him to regard the cupboards instead. “We hadn’t intended to.” Luther kept both eyes on her, although he kept glancing nervously to the door. He hated waking up without the comm. unit on his neck. He could never tell if he was still linked to Remiel that way. “But you did most of our job for us, so we felt we owed you.”
“We were told it was clyrians in the barrow,” Luther remarked, and the woman laughed bitterly.
“Of course you were. We were led to believe it was Inermians until we investigated more thoroughly. How do you think the war got started to begin with?” She turned back to face him. “This time, at least. But you still did a lot of the heavy lifting, in that monstrosity of yours.” Luther held back any reaction, although his hands tightened until his knuckles went white, the covers of the bed, bunching up in his grip. “Don’t worry, we’ve not touched it. Hauled it back here with us, though. We don’t have the resources to copy it, even if we wanted to, but we figured it would be of some use to you.” Luther relaxed, although only slightly. The Clyrian put her hands on the worktop behind her and hauled herself up onto it, crossing her legs. Luther saw the start of a scar disappear into the line of her close-cropped black hair. She was probably more of a soldier than he was. “We gave you the benefit of a doubt because of the corian,” she added. “Remiel, is that his name?” Luther looked away.
“Remiel,” he repeated. “Yeah. Is he ok?”
“Fine, but not speaking,” the Clyrian elaborated. “Refusing to. He seems to believe we have either killed you, or intend to interrogate you for information.” Luther flinched.
“Yeah. I’m not surprised,” he muttered. “Can I see him?” The Clyrian jumped off the work surface and crossed the floor between them, pulling down the hospital shift and frowning at the bandages. Luther flinched when she flicked a finger at them, but didn’t make any audible noise.
“Sure,” she agreed, kneeling by the cupboards and fishing out his combats. There was blood on his shirt, but it wasn’t the first time that had happened. “Put these on and meet me outside.”
Luther pulled off the shift as soon as the door was closed, being as careful as he could with his shoulder. He assumed the vitrichian soldier had hit him there, instead of killing him like he’d expected. Maybe that was when the clyrians had arrived. He was incredibly lucky, if that was the case.
Saved by clyrians. What next? he thought bitterly, regarding the bullet hole in his shirt with a grimace before pulling it on, followed by the combats. Dressing one-handed was a tricky and time-consuming task, but it was better than trying to dress with the remnants of a concussion.
The clyrian soldier gave him a once-over as he left the room, a frown on her face at the bullet-hole, but she didn’t say a word. Luther followed her through the building, his eyes darting left and right in an attempt to find some sort of defining feature. It was built entirely of red bricks, and felt very cold and impersonal. The doors were battered. The building had clearly seen either a lot of years, a lot of combat, or both. Either way, it was clearly a base instead of a home.
As they approached what luther assumed was their destination, the soldier leading him started to glance around just like he was, looking for something or someone with a tenseness to her stance. She only relaxed a little as she stopped outside a door, which she unlocked with one key of many on a metal string that retreated into her pocket.
“Here,” she told him, pushing the door open. Remiel was crouched on the floor, watching the door suspiciously, and his eyes widened when he saw Luther.
“You are ok,” Luther managed, unable to keep the relief from his voice. Remiel got to his feet as the soldier pushed Luther into the room.
“Luther,” he muttered, his eyes hovering over the bloodstains and the hole in Luther’s clothes. His gaze flicked to the Clyrian woman then, but she didn’t say anything. “It seems I was wrong not to trust them.”
“What happened?” Luther asked, and Remiel sighed.
“I know little more than you,” he responded with a shrug. “According to Mikaere I was delirious for three days with a fever they think the birds’ claws gave me.” The soldier closed the door a little too hard over the name, and Luther glanced back at her warily. She had her arms crossed, a sullen look on her face, and continued to say nothing.
“Who’s Mikaere?” Luther asked, and Remiel went very quiet for slightly too long for Luther to feel comfortable. Eventually, the corian shrugged.
“I am sure you will meet him eventually,” he murmured, an answer that was very evasive, even for Remiel. The corian’s eyes were on the soldier, and an image overlaid itself on Luther’s vision – a corian, as black as the night, the membranes of his left wing pitted and scarred. Luther had never seen a black corian before. Then again, he’d never met a white one before Remiel. Their eyes met, and neither of them said a word.
“So what’s going on?” Luther asked the soldier. “And what’s your name?” She seemed surprised by the second question.
“Lieutenant Kanasis,” she responded, holding out her hand. Luther shook it, looking bemused.
“Lance-Corporal Slater,” he returned. “Luther.” She nodded, despite the fact that she had probably known most of that already.
“What’s going on is that there is an insurgence in our lands,” she responded. “And we nearly had someone worth questioning, until a certain hot-headed soldier of mine decided to shoot him in the head.” Luther frowned at that one.
“The guy in robes?” he remarked.
“Magician,” Remiel murmured, under his breath. The Lieutenant raised an eyebrow at that.
“Yes,” she agreed. “And when we say they’re not from around here, boy do we mean it. I know you’ve only seen clyrians so far, but there’s more than us here. There’s bits of everything, and we’re all of nothing.” She turned and beckoned to both of them, unlocking the door and leading them out into the building, retracing the route there for a while before turning off down a new passage. “We’re currently in the no-man’s land between Clyrin and Inermia. We’re made up of bits and pieces, mostly military but not wholly. People who’ll believe us when we say there’s people casting magic even though it doesn’t exist.” Luther glanced at Remiel, and a questioning image of the red kite and his crows flew across his vision. Luther shrugged helplessly.
“Magic does exist,” he disagreed aloud. She turned to look at him and raised an eyebrow.
“Now that I wasn’t expecting,” she remarked. “You got magicians in Inermia, then?” Luther grimaced.
“No. Hells, no,” he replied. “Not exactly welcome in Inermia any more anyway. But... we’ve seen them in other places.” Remiel made a quiet noise of amusement at that.
“Interesting,” Kanasis muttered. “You might be more use than your big hunk of metal after all.” She pushed open a door, revealing what looked like a bizarre hybrid between office and briefing room. “Let me fill you in on the details.”
The situation was not so much grim as it was a mass of confusion.
Lieutenant Kanasis had a map with a number of markings on it, from confirmed encounters with magic-users to areas where they thought there was an influence. She thought they were in some way influencing the Clyrin-Inermia war, but they were never directly involved and it was infuriatingly hard to prove.
They had evidence dating back to just before the war had flared up again, on the first anniversary of the uneasy peace. They still weren’t exactly at war again now, a fact Luther had brought up rather pointedly, but she had returned his racist attitude right back at him as proof that they may as well have been.
Remiel had been the one to bring up Skahrscherad and his magic, more specifically the portal they had been through to get to the massacre at the strange structure. A description of how he had cast spells, from what they had seen, had made Kanasis frown and eventually shake her head. Their magicians were not the same, although she admitted they’d never been able to actually keep hold of one for very long. They had a tendency to either die, or disappear and cause a lot of damage in the doing of it.
The main problem was that nobody knew what they wanted, or why they were here in the first place. Or, for that matter, where they had come from. Kanasis had asked them, very bluntly, if they wanted to help.
It had been Remiel who said yes first.
Kanasis introduced them to the rest of the force stationed in their little building a few days later. Her group seemed to be mostly clyrians, although there were a good few vitrichians in the mix. Three corians, one of them hornless. Only one other Inermian. Luther was surprised to see a pair of oreotras, down from the mountain of clyrin.
They were primarily received with suspicion, Remiel less so than Luther. His friend had spoken to the other corians – all three of them the customary slate-grey – almost immediately, and they were all on the run from Inermia as he had suspecected. None of them looked like the ‘Mikaere’ Remiel had mentioned, and they all had the Inermian-given names. One of them scowled at Luther every time she saw him. The other two averted their eyes, the way the corians on the street did. It made him feel incredibly guilty, a constant reminder of what Inermia had done to the corians. He’d been around no-one but Remiel for so long he was starting to forget.
The primary language of the Company was Clyrian, of which Luther understood only a few basic words, most of which were insults. More people spoke Corian than Inermian, although he received more than a few looks of surprise when he tried to strike up conversations using that, usually followed by people edging away. It was easier for him to listen, pretending to not understand and for Remiel to picture-translate for him. In fairness, his corian was still quite broken, and he appreciated the practice. Still, he was more often ignored than not, with very few people bothering to locate a translator.
Kanasis spoke almost every language Luther knew of: Inermian, Vitrichy, Corian and, of course, Clyrian. The only race she couldn’t communicate in using their mother tongue were the oreotras, and she was quite clearly working on correcting that.
Rather than try and translate for Luther, she mostly ignored him. She was clearly surprised when he asked for lessons, and told the man who’d first spoken him to be his teacher. That alone was proof for Luther that she still neither trusted nor liked him, but he tried his best, all the while beset by the worrying feeling that he might well have been being taught all wrong. He wasn’t the best student, regardless.
Remiel suggested that they needed to prove they were trustworthy, and while Luther agreed with him, he wasn’t quite sure how to go about doing that. Instead, he started spending more and more time out by the mech, working on it to the best of his abilities, and trying to improve those as he went. The control panel had been mangled by a Vitrichian engineer in an attempt to find any potential trackers and disable them. Luther didn’t know if there had been any, but they would certainly have been found, and he had a lot of workings to put back together. Remiel would sit on the top of the mech while he did it, watching the surroundings, which were mostly woods. Luther had to keep brushing away the nagging feeling of being a prisoner in all but name. It wasn’t the same as before. He wasn’t being kept in the dark.
He had been mocked, though, for sleeping only when there was light, but he had provided no explanation.
A month after he had woken, only a few days after his shoulder had been declared fit for regular use, if not entirely healthy, he met Mikaere.
His only warning was a flash of the colour that meant surprise in his vision from his corian friend, and he turned in surprise of his own. Remiel had fallen onto one knee. Kneeling. He had never seen Remiel kneel.
He had never seen a black corian before.
“You are Luther,” he remarked, in corian.
“Yes,” Luther responded in kind, wondering what this was about.
“No-” Remiel started, getting to his feet as Mikaere reached out with one foot and pulled Luther over by his ankle. Spots of light exploded in his vision as his head hit the floor hard, but that was nothing compared to the other pain. It was almost a link, but he could still feel Remiel’s, now just as painful as the first time they’d linked. It was different. There was fire in his head, and he screamed aloud. His fingers scraped against the concrete floor as his hands tightened into fists at the pain, and he felt claws scrape against his chest as Remiel tried to fold him down.
Pictures. He recalled, a brief moment of diamond clarity, breaking Remiel’s wing.
I won’t repeat it.
The pictures weren’t his.
Do not pretend that you are a friend when you have hurt us so much.
Do not pretend that you understand her when she does not speak to you.
Do not pretend that you are anything other than Inermian.
[You] can be [one], or [both], or [neither].
The pictures didn’t feel like Remiel’s, other than the one brief sentence that cut through the fire. Luther saw pain. He felt it. He saw the flickering fires and the burned soil, he saw the angry weapons and the rubble left in return. He saw corians caged and denied their colours-
Do not pretend that you understand us.
Dull colours, dull clothes, the life of an animal, denied Kyroterra’s voice-
Do not pretend that you deserve to.
Luther screamed ‘stop’ in corian.
Darkness. the thrashing was replaced by a trembling, a paralysing fear, his throat tightening, his breath coming in short, sharp gasps. Pain, darkness. Nothing but a cold stone floor. Denied the light. The only clothes the ones that smelled of blood and sweat. Snapped and sneered at in corian, barely fed. Alive only on Remiel’s grace. Not even knowing that. Hurt all over again because none of them cared how he was ‘fixed’.
Eyes burning in the firelight.
Do not pretend that you understand me.
The tight grip on his ankle left, although the pain didn’t. He felt claws cut through his clothes as his wrist was grabbed instead and he was pulled forward. It hurt too much for him to get to his feet.
“I have heard tales of you, Inermian,” Mikaere hissed, the sound of his voice very close to Luther’s ears. He didn’t open his eyes. “I know how you pretend. I know. You have blinded Remiel.” The contempt in his voice at Remiel’s name was thick and dripping. It was hard to tell just what he hated about it.
“Remiel is my friend,” Luther replied, before flinching away in expectation of more pain. Claws snatched across his face, and he gasped in pain as deep lines were opened on his left cheek.
“Do not pretend that I am not here,” Remiel said suddenly, his voice quiet but determined. All sense of pressure left Luther, and as the pain finally dimmed to a manageable level he opened his eyes. The black corian, Luther’s blood on his right foot, was facing Remiel now. The albino looked very small compared to him. “I am yet to meet anyone, corian or not, who believes that I am capable of making my own decisions and coming to my own conclusions. All of them assume I am deluded or deceived. You make of me a pet just like the others do, as though I cannot think for myself.” Mikaere frowned at that. “I am perfectly able to see when someone lies. I have been linked to Luther long enough to know him. I know he is honest, if naive. And you cannot blame him for being a product of Inermia, but you should give him credit for breaking free of it.” Luther got to his feet, one hand against the wall to steady himself. “He has suffered, too,” Remiel added.
“Not for you, like you have for him,” Mikaere disagreed.
“He will understand,” Remiel shot back, anger now on his face. Luther wondered if he had misunderstood some of the conversation, as Remiel’s retort seemed somewhat out of place. “He will. I know who I am and what I am, and I wear my heritage with pride even if I do not think I am needed any longer. I am nobody’s slave, I am nobody’s pet. I am my own. And one day she will speak in return.” Mikaere gave him a long look, under which he was clearly trying very hard not to shrink away, then turned to Luther.
“You say you are his friend,” he remarked, and Luther was reminded rather uncomfortably of Isaiah and Festus, in Hosanna’s caves. “Prove it.” Luther made an uncertain noise.
“How?” he asked. Mikaere glanced back to Remiel, who still stood tall by some incredible feat of will.
“Tell Kanasis I have work for you,” he responded. “And find me when you are done.” Luther frowned, watching the corian walk away, before flinching and rubbing his head.
“Are you ok?” Remiel asked, only now letting himself shiver. Luther grimaced.
“My head hurts,” he replied. “Turns out concrete hurts. Who knew?” He smiled weakly, but Remiel didn’t return it. His eyes were on Luther’s cheek, which by now was dripping blood onto his shirt. Self-conscious, Luther ran the back of his hand over the wounds. They stung.
“I do not think he will be convinced,” Remiel told him quietly. Luther grimaced. The movement stung, too.
“I’ll give it a try anyway,” he responded with a shrug. “It would be nice to not be attacked every time I saw him, too.”
Still, Remiel didn’t smile.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
|Tiger of Wu||
Jul 13, 12 at 6:23pm ^re: The Chronicles
♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣
"He actually said that to them?" the young girl asked as the vehicle she sat in drove on. The woman driving had been telling her about the organisation she belonged to, a group known as Clubs. They were once part of the Four Suits, the greatest thieves in recent history. It was a long tale but they had had a long journey.
Hearts was a confidence trickster mostly in it for thrills. Spades was a business-man who kept things running smoothly; the de-facto leader of the four. Diamonds was like Spades, but more ruthless, and less apprehensive about the darker side of the criminal world. And then there was Clubs, a group originally formed by a man known (to them) as King. He dealt with the other Suits and organised the operations. After his death his Queen took over; Queen was an efficient leader of the group oft called their very own Spades. Her right hand was Jack, the face of the group who ran communications with the other Suits. Her left hand was Ace, an all-purpose mercenary who dealt with the dirtier work. Ten lead the numbers; Two through Nine were either in training or were acting operatives. For a long time Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds thought Clubs was just one man, and then one woman after 'his wife' took over.
Then of course there was Wildcard, the Joker of the pack. He was... a difficult man. He'd work with the Suits on his whim but always with his own little game in mind. Some called him a genius and some called him insane; after Monte Carlo everyone called him both.
"He really did," the older woman replied. Her Japanese accent made her Swahili quite amusing to hear. "The tape reminds me of how far we have to go." The young girl tried not to smile too obviously.
"So what happened to him?"
"Wildcard began targeting larger marks on his own, almost stole the Taj Mahal. Last we know he got a hard-on for some private investigator. They played with each other until they both fell down the Reichenbach... I think, I'm not really sure anymore."
The woman was Japanese, probably in her thirties. She was tall, and wore black, pinstriped trousers, along with a black, pinstriped vest over a white shirt. The sleeves of the shirt were rolled up to reveal muscular, tattooed arms. The shirt was buttoned to the top and an untied tie hung loosely around her neck. On her feet were a pair of dirty boots; at the other end her hair was clipped short, she was almost bald, and her gaunt face appeared tired in spite of her demeanour. There was scarring from a burn around her right eye, a scar from a blade across her left cheek, and a small chunk of her bottom lip was missing to reveal a golden tooth behind it; in the centre of her forehead she had been branded, like cattle, with the Clubs insignia.
The young girl was frightened of her at first, but she spoke in a way that made her at ease for some reason. She decided to keep the woman speaking. "Are the Four Suits still active?"
"No. After the Monte Carlo heist Diamonds made a play against Spades; Spades hired the original Ace of Clubs to deal with him, and neither she nor Diamonds were seen again. A few months later the Wildcard reshuffled the deck and Hearts vanished, along with the first Jack. Spades left the game for good as well; struck a deal. Landed oil contracts, weapons, drugs, all of the legal kind. The Four Suits were no more... yet the bitch still won't change our moniker." The Japanese woman laughed. The young girl smiled, not quite sure what most of that meant. "We're here," she said, pulling into the open drive of a huge mansion. The gates closed after the vehicle passed.
"No turning back after you walk through the door," the woman warned. The girl shrugged.
"Turning back stopped being an option a long time ago," she stated. The woman laughed, and stepped out of the vehicle. She walked up the thirteen steps leading to the entrance, skipping the thirteenth, and opened a door into the mansion. The young girl waited apprehensively at the bottom of the steps, her sub-machine gun still strapped over her shoulder, before she followed. As she reached the thirteenth step she raised and extended her small leg with great effort, reaching the top without touching it.
The older woman laughed again, louder than the previous times. "You'll fit right in," she remarked as the girl walked inside.
The mansion's exterior was only shadowed by its interior, an amusing paradox which wasn't lost on the young girl. "Wow," she whispered, managing to express her thoughts verbally as the other woman walked towards the stairs to the second floor. Two other women eyed the young girl suspiciously; she ignored them.
After a short while the Japanese woman whistled sharply and snapped the girl back into reality. "Queen will know we are here. We do not want to make her wait." The girl ran towards, and then up, the stairs, soon finding herself at the side of the Japanese woman again. The woman laughed, a laugh which was quickly becoming obnoxious, before she began to walk down the hall. The girl followed.
"Can I know your name now?" She had asked the woman's name a few times upon their meeting and during the drive.
"No," the woman said. "But you can call me Ace. What's your name?" The young girl slowed her pace before realising she had and speeding up again. The woman knew her name... so why ask?
"Is Two," Ace interrupted. "Your name is Two. Understood?" The girl nodded.
Before long Ace was walking through a large set of dark, wooden doors, with Two shuffling at her heels. Beyond the threshold was a huge room decorated with dark colours, and with various portraits and display cases around it. At the centre of the right wall was a large portrait of a man wearing a black pinstriped suit and trilby hat, adorned in jewellery that would more commonly be seen on royalty. A few of the pieces were in the display cases around the room, but the most eye-catching case held a set of gold-plated, jewelled playing cards. The plaque beneath named them the Colvinski Card Collection, and it appeared that one was missing.
At the head of the room, in front of towering windows which let in the moon's glow, was a huge, dark, wooden desk. Behind the desk sat a woman, and in front of the desk were three seats, one occupied and two vacant. The woman behind the desk said something in a language that the girl couldn't understand, and Ace replied in the same language. After a few exchanges, Ace sat down and beckoned for Two to do the same. "Have you used that before?" the woman behind the desk asked, speaking Swahili.
The woman appeared to be in her late forties; she wore a pinstripe suit, with a white shirt and black tie, neatly tied up so that a white Clubs insignia was displayed on the knot. The jacket of the suit was clearly too big for her small body, though the vest and trousers fit perfectly. Atop her head a pinstriped trilby covered dark hair. The woman seemed to have applied her eye-liner a little too thick; from her left eye there was a black line edging downwards, almost like a tear, and from her right eye there were two.
"Yes," Two replied, looking down at her weapon then glancing at the other woman beside her.
She appeared South Asian, perhaps Indian or Iranian, and she was much younger than the other two women, barely an adult. Her hair was black and long, flowing freely about her shoulders. Unlike the others she wore a pinstripe skirt rather than trousers, and where Ace wore black boots she wore high heels. She wore no shirt or tie, only a pinstripe dress vest which aptly showed off a cleavage that would weaken any man's knees, and most women's. Her face reminded Two of what she imagined when she used to be told of goddesses, and stirred strange feelings which were quickly dismissed and ignored. Around the woman's neck was a long, thin chain; on the end of the chain was a gem-encrusted Clubs medallion, the sapphires matching her earrings, rings, and nail polish.
In her hand she held a bowl filled with... well, Two wasn't really sure what it was. She said something in a language the girl couldn't understand, and offered the bowl towards her. Two took a piece of the small, soft... thing in the bowl and chewed it; it tasted like chicken, but smaller, and more flavourful. It was pleasant. She said something else, this time to Ace.
"Jack," Ace began, gesturing towards the South Asian woman before continuing in Swahili. "Wants to know how old you are." The girl told Ace, and the woman in the trilby frowned as Ace translated for Jack. Two decided that the woman wearing the hat must have been Queen.
"Why not just bring me a babe ripped from her mother's breast?" Queen asked, not seeming to care whether Two heard her or whether Jack could understand her.
"She's had combat experience," Ace explained. "Warlord's daughter, one of those crazy tribal fuckers. She's been training and in live combat since she could hold a weapon, and she was the sole survivor of a massacre four years ago. This all proves that she has what the last Two didn't."
"What happened to the last Two?" the girl asked without thinking, desperately wanting to change the subject. The three women looked at her, and Queen spoke.
"Your predecessor used what we gave her to make money on the side, and screwed us on our cut." Queen opened a drawer and pulled out a cigar, placing it into her mouth and lighting it. The cigar was far too big for her small mouth, and when she spoke her words were indecipherable. Two looked to Ace.
"We killed her," she explained nonchalantly. Jack placed the bowl in Two's lap, and smiled warmly at the girl. She said something else to Ace that Two couldn't understand, and Ace replied with a rude hand gesture. Queen stood, smoke seeping out of her mouth as she spoke.
"Look, I've never turned anyone capable away yet," she began, before giving Ace a harsh look. "Even if they're clearly not old enough for this shit," Ace rolled her eyes, stood, and walked towards the exit of the room. "I won't start now. If you want in, you're in. We'll train you up, keep you fed, look after your people, and give you your cut when you're ready for it. In return you do what I say, when I say. You steal what I tell you to steal, kill who I tell you to kill, and die when I tell you to die. You'll fight hard but from herein you'll never fight alone." She puffed her cigar again. "Final chance to back out. Will you join us?"
Slowly, Two nodded.
"Then welcome to Clubs."
♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♥ ♥ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣
"... and that is how you rip a man's balls off," Ten stated proudly. Two raised her hand.
"Why do need learn this?" she asked.
"Why do we need to learn this," Ten corrected. A lot of time had passed, yet Two was learning English rather slowly. This was mostly because no-one was formally trying to teach her; Ten didn't have much time for language studies, and Jack did what she could when she was around but not speaking the girl's native tongue made her a less than optimal teacher. "Honestly kid, you don't need to learn it... but why would you not want to?" Two rolled her eyes. Ten was a lot like Ace, but unlike Ace she was much more frightening when she spoke. After a while Two had gotten used to them, and Seven, though she never truly felt at ease in their presence.
"Jack's back," Six called, poking her head into the training room.
"Already?" Two asked.
"No," Six shouted, already running away as wisps of blonde hair trailed away from the door. "The first Jack."
Two looked at Ten. Ten looked back. The two of them then darted out of the room, straight towards where Six had went: Queen's study. (The current) Jack, Seven, Four, and Three were out on jobs. Ace was meant to be home, although for the past day no-one had seen her. Everyone else was standing around the door of Queen's study, peeking inside at the original Jack. Only Queen, Ace, Ten, and Four of the current Clubs had ever met her. She sat in tense silence, her posture betraying her nerves. Straight black hair was tied into a ponytail hanging down the back of a beige long-coat. She was at enough of an angle that Two could see she was dark-skinned, and had a face of beauty which matched, if not surpassed, the current Jack's.
"Who's that man with them?"
"Before we begin," the man began, speaking in an accent Two didn't recognise. He reached into the pocket of his jacket. "I wish to return this to you. It was fun to play with, but ultimately it belongs here with the rest of them." He held something which sparkled, a gold, rectangular thing the size of his palm.
"What is that?"
"King of Hearts."
"The Colvinski King of Hearts?"
Queen took the gold plated card and looked it over, then let it fall onto her desk. "And what about her?" she asked, gesturing towards the original Jack. "Are you returning her as well? Was she fun to play with?"
"Do not call me that." There was another tense silence. Two held her breath.
"Moira, I'm sorry for what happened," she went on. "But it was time to move on. The Suits were dead."
"We left more than enough compensation for the card," the man added.
"And what did you leave me when you took her?" Queen asked. "How did you compensate for the nights I spent awake, worried that my Jack was dead, or worse? How did you compensate for taking away my child!?"
"She's a smart dame, you know she is. You didn't have to-"
"Ace!" Queen screamed. A gunshot echoed in the large room, and hit the floor a few feet away from the man after flying past his face. He didn't flinch. "You will leave this room, and stay in the hall until I send her back to you, or Ace kills you. Clear?"
"Crystal," he replied.
Ace rolled over and swung down from her position atop the bookshelf, smoking pistol in hand. After holstering the pistol she pulled a balaclava off of her head, and the man stood up. "Long time no see, Jack," Ace greeted, not even looking at the seated woman. "Queen must be so relieved to have you back."
"Piss off, Three," the old Jack replied. By now the man was already at the door, waiting and watching in front of the the other nosey Clubs' operatives. Ace's face screwed up in anger.
"Make me, b-"
"Enough!" Queen roared, slamming her hands on her desk and standing. Her chair flew back into the wall behind her; for a small, old woman, Queen could make a hell of a lot of noise. "You have your orders Ace," she said through gritted teeth. "Get out, and shut the doors behind you." Ace gave a quick mock-salute then walked away.
Most of the numbers dispersed whilst she approached and pushed the man out of the room; Two and Six remained behind. "You've make Queen angry," Two stated as Ace closed the doors. The man smirked. He looked to be in his forties, maybe thirties, and had a rugged handsomeness. Two had been shown various films about a man called James Bond (as part of her language studies) and she could see this man easily fitting that role.
"Pissing off dames is a bad habit of mine," he conceded. "Speaking of which..." He pointed at Two, then looked at Ace.
"Too young," Ace explained with a laugh. The man shrugged, and followed Ace who led him to a bench at the top of the stairs. Two and Six observed the man curiously.
"That is..." Six began, unable to finish.
"Must be," Two agreed. "He is Hearts."
"Hey!" Nine called up the stairs, Texan accent as thick as ever. Hearts peeked down to the lower floor at the same time as Six and Two, and received a raised middle finger for his trouble. "Queen's gonna be mighty pissed when she comes outta there. You young'nes wanna be some'here else when tha' happens."
The two teenage girls exchanged looks, and headed for the stairs. "Hey kid," Hearts called. Six ignored him, but Two stopped and turned. "This was Jack's. Judging by what's going on in there, I doubt she'll need it from herein." He tossed something shiny through the air and Two caught it; a diamond pin in the shape of a Club. "Put it to good use."
Ace eyed Two suspiciously, and then laughed as the girl pocketed the pin and walked away.
♣ ♣ ♥ ♦ ♠ ♦ ♥ ♣ ♣
"But why me?" Two asked. It had been many years since Hearts and the original Jack had left Clubs' mansion. That day they informed Queen that Spades was working on something huge, something bigger than Monte Carlo and its aftermath, and he required their assistance with it. After a lot of debate between Queen, Ace, Jack, and Ten, Clubs finally decided that she would accept their continuously offered invite.
Unlike Ace, Jack, and Queen, Two liked to keep things simple. She wore black shoes, pinstripe trousers, a pinstripe vest, white shirt, and tie. Her hair was pulled into tight cornrows, which she tied into a low ponytail. Though she had grown much taller, being half-way between Jack and Ace, she was still a scrawny thing; what she lacked in power she made up for in speed and agility.
"Why do I have to come?" Two's English was almost perfect, and she was finally old enough and skilled enough to become an active operative; she did wish she could pick herself a higher number, though.
"Because you were asked for personally. No idea why, just shut up and keep your eyes open," Ace scolded. Queen, Jack, Ace, and Two were walking through an office building, being entirely conspicuous about who they were. Jack still didn't deem it necessary for her to wear a shirt under her vest, much to the delight of the workers, and Ace was fully equipped with whip and pistols. The woman who was leading them to Spades' office had to call up for special permission to let them through the metal detectors.
Before long the woman opened the doors to a large conference room and the four Clubs strolled in. "That'll be all," Spades called. His accent sounded British but deformed in some way, perhaps changed by living away from home for too long, or in somebody else's. The woman nodded and left them to their business, closing the doors behind her. Within the room sat Hearts and the original Jack, seated at a long meeting table. "A pleasure to see you again Moira," Spades stated. He was an older man, over sixty at a guess, with hair slowly turning white. His height was imposing, and his cropped beard gave him a wise and dangerous look.
"You can still call me Queen," she replied.
"As you wish. Please, be seated." Queen, Ace, Jack, and Two took the set out places opposite Hearts and the original Jack. "Given what we're about to discuss you may call me Spades once more. Of course you remember Hearts, and the new Diamonds."
"New Diamonds?" Two quietly pondered.
"Jack," Jack stated, pointing towards the original Jack. Looking at her, Two realised that the woman was wearing ruby-red earrings in the shape of the diamonds suit. She also sensed the rage Queen must have been feeling about it. "Evidently she's moved up in the world."
"Hearts and Diamonds are aware of the situation, so I shan't go on for too long," Spades told them. "I have a proposal."
The lights dimmed and the wall lit up with images. A monstrous hulk of metal and flesh unloaded bullets, flames, and missiles on a giant building surrounding by snow and ice. Planes crashed into an urban area as tanks fired into buildings, all whilst a man orchestrated the destruction from atop a nearby roof. A monster, the likes of which existed only in the minds of the demented, called fire to rain down upon a city. A blind child laughed excitedly as buildings crumbled around him. Words were written on a page, and mountains turned to ash and smoke.
"So?" Queen finally asked, halfway through the presentation. The images faded and the lights shone once more. "What is this?"
Spades, still standing, explained. "What you just saw were real images. Grey Matter Industries held a conference in an undisclosed location some time ago, and they invited the most powerful and wealthy people from around the world in order to make them a proposition." The lights dimmed again as the wall lit-up with images for a second time.
"Do you believe me now?" a man questioned, walking a slow circuit behind each of the people in the room as they remained silent. The man was scrawny, wearing a lab coat and glasses along with the devil's grin. "I have more if you will, hours upon hours of footage all consisting of these duels. Australia, England, China, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, the US, all in no pattern and seemingly random yet always dissolving down to a battle between two of these fighters. From these beings magic flows; it is real, and with your aid I will bring this new discovery to the world!"
"So you want... an investment?" Ace asked, causing the images on the wall to fade and for the lights to shine again. Jack smirked next to her, as did Diamonds across the table.
"It'll be like an investment," Hearts answered, smirking, making sure to maintain eye contact with at least one of them at all times. "We want you gals with us again. We want the Four Suits back."
"For this!?" Jack blurted in amusement, chuckling when she noticed how loud she had been. "You want us to come work with you to... chase fairy tales and... ghosts?"
"If you wish to word it like that, then yes," Spades replied, staring out of the window, hands behind his back.
"I'd have imagined if these things existed we'd have known a lot more about them by now," Jack went on. Spades shrugged.
"I have explanations for that as well, if you'll listen." Spades didn't go on, noticing that Queen had her arm raised in a gesture for silence; her other hand was digging around in her jacket.
"Let's assume this is all true," she began, before clipping a cigar and then lighting it. She took a few puffs then continued. "Why should we care? Since the Four Suits dissolved we've been doing fine on our own. We have what we need already."
"And that's all there is to it?" Hearts questioned. "I remember when you broads used to be fun," he added, turning to Diamonds. Queen scowled, and looked to Diamonds as well... and both she and Hearts froze on her. Jack, and Spades, noticing this, looked at Diamonds too; Ace was busy cleaning her fingernails with her combat knife.
Diamonds was leaning forward, hands flat on the table, eyes squinted. She was glaring directly across from her. She was glaring at Two.
Every eye in the room, excluding Ace's, turned to look at Two. The girl was staring down at her feet, her body shaking, sweat dripping from her face. With everyone else silent the quiet sounds of her moaning could be heard, as well as the constant chatter of her teeth. Slowly, very slowly, she pulled her hand out from beneath the table and stared at it as she turned it over, looking from palm to finger to nail.
"Two!" Queen called. Two gasped, pulling her head back and looking to her left. "What's wrong with you?" Again, there was silence. Spades regarded Diamonds with suspicion as Hearts looked between the two of them, an eyebrow arched. "Answer me," Queen coldly demanded.
"They're..." Two responded, voice barely a whisper.
"What did she say?"
"She said," Jack began, pausing to swallow. "They're real."
"You were seven years old," Diamonds spoke. "You didn't know what it was, passed it off as a nightmare or a hallucination. The Cloaked Devil. The Monster of Shadow. The End of All Things."
"What's she talking about?" Jack demanded, noticing how Two was shaking once again. Spades coughed. For a third time the lights dimmed, and the wall lit-up.
Diamonds' face appeared on the wall, younger than she currently was. She had a bruise under her eye and what appeared to be bits of cloth wrapped around her neck, stained with wet blood; the sleeves of her shirt had been ripped off. "Hearts, something went wrong," she stated in a panic. "I'm not..." She quietened her voice. "I'm not alone, and they're not just archaeologists." Quickly she glanced around, then looked into the camera again. "I don't know what's going on, but I'm going to try to record it. If I don't make it out, I want you to... I... I was fond of you." The camera fell to the woman's side as she began to run; she appeared to be in some kind of cave, or ancient tomb. In the distance a dark, cold voice spoke.
"I was going to allow you to keep this, since I have no use for it, but your ignorance prevents such generosity," it stated. There was a sound of metal breaking. "I shall take the Airnalief Eye and leave. Consider my leaving you alive a test... not mercy." Diamonds kept running as the sound of beating wings grew louder, and then quieter. More words were spoken, this time by another voice, more distant, harder to understand.
Before long Diamonds and the camera came to a gargantuan room which expanded upwards. At the very top, a cloaked figure with wings landed on the up-most platform. Various bridges connected openings in the walls to each other, and from one such opening ran a humanoid. It was brown, or wearing brown, and had long blue hair; it used some kind of grappling hook to swing upwards. Upon it reaching the entrance of the large tomb sounds of battle commenced. The monstrous voice of before screamed, metals clashed, and two moving statues of Anubis howled as they were thrown from the high platform. The camera zoomed in on the two remaining figures as best as it could.
"This is no time for us to fight each other," the voice of the cloaked monster called, his wings still unfurled, a veil of shadow covering his face.
"Why?" the blue-haired woman asked. She was purple-skinned, and had some kind of chain wrapped around her arm; the end of the chain held a green sword, and moved as if it were alive. "Would it take away your chance to escape?" she finished, face screwed up in disgust.
"No," the monster answered as howls echoed below him. "Because of them." From all around the room other statues ran to the walls, and then up them, as if gravity was not a rule but merely an option.
The camera fell to the ground, the image shaking violently before settling; Diamonds lay in view seemingly unconscious. Three stone statues, like the two that fell, ran ahead of the camera and dived away from the bridge. The feet of a fourth came into view next to Diamond's head. It bent and picked the camera up, turning it before looking into the lens. It screamed, a harrowing, feral cry, and the image was replaced with static. The picture faded as the lights came back on.
Spades took a deep breath before he walked to the conference table and sat at the head of it. "Every image I have shown you has been from live recordings of real beings. These things are becoming a more prevalent presence in our world, and I say our world intentionally." Ace picked her head up to look at Queen whose eyes were firmly locked on Spades. Jack held Two's hand, Two herself sitting perfectly still and staring into the table. Hearts and Diamonds casually observed them, the former with his hands resting behind his head. "I do not wish to exploit them, or use them; I do not wish for them to be here at all... but if recent patterns are to be trusted then they are coming, and we are powerless to stop it. I, for one, will not allow what I have built to be destroyed on the whims of these monsters. We've spent years studying them, and if we're ever going to defend ourselves against them then now is the time to act.
"I, for one, intend to protect what is mine. Will you join me?"
Two raised her head and quietly spoke for her group. "Yes we will."
♣ ♣ ♣ ♣
Six months passed whilst preparations were made. The information Clubs had learnt was restricted to the four members present at the meeting; all the Numbers, excluding Two, were oblivious to it. If today went well they would be told, and prepared.
"What if it's him?" Two asked, Diamond's old Clubs pin attached to her uniform.
"It won't be," Jack reassured her. "If it works at all."
"But what if it is!" the younger demanded.
"Then we accomplish our objectives as ordered," Ace spat with a scowl. "Check your weapon and shut the fuck up."
"You sound tense, Ace," Queen spoke into their ears. She was watching from their mansion.
"Yeah, well, I ain't exactly thrilled about all this." Ace followed her own advice and went over her rifle for the twelfth time since they left that morning. "Especially bringing the kid along." Two gave Ace a sour look; she was twenty by now, an adult with thirteen jobs under her belt. They were mostly small, but she had two heists and an assassination which she imagined was enough to earn some respect.
"You're there to watch, not to fight," Queen answered. "Worry less about her and more about your temper." Angrily Ace grabbed her ear-piece and threw it into the grass. They were standing in a large cluster of trees, next to a wide, open field. "She doesn't like things more powerful than herself," Queen went on, for Two's benefit. "Keep an eye on her Jack. I don't want to lose you and Two."
Two noticed that Queen said nothing about losing Ace but kept the thought to herself. Ace was checking her pistols, after which she practised drawing her sword. Jack was fingering her medallion, this one encrusted with jades, her hand covered in a pattern of mehndi. Two... The Cloaked Devil. The Monster of Shadow. The End of All Things. She shuddered, recalling the monster of her childhood, the creature who had haunted her dreams for her entire life. She recalled the fire, the blood, the screaming... and the laughter.
"You okay?" Jack asked, putting a hand on Two's shoulder. She regarded the hand and then looked at the woman.
"Not really," she answered. Jack looked worried, so Two smiled. "I'm doing better than Ace, though." Ace swiftly grabbed at the handle of her sword and pulled it free, muttered something about it not being fast enough, and sheathed it again. Jack and Two giggled.
"Look alive," Queen called into their ears. "We're picking something up." Jack gave Two a final look; the junior nodded, and both of them ran to the tree line. "Readings suggest two humans," their leader added. "Nothing major. Remember, do not engage."
"No," Jack muttered in reply, looking out across the grassy plain through a pair of binoculars. "I don't think we will." Two wished to add to the sarcastic reply but found herself unable to. She was entirely speechless.
"We can't see it clearly," Queen stated. "What is that?" Jack slowly lowered the binoculars.
"It appears to be a metal giant with pipes for a face and his pet bat... and when I say pet bat, I mean human-sized bat. With clothes. And hair. He-"
"Wait," Two interrupted, grabbing the binoculars and looking through them. "The metal man... he's opening."
"Opening?" Queen echoed.
"Yeah, his chest... there's steam..." she trailed off. Jack snatched the binoculars from her and looked through them.
"There's a human. I think the metal man is some kind of robotic-suit; it's letting off a lot of steam. The guy's... five-nine at a guess, blonde, small ponytail; wearing fatigues so he must be military. The bat's dark with white patches; he may be camouflaged. Pale hair, horns, camo robe, pink-ish wings that are kind of like arms, and... and now he's looking right at us..."
"What?" Two asked in surprise. Jack kept the binoculars to her eyes, her mouth open.
"He's staring right at us."
"Get out of there," Queen ordered intensely. "We have what we need. Meet Diamonds at the rendezvous, now!"
Jack and Two slowly pulled away into better cover before they stood, and then noticed that Ace was sitting against a tree with her rifle aimed upwards, her teeth bared and her head trembling violently. Following the rifle Jack saw another bat-humanoid-thing standing casually on a large branch, this one black and larger than the other one. She raised her own rifle towards it. Two followed suit. "We don't want any trouble," Jack explained, unknowing as to whether she would be understood. The bat seemed to find this highly amusing. It gestured towards Ace with a shrug. "Okay, she might want trouble, but we don't." Two looked away from the bat to Ace; there was a rip in her trousers where her leg had been cut. It wasn't an insignificant wound.
"It's showing me things," Ace stated, speaking with great effort and pain. "Soldiers. Fifteen. Armed." Ace kept her eyes staring into those of the bat. "Can't you, ugh... see them?" she asked, coughing. Jack and Two didn't answer. "Firing their weapons, and... dying."
"What the fuck are you doing!?" Queen screamed. "Run!"
Everyone stood their ground. "It's warning us," Jack ventured. "Can you speak back to it?"
"I've been telling, it to fuck off since... since I saw it. So no, I g-guess."
"Can you feel anything?"
"Guys," Two began, head turned away from the black bat. "The others are gone." The black bat raised its head at this, looking at where the other bat and the blonde man in the metal suit had been. With some kind of screech, it spread its wings and flew out of the trees, avoiding gunfire from Ace's weapon. Ace then broke.
She dropped her gun and grabbed at her head, screaming in pain. Jack knelt by her side whilst Two aimed upwards, scouring the branches above them. "What's happening!?" Queen demanded. Ace stopped screaming, breathing heavily, hands still cradling her skull.
"I don't know," Jack responded. "But we're getting out of here." Strapping her weapon over her shoulder, Jack pulled Ace to her feet. She took one arm and Two took the other, and they proceeded to drag her toward the rendezvous.
"What's she muttering?" Queen asked, unable to hear. Two dropped her head so she could listen to Ace more clearly.
"Luther... Remiel... Mikaere..." she whispered, her voice a hollow croak. "Luther... Remiel... Mikaere..."
♥ ♦ ♠ ♦ ♥
Diamonds walked into her and Hearts' home, one of many which they shared, and tiredly shrugged off her beige long-coat. It fell to the floor, and she ignored Hearts as he sarcastically glared at it. He continued to look with mock-frustration as she walked over his expensive rug in her dirty boots, and sank onto his expensive couch with a tired sigh. "No kiss?" he asked, looking towards her. Diamonds picked up a book that sat on a table nearby; she kissed the cover, then threw it at him. Hearts laughed. "Dames," he muttered, smiling. "Like a box of chocolates; you never know which ones you're allergic to."
"Am I interrupting?" Spades' voice called. His face appeared on the large plasma screen attached to the wall. Hearts always hated how he did that without invitation; if the situation wasn't so dire he'd have thrown the blasted thing away by now.
"Yes," Hearts dryly said, playing with his phone.
"No," Diamonds corrected, sitting up.
"Good. How went the day?"
"We got the information we needed," Hearts answered. "Though that was a one time thing; I ain't staring at a monitor all day again." He smiled, continuing to play with his phone, knowing Diamonds at least would find amusement in the irony.
"You won't have to," Spades went on. "I'll take over such things from here. And Two?"
"You were right," Diamonds confirmed. Hearts raised his eyes, looking between the woman and the TV screen. "There is something about her, something... I don't know. It's insignificant right now, but I don't think it will be for long." Hearts laughed.
"And here I am thinking it was meant to be us making secret ploys behind their backs," he said, looking at Diamonds.
"I'll fill you in later."
"I thought that was my job." He received another flying book for that comment.
"Hearts, I want you to take over with our field missions," Spades continued, ignoring their exchange. "I'll send you what intel I can get, and leave the rest to you." Hearts winked at the screen, firing his imaginary finger gun then going back to his phone. "The Queen of Clubs is currently briefing the Numbers; before long they'll be ready to act as our soldiers in this war. Diamonds, continue watching the Two of Clubs. I want us to know what exactly she is before she does, understood?"
"You know," Hearts began, thumbs typing away. "You're still not our boss."
"Then stop following my orders," Spades threw back, causing Hearts to laugh. "Diamonds. Two. Understood?"
"Yeah, I got it," she replied. "Wait... what about Clubs? Do we tell the others?"
"You know what them broads are like," Hearts answered, not giving Spades a chance. "They're so tight-knit their cycles are probably all synchronised. She's one of them now, which means..." he trailed off, seeing the expression of sadness on Diamonds' face.
"Which means," Spades continued for him. "We can't trust them to do what may be necessary. Eyes open, mouth shut. They'll know when they need to know."
"The Cloaked Devil!" an elderly woman screamed in Swahili, running through the burning village.
"Monster! Monster of Shadow! Mo-" a man called, before his voice trailed off into horrifying death-gurgles.
"Fools!" a deep and terrible voice screamed. "I am no mere monster, no puny devil!" The back of its cloak ripped, and giant wings unfurled beneath the moonlight. "I am the End of All Things!" There were two screams; they were no ordinary screams, they were piercing and dark, and came from beneath the monster's cloak. The young girl touched her ear, and saw blood when she looked at her finger.
Desperately the girl ran. Her father kept weapons in their home; his most prized possession was a dagger made of rock. He claimed it was ancient and powerful, though he hadn't shown or told anyone how. As tears streamed down her face the young girl knelt next to a chest and grabbed at the lock that kept it secure. "Yes, run," the monster's voice called from outside. "Run like the parasites you are." More screams echoed as the monster laughed. Shaking, the young girl ran to the other side of the room; her father was lying in the corner with a gaping hole in his chest. She tried not to look at his face as she pulled his pistol from his hand.
The girl stumbled and fell as she ran, the gun sliding out of her hand and across the floor. For a few seconds she stayed on her hands and knees, holding her breath, completely silent. The shouting had stopped. There was no more screaming. The only sound was the crackle of the fire. Slowly, quietly, she exhaled, and began to breathe again. Was that it? Was he gone?
"Found you!" the monster roared, followed by insane laughter. The young girl screamed and fell to her side, shielding her face. Outside a man cried as the monster gleefully eviscerated him. The girl lowered her arm, seeing that she was actually still alone.
Breathing heavier than she ever had, certain her heart would soon explode, the girl scrambled for the gun and then ran to the chest. She aimed the weapon at the lock with both hands and buried her face into her shoulder as she fired. After a bang, clank, and rumble, the girl raised her head. Still holding the gun she opened the chest and looked through it; bricks of gold, drug packages, bundles of money... the Stone Dagger.
"No, please, mercy!" a woman begged outside.
"I'm giving you a swift death, am I not?" the monster replied, seemingly offended.
The young girl knelt by the chest, trying to calm her breathing as she held the gun and dagger. Before long, she ran outside. "What is this?" the monster mused, looking at the small girl. She stood across the path, gun raised. "A village of supposed warlords and soldiers, and only a little girl stands and fights?" He turned around to face her fully with a low rumbling chuckle. His tendril of shadow released the remains of the woman it had been holding up, and he spoke through a veil of shadow which covered his face. "Well, it would only be fair to allow you the first move." His wings retracted, and he held out his arms.
The girl squeezed her handgun and shot at the monster; she fired seven bullets before the weapon clicked empty, and the recoil caused three of them to miss the creature entirely. For all the good they did they may as well have all missed. With a face screwed up in anguish the girl dropped the gun. "I have one of those as well," the monster stated. He raised his arm and, from the end of his sleeve, he extended a grotesque, discoloured finger that pointed to his left. A ball of dark energy formed at the tip of the finger and then flew away, blasting through huts and trees until it exploded in the distance, accompanied by the screams of three men.
The young girl raised the Stone Dagger, her arm violently shaking. The monster was clearly amused. "I also have one of those." From beneath his cloak, carried by tendrils of shadow, came a gargantuan, red, serrated sword. The girls eyes widened with further terror. "Forgive me, I was mistaken," the monster continued. "I have two." Carried by another shadow came a second blade, this one a mirror to the first but blue where it was red. The girl's eyes were just about ready to explode, and again the monster laughed. She looked to her left, to the small building where her dead father lay, and then she charged at the monster through tears and terror.
She was but a step away when the shadows grabbed her by the throat and picked her up. The monster allowed the shadow veil around his face to fade; the girl wanted to scream at his twisted visage, but she found herself unable. A shadowy tendril took the Stone Dagger from her hand and held it up between their faces. "I recall this," the monster said, tilting his head slightly. "Rather powerful. Certainly not suitable for children." Another shadow rose up, and began to stroke the blade. "I'm afraid you don't know how to use it correctly," he continued whilst the shadow played with the switches on the dagger's handle. "I wonder what would happen if..." The monster's shadowy tendrils stabbed him in the face with the Stone Dagger. The weapon began to shine with dark energy, and the shadow stabbed him again. It shone brighter. The switches constantly shifted in colour whilst flicking themselves between positions, as if on their own whim. "I could use a pet, something to take the children off my hands as I need," he stated, raising his red and blue swords. He stabbed them with the blade as well, and it began to shine so bright that it looked as if it there was no dagger remaining, only blinding darkness. "If memory serves, this should end very well for you."
The tendril of shadow around the girl's neck moved her away from the monster, and then tightened. Things were beginning to darken, the world was quiet, her lungs... she felt something sharp, something painful; it woke her up, her heart, her... she fell. Blood exploded out of her mouth. On her knees the girl felt her chest. There was a wound, deep, continuously bleeding. In front of her the Stone Dagger lay on the floor covered in blood. She held her hand in front of her eyes; she looked from palm, to finger, to nail. It was all covered in blood. "Well," the monster began. "That didn't work." Her vision was fading. Sounds were becoming muffled. She fell onto her face. "Pity." The darkness took her.
Weeks later the girl would awaken in the closest hospital. Apparently a woman in a beige coat had carried her in and paid a considerable sum for her to be cared for. The girl didn't question it, didn't think to question it; her mind was elsewhere.
After her recovery she would return to where her village had been, and find nothing; no bodies, no dagger, no monster.
Of course, this time it was different.
These times were always different.
She walked through the village. No bodies. No dagger. Monster. "Hello again," he greeted, swords in hand. The veil of shadow disappeared from around his face, and his grotesque mouth formed what some might consider a grin. "I've come back for you."
Two awoke screaming.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
|Tiger of Wu||
Jul 19, 12 at 11:10am ^re: The Chronicles
Always so damn loud.
Moira sat on the couch in the small apartment as the man came out of Irene's bedroom, coat hung over his shoulder, tie undone, shoes in hand. She glared at the man, and he quickly averted his eyes as he scurried out of the apartment. Moira put down her book and went to the door as soon as he had left, bolting and latching it before returning to her seat and continuing to read. The apartment was decorated in bright colours, much to her annoyance, and the room she sat in held only two couches, a coffee table, and various plants and paintings. The colour-scheme she could live with, but she absolutely refused to allow Irene to get that television she was always asking for.
After some time had passed Irene walked out of her bedroom yawning and naked. Her black hair was in complete disarray as it fell around her dark body. "Thanks for being so quiet," Moira stated sarcastically, looking up from her book. Irene, knowing how loud she had been last night, let out a deep sigh as she walked over to the second couch and lazily dropped onto it.
"Sorry," she offered half-heartedly.
"Was this one any good?"
"He wasn't bad," Irene answered, smiling. "I'd give him an eight. Needs to work on-"
"Forget I asked," Moira interrupted, frowning.
"I'll be going to his place tonight; he's got a cute friend into all that weird goth crap. You'd like him."
"Not interested." Moira turned a page of her book.
"Oh come on," Irene whined, sitting up. "When was the last time you had fun?"
"When I was reading, before you woke up." She smirked as Irene rolled her eyes.
"Okay then, when was the last time you actually got some dick?" the darker woman elaborated. Moira's face screwed up in shock and annoyance.
"One of these days you're gonna come home from the doctor with more than a dead foetus to show for it, and I won't hold back from saying I told you so."
"You're not my mother."
"I may as well be."
For a few minutes neither woman said anything, Moira reading her book and Irene staring at the ceiling as she lay down. Moira wanted to scold her for lying around naked, but she did have her own boots up on the furniture so she let it slide. It was Irene who broke the silence.
"... I'm hungry. You wanna grab some breakfast?"
"Sure. Go get dressed."
"I still don't see why you had to put your make-up on before we left," Irene muttered, pushing her bacon around on her plate. Moira was wearing a black t-shirt, ripped black jeans, long black boots covered in straps and buckles, and a spiked leather collar. She wore black lipstick, eye-shadow, and mascara, with five black tear lines drawn coming down from her eyes. Irene was wearing a red pair of jogging bottoms and a white tank-top, her hair still a complete mess.
Moira shrugged at the question, taking a bite of her pancakes. After she had swallowed she spoke. "Are you ready for tomorrow?"
"Not really," Irene replied. Moira frowned.
"This is going to be our break. One job, and we can leave."
"And that's still what you want?" Irene scratched her head, almost losing her hand in her hair. "To disappear, and live a quiet life alone?"
"I wouldn't be alone if you came with me," Moira offered. Irene released her fork, then reached across the table and took Moira's hand.
"You know I can't do that," she stated with a sadness. "I'm still so young, you're still so young. There's so much to do, so many places to go, so many people to meet..." She sighed deeply as Moira's hand tightened around hers. "If this is what you want I'll help you. You've done a lot for me, and I'll do my best for you... but I can't go with you." Slowly she pulled her hand away, and went back to pushing her food around her plate.
"Eat your breakfast."
"Don't call me that."
Moira sat on a couch in her and Irene's apartment, book in hand. Irene said she'd be back by ten o'clock in the morning, and it was now two in the afternoon. She was always complaining about the size of mobile phones but she did agree to always have hers with her; it was switched off. Every five minutes Moira would get up to check out of the window. Had she known where Irene's date lived she'd have been kicking his door down and demanding answers. For two hours she hadn't turned a page of the book she held. When she saw her, she would- there was a knock at the door.
Moira threw her book down and ran to answer it, seeing Irene and the man from the previous night. Her arm was around his shoulders and his was around her waist, holding her up as she slouched. She gagged, and pushed herself off the man before charging past Moira and running towards the bathroom. The sound of her throwing up was as loud as always. "I woke up half an hour ago, and she was sitting on my kitchen floor crying," the man explained. He clearly hadn't shaved or showered. "She was holding an empty bottle of whiskey. I didn't know what to do, so I, I brought her here. Will sh-" Moira closed the door and bolted it. Irene had begun crying again.
She walked into the bathroom to find her sitting on the floor next to the toilet, the bowl filled with vomit mixed into water. Sighing, Moira sat down next to her. "Don't do it," Irene muttered. "Don-" she leaned over the toilet and threw up again, then gagged until she coughed as Moira rubbed her back. After a short time she pulled herself away and leaned back against the wall. "Don't leave me," she finally finished. Nothing was said as she leaned forward for another round. When she came out again, Moira spoke.
"You'll be okay," she reassured her. It was five years ago that they had met, back when they were only starry-eyed teenagers. Irene was the younger and more naive of the pair, and Moira had saved her from trouble on more than one occasion. In spite of not even knowing each other's true names they felt as if they were closer than sisters, closer than parent and child; five years felt like a lifetime at their age. "It'll be okay."
"It won't," Irene stated in between sobs. "It won't."
After a while the crying and the vomiting stopped. Moira shook Irene awake and then helped her stand before taking her to her bed, leaving her a large plastic bowl and a glass of water before closing the door and letting the drunk woman sleep. She was in no state to go through with their plans. There was little time left.
Moira removed her make-up and washed her hair before applying something a little more conventional to her face and curling her dyed black locks. Irene's dress didn't exactly fit her but a bit of bra padding evened things out well enough. When sure she was ready for the occasion, she took Irene's invite and ran for where the limousine had agreed to pick up Ms. Adler.
The estate was huge. Despite the impressive area it all covered the mansion still took up over half of the space. As the limo drove through the gates, marked with what appeared to be a large G which split in the middle as they opened, Moira could only gape at what she beheld. If she could find someone with even half as much wealth as whoever owned this place she'd be set for life. The limousine dropped her off just outside of the mansion's door before it drove away, awaiting her signal to return.
Wearing an uncomfortable red dress that only served to highlight her pale, pasty skin, shoes she could barely walk-in, a handbag she wasn't quite sure how to hold, and make-up she would usually crack jokes about, Moira walked up the thirteen steps. She faulted and almost fell only once, which she thought was quite an achievement. The man on the door was clearly amused, but she paid him no mind. He was wearing a pinstripe suit which he was also clearly uncomfortable in, and as Moira got closer she realised that he was actually a woman.
"I think you have the wrong place," the woman said in a thick, deep Russian accent. Her bald head glimmered in the moonlight. "We don't plan on any Satan worship or ritual suicide tonight; try next week." Moira's eyes narrowed; she was used to the goth jokes but had no idea why they would be coming at this mo- "Your neck," the woman on the door offered, looking at it. In her hurry Moira had forgotten to take off her spiked collar. She quickly unfastened it and threw it into the bushes. The woman laughed, a low, rumbling noise. "Perhaps the squirrels will find it, and start offerings for the blood god," she joked. Moira's eyes narrowed further as she wordlessly held out her invite. The bald Russian took it, smiling as she read the name. "Subtle. Go on in, and try not to fall in those heels." Frustratedly Moira snatched the invite out of the woman's hands and walked through the doors.
After heading through a brightly lit hall, proud by her own lack of stumbling, Moira came upon the vast ballroom. The music playing was Bach at a guess, done by an all-female band. The waitresses all wore shirts and bow-ties, handing out glasses of champagne to the guests; there was also a bar opposite where the band played in case those present felt like something a little stronger. Behind the bar was a man, smiling as he handed a woman her drink, and as Moira looked around the rest of the room she realised that he was the only man there. Every guest and every other worker was female. Silently she cursed Irene before walking around the room to make sure she wasn't mistaken. After about five minutes of searching, she realised she was correct. Cursing Irene again, this time audibly, Moira headed towards the bar.
"What rum you got?" she asked as she sat down. The barman shrugged.
"What you looking for?"
"Red, the darker the better." She leaned on the bar in a most unladylike way. It didn't matter; the whole thing was going nowhere, so she figured she might as well get a few free drinks for her effort before she left. The barman placed a bottle in front of her.
"Will that do you?" he pleasantly asked. "Not the most expensive stuff, but it's the strongest we have." Moira nodded. Before long a glass was placed in front of her, and then the barman stepped back and waited. Moira looked at him and he nodded towards the glass. She rolled her eyes, opened the bottle, and poured. "You ain't like the rest of them here, are you?" he asked as she knocked back the rum. As soon as she was done she poured another glass.
"What makes you say that?" She knocked back the second one.
"Because not one of these bitches would pour their own drink," he answered. She gave him a harsh look as she put the cap back on the bottle. "Plus you haven't commented on my beard yet." Moira hadn't really noticed, hadn't really cared, but now that it was pointed out she saw that the man did indeed have a beard which warranted commenting on. It wasn't particularly long but it was scruffy, and in no way looked as if it belonged to a man working in such a place. Whilst she was looking she noticed that his hair wasn't in the best shape either, and where the waitresses were smart he was casual; he had the same white shirt, but it wasn't tucked into his trousers and the top two buttons were undone. He hadn't bothered with a tie either. "So why are you here?"
"Same reason as these bitches, I guess," Moira explained. "To find a rich man." The barman laughed, and extended his hand towards her.
"Alexander Darby-Grand, pleasure to meet you." Moira took the hand and politely shook it, once again in an unladylike way.
"Moira," she returned, pulling back her hand.
"My friends call me Alex."
"Am I your friend?"
"Would you like to be?" Moira laughed, and Alex smiled. "No need to be rude about it."
"Well, Alex, this has been a complete waste of time but at least the rum was good." She grabbed the bottle and slid off of the barstool. "See you around."
As she got into her limousine she looked towards the mansion doors, watching as Alex exited and began speaking to the Russian woman. They both went inside as she was driven away, and after another long drive she was home again. Irene was awake, and waiting for her. "Moira, I'm sorry I-" she stopped speaking as she saw her, eyes furrowed in confusion.
"What?" Moira asked. Irene squinted, and moved her face closer to get a better look. "It's me."
"But you're wearing a dress," Irene elaborated. Moira shrugged. "And heels." She rolled her eyes. "Is that a necklace? One that isn't choking?"
"I will slap the shit out of you," Moira finally threatened, her voice completely serious.
"Okay, yeah," Irene began with a laugh, throwing her hands up to her side. "That's definitely you. I just had to be sure."
"Shut up and listen, okay?" Moira closed the door, bolting and latching it, before walking past Irene and sitting on one of the couches. Irene stayed where she had been until signalled to move, at which point she sat opposite her. "The ball was a set-up. Some lonely rich guy was luring girls to his mansion, hoping to find one he liked." She went on to tell the entire story.
"Sounds sinister," Irene stated, eyebrow raised. Moira shook her head.
"No, he's not like that, he's just lonely."
"I dunno," Irene went on. "Rich guy lures a bunch of unsuspecting women to his home, sounds sinister to me. Maybe he's that Joker guy? Not the Batman villain, the thief." Moira stared at Irene expressionlessly until she shut up.
"We've been over this; Joker doesn't exist, the Four Suits are a myth, and that guy you slept with was not Hearts. But that's not the point! This guy is rich and lonely, and he likes me. It's brilliant. Before long I'll be in, and we can clear him out."
"Wait, he likes you?" Moira sighed, burying her face into her palm.
"Weren't you listening? The barman! Alex."
It wasn't long before Moira and Alex had their first date. They met at a small diner located near her and Irene's apartment. This wouldn't have been suspicious if it wasn't for the fact that Alex had chosen the place. "Have what you like," he said, casually leaning back. He wore a pair of dark jeans and a black Queen t-shirt, and still hadn't fixed his beard or hair. Moira had taken on her previous façade as well, wearing the make-up of glamour models rather than social rejects and clothing without spikes, buckles, or unnecessary belts. "Money isn't an issue."
"I'll pay for myself."
"You can't afford rum," Alex replied with a laugh. "A high class establishment such as this is surely beyond your wages. What is it you do, anyway?"
"I'm a doctor. I specialise in circumcising facetious barmen."
"How fortunate, I've had complaints recently," he cheekily returned. "Apparently it's too big." Moira stared in shock until a waitress came over to take their order. Alex grinned as he spoke again; Moira missed most of it. "Perhaps some cold water for the lady. If you throw it in her face it might wake the bitch up." Angrily she stood and stormed off, almost breaking the glass door as she slammed it shut. Irene might have been able to put up with patronising, rich jerks, she might have had the patience for their bullshit, but Moira couldn't do it.
It didn't matter anymore. It didn't matter if he really was the owner of the estate, it didn't matter how much money was there to be stolen, she had too much damn self-respect to listen to him. What an arrogant... as she walked up the stairs to her apartment Moira took a few deep breaths to calm herself. She hated getting worked up, but who the hell was he to speak to her like that? What did he... god damn it.
Sighing, Moira opened her door and walked in. She bolted and latched it before announcing her presence, and proceeding to rant about the disaster that had just occurred. "You wouldn't believe how he was acting," she yelled as she took off her coat, knowing Irene was listening from her bedroom. "I don't know how you do it. Next time we stick to procedure; you get the information out of them, I clean th-" as Moira finally took in her surroundings she realised that their apartment was trashed. The couches had been turned over and cut into, the carpet had been ripped up in certain areas, plants and pictures were scattered all over the floor. "Irene," she called, before quickly getting panicked. "Irene!"
Moira ran to Irene's room. She wasn't there. She checked her own room. She wasn't there either. The bathroom was empty. The kitchen area empty. The apartment was lifeless. There was no blood, nothing significant to point to Irene being hurt. That was good. Moira went to their phone in the corner and dialled Irene's mobile. Maybe she had been out, maybe- Irene's phone began to ring from within the apartment.
Breathing heavily, Moira ran back to the bathroom. She stood on the lid of the toilet and pushed one of the ceiling panels out before looking up behind the others. The money was gone. The jewellery was gone. Documents, deeds, cheques; they had been cleared out. Slowly she pulled her head out of the ceiling and hopped down from the toilet. She stood, perfectly still, completely expressionless, before she ran out of the apartment. The door was left wide open.
She ran down the stairs, face unwavering but mind racing. Across the street, down a block, and she was at the diner again. Alex wasn't there. Moira quickly found their waitress as she was taking a young couple's order. "Where is he?" she demanded as the waitress looked at her in shock. "Where'd he go!?"
"I don't know," she innocently replied, appearing a little afraid. "He left pretty much straight after you did. Miss, are you okay?" Moira stumbled past the tables until she was out of the diner. "Miss!?" It didn't make any sense. Were her and Irene being targeted? Was the entire thing a set-up? Revenge? If he was who she thought he was he'd have no need of a haul the size they had. A car swerved to avoid hitting Moira as she ran across the street to her apartment. Maybe the plan was to get Irene at the ball? How many people were in on it? She passed an old lady on the stairs, almost knocking her over. It needed to be thought through, Moira needed to get home and calm down and think about everything that had led to that point, but she was certain of one thing: the man would die if he had hurt her friend.
As Moira closed and bolted the door she was grabbed from behind. A white cloth covered her mouth, and a voice spoke into her ear. Russian accent. Deep but definitely female. "House loses." The chloroform took effect.
♣ ♣ ♣ ♣
Moira awoke to the sound of voices.
"Wouldn't it make more sense for me to be Ace and for her to be Jack?"
"The others don't really care about that kinda thing; Hearts is as much a clergyman as Spades is a noble. Besides, as Jack your primary role will be in aiding myself and Queen."
"If she accepts."
"If she accepts."
She was in a well-lit room, sitting in a comfortable chair. She tried to move her arms and legs, and succeeded. There was a large, oak desk not far ahead of her; sitting at the desk was a man in a pinstripe suit and hat, clean shaven. He looked a bit like... Moira groaned. "Awake finally?" Alex asked, smiling. "Good. We have business to discuss." Irene stood next to the oak desk, a nervous look on her face. The bald Russian woman stood next to her, pistol in hand.
"Fuck you," Moira muttered. The Russian laughed as Alex frowned.
"And here I thought that was no longer an option. You know who I am?" Moira remained silent, looking from Irene to the Russian to Alex... Alexander D. Grand. She laughed. Grand was also French for Great. Alexander the Great was a name for the King of Clubs.
"Clubs," she finally spat. "Of the Four Suits."
"Correct," he returned. "But you may continue to call me Alex if you wish."
"Are you okay?" Irene asked, looking Moira over from where she stood. Moira nodded and kept to her chair.
"I won't waste your time," Clubs went on. "A friend of mine had a run-in with a female mark, someone who had a bit of wealth to her which he planned to take; a quick nob and rob to dust the cobwebs off, as it were. Only before he could enact the second part of his plan she had taken a considerable amount of his money along with documents implementing him in various crimes, the kinda thing that gets a man the chair. My friend is not an easy man to steal from, believe me, myself and Hearts have tried." The Russian woman laughed again.
"So who's this friend?" Moira asked, eyes still narrow, voice still cold. "Diamonds or Spades?"
"Neither," Clubs shot back. "It's unimportant. What is important is that he couldn't find the woman who robbed him, or as Irene here tells it the women who robbed him. That makes both of you highly important to me."
"Because this man, my friend, has been working to keep me as the peasant. I'm getting bored and want to expand, and he isn't letting me. Unfortunately Ace here," Clubs gestured to the Russian woman. "Can't deal with him via her usual methods, so my only choice was to find something to put us on a level playing field." He held up a document, one which Moira remembered well. They had gotten it from the man Irene had believed to be Hearts, but if her understanding was correct then the man was in fact an even more legendary thief who went by the title of Wildcard, or Joker. Knowing this, and knowing the contents of that document, made her question how exactly she and Irene could still be alive. "Apparently the woman had an annoying love of Sir Conan Doyle's work; when an Irene Adler walked into my trap... well, you know the rest." There was silence.
"So what now?" Moira finally asked. "You've got what you need." Clubs laughed.
"I wouldn't be where I am now if I was a man who walked away with only what I needed." There was a glass of brown liquor on his desk; he sipped the contents. "Now that I won't be under such direct control I'm free to make bigger moves, and to expand. I have an Ace, and I've circumstantially acquired a Jack," he gestured to Irene. "Now all I need is a Queen." Moira's mouth opened in shock.
"You've gotta be joking." She laughed. "You think I'll-" Clubs held up a hand and spoke over her.
"I'm looking for nothing but your thieving abilities. You stole from Wildcard and lived; that makes you special, and if that maniac continues with his current games then I'm going to need your help." Again, there was silence. Moira looked to Irene.
"So you're Jack now?" she asked.
"Only if you agree to be Queen," Irene returned. "Come on, to be part of the Four Suits? How can we say no to that?" The Russian woman, Ace, spoke up.
"By killing yourself."
"Ace," Clubs began, trying to stop her from continuing. He failed.
"If you want to go out there where we can't protect you then feel free,"
"But Wildcard will find you, and when he does he will rip your-"
"Ace!" he yelled, banging his fist onto the table. "Shut up. We're not here to manipulate them. They've evaded him this long, they just might stay off of his radar again." Ace growled as Clubs looked at her, then she reluctantly nodded. He turned to Moira. "If you want to leave then you can leave, but you won't get this offer twice." For at least a minute there was silence as Moira thought things over.
"Fine," she eventually said, standing up. "I'll join you. But I'm not dealing with that crazy Russian bitch, and I always work with Irene."
"You mean Jack."
"Jack," Moira conceded. "And I'm not going to call you King either. You're a jerk, and if you ever treat me or her like this again I will take everything you own and come back to slit your throat. Whatever idea you may have about King and Queen nonsense, get it out of your head, and wipe that shit-toothed grin off your face." Still smiling, Clubs raised his glass in a mockery of a toast.
A year later they were married.
♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣
"I still don't know how you did it," King stated, standing at the top of the stairs with Queen two years after their first meeting. They were in Clubs' mansion, and currently looking down into the main hall as the Numbers went about their day.
"Married you?" Queen returned, earning herself a playful shove.
"Convinced me to fill up the Numbers with women," he finished, causing Queen to shove him back.
"Wildcard's a lonely man; we are his weakness. Consider yourself now fully armed against him." They both laughed. Queen grabbed King's hat and put it on her own head before descending the stairs, smiling.
"You'll be after the jacket next," he joked as she walked away.
After a year of prosperity in the thieving business together, after a year of mutual verbal torment cut with periods of silent tension, the two of them were caught having hate-sex on King's desk. Jack found it hilarious, and Ace thought it was about damn time they finally stopped dancing around each other. Words were said, feelings were exposed, and after a few months the wedding bells were ringing. It wasn't a recognised wedding, no clergy or government was involved and Jack acted the part of priest whilst a drunken Ace was the best man, but for King and Queen it was enough.
Soon after the wedding Queen brought up the subject of expansion, of adding more people to the Clubs side-project whilst the man himself worked with the Four Suits. It began with Ten, a military instructor who could lead the Numbers more directly than King or Queen, and before long the other slots were filled. They handled smaller operations which kept Clubs standing, both the man who wore the face and the bones which held the body, whilst Wildcard continued to make moves against King. He suspected Diamonds' involvement in it but couldn't be sure.
Over the next five years things continued, rarely escalating. A few of the Numbers quit or vanished but they weren't hard to replace; King, Queen, Jack, and Ace stayed consistent from their first meeting seven years past. The Four Suits became bolder, mostly thanks to Hearts, and as talks began of stealing the Colvinski Card Collection a letter arrived at Clubs' mansion.
Queen sat alone in her dark office. It was three o'clock in the morning.
It was two years since Monte Carlo and King's death, and three months after Diamonds and Ace had vanished. Spades had left the game by that time as well, and no-one had heard from Hearts since news of Johnny Hoyle's fate became public.
She had been arguing with Jack recently about whether to continue with Clubs. Jack wanted to go dark, to find a place where the two of them could disappear like Queen had always wanted, to fold their hand. Wildcard had cleared the table and ran; the game was over and they had nothing. The money didn't matter to Jack any more, she just wanted herself and Queen to be safe. King and Hearts were brought up, and things escalated from there. They shouted and screamed at each other, throwing around words like betrayal before properly considering their meaning, until finally they both calmed down.
"I can't leave the rest of them like this," Queen finally said, referring to the Numbers. "Not now."
"This isn't about them," Jack spat back, looking at the hat and jacket Queen was wearing.
"And this isn't about you and me either," she returned. "Or are you going to continue lying about speaking to him?"
"What does that have to do with anything!?"
"He doesn't love you. He never will."
"You're not my mother."
"I may as well be."
And with that Jack went back to her room.
Queen took a puff of her cigar many hours later, and continued staring at the security monitor in her dark office. She watched as Jack silently sneaked to the front door, coat hung over her shoulder, tie undone, shoes in hand. Glancing around, she looked into the security camera Queen was watching her through before quickly averting her eyes as she scurried out of the mansion.
"Bye, Jack." Queen took another puff. "Thanks for being so quiet."
[color=#666666]This message was edited on 2012-07-21T02:28:07-07:00.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Jul 20, 12 at 7:02am ^re: The Chronicles
A New Face
*lights turn on in the training room*
Trainer: Well done Jorgon, that was good, but next time keep the lights on so i can see wht your doing
Jorgon: Okay master
Trainer: ok jorgon, lets see how well you combat is now, we tested your magic amd it worked, well from the looks of it
*3 tigers are raised and let out of cages*
*Jorgon pulls out his axe and slashes at each of them and kills them in 4 swings*
Jorgon: Hmph, so when we gonna go into some real combat?
Trainer: Soon, we are still waiting for someone to challenge you.
Jorgon: Can't i just challenge someone?
Trainer: No, you have much to learn.
*Jorgon places his axe on the closest table then punches the trainer*
Trainer: STOP THAT NOW!
*jorgon throws another punch but this time the trainer reverses it and pins him to the floor*
Trainer: Will you stop now?
Trainer: great, now i want you to meet my last trainee that went on to become a legendary Martial Arts Expert
*The man walks towadds Jorgon*
*Jorgon turns around to pick up his axe*
Mae: Woah man, im not here to fight
Jorgon: Well i am
*jorgon swings at Mae 5 times before being punched in the nose*
Mae: you want to carry on?
Jorgon: Bitch please, ive already won
Mae: Not while im still standing you haven't
*as Jorgon turns around Mae starts moving towards him*
*jorgon suddenly uses shockwave on Mae electricuting him and killing him*
Jorgon: make sure you'll clean up the mess will ya' master
*Jorgon leaves the room and carries on training in his quaters*
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Aug 28, 12 at 6:47am ^re: The Chronicles
Unkown Title Thus Far
“Oi, Tarnac! You coming to the pub!?” yelled a familiar voice.
“Na, not tonight man! I have training tomorrow morning so I need my A game. Tomorrow night alright?” said the man named Tarnac.
“Alright man, rain check it then. Good luck tomorrow.”
Tarnac raised his hand, nodded in acknowledgement and turned the other way. He was a reasonably sized man with an athletic build, blue eyes and short blonde spiky hair. His attire was a black tight fitting shirt accompanied with black pants. To finish it off he wore white sneakers that stood out from the rest of his outfit.
It was a normal day for Tarnac, he would do his martial arts training for 3 hours in the morning, go to his job at the post office, sorting letters and such, would have lunch with a couple of friends, and then finish the day down at the pub. Even though he had said no to going, he knew that it was the place he would always end up at the end of the day, today being no exception. The reason he had denied the invitation was because tomorrow was an especially important day. He was not only training as per usual, he was also being assessed to be taught the ultimate art. He had only seen it once, and aimed at achieving such a high level. He was always one with extra talent, the youngest to be assessed for it; talent Tarnac took for granted. His sensei was always telling him to lay off the booze and dedicate more time to the art, something that had pushed back his assessment a year or two. Tomorrow, however, was finally the day; the day he would become a master at only the age of 27.
The clock struck 5, that meant it was knock off time for Tarnac. He walked over to the punch in clock and entered his 4 digit number, logging him out of his shift. His plans had changed from the morning after a few more people asked him to meet at the pub for a 'special night'. This changed his mind as he knew what that meant; hot girls in underwear behind the bar, or skimpies night. He loved skimpies night. He'd always try and hook up with the bird behind the bar, only ever succeeding once. That was a night he'd remember for the rest of his life. He smiled to himself at the thought of it. His house was about a 10 minute walk home, a distance he would travel everyday, rain or shine.
Once he got home he went straight for the bathroom, got undressed and turned the shower on. Letting the water heat up before jumping in, he checked himself out in the mirror, leaving it quite pleased. Letting the hot water run down his body, relaxing it, he couldn't help but think how the next day would pan out. A day a he had thought about for some time now. It was a technique in learning how to channel ones inner energy, convert it, then use it as either a weapon or as a defence. He'd tried to figure it out on his own, but without much luck in doing so, thought it best to wait and be taught.
So lost in thought he's forgotten just how long he'd been under the water; it now going cold. Quickly turning the taps off before it went freezing, he stepped out of the shower and pulled a towel of the rack. The steam from the shower had fogged up the mirror, meaning he could no longer see himself in it. Without the distraction, he dried himself off and wrapped the towel around his waist. Not living with anyone, he still thought he'd be a decent person and cover up around the house; it was good manners after all. Walking over to his draws he knew exactly what he would be wearing tonight. Never anything too fancy, but just smart enough to get noticed by the ladies. Trademark black fitting shirt, black pants and some dress shoes. He wasn't one to style his hair, instead just letting it do what it wanted, which usually ended up the same anyway. It was about time he left for the pub.
Walking down the street, in and out of the light protruding from the street lights, he glanced across the road. He saw two men dressed in black suits with a hand touching their ears. To Tarnac they looked like some people from the FBI, but that would just be silly. Without giving it another thought he carried on down the street and towards his house. He only lived a couple blocks down the road, a prime location if he ever wanted to do a pub run. He loved living in that house, just down the road from where he met his friends everyday, you could say that Tarnac was enjoying life, enjoying everything that life had to offer him.
He had an uneasy feeling surrounding him though as he looked behind him, suspicious of someone following him. Thinking it to be all in his head, he pushed the thought to the back of his mind. The funny thing about his profession though was that any thought about self protection was never just pushed to the back of his mind. Within a few seconds he heard heavy footsteps from behind him. His friends knew better than to sneak up on him, so he knew it to be no friend.
Jumping off the path and onto the road, he spun around mid air to see one of the men from before. He was still a few meters away, plenty of time to land and provide a counter attack. As his foot landed on the ground he heard the other man come from the side. Crouching down he stepped back a little, moving him out of the way of a tackle. Instead, he grabbed the man's arm and spun around, leading him around his body and releasing him in to the other man, resulting in them crashing into each other. Here Tarnac thought that the FBI were trained in close quarter combat, but he was clearly mistaken. The two stood back up, brushing themselves off and maintaining their professional appearance. They glanced at each other and nodded in a mutual understanding of what needed to be done.
Tarnac had seen a lot of fights over his lifetime, he had seen a lot of techniques, but never had he seen two men glow. Deciding to take a different approach to them, he changed his position, from low and crouched to bouncing around. It enabled him to move quickly and be more offensive than defensive, besides these two lovely men had just lit the street up for him so he wouldn't have to walk home in the dark.
One went right, the other left, which left Tarnac to backtrack and avoid becoming a man sandwich. After a couple of steps he decided to go left, meeting his opponent head on. He jumped up and kneed him in the face, causing the man to stumble backwards. He recovered much quicker than Tarnac had expected, catching him before he touched the ground. Before he had a chance to break the lock, he felt a sharp pain in his kidney before feeling a heavy knock to the back of the head. He fell limp both men faded away into the darkness; Tarnac never to be seen again.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Nov 25, 12 at 1:18am ^re: The Chronicles
Chapter 6: The Darkness
Clief lay in the hospital bed staring at the ceiling as the doctors checked his blood pressure and heart rate. They asked him questions, but the voice inside his head drowned them out, he wasn't interested in listening to them. If it wasn't for his body still being in shock, he'd have left this place a week ago. The fact was though, his body wasn't responding very well to what his mind told it to do. Moving his limbs wasn't a problem, but he had no real strength when using them. He wasn't sure if it was because of the trauma his body had recently received, or his mind, not that he was thinking about it. The only thoughts on his mind while awake was Sarah's limp body and Cotib's sly smile whilst doing it. The memory of his torture was also vivid in his mind, those words etched into his brain. The main thing that stood out was that he was simply doing the dirty work for someone else. Someone else was to blame for his grieving; it didn't stop his hatred for Cotib but rather added something else to hate. That's all he had to hold onto at the moment, his hatred for everything. He hated the doctors trying to help him when he should have died. He hated Cotib for cutting down Sarah, he hated the people he was working for. He hated everything to the point that he had even lost contact with his dragon spirit Duegan. The Crystal sword leant against the wall next to the bed, a dull blue now.
Cotib. I'll kill you. I'll kill you.
He had spent a few more days in that bed, slowly building strength in his legs. He was able to stand now and take baby steps with assistance, always trying to push them away. He felt so weak being unable to push humans away from him, still, they were helping him get his strength back; helping him towards achieving his new goal. Over the last few days though, his thought process had slightly changed. He was beginning to hate more things everyday. Today the machines that kept him alive were added to list, in fact, all machines were. They were creations of humans, the people that had sided with the Cartaha to erase the Tyen. They chose the wrong side; it had become apparent that they were slowly losing control of their own society, becoming lower class as the Cartaha took over. Clief, however, was not interested in that stuff any more, he was more concerned about destruction. Destruction of the people that took his home, the people that took his family, the person that took his friend. Destruction was now an entity eating away at his mind, corrupting it from what was truly important. He was a Tyen, the last, and the people that he should be stopping were no longer on his priority list. They were, but so was everything else.
The sun was just breaking the horizon, the sky beginning to light up. Birds could be heard in the nearby trees, chirping as they woke to another beautiful day. The doctors in the hospital were busy early today, there had been a massive car accident the night before, so they were working double time, trying to keep everyone involved alive. They were so busy that no one had come to check on Clief yet. This suited him just fine though, it gave him a chance to stand on his own and stumble his way over to his sword. His finger touched the crystal on the hilt, instantly lighting the blade up to it's normal colour. Duegan was clearly glad that he was able to walk to him. Feeling the sword in his hand again, Clief began to feel slightly stronger than he did in bed. He turned towards the door to find a nurse standing in the way.
“I'm glad you can walk on your own, but please, you must return to your bed so I can check your blood pressure,” she asked with a smile.
That smile reminded him of Sarah and he smiled back. Walking over to him she extended her hand to him. Clief looked at it and stopped smiling. His face turned blank as he lifted his sword up, slicing through the nurses extended arm. Blood splattered on his face and torso before she could react. Falling backwards she held her arm in pain, a high pitched scream pierced his ears and his smile returned again. Feeling as though he had shared some of his pain, he picked up the arm by the hand and shook it.
“Why thank you for your help.”
He tossed it back at the nurse, now covered in her own blood, passing out at the sight of her own arm in her lap. Clief turned and walked to the other side of the bed, in no rush despite the scream alerting several people in the area. His pants were on a chair next to the bed, still blood soaked. He pulled them on and took off the hospital gown. Glancing back to the door he saw two doctors standing there. They saw the nurse on the ground and looked back to Clief. One of them called out to security, the other pleading with the Tyen to put the sword down. Clief didn't pay much attention to him though, cutting through his stomach, his guts falling out and dropping to the floor. The doctors face went pale before dropping to his knees, one of them crushing an intestine. The Tyen walked straight past him, his feet soaking in the blood pooling on the tiles. Raising his own hand, the doctor looked on in horror as he watched the palm in front of his face begin to glow red. The last thing he would see in his life would be a ball of fire hitting his eyes. The hospital staff watched as his head burst into flames, the impact killing him, his body falling limp, collapsing to the ground. Security was running down the hall now, stopping as they saw Clief walk through the door way. Clief looked towards them, glaring at them as they tried to get everyone away from him.
Clief could see something behind them, or someone. He knew who it was he could see, but he couldn't believe it. Cotib was right there, mocking him, just out of his reach. Clief blinked and rubbed his eyes, when he looked back, Cotib was gone. It wasn't reassuring for Clief though, if he was edgy when he could see him, he had well and truly jumped off the edge now that he had disappeared. The security guards began to back away as a deep blue aura surrounded Clief, with streaks of red entering his eyes. His sword was now glowing, not its usual light blue, but more of a darkened colour. Everything about him seemed to darken from it's usual colour, his skin even went slightly more pale. The guards were now sprinting away from him, but it did them no good. Clief fired a Crescent Slice at them, cutting them in half. His aura began to spread, engulfing the walls around them, sucking the light from the area.
“Have you heard the news?”
“Which one, there is a lot going around lately.”
“That's true. I meant how they say that the 'Calamity' is in town.”
“You're kidding right!? He's killed a few hundred people now since the incident of Chroaning.”
“Yeah, brings the tally up to 563 known deaths. You might want to get your family out of this town, it'll be a ghost one soon.”
“That's enough of that don't you think?” said a voice from the shadows.
The two men talking at the bar fell silent as they looked to where the voice came from. They saw nothing but darkness in an already pretty dark pub. There were only a few other people in the building, all had fell silent as the man spoke.
“Calamity. I think I like that name. It's a name that strikes fear into peoples hearts. Seems fitting.”
The man stepped out from the shadows, he was an older man, with a large scar across his cheek. He wore a dark brown coat over black pants and a brown vest. His grey hair was short, but scruffy and he wore gloves with holes in the tips of the fingers.
“Do you know his origin though? They say he is a Tyen.”
“What!? That's impossible, the Cartaha got rid of them!” one of them blurted out.
“And look where that got us. Some people say that the Cartaha ran into some problems on their last raid. Something happened, something they couldn't explain. Of course, they told all of us that the Tyen were wiped out, probably to gain control quicker. Well, the story goes that they missed one of them, and this 'calamity' is him. Back for revenge against the world, back to destroy it.”
“You'd better cut your crap old man or I'll throw you out!” Yelled the bartender.
The old man fell silent, creeping back into the shadows. “He's here alright.”
“Where are they when we need them!?”
“Focus on the task at hand, we need to stop him here. He's gone through three towns now, it ends in this one!”
Police officers, crouched behind some over turned cars, were huddled around their in charge. Some were jittery, hearing about the calamity on the its way. Giving his orders, the other officers spread out and entered the near by buildings, he was going to use himself as bait for it. He could see a man walking towards him, encased in a shroud of darkness. The sergeant could feel death in the air, it felt like a knife was pressed against his throat. The man got closer, walking slowly, drawing out the suspense. It was Clief, barely recognisable, his eyes and hair were darker now than they were at the hospital; that was the last true sighting of him. His sword was in his hand, completely dull now. The officer raised his hand up, commanding that Clief hand himself of to the police. The Tyen continued to move forwards, ignoring the sergeants pleas. His eye's widened as he watched Clief slice the air in front of him, sending a blue shock wave towards him. He told his body to move, but it wouldn't obey, the attack almost reaching him. He closed his eye's as he said goodbye to the world he had known; a world of ruin. He felt the attack hit him, sending him backwards, his body slamming against the tarmac. Opening his eyes, he was shocked to see he had survived before seeing a figure standing before him.
“You shouldn't accept death because you are afraid. You fight it, knowing you left this world trying to live.” he spoke.
“Uh..yes..yes thank you!!” The officer exclaimed.
“I wasn't talking to you. Get out of here!”
The officer scrambled to his feet and ran into one of the near by buildings. It was the old man from the bar that had saved him, now facing towards the 'Calamity'.
“I've never seen such a weak Tyen in my life. You've even lost contact with your spirit. I'm ashamed to have people afraid of you!” he yelled across the street.
Clief smirked at this comment, the thought of him being weak was an amusing notion. It was the exact reaction the old man had been seeking. He took a step forward, challenging the blue haired man in front of him to make a move. That's exactly what Clief did, sending another blue wave of energy with a swing of his sword. The old man easily ducked underneath it, continuing to move closer to his opponent. Clief realised he wasn't going to win this using simple tactics, so he decided to rush into combat.
“Very daring move against an opponent you know nothing about, sonny,” the old man instructed.
Clief ignored the comment, continuing to engage in combat. He swung his sword across his body, easily avoided by his elder. He proceeded to hack and slash at the old man, each swipe of his sword missing his target.
“No technique, very easy to read and avoid,” the man assessed Clief's techniques.
This angered the Tyen a little, and it showed in his increased ferocity in his attacks. The buildings surrounding them were being destroyed by the shock waves created by the speed of his sword. An attack was yet to be landed, so Clief changed his tactic a little, adding a little physical combat into the mix. Now using his sword in his right hand, he swung to the right, followed by a punch. Continuing his flow he spun around with a roundhouse kick, all three attacks avoided.
“Changing it up a little to throw me off, good in theory, but you still have no technique. I've seen enough,” the man proclaimed.
Clief went to punch him again but found himself countered. It was the first move besides dodging the old man had actually made. He placed his hand on the Tyen's shoulder, stopping the force of his punch mid thrust. The force sent Clief off balance, with his gravity now forcing him backwards. His opponent took advantage of this, hitting his chest with open palms. The hit sent Clief to the floor in a hurry, smacking his head on the pavement.
“I've been waiting for you. Seems I waited too long. Now to get out of here...”
Clief fell unconscious, the last thing he saw was the old man standing over him, then darkness.
Edit: Jan 06, 13 9:50pm
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Dec 03, 12 at 9:54pm ^re: The Chronicles
The consistent dripping splattered just outside his cage's barbed, bar gate. So many times Nicholas had tried to force his arms between the bars to reach the heavy latch just out of reach; his arms were now riddled with a mosaic of infected and bleeding cuts. With each drip he cringed at the infuriating sound. Trapped within the box cage only large enough to lie in uncomfortably – sitting upright was an impossibility. The stone surrounds felt like jagged gravel, pressing into his scarred skin. After seven days of weeping in the enclosure, there were no more tears left for him to cry. He had been released from the tiny cell once; one time he felt like he wasn't trapped within his own casket ready for burial. One time he came back wanting to be buried.
A plate of stale bread rattled at the ground outside his cell, taunting him. In a crazed animal-istic state, he grabbed at the bread through the clawing columns; the thin barbs tearing more of his flesh away as he dragged the bread into his cell. Mocking laughter echoed from the room beside him as he scoffed the food into his mouth, being wary to avoid the two teeth on his right side that had been torn from his gums two days ago. The stale, partially moulded, loaf tasted so good in his crippling hunger. As a kid, he would never have accepted such a meal.
Days Of Innocence - Promise
Will and Nic ran down the gold tinted hallways, swinging their crusty brown bread sticks at one another. Giggling in amusement – they both struck and parried as they played within the maze of corridors. Behind them they left crumbs of bread and their roaring parents. “William.” “Nicholas.” “Get back here at once!”
The young prince and noble just laughed as they continued their sword fight throughout the castle. Landing a bakery slap across the face of the blonde royal's cheek.
“One point to me.” Nicholas smirked at his good friend. “You cannot best me willy.”
Countering Nic's insult, William swung his own bread stick sword at his enemy; Nicholas stopped and ducked the strike with adequate ease. Nicholas had already started his training to be a knight, and his skills were already noticeable in comparison to the untrained prince.
“You think you're smart don't you, well guess-” Will's speech was cut of as he slammed into the butler's rigid body.
“Prince Leonard, Master Barshka.” The black suited butler looked from one of the mischievous children to the other. “Food is meant for eating, not for playing with.”
Nicholas Barshka and William Leonard looked at each other and nodded simultaneously. Both screaming a loud battle cry, they cracked their combined loaves at the butler's head. The two sticks shattered into shards of crust and clumps of bread. Celebrating their victory with laughter, the two children escaped the frowning butler to the castle's eastern side entrance.
“Those two can be rather woeful.” The butler brushed off his clothes and turned towards the doorway. “Children will be children I suppose.”
“We sure showed him!” Barshka raised his arm in victory as they ran through the flower garden, trampling the colourful petals into the soil; they headed to their usual hiding spot within the hedge maze. Moving through the twisting paths of the green, they knew their way through the cryptic labyrinth off by heart.
“You've really gotten better with that training.” Richard smiled at Nicholas, acknowledging his defeat at his beast friend's hand.
Barshka laughed louder than usual and grinned none too gallantly. “Pure talent.”
Hooking a left then a right, followed with a couple more lefts they reached the small hole in the hedge that lead to their secret base.
Crawling through the sinister little branches of hedge, they entered their makeshift cubby. A pair of cushions rested against one part of the unclipped square space. Above the two cushions, a sheet of cloth was strung between the hedge walls like a pergola; a length of cloth they had stolen from a nearby fabric maker. Being a prince and noble meant they rarely got into trouble from the peasants; the fabric shop though held a different appeal – a young girl with crimson hair that always wore her locks in braided low pigtails. A girl that Nicholas was infatuated with.
William opened a nearby box and pulled out a bag of chocolate chip biscuits, a meal much more appealing than the bread, soup and salad that was supposed to be their lunch. “How is the crank going?”
The image of Barshka's gruff, sour-faced trainer appeared in his mind. With a snort he mimicked the sword master's voice “You need to pay more attention!”
“So as bitter as usual hey. It sounds as painful as all my royal duties.”
The two exchanged a smile as they shared their burdens.
“Still, I shall be the greatest knight ever. I will be first through the breaches; I will be a hero.”
“Yeah, well I will be a King!” William poked out his tongue.
“Guess you'll need me to protect you hey. Frail little Willy.” Nicholas lowered himself into his cushion as though he were an old man.
The prince dropped into his own cushion and leant back comfortably. “Please, I'll probably be the one saving you when you get your ass handed to you. After all, as King I will have enough power to do whatever I want.”
Nicholas moved his hand out towards his comrade. “A promise then. We shall protect and save each other. If something happens, we will be there as fast as we can.”
Grasping Nic's hand the two gave one heavy shake. “As fast as I can whip you in a race.”
Grinning at their pact, they simultaneously declared their deal before stealing a biscuit each from their secret stocks of goodies.
Swallowing the last lump of dried bitter bread, Barshka stared down at his right palm caked in dried black blood and dirt. It had been seven days he had been trapped within this hell; he knew his best friend could run faster than that. Clenching his fist, a single tear sneaked out from his left eye. Where was Will; he surely had to come soon, right?
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Dec 11, 12 at 8:11am ^re: The Chronicles
The Coil: Leo
Welcome. How would you introduce yourself in your own words?
Leo (scratches himself behind the ears): Well I was kind of hoping that Kovu would get here before we had to start, but I suppose he's running late. Anyway, you can call me Leo. I know it's not a very original name, but I guess the scientists who created me thought it was appropriate. For those who don't already know, I'm only half human, with the other half being cat (looks down at himself). I walk and talk just like any other person, though there are a few... Differences. Fur, claws, tail, that sort of thing.
Leo: There's not much else to say really. I enjoy fighting, riding my motorbike, and dressing in black. Oh yeah, I'm also a vigilante on the run from a corporation led by a mad scientist named Glados.
Leo (blinking slowly): I probably should have mentioned that part earlier.
What reason or reasons lead you to become involved in duels?
Leo: There are a lot of reasons really. Sometimes a person will get between me and something Grey Matter Industries related, so then of course I'll have to fight my way through them to get to it. Sometimes there's a misunderstanding. I'll knock over someone's coffee or bump into someone on the street, and then suddenly the two of us are trying to kill each another in a feline/human deathmatch. Sometimes an individual will be just too evil or too insane for me to leave alone, and I'll have to (mimes a quick one-two jab) - them up a little.
Leo: And sometimes when I'm really bored, I'll fight someone just for the fun of it. Can't say that it's always the smartest decision, but it usually is the most interesting (shrugs). What can I say? I'm a simple cat with simple tastes.
Do you have any favourite people/places/events from your past?
Leo (sitting up straight): Now there's an interesting question. My favourite place would definitely be the Grey Matter Industries facility where I was born. I lived there for 14 years, and while it wasn't always the most stimulating place, it was my home. I have a lot of good memories of my time there, even after how things ended.
Leo: As for favourite people, Jack Reynolds would definitely be one of them (turns away). I know I don't talk about him much, but he's really the closest thing I've ever had to a dad. All the other staff at the Grey Matter Industries base put up with me because it was their job, and because they would be fired if they didn't. Jack wasn't like that. Even when he had the day off he would come in, and we would talk and play together. He was always helping me, and ultimately he sacrificed himself to free me. Really, no words could describe how I grateful I am for what he did.
Leo: I'm not sure if he counts because he's still around, but Kovu would be another one of my favourite people. If Jack is sort of like my dad, then Kovu is a lot like my big brother. We argue a lot, but I know he's just trying to look out for me. I mean it can't be easy, working for Grey Matter Industries while at the same time secretly trying to shut them down. He's strong and smart, and I have a lot of respect for him.
Leo (looking over his shoulder): Just don't tell him I said that last part.
What are you currently up to?
Leo: Well right now I'm keeping a low profile. I blew up a whole convoy of Grey Matter Industries trucks just a few days ago, so the company has tons of soldiers searching the city for me. I'm actually hiding out in a Grey Matter safe house at the moment, and I know that sounds really stupid, but just know that it wasn't originally my idea.
Leo: You see, Kovu told me that the corporation doesn't monitor their own safe houses. He also told me that he knows which buildings are being used and when. As long as I tidy up before I leave, nobody will ever suspect a thing.
What are your hopes/plans/expectations for the future?
Leo: My plans for the future can basically be broken down into three simple goals (starts counting off his fingers). 1: Discover the truth behind why exactly me and the other experiments were created. 2: Shut down Grey Matter Industries and all of their illegal operations and activities. 3: Kill Glados.
Leo (scratching behind his ears again): Though not necessarily in that order.
Being half cat, do you have a habit of sleeping in ridiculous locations e.g. on top of computers?
Leo (shaking his head): I can happily tell you that this is nothing more than a stereotype. While I do sleep on the back of lounges, in cupboards, under chairs, in boxes and on top of pot plants, I do not sleep on computers.
Leo (eyes narrow): Though maybe if I could find one big enough...
Do you like pie? If so, what is your favourite flavour?
Leo: Well, that depends. As a cat, I lack the necessary receptors in my tongue to taste sweet things. That includes both fruit and dessert pies.
Leo: Though if you're talking about meat pies, then yes (grins), I love to eat a good pie.
You seem to have taken to human pop culture quite a bit during your time in the world - are there any films you really like, series you follow, games you totally own at or similar you'd like to mention?
Leo: Well there's a bit of a story behind that, actually. While I was living at the Grey Matter Industries base, someone early on decided it would be a great idea to raise me completely ignorant of the world's media. Movies, TV, games and books (throws up his arms), I wasn't allowed to have any of that stuff!
Leo: Jack Reynolds, however, thought that was stupid. Sometimes late at night, he'd bribe the guards and we'd go into one of the break rooms. He would bring games and cartoons and stuff, and we'd sit there and play/watch them. He always got into heaps of trouble afterwards, so we couldn't do it very often, but we had so much fun it didn't even matter.
Leo: Most of my favourites come from those nights. We watched a lot of Disney movies, so you can put most of those on the list. We also watched quite a few of the old Batman and Spider-Man cartoons, and a lot of other superhero shows now that I think about it. I remember Super Smash Brothers was our most played video game, even though I didn't know who half the characters were. Oh and Spyro the Dragon (claps hands)! I absolutely loved Spyro the Dragon, which me and Jack used to take turns playing.
Leo: I haven't really had many chances to play video games or watch cartoons since I went on the run, though I do stop by shopping centres and the cinema on occasion. Really, I love all kinds of media, and all the little bits and pieces I've seen so far just make me more excited to see what else is out there.
I just flipped a coin, guess what it landed on?
Leo (a little unsure, the feline looks behind himself, then turns back around with a long, furry appendage in hand): Tails?
Is there any weapon or special ability you wish you could get from another duelist?
Leo: Well as long as they don't come with all that emotional baggage, I wouldn't mind having some of Emote's powers. I get shot at a lot, so invulnerability would be kind of nice. And really, who wouldn't want the ability to manipulate energy into shapes and weapons?
Leo: I think Clief's sword can summon a dragon, so that would be pretty cool. It would also be awesome to practice necromancy like Ged does. Don't get me wrong, I'm not evil, but I am very practical. If those corpses are just going to be lying there, why not have them do something useful before you bury them?
Which duelist seems like they'd be the funnest to play with?
Leo: Definitely Basis. We're pretty similar when you think about it, what with us both being genetic experiments that enjoy fighting. It was really fun to battle him, and I think he would be a fun person to play games with as well.
Leo: Though if he tries to make me his pet again (suddenly becomes serious), there will be blood.
Have you ever had the urge to eat Crysis and Zone?
Leo: Well it's nothing personal, but I did inherit a lot of instincts from my feline genetics. One of those instincts is that small furry things are unquestionably delicious, and should be caught and eaten whenever possible (licks his lips). So when you think about it, it's really not my fault. In fact, it's their fault for being so tasty. Crysis and Zone are pretty good-natured, so I'm sure they understand (stomach suddenly rumbles), though I am sort of hungry now...
What is your favourite colour, food, and day of the week?
Leo: My favourite colour is green, my favourite food is hotdogs, and my favourite day of the week is Monday (grinning), mostly because nobody else seems to like Monday.
Leo (ducks his head a little): Though the one time I tried combining them made me long for Tuesday...
This one is for both Leo and Kovu. Can each of you tell us one embarrassing secret about the other?
Leo (hears a knock on the door): Come in!
Kovu (enters the room): I noticed you didn't lock the door, or ask me for the password for that matter. Are you trying to get yourself killed?
Leo: No, but right now I'm busy trying to answer this question. You and me are each supposed to reveal one embarrassing secret about the other... But since I don't have any embarrassing secrets, we can just skip right ahead to-
Kovu (sitting down): Oh no, I'm not letting this opportunity pass me by (turns to face the camera). Leo once spent an entire week wearing ladies underwear, and told me, and I quote: "Wow, you'd think all that lace would just get in the way, but it's really quite comfy".
Leo: Hey! I only wore those because I was short on clean underwear that week, and because I found an old box of clothes in an alleyway, and because I liked the silk (clears throat). To change the subject, Kovu loves rap music.
Kovu: That is not true, I simply-
Leo: He has over 400 gigabytes of hip hop uploaded onto his armour, bought a shirt signed by Snoop Dog on eBay, and once nearly failed a mission because he made a detour to visit a Rap Festival happening in New York.
Kovu (suddenly very quiet): Moving on...
Do you seriously expect me to believe that people don't notice you're a cat just because you wear a hood and gloves? People can't be that stupid!
Leo: Well I don't really do anything particularly sneaky. You'd be surprised how invisible you can be when you just keep your head down and don't say anything. I mean, most people don't even look up when they walk past you on the street, and even fewer try to get a good look at your face. And even if someone does notice there's something different about me, most of the time they'll just think I have a thick beard or that I'm wearing a mask or something (laughs a bit). Because really, which is more plausible, a guy with a lot of hair, or a walking, talking cat?
Leo: That's not to say I've never been caught, because I have been caught, dozens of times. But whenever that happens I just get on my bike and head to the next town (shrugs). That usually works.
Are there any more "secret successes" like Kovu that you know of? Would you like to meet them if there are any?
Leo: Well we don't know anything for sure, but Kovu did come across some interesting stuff in the Grey Matter Industries database a few weeks ago.
Kovu: Indeed. While looking through some of the company's old reports, I found some missions assigned to an operative referred to only as "R". Most of the information was classified, but the only other person who has a similar codename is myself, "K". I don't know whether this experiment was created before or after us, but whoever they are they've completed all their missions successfully, so we can't underestimate them.
Leo: As for whether we'd like to meet them, I don't think we really have a choice in the matter. If we're going to take down Grey Matter, sooner or late we're going to have to deal with this experiment. If we're lucky they can help us, if not, theeen there might be a problem.
What is your preferred method of taking someone out?
Leo: Well, I don't like to kill a person unless I have to, so I guess my preferred method would be a shot to the foot. As long as they can stop the bleeding they should survive, plus it's funny to watch them hop around and swear. What about you (turns to Kovu)?
Kovu: A simple sword thrust to the chest (notices Leo frown) - I do try to avoid confrontation whenever possible, but if I need to take someone down, then I take them down. Not everyone is as merciful as you are, Leo.
Leo: I suppose I understand (sighs). Next question...
You're in a lab, rescuing experiments. They've all left and it's just you, sweeping the area before GMI back-up arrives. There's a red button. There are no signs saying what it does, or whether or not you should push it. It is on the north wall of the room, there is nothing else on this wall, only the red button, dead centre. Would you push the button?
Leo: I don't think the question is so much "Would I press it?" as much as "How long before I press it?". I mean should I give myself a few minutes and build up some suspense? Or should I just tap it right away and be done with it? The way I see it, a button is there to be pressed, otherwise it wouldn't be there in the first place. So to answer your question, yes I would press the button.
If you had the choice, would you want to be a regular human instead of half cat, like you are now?
Leo (crosses his arms): No.
Kovu (turns): No?
Leo (nods): No.
Do you have a birthday? And if you do, just how do you celebrate it?
Leo: You know, I don't think I ever actually asked anyone whether or not I have a birthday. I was grown in a tank, so I guess my birthday would be whenever the scientists let me out of it. I think Jack did once bring in some cake and party decorations when I was younger, but when I spat out the chocolate frosting and popped all the balloons, I guess he stopped trying.
Leo: So I guess I don't celebrate my birthday. I've never really had much use for presents or celebrations anyway, so why start now?
So, you and furries, what do you have to say on the matter?
Leo (looks at Kovu): What's a furry?
Kovu: As far as I can tell, people who dress up and pretend to be animal people like us.
Leo: Well, that sounds pretty weird. But I suppose I would have to meet someone like that before I could judge them (shrugs). So as long as they're not hurting anybody, then I guess I'm okay with it.
Whatever happened to you being the undisputed ruler of the world? And what about all your election promises?
Leo: Election promises (scratches his nose)? Wasn't that part of a dream I had once?
Kovu: Was that the dream where I was a woman and naked in your bed?
Leo: No, that was a different dream. In this one I made a big speech about kittens and animal rights, and then I got elected the undisputed ruler of the world, and then I was murdered in my limo on the way to the celebration party.
Kovu: Very well. Oh, and Leo?
Leo: Yes, Kovu?
Kovu: Please keep me out of all your dreams, fantasies and hallucinations in the future (whiskers twitch). Your imagination frightens me.
Let's assume you manage to defeat Glados, destroy the evil of Grey Matter Industries, rescue your brothers and sisters, and finally accomplish your mission... What comes next?
Leo: That is actually... A very good question. I mean, shutting down Grey Matter Industries is already a huge deal all on its own, so I've never really thought of what I'd do beyond it.
Leo: I suppose the first thing I'd want to do is find out exactly what happened to Jack (stops and takes a breath). I mean... I know he probably died, defending me, but I'd want to know for sure. After that, I suppose it would be nice to just be able to walk down the street without having to worry about Grey Matter Industries assassins or spies. In general, though, I try not to worry too much about the future (smiles). We're a long way from taking down Glados, and even longer from deciding what to do afterwards.
Kovu: As surprising as it sounds, I agree with Leo here. Having a little time off to relax from all my training and missions would be great, but there's no point dwelling on the future. It's a big world out there, and we'll find our place in it one way or another.
If you couldn't be a cat-man, is there any other sort of ___-man you would want to be?
Leo: I'm sure everyone is waiting for me to say dog-man here, just for the irony, but if I had to choose, honestly I'd want to be a lion.
Kovu (rolling his eyes): There is absolutely no way I would ever allow that to happen. Your ego is big enough without being "king of the jungle" on top.
Leo: But just think of how many Lion King jokes I could make if I was (shakes his head). Assuming a lion is too close to cat, maybe some kind of bird? They can fly, and I think that would beat out almost anything other animals could offer.
What exactly is Glados? I mean the guy survived having his arm cut off, how did he do that?
Leo: I have no idea. Really, I can count the facts the two of us know for sure about Glados on one paw. We know that he's the CEO of Grey Matter Industries. We know he's evil, not to mention completely insane. And we know that he has somehow survived several extremely damaging and fatal injuries. That's all we have, he could be a robot, a demon, or something else entirely. We have no idea.
Kovu: Research on him hasn't yielded a thing. It's like the man doesn't even exist, at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned. I expect the only way we'll ever get answers regarding Glados is if we beat them out of him (unsheathes one of his katanas). Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Is catnip a drug?
Leo: Well, as funny as it sounds, I've never actually come across any catnip (looks thoughtful). I know that it's a herb, and that the smell and taste of it makes cats go a little loopy, so I suppose you could call it a drug. I have no idea whether it would actually affect me, though.
Kovu: Catnip, or Nepeta Cataria, only affects roughly 50% of felines anyway. So the odds of the two of us reacting to it are very small. And yes, by the written definition, catnip is indeed a drug.
Leo (sticking out his tongue): You are such a nerd!
Do you think adding flight capabilities to your motorbike would be a good idea? I may have the contact details for a few reasonably above-board mechanics...
Leo (eyes light up): Wow, that would be fantastic (begins rummaging). Just hang on while I find some pen and paper!
Kovu: Before you wanted to be a bird and now you want to turn your bike into a plane, just what is it with you and this obsession with flying?
Leo: Are you saying you wouldn't want a motorcycle that could fly?
Kovu (looks away): Well I never said that...
How did you get your hands on all those weapons? And have you ever thought about adding more to your arsenal?
Leo: Back when I was living at the Grey Matter Industries base, I spent a lot of time building things in the workshop. Most of it fell apart as soon as I put it down on a desk, but I still learned loads anyway. When I started visiting the firing range and learning more martial arts, I had the bright idea of modifying guns and weapons as well. That's how I got my hands on my blade guns, shotgun and rocket launcher, as well as a good part of my bike. It's kinda funny actually, I'm good at two things: making things and breaking things.
Leo: I don't have access to that workshop anymore, so I've mostly just stuck to repairs since I went on the run. I've had a few new ideas since I left, such as a blade rifle, and some new type of explosive I don't really want to talk about, but I just haven't had the resources to try and build them.
This isn't a question. Bike race me. Now. Into the sunset of ultimate destiny.
Leo (looks confused): Umm, sorry, who is this? I sort of need a name, as well as a time and place before I can say yes.
Kovu: It can't be that difficult to work out. How many people do you know that own a motorcycle and would challenge somebody like this?
Leo (points to himself): Well...
Kovu (sighs): Besides yourself, Leo.
Leo: Wait, I know who this is! It's that guy, the one with the gauntlet that travels through different dimensions! His name is... Umm, it's right on the tip of my tongue.
Kovu: Do you remember what the first letter of his name was?
Leo: I think it started with a T, no, it definitely started with a B. Blake or Blaze or something (rubs his temples). I think it was Blaze.
Kovu: Well there you go (turns to face the camera). I think you can consider your challenge accepted, Mr Blaze.
Leo (still rubbing his temples): Or was it Blair?
Do you have any last words you'd like to add?
Leo: Well, first I'd like to give a shout out to everyone I've fought over the last few years, win, lose or draw. Whether you were a vampire scientist with evolving weaponry or just some guy who pulled random equipment out of his jacket, I had fun battling all of you. I'm also really looking forward to all the fights I'll be having with you guys in the future. Whether it's a rematch with an old foe or a battle with a new enemy, I'm sure it's all going to be awesome.
Leo: And second, if you don't mind me breaking the fourth wall for a moment, I'd also like to say thank you to all the other members of the Neo-Duelist League. You're all fantastic writers in your own right, and Bale Fire will eat his jacket if at least a few of you don't manage to publish a book someday. You've all helped to him grow as a writer since he started posting here, and it's been a great experience working with you all. And of course a special thank you to Fyrestorm, for making everything on this forum possible.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Jan 04, 13 at 4:28am ^re: The Chronicles
"... And to the left... We see part of a kitchen... Used for cooking" the tour guide droned to the group.
"And on the right we see the previous group, who opted for a far more painless death than trying to finish the tour" Zone imitated under his breath. He gestured to the other side of the hall, where the wall opened to reveal an assortment of skeletons reclined in iron maidens and similar torture devices.
Crysis, who was the only one near enough to hear this, stifled a giggle. The two furballs had joined a tour through the ruins of an ancient castle. So far, this had meant a tedious stop-riddled trudge down dilapidated passageways lit by tacky modern fixtures. "Aw, it's not that bad is it?" the squirrel asked.
"At least they get to sit down!" Zone replied. "I don't know how anyone can stare at most of this stuff for more than ten seconds. It's a brick wall and half a stove, you've got one at home, intact and more advanced" he threw his paws up. "I mean you can't even go ahead to any stuff you do like, the group needs to stick together. It's a linear, barriered path, what's the danger? Getting lost, or trying to steal priceless pieces of rusting metal?" the rodent ranted, offending omniscient museum fans everywhere.
Crysis fought a guilty snicker. "U-um, I think the group's moving on. Shouldn't we follow?" he pointed out, noticing the others departing. They had hung toward the back, mainly to avoid getting underfoot.
"Nah" Zone said, waving a paw. "I've had enough dullness for one decade. I think this is the right part of the ruins, let's start" he added, cracking his fists together keenly. Crysis nodded, and they looked around. Spotting a crack in the back wall of the old kitchen, they darted over to it and slipped inside.
The fissure was narrow and utterly lightless, but this posed little adversity for Crysis and Zone, being rodents after all. They crawled through gaps between soil and brick, venturing down to the basement floor of the castle. The hamster's ongoing research suggested a Heart Of Sin had resided here once, and that meant it might still. Zone sensed out periodically with the Heart Of Famine, still building his proficiency in its power, and needing to stop to focus. He was certain something was down here.
Eventually the rodents emerged into an open space. They looked around the wide, low square room, brushing a little dirt from their fur. The ceiling had broken, daylight leaking through and allowing them to see properly. "I wonder where that comes out" Crysis pondered, gazing at the jagged patch of sky.
Before Zone could answer, shadows flitted across them. Dark avian shapes circled down through the sunlight, full of palpable menace. "They aren't alive!" Zone called out quickly, using Famine's sight to confirm what the visibly-rotted silhouettes suggested. The rodents split up as the flock dived at them.
Zone rushed forward and slid under a snapping beak, slashing along the bird's underside as it swept over him. It folded up and crashed to the floor, shattering like porcelain. He hopped to his feet, and a different bird fired off a wave of razor feathers, making him dive flat again beneath the surprise attack.
Crysis was running from another enemy chasing him down with talons bared. As it lunged he sprang straight up, back-flipping over its snapping beak to land on its back. The bird rose and tried to shake him off, Crysis clutching on tightly between its thrashing wings. Another one swept in to claw him off and he kicked away, triggering the bomb he'd placed and catching both in the blast. They were quite low-grade foes - simple animals dulled by undeath with few compensations, though one real mistake could still prove lethal. There weren't that many either, Zone picking off the last one as Crysis landed.
"Psh, featherweights" Zone quipped. Crysis wasn't half so bluff, noticing movements in the shadows.
"I-I think they were only the start" he said warily, as a dozen skeletons with bladed weapons stalked into the light. Zone twirled his own armaments and nodded to him, and they both charged to engage.
"Good old undead. Nice morally spotless carnage!" Zone whooped as he dodged around a rusty axe blade, leaping onto the arm swinging it. He scurried up into the creature's ribcage and started to dismantle it from within, equally hindered and helped by its companions stabbing into it to reach him.
Crysis had gotten to chest height, springing from carcass to corpse through a clockwork of swinging blades, leaving souvenirs at each stop. He tossed a bomb beneath one harassing Zone, demolishing it and boosting his friend up. Crysis leapt toward him and caught his paw, whipping the lighter rodent around towards a fresh opponent, Zone promptly engraving his signature into its skull. The skeletons were bigger targets, with more reach but less speed. This wasn't working out in their favour, the agile rodents churning through them handily. Crysis landed as his latest gift was explosively received, and spotted a new threat approaching. "Um, w-weird... Ghostly robey thingies!" he tried to speed-assess.
Zone turned towards the new challenge, the previous one vanquished. There were, indeed, humanoid levitating robes, seemingly manifesting in the gloom. "Keep 'em coming" he grinned, sizing them up.
The hamster got what he asked for. As they hovered forward one of the cloaks vanished, reappearing behind him. Zone yelped as flames erupted from its vacant sleeves, launching himself desperately to one side. The magical flamethrower pursued him until a bomb from Crysis annihilated the caster, but Zone didn't stop, his tail being on fire. "Ow-ow oww!" the rodent hissed, trying to blow it out first, then sitting and grinding it out on the stone. Another one tried the same trick and he span and leapt, swinging. The cloak disintegrated around his lightsabre, unravelling to nothing. "Ha! All that firepower and you're that bad at taking a hit?" Zone taunted. Crysis coughed and remaining tactfully silent.
The squirrel weaved rapidly through further spell-slinging. A mage projected some sort of transparent shockwave at him, severing a few strands of fur as he avoided it on instinct. The phasing made them difficult targets, so Crysis adjusted his approach, chucking a bomb back. The robe shifted away, but a second soon appeared close by, triggering the proximity sensor and getting itself blown up. Crysis turned to see Zone snipe his original target with a hoodshot, and he realised it had been the last one.
"Is... That the end?" he asked tentatively. As if in answer, the wall behind him exploded inwards, the displaced rubble assembling into half a dozen human-sized golems. "Guess not" Crysis' ears wilted.
"Man even the walls. Did they have sinks in their kitchens back then, I wasn't paying attention" Zone said, pretty chuffed that the scenery itself was being summoned to oppose them. He blasted an arm off the closest golem experimentally. It rained on his parade by staggering back, and then starting to regenerate the demolished limb. "Ah" the hamster said pausingly. That could prove problematic.
"Maybe it needs a focused attack" Crysis suggested. He jumped onto the thankfully slow, lumbering creature, avoided its clumsy grabs and started planting a series of bombs on it. It upset his plans by shifting its rocky shape, an extra limb erupting beneath him as he leapt away on reflex. It caught his tail in a fist and the rodent yelped in pain, getting swung around. Zone quickly switched his aim from the rest, severing the new arm before the original pair caught his friend. Crysis tugged his tail free as it landed and ran, triggering the bombs as soon as he was clear. The resulting debris failed to reform.
Zone destroyed another with a high-yield laser. The solution was clear, though pricy, and the rodents eradicated the tough, yet sluggish foes with a barrage of beams and bombs. "Anything else? C'mon, surprise me..." Zone bounced gamely as the dust settled. Once again, he got what he asked for.
"I know that voice..." someone said, their own echoing faintly. Both rodents turned to the hole in the wall left by the golems. After a moment two human figures stepped through it, and then stopped.
Both parties stared in silence. Zone broke it. "Alright, what are you guys doing here?" he asked.
[color=#666666]This message was edited on 2013-04-21T14:05:21-07:00.
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Jan 08, 13 at 5:07am ^re: The Chronicles
"And that's what we're doing here" Zone said, finishing his explanation. He started to check his laser.
"Right, now it all makes sense" the person next to him replied. They kept looking at him expectantly.
"What?" the rodent asked after a second, pausing as he noticed the staring. The other party faltered.
"Oh, um. I just thought you would repeat what we had talked about" he responded, a little awkwardly.
"What would I do that for?" Zone asked, confused. The boy began trying to answer, but gave up on it.
They continued through the underground level of the castle, aided by the light of a modern torch. The one holding the torch was called Reiko, and the one Zone had been talking to was Arson. Reiko was a vampire who had a pale complexion, short neat raven hair, and wore an open black jacket on top of a white shirt, grey jeans, and black shoes. Arson also looked human, but was the late-teen offspring of an angel and devil. He had free-falling auburn hair, was a bit shorter than Reiko, and wore a closed black long coat, blue jeans, and sneakers. Zone was sat on Reiko's shoulder, and Arson held Crysis.
"We may be here for the same root reason. Those entities you fought sound a lot like something our target would employ" Reiko said, sweeping the hallway with his torch. Being a vampire, he was even better adapted to darkness than the rodents, but that didn't mean he was inconsiderate. The castle's passages were mouldy and cluttered down here, most of them ending abruptly at a collapsed ceiling.
Arson nodded. "Mhm, that's what we came prepared for. If we got there sooner we coulda helped" he chipped in with slight apology. "Then Mr Squirrel would still be 100%!" he cradled Crysis and stroked his tail gently, the rodent having hurt it in the last battle. Crysis laughed and churred his appreciation.
Zone smirked as he watched the display. He turned to Reiko. "Y'know, I hurt my tail too..." he began.
"My condolences" Reiko said smoothly, long wise to the hamster. Zone pouted, snapping his fingers.
"So... You reckon everything we fought was just conjured by this demon boss to stop us?" he asked after a bit, checking his laser; it was on 70% charge. Crysis had used up about a third of his bombs.
"Principally, yes, though 'baron' is more accurate. He is adept at dark magic; animating the dead, or stone, are principle of his trade, and those spectres sound like a common proxy agent. They're fragile, but can be used for transmitting spells and observation..." the vampire illuminated a heavy, oak door as he spoke. He nodded to Arson, and the teenager set Crysis down carefully. Zone slid down Reiko's metal quarterstaff as he drew it from his back, hopping off the end armed and ready.
“Did I mention I miss having you about? You’re so useful for exposition” Zone quipped. Reiko gave him a quick look, but focused on the door, which had a visible reddish light leaking out from under it once he switched off his torch. Arson drew his own weapons of choice, two short swords by the name of Dragon and Phoenix. Subdued flames began licking up their blades. He got into position.
Reiko lifted up his leg and kicked the door open, diving through it in a roll. "Dynamic entry!" Arson yelled as he followed right behind, the rodents flanking him on either side. The chamber was lit by Hellishly pulsing arcane symbols scattered over the floor and walls, most of them concentrated in the centre. Several more medieval-armed skeletons stood in some kind of court or personal guard for the beast that towered behind them. It was stooping to stand in the room, and was at a glance a bestial, yet bipedal hybrid of man and goat. "Why a goat?" Zone asked, as they charged in.
A whirling axe came flying out of the skeletal horde. Reiko deflected it off his staff and the demon bellowed. The vampire twisted aside from a sword swipe and slammed his weapon round into the attacker, breaking them apart. He flipped the staff over to block a mace lunging toward his spine.
"Die evil weight watchers!" Arson cheered, driving his swords through another skeleton's body. He pulled it apart like a pair of curtains, flexing the unnatural strength of his lineage. The goat demon turned its fiery eyes to him, and performed an intricate gesture with its great clawed hands. Black flames rose beneath the hybrid, and he agilely vaulted away as they singed his legs. He landed a bit roughly, and a blast shot past his shoulder to cut down an enemy near his flank. A flung bomb obliterated another skeleton drawing its arm back to hurl its weapon, and Arson smiled gratefully.
Together they had made fast work of the small fries. The goat demon roared furiously, abandoning complex magic in favour of brute force and charging. Reiko rushed to intercept, catching its claws with his staff. His lean frame buckled as undead strength fought demonic, the beast leaning down to try to bite his head off while snarling in a guttural language. "A-actually my... Mother was a fine woman!" Reiko grunted, and pivoted aside as it pulled back a claw, its swing gashing his shoulder.
Arson cannoned past the vampire close enough for their flanks to touch, dashing under the arm of the off-balance demon and rising into a back-flip that snapped its head back and body upright. He turned as he ascended, planting his feet on the ceiling and kicking away to launch at its upturned face. Bricks fell from the ceiling as it crashed down, Phoenix and Dragon driven through its horns.
"You're fired!" the hybrid announced, channelling his powers through the weapons. Funnels of flame burst from the demon's mouth and eyes. The creature bucked violently, then shuddered and started crumbling into ashes. Arson leapt clear and took a bow, Zone catcalling and wolf-whistling loudly. A taciturn Reiko merely rubbed his brow, and Crysis chuckled into a paw, going up to him.
"Heh. Um, does that mean we win?" the squirrel asked. Before Reiko could offer his postulations, the glowing symbols around the room blazed anew, erupting up into a cloud of tiny, flying wisps of fire. Zone slashed then reverse-slashed as he pulled back, each swing burning out a flame around his lightsabre, and Crysis took out half a dozen with bombs dropped in his wake. They took cover behind Reiko, who extinguished another dozen against the propeller of his spinning staff - the rest swarmed Arson. The fire-attuned hybrid laughed, trying to catch one as they struck him uselessly.
"I'm afraid not..." the vampire replied, as a spire of luminous blue rock erupted from the floor in the room's centre, changing the lighting. What can only be called evil cherubic statues detached from its surface, taking flight with a warped tittering. Arson, being the closest, spit-roasted one of them.
Reiko twirled his staff, letting Crysis and Zone grab an end each and then spinning it to fling them forwards. The rodents dived in, both leaping from foe to foe to clawing foe, giving bomb keepsakes or laser facial surgery to each. Those they didn't get began a chant that distorted the air, cracking stone wherever it was focused. Reiko slipped through the barrage to swat one down with his staff, slowly working through their number. That's when the giant floating skulls came through the walls.
"Timeout!" Arson yelled, bringing Dragon and Phoenix together in front of him to release a conical torrent of fire. He barbequed half a dozen in the front row, but one dropped through the ceiling and clamped over half his torso. The teen flailed, smacking it on the floor with exaggerated head-butts until Zone shot it off. Reiko broke the jaw of another he had caught mid-bite, but there were more.
Edit: Jan 08, 13 6:29am
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Jan 09, 13 at 7:28am ^re: The Chronicles
Clief awoke to find himself tied to a pole in the centre of a dark room. He could smell moisture in the air, and keep vaguely see the room rusting away. The last thing he remembered was fighting the old man, and losing. He had no idea how long he'd been out for, let alone where he was. Continuing to look around the room, trying to find anything that would help his situation, he saw his sword leaning against a wooden chair; it was still dull. There was a window in the roof; the only source of light and from the looks of it, it was night time. The moonlight was bright, so Clief assumed it was close to a full moon, which meant he was only out cold for a few days. He tried to break the binds around his wrist only to realise the heavy duty chains bolted to the ground. With his hands behind the pole he couldn't use any of his strength to break them; he was stuck. He tried to use telepathy to get his sword to him, but it didn't move. He could no longer hear Duegan either, just as the man had said. The only voice inside his head was his own; and it told him to destroy.
“Let's see if our guest has awoken yet shall we?” spoke a familiar voice.
The large steel door slid open, revealing a bright light, disorientating Clief for a few seconds. While his eye's adjusted he could hear footsteps walk towards where the chair was. He could see a figure now, unable to make out what it was yet.
“This blade is truly a nice piece of work, too bad it ended up in the hands of some trash.”
Clief could see the back of a man now, holding his sword. He turned around and sat on the chair, a large grin on his face. Clief tensed up as he saw his face, rage completely enveloping his own. He used all his strength to break the chains now, tearing the bolt out of the ground, but still bound to the pole.
“Now, now, you wouldn't think I'd let a measly bolt hold you back would I? How silly that would be; no you're bound to the pole by a spell. The chains are just for show,” he cackled.
The man in front of him was Cotib; the same man who turned Clief into what he was now. The Tyen was still struggling to break the seal, inflicting damage on his shoulders as he did so. His face was turning red now as he tried to melt the steal wrapped around his wrists. Burning his skin, he also lightly healed at the same time, impressing even Cotib.
“I suppose I can see why Heclim would have an interest in you. Using two magic's at your age, and with no training too. Still, you are untrained, and weak too.”
“That's enough Cotib, I would suggest that you leave before he breaks your seal and I have to wait till he wakes up again from me knocking him out,” the old man walked into the room.
Cotib cursed underneath his breath, leaving the room as he did so. Clief had managed to free his hands from the steel, still unable to move them though. It seemed his hands were truly bound to the pole, stealing Clief's mobility away from him. He stared at the old man, his killing aura began to surround him again, darkening the room.
“I'm not here to harm you young boy so settle down, or I'll make you!”
Remembering what happened the last time he faced this man, his instincts told him to do just that. Being unable to defend himself made the situation worse for him. Instead he just stared at the old man in the eye's waiting for him to speak next.
“You may be wondering how a human beat you. Well it's quite simple really, here let me explain it to you. I'm assuming you can still hear me somewhere in there.” The old man sat in the chair, looking Clief directly in the eyes as he spoke. “Basically you're weak. You've become weak in your current state of mind, sure you can kill unarmed people, but against a trained human.., well you're nothing. Don't forget the fact that you've lost your super strength without the aid of your spirit. See how dull your sword is, that means it's somewhere in there; lost. So, first things first, we need to bring you back. The only way to do that is to face your fears, hence Cotib.” The mention of Cotib angered Clief a bit. “Well I think that's enough information for one day. We'll chat again tomorrow.”
The old man stood up, stretched out his back and walked out of the room, sliding the steel door shut. Clief could hear the grinding of a lock being activated, the room dark again. He was left bound to the pole with nothing but his thoughts, still saying destroy.
It had been several days since Clief woke up in this room. He had seen Cotib many times as well, torturing his body and mind. The old man had told him that he was here to help 'bring him back' somehow, Clief wasn't sure what that meant though. There was nothing wrong with him in his eyes, apart from being bound to a pole. His thought process had slowly changed from 'destroy', to 'kill that bastard'. Today, he had awoken to the face of the old man in front of him, severely invading his personal space. Clief tried to bite his nose, narrowly missing and instead swallowing air.
“How are you feeling today?” He asked.
Clief mumbled to himself, causing the man to look quite shocked. It was the first kind of response Clief had made besides glaring. This pleased the old man, it meant he was making progress, this lead to a rather abrupt decision. He called Cotib into the room and told him to remove the seal on Clief. It wasn't until after a heated discussion that Cotib complied. There was excitement in Clief's eyes, another emotion not seen since he came to this place.
“Before he lets you go, you must promise to not attack him. You have to stay calm and follow me in an orderly fashion. Do you understand?” The old man asked.
Clief took a while to respond to this, his instincts being pushed down and his conscious state of mind beginning to surface again. He nodded in acknowledgement, calming down his previous excitement; some colour returning to his eyes. Clief then witnessed what appeared to be glass shattering around him as Cotib broke the seal. Everyone was anxious to see if the Tyen would keep to his word, and as expected, he hadn't. What little self control he had regained over the last couple of days had disappeared. His instinct to destroy had taken over his mind again, and resulted in him attacking Cotib. Lunging forward, he attempted a right hook so easily readable, Cotib simply sidestepped and grabbed his arm, spun him around and threw him into the wall. Clief crashed in the solid metal, the sound echoing through the room. The old man stepped in now, restraining Clief from further attacking Cotib. With a quick chop tot he back of the neck, the Tyen was once again out cold.
“This is going to take some time I fear...”
Clief woke up to find himself in the Tyen village, a place he hadn't seen since he was thirteen. He remembered all of it, the surrounding forest, the houses circling the village fire, even the training and battle grounds. Everything was exactly how he remembered it, included the large field of grass for when a spirit needed to be summoned. He was instantly filled with joy upon seeing this place, which was quickly replaced with sadness and sorrow. He still hadn't found out what happened, that night. He still hadn't managed to find any survivors yet either, if there were any. Looking around, he felt empty; this place reminded him of a great loss. Something caught his eye though, something out of place. There was a small boy in the field, just staring at Clief as if he was waiting for him. Curious, the Tyen made his way over to the boy, finding his appearance strange. He looked like Clief, only at a younger age, further confusing him more.
“Who are you?” he asked; no response was given. “Okay, you wont talk to me, maybe I have to ask the right question? Wait, why am I talking aloud?”
“Because in this place you have no thoughts,” the boy replied.
“Wait, I've been here before haven't I?” The younger Clief nodded in response, “So, this is the same place the elder sent me?” Again, the younger Clief nodded. “Okay, so why am I here now?”
The boy pointed behind Clief; turning around he saw another figure, a dark figure. It attacked him with his bare hands, jabbing the air as Clief avoided his fists. The blue haired fighter went to pull out his Crystal sword, only to realise it wasn't there.
The lapse in concentration meant Clief being knocked back by a punch to the ribs. The force behind it was strong, almost taking his breath away. With no time to recover, the dark being was on the offensive again. He was relentless; never pausing for a moment and pushing Clief back further and further. Unable to dodge all the attacks, he needed to strike back to catch a break. Looking for an opening he found many in which to attack; finding the time, however, was near impossible. Every time he tried to counter an attack, the next fist would be making it's way to where his face was. Every direction he turned was met with an attack.
“Okay, he's relentless in his attacks, yet his techniques are actually quite sloppy. I just need a slight opening.”
Clief had to resort to dirty tricks to find that opening, kicking up some dirt into the dark figure's face as he stepped back. With the enemy now distracted, Clief punched him away, using a Fireball as he hit his chest. The figure was sent back several meters through the air, his chest now on fire. It gave Clief a chance to catch his breath, only to realise he hadn't lost it.
“Strange, what's going on here. My thought's are a voice, I haven't lost my breath and I'm being attacked by something. I can't piece it together. Something strange is going on here.”
Clief woke up bound to the pole once again. The sun was shining brightly through the sun roof, lighting up the whole room. The chair had been removed and his sword was now leaning up against the wall in front of him. It had regained some of its colour, but was still quite dull. He had been in this room for about a week, give or take a couple of days, and progress was slow. His thought process had changed slightly, no longer longing to destroy everything; just the old man and Cotib. He could hear the lock on the door rattling and watched as it slid open. The old man walked in, still without a name and by himself today.
“It's about time we have ourselves a little chat about what you think you know,” he said.
Clief looked a little confused, it was a pleasing sign for the nameless man, it showed that the Tyen had regained some proper thought process.
“Your will to destroy, the will you've held onto for some months now has been misguided.”
Another look of confusion from Clief, quickly replaced by a sense of irritation. Who was this old man to tell him his anger was misguided. He had no idea what Clief had gone through. He lost his home and everything he knew, only to come to a strange world. When he had come to terms with living in this world, and made new friends, made new bonds, they were taken away again. He had every right to be angry at anything he wanted to be, or so he thought. Upon hearing that his anger had been misguided, he slowly remembered what Cotib said in the hospital, torturing him.
He was working for someone. Is this what he means, did he give the order to do this? No, it wouldn't make sense to be doing all this..then why?
“I see you're thinking things over, that's good. Cotib told you that he was working for someone; someone who may want the last Tyen dead. Now, who do you know that wants to kill the Tyen?”
To kill the Tyen? The Cartaha, everyone knows that, and they pretty much succeeded, what's your point? Get to it before I kill you!
“The Cartaha. So would it then stand to reason that he may be hired by them, or is in fact one of them?”
Cotib, a Cartaha? I knew he had strange powers, but it never occurred to me..
“If what you say is true, then it means you're hired by them as well, which gives me more reason to kill you!”
“Don't be so hasty. You've seen this man as Cotib because it's what we wanted you to see,” Cotib walked through the doorway and stood next to the old man. “What if I told you it was a lie?”
Clief watched as he witnessed the form of Cotib change. He was morphing into another person, shorter and with longer hair. The clothes he wore were now loose on his slim figure. He was a scrawny man, not much muscle on him. This only added more question to Clief, he had been hating a fake and he now doubted what was real, and what wasn't.
“You want to know why I have shown you this, put you through all of this? Well, perhaps tomorrow,” he made his way towards Clief and leant in close, whispering something to him. “Deepen Awake.”
Clief woke up in his home village again, another dream he assumed. The last thing he remembered was the old man whispering something in his ear, but he couldn't remember what. Looking around him he saw the younger version of himself, only now older than last time.
“This is my inner world, isn't it?” Clief asked.
“It is, but you discard it when you are awake,” he replied.
He was in no mood to talk though, looking through Clief and at the figure behind him. The Tyen spun around to see the dark figure of himself again. Clief didn't try to draw his sword this time, he knew it wouldn't be there. He had effectively discarded Duegan in his anger to destroy. The dark figure came at him, but with less ferocity than before. Clief couldn't figure it all out, he had never come to this place since the elder sent him to it, why was he here now.
“What was it that old man whispered to me?” Clief's thoughts were still echoing around, it was his inner world after all, not even his thoughts were safe.
Clief managed to gain the upper hand over his enemy much quicker than before. Landing some blows on the body of him, he pushed the dark figure further back, until it fell over. The places that Clief had hit were cracking, revealing his face to him. He was staring at himself, a much darker version of himself.
“What the hell?”
“That is your hatred, your anger, your lust to destroy. It has taken over this place, and pushed me to the side because of you. What is it that you truly want to destroy? Who is it you truly want to beat? What is it, that you truly want to do?” spoke the younger Clief, now getting slightly older.
“Duegan? If that's you and what you say is true, then I have to beat this guy if I want to take full control.”
Clief woke up to the face of the old man staring straight at him. He looked over at his sword, now returned to its normal colour. The dark aura surrounding Clief was no longer there and his skin tone had returned to normal. In fact, everything had returned back to how it was before Sarah died.
I know what I have to do now and I'll make up for killing all those people, but I can't right now. I'll set things right, and carry out your wish...Sarah.
“Welcome back, Clief Blade.”
Edit: Feb 20, 13 6:07am
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
Jan 10, 13 at 8:16am ^re: The Chronicles
Zone, Crysis, Arson and Reiko were variously slumped over or sitting down in the subterranean room of the castle ruins, catching their breaths. The chamber was still lit by the eerily luminous blue pillar.
"I don't wanna sound like I'm not having fun or anything. Cus I am" Zone said, sitting and panting. He swallowed and looked at Reiko. "But how come we didn't win after we beat the big one? I thought we were going after their leader and the Heart, but I haven't caught any sign of it so far" he asked openly.
The vampire glanced at him, standing but bracing himself slightly with his staff. His clothing and skin had acquired several cuts. "That wasn't the leader. It was more like... Their prizefighter" he answered.
"Why didn't you say that?" Zone said, trying not to sound petulant. Reiko shrugged a bit disarmedly.
"I didn't know until we were inside the room" he admitted. The rodent paused, and then nodded fairly.
"Maybe we had to beat it sometime then. Plus we're all alright" Arson chipped in, sat back against a wall, looking roughed up but wearing it quite well. "Right?" he added, brushing his hand along Crysis' back next to him. A giant skull had risen through the ground underneath the squirrel, who had barely leapt away before he was swallowed whole. It had been quite a shock, the rodent still shaking a little.
"Yeah, I-I'm okay" Crysis said, nodding a bit. "Heh, we've um, met quite a variety today, haven't we?" he remarked, being as brave as he could. Zone came over and scratched his ear, helping soothe him.
"We have, more than most days" Arson agreed, withdrawing his hand once Crysis nodded to say he was alright. "What next?" he asked Reiko. The vampire had gone over to inspect the strange column.
Examining it closely, he noticed small etchings on its surface. "There's a runic syntax... But not one I know" Reiko paused. "However..." he withdrew a sleek phone from a pocket, the others joining him.
"First a torch, now a smartphone" Zone observed. "Where did the Renaissance Reiko go?" he asked.
"Well..." the vampire said, straightening up fractionally. "I thought I should update, a bit. Keep true to my old values while embracing new methods. Kind of optimised, or revised, or..." he rubbed his chin.
"Revamped?" Zone suggested, innocently. Reiko sagged, and then glowered down at the hamster.
"How do you take all I do and bring it low in a word? You wield evil powers" he said. Zone beamed.
"Oh, you'll turn my head with flattery like that" he winked. Reiko growled and flicked the rodent on the ear, Zone wincing and snickering, but biting his tongue. The vampire looked back to his phone.
"I've found translations of the symbols, I think we can use them" he reported, reaching out to tap one. It flared briefly. "Yes, it's open at this end. I can take us to the source, but we might run into immediate opposition" he said. The others nodded. Reiko tapped two runes, the same one twice, and the first one again. A pool of blue light spilled across the floor, swiftly rising to envelope them.
Once the glow receded, the group blinked and looked around. They were in a bizarre underground grotto, filled by outlandish stone arches and pillars and bloody-looking flora. The flowers emitted a strange purple light. Several lesser goat demons, still larger than a man, were calmly grazing, but turned aggressive upon noticing them. Crysis turned to Zone, who rapidly chirruped the key facts: these were alive, but also truly, murderously evil. "Guess we ordered another course" he said.
"This is buffet!" Arson cried, dashing in to tackle three by himself. Reiko and the rodents engaged the others, a wild melee filling the garden. The goats proved respectable foes, quite challenging in numbers. Arson drew considerably on his power to fight them off, Reiko battled tactically, and the rodents played run and gun/bomb and gone. Gradually they started overcoming them, one by one.
Arson scored first blood with a blazing, vertical near-bisection. He threw his powers into blowing a hole through the middle of another, then overpowered a third one-on-one. Reiko went to execute a counter, a claw streaking strands of fire shredding his sleeve and scalding his flesh as he diverted it. His other arm hammered the opponent through a wall, which collapsed and crushed them, and Zone picked one off with precise, efficient blasts while Crysis bombed another into oblivion. Arson roasted one more with a liberal gout of his flame, panting quite heavily, and then there were none.
Collecting themselves, the group had maybe a quarter of a minute to catch their breaths before a pair of large wolves emerged from a dark tunnel at the rear, barking. "What are you yapping about now?!" a voice boomed, and an imposing form strode into the garden flanked by two more wolves.
"That's him" Reiko whispered as the figure beheld the ruined garden. It had a masculine voice and humanoid shape, stood 2 metres tall, and wore or had skin resembling a heavy, bone-like armour.
"This is absolutely typical. You don't splash out for a firewall on one measly, minor portal, you get backdoored and your site's vandalised. Who the Hell are you?" he demanded, his wolves growling.
"Anonymous, yourself? Also, what's with the goats?" Zone got in before anyone else could speak.
The demon bristled in umbrage. "For your information, I am a demon goatherd" he responded with indignity. There was a Mexican Wave of blinks. "Don't look at me that way, it's simple! Shepherds herd sheep, a goatherd herds goats. They're more intelligent and more aggressive" he elaborated.
"... That's silly" Zone said after a brief pause. The goatherd crossed his huge forearms disdainfully.
"This coming from a hamster with a lightsabre?" he snorted. Zone grasped for a reply, then flipped him off, plus Reiko for keeping such a perfectly straight face. "Goat influences-" the demon added.
"Talking stops, chapter's getting too long!" interrupted Arson, who said things like this sometimes.
The towering demon uncrossed his arms, summoning a heavy blade. His demonic wolves snarled and clawed as both sides faced off for the final showdown. Then Reiko took a small case from his pants pocket, extracted a vial of liquid from it, and hurled it at them. "Wait, holy water? A vampire with holy water?!" the demon spluttered, he and his beasts recoiling. They regrouped, but another vial exploded over them, and another. "This is so cheap! How many do you have!?" he roared.
"Ten in fact!" Reiko retorted, hurling yet more. Under his barrage, first the wolves, then finally their master evaporated, their spirits vanquished. Only a small dark gem remained, lying on the ground.
"That was... Anticlimactic. Still, bingo" Zone said, and went to examine it. Reiko shrugged mildly.
"I guess coming prepared is a bit dull, if practical" he admitted, pocketing the now-empty case he had spent a minor fortune filling with such pure holy water. Zone waved a paw, scanning the jewel.
"Nah I shouldn't complain" he replied, but then groaned. "Oh, after all that... Wrong Heart" he reported, sagging. "I can't tell what it is, but it's not one we're after. You want it?" he turned to ask.
"If we may. Studying it could offer a lead" Reiko came over to pick it up. There was a quiet pause.
"... Anyone else wanna go to the gift shop?" Arson asked. There were nods, and they headed out.
Edit: Jan 22, 13 8:26am
|quote quick quote edit quick edit del posts in thread report|
|[All dates in (PST) time]||Threads List « Next Newest Next Oldest »|
|REPLY TO THIS THREAD QUICK REPLY START NEW THREAD||PAGES: «prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 next»|
Powered by neoforums v1.6.5b (aperture)
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. 1999-2013