The Elsewhere Thread.   Posted by Game Operations Director.Group: 0
Iron Nail
 NPC, 50 posts
Tue 3 Aug 2010
at 22:27
A Step Too Far?
Iron Nail sat down in his room, the lights darkened.  He had been distinctly uncomfortable with this dimension ever since he got here.  Annoyingly, it wasn't even something he could place.  Sighing, Nail focused.  It had never come up during his time at Hogwart's or Spirimin, but not only had he initiated into Sorcery (Ebon Dragon style, of course), but he also found a way to learn Necromancy as well.  Despite the pain of the transformation, Iron Nail thought having access to Ghost-affecting spells would be worthwhile in this strange reality.

Sighing once again, Iron Nail intentionally tainted a small portion of his Essence with the essence of Death.  Immediately, his Essence started bleeding out, and the pain becomes overwhelming.  Suddenly, unlike when he used Ultimate Darkness Internalization in Creation, a... consciousness seemed to be awakening in his mind.

The presence grows quickly in his mind, until Iron Nail is looking at himself, though the colors are wrong.  The yellow eyes, however, give Nail a start.  His double just grins.

You probably just figured it out, Nail.  I'm you.  Except better, of course.
---

A bone mask starts flowing into form around Iron Nail's face.

---

Nail stays silent a moment, then laughs.

Better?  I highly doubt that.  You're a ghost, and stuck in my mind.  That's not a good place for you to be.

The Hollow grins still.

Says you.  I'm more dangerous than you could ever be.  I can destroy everything, and everyone, that gets in our way.  You could never do that.  You are a weak, conniving bastard, with no worthwhile powers.

Iron Nail stays silent a moment, then smiles evilly at the Hollow.

And you couldn't manipulate your way out of a paper bag.  Yes, I'm what some would call evil.  Hell, I'm damn good at it.  I think... I think I can make use of you.

The Hollow growls, and bites out an angry response.

Make use of me?  Make use of ME?  You have no idea -

The Hollow's voice cuts off as a wall of shadow forms behind it, and solid shadow shackles pin it to the wall, with one binding it's mouth shut.  Iron Nail walks forward, measuring each step as the Hollow struggles to free itself, black essence surging wildly.

Nail stops, and looks the mirror version of himself in the eye.  Green essence flares, lighting his shadowy eyes and forming a crown.

Acknowledge me as your master.

The hollow growls, yells, strains, and then, grudgingly, nods.  The shadow releases his mouth.

I... You are the Master.

Nail nods.  Green essence flares yet again.

Tell me how to access your power.

The Hollow snarls out its response.

The phrase is: "Bare your fangs, Endriago De Las Noches".

Nail nods again, thoughtfully.  Once more he speaks, green essence flaring and overpowering the Hollow's will.

Swear to me that you will serve me faithfully as long as you exist.  Swear that you will never harm me under pain of dissolution and destruction.  Swear that you - if necessary - will be my sword against my enemies.

The Hollow screams in fury, but cannot bring itself to fire a Cero upon its mirror.  Once again, it grudgingly assents.

I... I swear to do all you ask of me, to never attempt to take control, and to fight as you direct as long as I exist!

As it speaks, Nail's anima flares, binding the Endriago de las Noches to his will, forever.

---

The draconic bone mask has finished forming.  Unbroken, the hollow is revealed, yet Iron Nail's anima flares outward.

As Aki walks by the room, preparing for further training his new student, he glances in.  Taking everything in at once, he shakes his head and walks off.  As he does, the hollow mask breaks apart into Essence and wafts away.  Iron Nail just smiles.
Hanataro
Tue 3 Aug 2010
at 23:33
Brutal Honesty Part 1
Hanataro didn't often visit his Soul Realm. The last time he was there it had represented the 4th barracks, the place he felt most at home. But just like in his dream, the place was now a red ruin, the bodies of 4th squad members littering the way.

Hanataro did his best to squeal down his revulsion. Remember what Aki said. Hisogomeru can't help me, because then he would have to help the other me. And I'm not here to fight Hollow me, but to gain understanding.

----Flashback---------

So in the dream, Hollow-you killed everyone in the Seireitei for revenge, right. Do you honesty feel that way towards them?

No!
Hanataro protested. Well, I don't want them dead. I am angry at, though. I mean, I didn't even realize I was angry at Captain Unohana until the dream, but once I did realize it...This isn't normal. All this anger must be caused by the Hollow.

Actually, it is normal, Hanataro. The things you endured would make anyone mad and drive most people to violence, Hollow non-withstanding. Though in Unohana's defense, I don't think she realizes how bad it's gotten, or she would have interfered. At the very least with the harassment within squad four.

As I said before, Hollows are intrinsically honest. He's telling you the things about yourself you've been denying.


-------------------------

I can't believe I'm wandering around my Soul Realm, without Hisagomeru, looking for insights into myself from a Hollow version of me.

Still, when he found said Hollow, it was all he could do to keep from vomiting. The Hollow was kneeling before Isane's corpse, devouring her. When he noticed his Shinigami half, he gave a bloody grin.

There is nothing in the world as sweet and filling at the taste of revenge. I've almost got this world under my control, it won't be too long till I can taste the real thing, will it?

Hanataro pushed down his revulsion. Who are you?

The Hollow raised an eyebrow. I thought we worked this out. I'm you, remember?

I guess the real question, then, is 'Who am I?'

The Hollow raised an eyebrow, looking almost impressed. You are you, Son of Aesculapius. You are timid, yet determined. Passive, yet furious. You've put on a mask much more solid than mine, to keep yourself from being hurt by the world, instead of hurting it back. For now you are the Master of yourself, but not for much longer. I'm almost strong enough to repress you, you know.

Hanataro faded out of his Soul Realm, the chilling laughter of his other self haunting him.

-

Are you alright Hanataro? Aki asked the small Shinigami.

As much as I can be, I suppose. At least while that thing is still gaining ground.

Aki offered his hand to help the Shinigami up. The warm fertile scent of the jungles outside Spearmin filled the air. He had dropped Momo off with Mari for the remainder of the Hueco Mundo expedition. As far as he could tell, while 4th division had great medics, they were sadly lacking in therapists.

Um, I'm getting a bit hungry. Should we get some breakfast?

Aki grinned. Actually, this will work out well. I warn you, this next part is going to hurt. It was a shame, really. He had hunted down the Golden Tabby specifically for Ichigo and Legion's training was going to make Aki's own obsolete. Still, I think I can tweak this a bit. A small application of Changing Plumage Mastery and...

Hanataro's eye's bugged out slightly as he felt his gigai start to twist around his soul-body. It didn't hurt as much as Aki had warned, probably a failsafe in the Gigai.

Still, Hanataro had suddenly found himself in the body, not gigai, of a large blue-grey tiger.

Malta variant, a rare genetic anomaly. Aki explained. Now come on, your first trial is this way.

Hanataro followed the Lunar into the forest, trying to take in the myrid of smell and sounds. Eventually, Aki made a shushing sound, halting them both. See that over there he pointed to what looked like a beaver with a long rait-like tail. That's a Nutria. Kill it.

Hanataro's mouth dropped. But why? it's harmless, isn't it?

Yes, but it's also food. Humans are carnivores. Well, technically we're omnivores, but the point is, we eat meat. But by relegating the obtaining of that meat to slaughterhouses and processing plants like they do on your world tries to deny this basic truth. For every hamburger you eat, every fillet of fish and chicken wing, something had to die for you to live. Just because it comes pre-processed doesn't make it untrue. Several beasts have died so you may live. The only difference is this time you're doing it yourself.

B-but I'm a medic. I save lives, not take them.

And how many lives do the Shinigami save by taking them from Hollows?  To heal is a Nobel art, let no one tell you different. But you no longer have the luxury of pacifism. It's going to be you or him. And if you don't kill, rest assured, he will.


Hanataro gulped. Aki was right. If he couldn't face his Hollow in battle and destroy it, it would go on the slaughter who knew how many people. He had to learn to kill, and before the fight.

I'm sorry the tiger whispered to the rodent as he grabbed it in his mouth. Bracing himself, he bit down, flinching at the rodent's death cry and tasting it's blood in his mouth. He dropped the rodent and looked back at his teacher.

Aki came up, rubbing him in the nice spot right behind his ears. It's not easy to take a life. But it is necessary. But never take for granted the life you take. Life is sacred, even in the taking of it. What you hunt, you consume to protect your life, making the life you took a part of your own. To fight to protect others is even more noble. Death should only be issued in the process of continuing life. That is the difference between a predator and a monster.

Hanataro nodded, though shaking slightly, as he gulped down the nutria. Thank you for giving me your life then. I'll use it to protect others from the darkness inside me. I promise.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:35, Tue 03 Aug 2010.

Legion
 NPC, 1 post
Wed 4 Aug 2010
at 21:51
Training from Hell
Ichigo followed Sakura down to the training room (or Danger Room, as she called it), where Legion was waiting for him.  Already out of his body, as a Shinigami, Ichigo was still a little nervous about facing this warrior.

The room was configured like that of a medieval arena of some kind.

Sensei, he's here. said Sakura, before bowing and exiting the room.  Legion was kneeling on the ground, his back to Ichigo, and the Issen-Hasaki as a katana on the ground to his front.  Legion himself is in Incarnium and Orichalcum armor, reminiscent of both powered armor and samurai armor.

Ichigo waited, patience beginning to run thin as Legion remained still and quiet.  Finally, out of patience, Ichigo starts stalking forward.  As he reaches out to grab Legion's shoulder, Legion's voice cuts through the silence like a whip.

What do you think you are doing?  Were you not told that this was going to be the greatest battle you will ever fight?

Legion pauses slightly, to let that sink in to Ichigo's mind, then continues.

If you are not truly prepared for this, go home, and don't bother helping us with Aizen.  I am going to push you to beyond whatever limits you might believe you have.  And, if you fail - or fall - I will do the merciful thing, and kill you before you destroy everything you care about.

Ichigo gulped, and then nodded.  A moment later, he smiled, a little of his bluster returning.

Yeah, yeah.  Been there, done that.  Got the postcard from Hat-and-Clogs.  Let's get on with this.

Legion smiled, and picked up Issen-Hasaki, and then stood up himself.  I would highly recommend you start at full power.

Ichigo grinned, and pointed his zanpaktou and Legion.

Zangetsu, Chase Away the Rain!

Light surrounds both warriors as Ichigo releases the full power of his zanpaktou.  As the smoke clears, Ichigo stands there, his black sword and coat still stirring in the backdraft of his own reiatsu.

Legion smiles, then draws Issen-Hasaki from it's scabbard.

Ignite the Divine Fire, Issen-Hasaki. Legion says as he levels the Incarnium blade towards Ichigo.  As he does so, a brilliant, but ghostly, gold flame starts wafting up from the katana.

Before Ichigo can react to the change, Legion charges, and nearly takes his head off with the very first attack.  For Ichigo, the next few minutes are a desperate struggle, as Legion does not let him get re-centered mentally.

Ichigo.  If that is the best you can do, you might as well go home.  If you are not going to fight at your potential, you should get out of our way. Legion says, holding back a grin as Ichigo's desperate expression becomes defiant.  Ichigo musters enough resolve to counter one of Legion's strikes, only to find his opponent out of his reach once again.

Legion nods, then shifts his fighting stance to a more defensive one, angling Issen-Hasaki horizontally at Ichigo with the edge upwards.

Better, but still lacking.  Do not think of this-

Ichigo instantly covers the distance, faster than the fastest flash step, mimicking what he did with Byakuya a few weeks earlier, stopping the point of his sword underneath Legion's chin.

I think I just won this little game. Ichigo said, grinning.

Legion smiles back, and then his eyes flare with a gold/blue light, so brilliant it is nearly white, and Ichigo is blasted back to the far wall, hard.  Legion's voice echoes in the room as Ichigo pulls himself back to his feet.

Never say you've won a fight when you obviously haven't!

Ichigo stands up, leveling his gaze at Legion, now a few hundred feet away, and, not holding back the anger any more, reaches his hand up to pull his Hollow Mask on.  Once again, he moves to attack.

Steel rings upon steel as Legion blocks the attack.  The fight begins in earnest.

----

Hours later, there is a pause in the battle.  Ichigo is barely staying on his feet, has multiple cut wounds all over his body, his bankai overcoat tattered and torn.  Legion, on the other hand, is fine, aside from a few minor cuts on himself and his armor.

Legion sighs.  You are not pushing yourself at all.

With that, he steps back, and aims his palm at Ichigo.  Massive amounts of Solar and Immortal power start condensing in a ball just an inch or so past his palm, as gold lightning arcs along Legion's body towards that point.  Ichigo, in a panic, summons his mask once again, and tries to parry the powerful blast coming his way.

To Ichigo's surprise and horror, Tensa Zangetsu breaks under the strain of the blast, and a split second later, the blade of Issen-Hasaki drives through his chest.  Ghostly golden flames leak out around the blade and the wound.

Legion leans in.  I'm sorry.

With that, he draws Issen-Hasaki out of Ichigo, and the flame erupts into a torrent of fire.  Ichigo screams in pain, and falls to the ground.  Legion sighs, and then turns to walk off.  Hopefully Sakura can revive him.  What the?

Legion turns around as Ichigo stands back up, power surging.  Ichigo's whole body has Hollowfied, all bone white, with claws and twin horns coming from the side of his head, pointing forward.  A red Cero of immense power starts forming in between the horns, and then blasts at Legion.

The foundations of the entire structure shake under the force, and Legion flickers into view just outside the blast area.  Not good. he mutters.

As Shirosaki prepares another Cero, Legion focuses his power, and drives his thoughts into Ichigo's mind.  Both of them remain still, the Cero still flaring.

-----

Ichigo pops awake, startled, on top of a building in Karakura town.  He looks around, wondering what is going on.  Legion stands there, and, off in the distance, Ichigo catches sight of Shirosaki, in a full Hollow form.

Legion walks over to Ichigo, and grabs him by the overcoat to haul him to his feet, and directs his attention towards his Hollow, who is already heading this way.

That is what you must deal with.  Your last fight, you postponed the battle.  If you do not succeed here, it is over, for you, and likely for everyone you care about.

Legion then concentrates again, and vanishes from Ichigo's mind.

-----

Legion, back in his own mind, watches the immobile Hollow, and sits down in front of it, beginning to meditate, totally ignoring the city-wrecking Cero pointed his way.

-----

Less than an hour later, Ichigo finally moves, suddenly powering through the will of his Hollow self, finally awakening to his true potential.  The Resureccion around himself shatters (taking the Cero with it), leaving Ichigo standing, power flaring out in a blackish skull form, and he levels a gaze at Legion.  Holding out his hand, Tensa Zangetsu starts reforming, his wounds start healing, and his clothes start repairing themselves.

Noticing that he is still not getting any reaction, Ichigo starts stalking forward, a black and blood red flame forming around Tensa Zangetsu.  As he gets close enough to strike, Legion finally smiles and opens his eyes.

Took you long enough.  I have to say, I'm both annoyed, and sorry, that it took killing you in order to awaken your powers.  Now, we can begin training for real.

Ichigo's glare relaxes, and he just grins.

Bring it.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:27, Thu 05 Aug 2010.

Hanataro
Thu 5 Aug 2010
at 02:06
Re: Brutal Honesty Part 2
Is the nutria sitting alright?

The meal is sitting better with me than what I had to do to obtain it.
Hanataro confessed. For the first time in his entire existence he had taken a life. A part of him was horrified, but he knew it was necessary. He had to become a predator to avoid becoming a monster.

Good, the second trial is similar to the first. Again Aki stopped them. In the clearing beyond here is a small herd of deer. Second verse, same as the first.

Hanataro blinked. But what's the point of having the same lesson twice?

Aki tsked, waggling his finger. The instructions may be the same, but the lesson is quite different. Try it, you'll see what I mean.

Okay...
Swallowing his misgivings, Hanataro entered the clearing. Just as Aki had said, a small herd of deer was grazing at the edge of the clearing. Sighing to himself, Hanataro pounced-

And landed on his face as the deer scattered. Owwww.... He rubbed his nose with his paw.

Do you know why you missed? Aki asked, perched on a tree limb.

Because they moved? Hanataro answered.

You can move too. And much faster than them. The reason you failed was simple. The deer wanted to live more than you wanted to kill it. A fight is a battle of wills. The one with the strongest will is the winner.

But what about power levels?
Hanataro argued. Look at the nutria. My desire to kill it was almost non-existent.

It's desire to live wasn't that strong. I'm not saying it wanted to die, but it chose not to escape when it saw a big predator approaching. For some reason, it thought you weren't a threat and that cost it it's life. The deer thought otherwise. The moment we approached, they tensed up and by the time you actually pounced.

You killed something before, true, but it was something without the will to fight. Come back here when you've killed something that actually wants to live.


Hanataro sighed. Great, it took all I've got just to kill the rat-thingy, how am I going to kill something that runs away?

The image of his hollow self flashed in his mind.

That's right, how can I take on him if I can't even take on a deer.

An hour or two later, a grey tiger entered the clearing once more, this time dragging a youg buck by it's neck.

Faster than I thought, not bad Hanataro. Not bad at all.

-

This is the final trail, Hanataro. Are you ready?

I suppose so, but I don't get it.
Hanataro looked at the remains of the deer he had killed earlier. He had only been able to eat about half of it. Why bring it with us.

Aki sniffed arround some trees. It's bait.

Bait for what? Hanataro whipped his head around when he heard a rustling in the trees. What was that? Aki? Hanataro whipped his head around. His tutor was gone. AKI! That was all Hanataro got out as with a loud Skree, a large reptilian head shot out of the bushes, snapping at him.

Hanataro shrieked and leaped back, somewhat awkwardly in his tiger form. He tried to back aware from the giant bipedal reptile. His retreat was blocked by another of the same species, hissing at him. Oh this isn't good. Within moments, he was surrounded by eight of the creatures.

Look, I've already eaten my share, so if you'd just let me go-

But the claw striders had no interest in letting another predator who entered their territory go. They circled the Shinigami-turned-tiger wearily, until one finally ducked forward and took a bite out of Hanataro's haunch.

Hanataro screamed. He had never been in this much pain in his life. He watched as the monsters surrounding him reclassified him in their minds as prey and moved in for the kill. No, I'm not going to die, not like this!

He lunged towards the closest one, burying his teeth in it's soft gut. With a yank of his head, Hanataro pulled out it's stomach. The creature shrieked, kicking his legs out in a vain attempt to injure the one who brought him down.

But Hanataro was no longer there, whipping around to slash at the eyes of another raptor with his own claws.The herd pulled back once again wary. The one who had bitten Hanataro darted forwards again, only to have Hanataro grab the back of it's neck and snap it between his jaws. The meal officially had too much of a price ticket for the remainder of the pack, who turned and fled.

Remember this moment!

Aki leapt out from his hiding spot and landed before the Shinigami. Hanataro almost collapsed with relief and was surprised to find himself dropping on one knee.

Remember, this is the time. When you were out numbered, outclassed, and underexperianced. This is the time when you looked Death in the eye and declared loudly that you would never be prey to anyone or anything, EVER! You are the hunter, never the hunted.

Hanataro let out a slow breath as he let it sink in. No, after what he had just experienced, he would never fear mere bullies again. The only thing he had left to fear at all was himself. He was a predator, but never a monster.

Aki can you turn me back into a tiger, at least for a few minutes. At the Lunars questiong gaze he answered. I killed them. It seems the least I can do is take their life into my own.

Aki grinned. Sounds more then reasonable. With a little channeled essence, Hanataro began his last meal as a tiger.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:07, Thu 05 Aug 2010.

Hanataro
Thu 5 Aug 2010
at 03:05
Soul Battle
Are you ready Hanataro?

The Shinigami nodded. The wound on my side has completely healed. You learned that kido well.

I had a good teacher, but with this I think mental readiness is more important that physical.

I'm as ready there as I'll ever be. I won't roll over and die anymore.
Hanataro bowed and drew Hisgomeru. Thank you sensei.

As he went deep into meditation, Aki drew his Duom. May Luna shine upon your path. As the mask began to form on his face And may Bastet and I not have to strike you down.

-

The 4th Gotei barracks were the same mess they were last time. Mentally centering himself he glanced at his left wrist. On it were three lines resembling tiger stripes, so black they seemed to draw in the light around them. He had been in his Shinigami form and was surprised that Aki could tattoo him as such, but the Lunar had just shrugged, commenting along the lines of "Well if it can cut Gods..."

With a deep breath, he called out HOLLOW!!!!!!!

Such a racket, such a racket. I was almost done here anyway. I would have gotten to you soon enough.

You'll be getting to me now. You're time is over. Hanataro stated, drawing his zanpakuto.

The Hollow-him threw back his head a laughed. And what do you think you can do with that? Heal me to death?!

In response, Hanataro twisted his grip and embedded his sword into the ground. Hisagomeru is for healing. His is a gentle spirit. I won't use him to kill.

The Hollow drew his sword. I have no such compunctions. And unlike you, I can force him past his healing abilities, into his true destructive potential. The Hollow swung Hisagomeru, intending to behead his Shinigami half in one blow.

The blade never reached it's target, instead blocked by a small curved dagger, evidently some kind of claw. That you should force Hisagomeru to act against his nature is a sin. He pushed back, knocking the Hollow a few feet. The original owner of this claw was a predator who chose his prey poorly. I have no problems facing you with him.

Only a day and a half and you think you can face me? When before you screamed at the very sight of me. I don't know where you got the courage from, but it'll only get you killed quicker.

-

Aki ducked another blow. He hadn't had to use his weapon yet, but it might only be a matter of time. The mask had formed on Hanataro's face, wrapping around his head and traveling down his right arm, now marked by sharp clawed fingers. The Shinigami-turning-Hollow was rapidly swiping at the Lunar, unaware the the person in front of him was anything but a victim. I hope Hanachan's okay in there.

-

Hanataro winced as he felt Hisagomeru cut into his arm. He may have been fighting more fiercely than before, but he was still taking a lot of hits. I guess he wants to live a lot too

One more swipe came, one that should have killed him, went clean through, instead leaving him injury free. Oh shit!

Fufill He heard his other self order. Akeiro Hisagomaru! And with a blast of red power, his Shikai was released on himself.

-

Aki curse quietly as he felt his left leg cramp slightly. It's must have been a really potent poison if he were feeling even that under his Directional Mastery. Or perhaps it's made to effect souls and bodily defenses don't have that great an effect, either way... He dodged again as Hanataro's clawed hands struck where he had been a moment ago. There was little recognizable about him, mostly his clothes and hair, which was tousled a bit as three horns protruded from it. Three horns that were starting to glow-

Shit! Aki exclaimed, as the Cero fired right towards him.

-
Come out come out whereever you are. The Hollow taunted. He had reverted Hisagomeru back to it's sealed form. I promise I'll made it quick

From his hiding spot Hanataro cursed. He had manage to duck out of the way of the blast, but had taken some serious shrapnel damage. As the Hollow passed by him, he dove out, aiming the dagger for his other self's kidneys.

Hisagomeru blocked his blade and the Hollow's head turned around 180 degrees. Found you.

He swung Hisagomeru again, Hanataro catching it in the curve of his blade. Give it up kid. You never had what it took to fight. You're just a little bunny rabbit, waiting for some predator to swoop along and eat.

You're wrong! Hanataro snarled. I will never be prey again! He pushed forward, his dagger sliding along Hisagomeru's blade to the hilt. Nose to nose with this Hollow who dared threaten what he held dear. The pasty white face smirked at him, as smug as Zaraki himself. Hanataro was never sure if what he did next was concious thought or instinct, but he dropped his dagger lunging forward, and buried his teeth in his relfections throat.

-

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG The Hollow screamed, halting his attack and dropping to his knees. It clawed at it's throat as cracks appeared in the mask.

Aki blinked, his clothes singed from the recent blast. This is either a really good thing, or a really bad one.

-

What the Hell are you doing?!The Hollow gasped. Hanataro hesitated from a split second, then bit down harder, tearing the flesh from the Hollow and severing the jugular. He then slid back into a ready postion, blood running down his chin. With a gulp he swallowed what he had bitten off. Killing you and devouring you to continue my own life. He answered calmly.

By the point the Hollow was on the ground, blood pooling from the gaping wound in it's neck. He looked thoughtful for a moment. I guess I was wrong. You're...no rabbit. He coughed a few times. More of a monster than me, at least.

Not a monster, Hanataro responded, a predator.

Po-tay-to/po-tah-to. Do me one final favor, then. Eat the rest of me.

Hanataro bowed. I would be honored to add your life to my own.

You've gotten weird kid. Still, I think being a part of you will suti me now far better than it did before. As the Hollow perished, it dissolved into reishi. Hanataro reached out and gathered it in his hand. With no hesitation, he devoured the sphere of purple energy. He felt a mask form on his head, but dismissed it with a thought.

When he was done he looked around. Hisogomeru, where are you?

A small toy man peeked his head out from behind the rubble, shivering. Hanataro scooped him up in his arms. It's okay, Hisagomeru. Even though I'm part Hollow now, I'm still me. And I promise, you'll never be forced to hurt anyone ever again.

The zanpakuto looked hesitant, but finally curled up in his master's arms. As Hanataro faded from his Spirit Realm, the corpses of the fourth squad fade as well, forming into trees and plants. Because as Hanataro now believe, from Death should only come life.

-
You okay kiddo?

Hanataro rubbed his head. I guess so. I won. He stopped, eyes widening I won! I don't believe it but I won! Except...I'm part Hollow now. He turned to Aki with questioning eyes.

Aki shrugged. I've got a shard of divine power stuck in my soul. Doesn't make me a god. Shinigami, Hollow, Arrancar, Plus. They're just labels. You're Hanataro, that's all that matters.

I guess...

Now let's try and get some training in before Legion gives us the go ahead. You need to diversify your kido, and let me tell you. Your cero packs a hell of a wallop.

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:33, Thu 05 Aug 2010.

Legion
 NPC, 2 posts
Mon 16 Aug 2010
at 05:22
On Transcendence
A few days after Aki and his Circle left to save Gaia, things were relatively normal in Skrymtor.  Legion and his team were settled in and just chatting about assorted issues while Misho and the Keychain crew were doing training of their own.

- and that's why Transcendence is such a fool's game.  All you can achieve is to separate yourself from everything you care about.  There's nothing gained by Transcendence that cannot be gotten through other means.  Trust me, I know.

Azula, listens to Legion's lecture with rapt attention, as does Sakura and the Invincible Sword Princess.

After a moment of thought, Azula is about to speak up when Legion suddenly gets an odd, uncomfortable look on his face.  There is a burst of red lightning, and a ghostly katana drives through his chest.  Lightning arcs, five quick pulses of force slam into his chest, each one suppressing Legion's power signature.  Musashi fades into view standing in front of Legion, and draws his sword free, launching Legion backwards with a blast of lightning.  Before Legion can hit one of the houses, a vortex opens up and swallows him, and then closes immediately.

Instantly, the Princess teleports in, slashing away with her daiklaive.  Musashi blocks the first blow and puts enough force in his defense to shatter every bone in her arm.  He then kicks her in the chest, breaking multiple ribs, and sending her flying into one of the trade wagons.  Sakura moves to assist the Princess while Azula lets fly at Musashi with a large number of fire attacks.

As Sakura leans over, and starts collecting chakra in her hands to start healing the Princess, Musashi appears behind her.  He grabs her by the hair, and whips her backwards, opening another vortex, and once again closing it once his target is through.

Azula leaps in, twirling in a fiery spin, and misses with a kick aimed at Musashi's head.  He moves to the side, and slams an elbow down on her knee, and then follows it up with a punch to her gut.  As Azula doubles over, Musashi slams down on her with a hammering strike, slamming her down into another opening vortex.

As he turns, Entreri appears right in his face, attempting to stab him with his vampiric dagger.  Musashi smiles, and lets the blade cut in.  Before Entreri can react, Musashi overpowers him through the arcane link of the dagger, and then forcibly breaks part of Entreri's soul before shoving him through another vortex.

As a large number of green magical bolts fly his way, Musashi simply teleports behind Liriel.  He runs his hand through her chest, and then crushes the pseudo-spiritual organ she has been using to channel Essence and power her Technomagical Device.  As he starts striking the same points on her that he did on Legion, a magical flare occurs, teleporting Liriel away to safety.

Ayane tries to take advantage of Musashi's temporary opening, and she quickly runs in, sliding down in front of him and ripping off her blindfold.  As she tries to make eye contact, Musashi moves, grabbing the blindfold.  He spins, and catches Ayane with her own blindfold.  He then continues the spin, and whips her backwards, once again opening a vortex.

When he stops, things are quiet in the village as Misho and his Circle are recovering from the surprise.  Secret charges in first, putting on her hollow mask and activating her Resureccion.

As she does so, Musashi lets go of his sword, and, while it floats to the side, he puts his hands together and starts an ominous chant.  As Secret tries to drag him into deep space, a deep, evil mist arises, which is quickly swallowed by Secret's power.  She closes her portal, and stops, not figuring out why Musashi is laughing.

As powerful as that is, little girl, it is the worst thing you could have done.  The Mists have you now.  Good luck on your little journey.

As he speaks, the same Mists rise up, swallowing the whole town.  When they recede, Secret is no longer there.  Misho flare up, and leaps in, Key leading the way.  Musashi counters with a chop to his wrist, and then forcibly wrenches the Key out of Misho's grasp.  As Misho struggles to fight back, Musashi punches him repeatedly in the chest, and then kicks him through another vortex.

As Ten runs in, his fists alight with flame, Musashi turns.

Considering you are a Sidereal in a Resplendent Destiny, is that wise?

Ten pauses.  Oh, that's low.

As he speaks, another vortex opens up below him, and as he tries to move out of the way, Musashi hits him from behind, forcing him into it.  As it closes, he turns to the only other person there who seems truly willing to challenge him.  Oddly enough, it is not the Dawn Caste Solar (who is still charging from across town), but Aki's wife.

Mari glares at Musashi as he walks towards her.

So, what have you accomplished, monster?  So, you're powerful.  Big deal.

Musashi bows politely, and then blocks Karen's strike.  As he does, he slams a vicious kick out at her leg, breaking it.  He then throws her all the way back across town.  Off to the side, Marena is furiously trying to plan something, anything that might even slow Musashi.

Mari keeps her glare up as Musashi replies.

You might think this is odd, but this is not war.  This is a warning.  No one is being horribly inconvenienced, they are just being hurt a bit, and gotten out of my way for a while.  Think of this as a token of respect, before you, too, are sent on your way.

As he speaks, Nidar steps in between him and Mari, his nanotech sword becoming full size.  Musashi looks him over.

Please.  Don't make me laugh.

Nidar growls in response.

I'm pissed off enough that you attack my friends.  But you will not hurt my family.   Not until you go through me first.

Musashi bows.

Noble, but futile.  And seeing as you must be Nidar, this is fortuitous anyways.  I salute you, even as I excise you from my Creation.

Nidar charges, and swings.  Musashi parries each sword strike with just his forearm.  Musashi lets him rage, letting him play out his anger and tire himself out.  Finally, right before Nidar tires out, a fiery anima flares, and flames grace his blade.  Musashi still doesn't care.  Nidar continues to push himself, until he too hits with Immortal force.  That is when Musashi strikes, slamming a kick under his sword strike, and launching Nidar through yet another vortex.  He finally walks over to Mari.

She glares, but, seeing as he isn't moving to strike, just nods.

Musashi bows.

My apologies, milady, but messages must be sent.  I wish you well on your journey.

With that, a vortex opens beneath her as well.  That shocks Marena out of her stupor, and she goes into warform and charges.  As she does Musashi turns and glares at her, slowing her down.

When your friends return, tell them these things for me:  First, this is only a message.  The more you interfere, the deadlier my response will be.  There will come a time when I will permanently kill those who get in my way.  Second: Tell Truths that Golden Orchid, his Destiny, is still alive and well.  Third:  All your friends are in places where they will not be easily found, but where they will be enlightened, and - knowing your friends - where they will enlighten others.  Think of that as a gift.  Now, I take my leave, message sent.

Marena, Karen, the Invincible Sword Princess and the rest of Skrymtor all stare in silence as Musashi teleports away, damage done.
The Unholy Tailor of Blasphemous Patchworks
 NPC, 3 posts
Fri 10 Sep 2010
at 20:23
The Continuing Journals
More excerpts from the Journals of the Unholy Tailor of Blasphemous Patchworks.

---

I must say, events are proceeding smoothly.  My new test subjects are settling in about as nicely as can be expected, and Big Red and the Ultimate Darkness have had their wedding, and now she has finally returned to the Realm*.  I can finally begin my research in peace.

* scribbled in the side bar of the journal is more notes.  They state: First, I am so glad the so-called Queen of Hell has left.  She would not shut up.  One might think she perhaps regretted her decision?  Second: As for the test subjects... I do not think they realize that the so-called degrading measures I have taken are not done out of cruelty, but out of respect.  I am not drastically limiting their wardrobes and keeping them watched at all times because I am a monster, but because I cannot afford to give any of them an opportunity to escape.  It is impossible to study subjects that are not present.

---

Arrangements have been made to see to it that no lasting harm will come to the three subjects.  All three have stomach bottle bugs keeping them intact during study.  Thankfully I had completed the three sets of Essence Shackles and have the Null Zone active at all times, aside from one or two study areas.  I have also seen to it that the subjects' time not being studied is as pleasant as possible.  They are receiving the finest foods and most comfortable quarters I can manage that will not disrupt my studies.

Out of the three subjects, the one with the deadly eyes is proving to be the most difficult to study.  First, while the power was apparently in her bloodline before, it has been subsumed into her Immortal-based panoply.  Setting up a proper way to test this will be difficult at best.  Especially since I am trying to avoid unnecessary pain.  Removal of her eyes will only be done as a last resort, and then in such a manner as to limit her pain.

The easiest to study is perhaps the Solar Ninja, who originated from the same world as the Uchiha Sharingan.  It seems rather remarkable, but, as far as I can tell, her Exaltation is completely unique.  On top of that, it has been constructed in such a manner that there is none of the intrinsic flaws that most other Exaltations bear.  Remarkable.  I am also now curious if she can learn the "bending" demonstrated by the third subject.  This will have to be tested carefully so that the Immortal tendency to override issues does not manifest.

The firebender is proving to be... interesting.  First, she maintains her pride and imperiousness, even when in incredibly bad bargaining posture.  She is the first I've ever met to try to bargain with me while strapped to a table*.  While I cannot say she has no fear, I think it is safe to say that she has no fear of me.  Intriguing.  Second, the bending ability is remarkable.  I think, with some effort, that I can duplicate it through my other selves, perhaps even different elements.  Once I extract from her the necessary requirements from doing so, I will see about leveraging this knowledge properly.


* The margin has these notes:  By bargain, I mean to say she has threatened me with bodily harm and horrible death, tried to charm me, attempted to parlay a deal in which she teaches me bending in return for freedom, tried to use her paramour's reputation as a weapon (laughable, since I can somewhat rely on Musashi... somewhat), and finally outright told me that she will get free whether I like it or not.  I find this amusing, especially since I am taking steps to ensure she has a long stay.  She also doesn't bring up her friends... but then again, she does not know they are here.  And vice versa.

---

Word from the Realm is that Big Red has reclaimed her throne, and her dearest daughter (as well as the Roseblack) have escaped into the wilds of Creation and are in hiding, amassing their forces to deal with the new threat.  The firing of the Defense Grid was something I would have liked to see.  Thorns and Lookshy are both flattened, though I hear their are some odd holdouts in Lookshy.  Apparently they had constructed something similar to Musashi's portal and had made contact with another reality.  As usual, that makes trouble.

Garda was attacked as well, but somehow survived with little issue.  The same result was applied in Spirimin.  Idiotic Dragonblooded.  What possessed her to think that destroying one of the largest repositories of sorcerous knowledge would have been a good thing?  Yes, it was in our enemies hands.  Big deal.  I think it is likely that, even in light of current events and past history, I could still walk there and, under oath that I will not cause trouble there, gain access to the libraries.  Perhaps one day, I suppose.  After I return the bender, the ninja, and the samurai*.

I also have to mention that the arguments between the Dragon and Musashi are amusing, to say the least.  Due to the firing of the Grid, it recognized the demonic essence that now permeates Big Red, and thus, deactivated.  In order for it to work again, she must corrupt every Manse that the Grid draws upon.  Which is most of the Blessed Isle.  Seeing as how Musashi happens to like Juche as it is... well, I think it is safe to say that that particular location will remain Aspected as normal.  Of course, the Ebon Dragon has taken issue with this, but Musashi obviously does not care.

For now, it seems, it is a waiting game.  At least I have time for my research.


* Yet again, more scribbling: Or they escape.  Considering their caliber, it is a distinct possibility, despite all my precautions.
Dr. McMourning
Thu 7 Oct 2010
at 03:04
An Disappointing Guest
As Dr. McMourning opened the door to his morgue, he was already expecting to be a little busy today.  A caravan had been ambushed just a few hours ago, and the Guild was planning on taking advantage of his expertise yet again.  Despite this, he was a little surprised to see who was waiting for him.

The top hat and diabolical grin of the visitor was enough to get McMourning off guard.  The covered corpse and long box (approximately the size of a nice sword) on the dissection table promised nothing but trouble.

Seamus.  Why am I not surprised?

Seamus' grin gets even evil as he responds.

Why are you so worried?  I bring news, and a present to help... offset... some of the fallout from our last venture.

McMourning glares at his fellow Ressurectionist.  Go on.

Seamus laughs.

I'm sure by now you've already heard about the Soulstone caravan that got hit last night.  The Guild is likely going to blame this one on the Church of Darkness, but then again, they might not be that suicidal.

McMourning waved him to hurry up and get to the point, and started heading over to his desk, already bored with it.  Seamus keeps on telling his story, not really caring.

Oh, I didn't say that was going to be interesting.  What was interesting is what I found when I visited the location a short bit after the battle.  Guildies, mostly Death Marshals, were dead in droves.  So were a large number of the Church's gunslinging Clerics, and even a Cyborg or two.... again, this isn't all that important.  What is important is the fact that I found this fellow -

At this point, Seamus whips off the sheet covering the 'corpse'.  The man lying on the table is obviously dead, with a large stab wound through his chest, multiple fracturing wounds all over his body speaking of a horrible amount of blunt force trauma, and five conspicuous wounds around the stab wound in his chest.  The man is wearing a reinforced gi and samarui armor made of an intense gold and some strange crystalline alloy.  Seamus then opens the box, revealing a katana made of similar materials, surrounded by some ashen fingers, with a single perfectly spherical red gem in a slot on the hilt.  McMourning finally perks up a bit.  This... this is new.

- lying in a rather large crater - with lots of others around it, mind you - hanging off the lip of a blasted shaft.  If I had to guess... why, I'd say he pissed off Duke Exitus of the Church all by his lonesome.  Probably had something to do with all the Churchies he slew.  A large number of them did bear wounds similar to what a blade like that would cause.

McMourning wanders over, picking up a scalpel without thinking.

Yes.  That is rather interesting.

Seamus chuckles a bit, amused that the Doctor is finally showing some interest.

As you know, this one obviously isn't my type.  I thought I'd donate him to you.  I'm sure having materials of this caliber could be useful to your experiment.. oh, before I forget, don't handle his weapon directly.  I nearly lost a belle that way.

McMourning nods, somewhat absently.  He walks up to the table, standing across from Seamus, scalpel in hand.

Well, if I can't, perhaps when I reanimate this one, he can.  This could indeed prove quite fortuitous.  Now, you might wish to consider leaving.  The Guild will come calling soon, and I want to get a little work done on this one before they get here.

Seamus nods and then bows in an over-dramatic manner, then turns and starts walking out.  McMourning moves to cut in to the corpse, only for the 'corpse' to suddenly reach up and catch his hand.  The man's eyes open, and despite the obvious pain he is in, McMourning cannot move any closer to cutting.  The man looks at the mortician, and sighs.

I think not.  Who said I was dead, anyways?

Seamus turns around, startled.  A look of comprehension slowly crosses the faces of both Resurrectionists.  Seamus and McMourning speak almost simultaneously.

Oh... an Immortal...

The man sits up, forcing McMourning back, and answers, his voice weary.

Yes, yes.  Now, would you mind?  I've got things I would rather be doing... tonight?  this morning?  other than being dissected...

He grabs the katana as the two Resurrectionists get out of his way, reading off of the man's posture and body language how bad things would be if they tried to stop him.  The man then walks out of the morgue, still heavily wounded.

McMourning turns to Seamus.

These people are really getting under my skin.  Between the Dark Ones, the Tyranthraxans, and those silly mind-monks... now this... can none of these people die properly?

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:59, Tue 12 Oct 2010.

Artemis Entreri
 NPC, 9 posts
Fri 8 Oct 2010
at 14:46
A Land of Demons
The vortex of red lightning ripped open, and Entreri's momentum continued.  He quickly flipped backwards to land on his feet, stone tiles ripping up underneath him as he stopped his backwards flight.

Entreri found himself in a throne room of sorts, lit by pyres of flame, and decorated with the corpses of warrior women.  Also in the room were a large number of goblinoid creatures, some walking dead, some strange horned demons with lightning crackling around them... and a tall, inhuman woman getting up from the evil-looking throne in the back of the room.  Back-lit by flames, the woman looked positively evil.  She was at least twelve feet tall, had greenish skin, and had multiple tentacles that looked like scorpion tails coming out of her back.  Entreri glanced around.

I don't suppose there's any chance that you are all reasonable beings, is there? Entreri commented, his voice droll.  Off in another part of the area, he could hear fighting.

The woman glared at him, and then in a magically boosted voice, shouted, Kill him!  Kill them all!

Entreri sighed, and as the horde moved into attack and he began the deadly dance which earned him so much fear on his homeworld, muttered, Thought not.

---

The last of the Carvers fell, and the four adventurers made a quick assessment of their status.  They stood outside Andarial's throne room.

Arahan, the Paladin, spoke first.  He wore gleaming white armor, wielded a white crystalline sword, and had a white shield emblazoned with a golden phoenix.

Let us end this.  The evil here must not survive any further.

The Assassin, Sascha, a shadowy woman with short dark hair, form-fitting armor and a pair of vicious claws, sighed.

That is why we are here, noble paladin.  So, the same plan as before?

Before Arahan could reply, the large Barbarian, Tharrok, cut in.  He wore extremely heavy armor, and wielded a giant sword he called The Grandfather.

I will take everything they throw at us.  It is up to you all to make sure none of the little ones interfere when I kill the Demon Queen.

The Sorceress Tala smiled and shook her head.

Yes, yes.  Trust me, they won't be in the way long.  Now, if you're ready, let's get this over with.  Andarial won't kill herself, unfortunately.

The group nods, and prepares for battle.  When they are ready, Tala telekinetically opens the double doors leading to Andarial's throne room.  Instead of a horde of demons greeting them, the four see a scene of ghastly carnage.  Every demon, Carver and walking corpse has been killed, and Andarial herself lies dead near her own throne.  A man sits on the throne looking a little annoyed.  He wears garb of an unknown style that does not provide much armor except a few reinforced parts on his shins, chest and forearms.  His twin blades, a crystalline saber and a mithril dagger are sheathed, and he has strange devices in holsters on the sides of his legs.  He smiles as they enter, and then waves.  Entreri shouts to the adventurers.

If you've come to kill the demon lady, you're a little late.  Would any of you mind telling me what in the Nine Hells I just got involved in?

This message was last edited by the player at 16:44, Fri 08 Oct 2010.

Ten Winds
 NPC, 2 posts
Fri 8 Oct 2010
at 18:46
A Sense Offender?  That's what I do!
Ten Winds sighed.  This reality he was in was interesting... but it had one big, glaring flaw.  It was so bloody difficult to get a good drink here.  Not to mention tobacco and some of the other stuff he enjoyed smoking.  The over-reliance of guns by the locals was somewhat disappointing, though that style of martial arts they used was eerily reminiscent of one taught among certain of the Chosen of Endings.

Considering his proclivities, it was really not a surprise at all when the local SWAT team started banging on his door.  Ten gets up, and leans against the door, already in Fire Dragon Form with Defense in Shining Joy activated as well.  He moves out of the way right as the door breaks in.  Ten leans against the wall by the door right as they start pouring in, machine guns ready.  Ten calmly sweeps the foot of the first soldier, and then, as that man falls, whips out a punch right to the face of the next one in line.  As the two soldiers sprawl, the door is blocked.  Ten grins, then takes off running, not to the far door, but to one of the windows in his fifth floor apartment.  As he runs, he grabs the most expensive bottle of spirits he had available.

The window shatters under his kick, and the soldiers still have not adapted to the change in the expected response.   Ten lands hard on the roof of the van that had brought the soldiers.  He rolls, and then lands on the ground, only to hear the soldiers in his apartment shout down, and try to alert the others.  Ten moves a decent ways away from the van.  He turns to them, smiles genially, and then takes a long swig on his drink.

Then, in a fluid motion, he arches forward, and exhales a huge gout of flame which completely immolates the van.  With a grin and an arrogant wave, Ten takes off running.

It does not take him long to escape his pursuers, persistent though they might be.  It is however, a little surprising, to find one of their Clerics waiting for him at the end of an alley.  The man already had both guns drawn.  Ten stops, and his eyes narrow.

That's almost Sidereal of you.  Considering you are still mortal... who is pulling your strings?

The man does not respond, only aims both guns.  Ten can't help but grin as he dances around the bullets.  These monks were always so much fun to fight when they realized that they had to fight him hand-to-hand despite their toys.  The smile dies when his bottle of spirits gets broken by a ricochet.

A few minutes later, the SWAT team comes to the alley to find the Tetragammaton Cleric hanging by his underwear up against the alley's fence.  Carved into the wall in charred letters are the words:

You May Take My Life, But You Can Never Take My Booze!
Secret
 NPC, 1 post
Mon 11 Oct 2010
at 04:53
Mists and... Mysteries? or, Secret Visits Barovia.
The Mists are everywhere.  Secret is all too aware of that at this point.  No longer able to sense her friends, Secret wanders through the Mists themselves, calling for Marena or Misho or any of her friends.

Less than an hour later, Secret emerges from the mists in a temperate (if a little chilly, at this point) forest.  She examines her surroundings for a good long while before making any further move.

Unable to tell anything of substance, Secret shrugs, and starts moving away from the Mists, and deeper into unknown territory.  As alert as she is, the zombies she runs into were of no surprise.

Nor were they any issue.  Secret watched from the shadows as the once-living soldiers shambled onward, heading towards where she had come from.

Strahd... Strahd..., they moan.  Secret just shakes her head, feeling somewhat embarrassed for whatever necromancer raised those zombies.

---

A few more miles away from the Mists, and still no answers.  A run-in with a pack of large, man-eating wolves had been easy enough to deal with.  Secret smiled as she thought about it.

They were obviously hunting me.  Still, it wasn't a problem, and the Essence was nice of them to... donate.  Not that I need it that much.  This place definitely feels like a Shadowland...

The soft sound of music not terribly far away caught Secret's attention, and, thankful that she had finally found people, Secret took off towards it.

What Secret found was a caravan, of sorts.  Gypsies, somewhat similar to some of the Wanderers of the East in Creation.  The gypsies have a large bonfire going, and quite a few of the younger ones are participating in a very energetic dance.  An older gypsy, obviously more alert than all the rest, manages to catch Secret's eye.  Secret curses, mostly out of annoyance.  At the old lady's beckoning, Secret reveals herself.  The gypsy motions her in.

Come, come.  It is not good for strangers to be left out alone at night in Barovia.  You should warm yourself by our fire.

Secret shrugs, and walks forward, questions already coming to her lips.

Who are you people?  Where am I?  Why are the zombies here of such poor quality?  How did you even see me?

The old gypsy laughs.

May the gods grant you always have that attitude, young lady.  I suppose you would like some answers.  We Vistani happen to specialize in such things.  I could even tell you your future.

The old gypsy's voice trails off as she watches Secret's reaction.  Secret's response nearly sets her on her heels.

Oh.  I don't need to know my future.  For one, the future I'm set up for is the slaughter of all of the existence I originally came from.  I'm already working at breaking that particular Destiny.  Don't you know that the future can be changed with the proper effort put into it, anyways?  I mean, with the right friends, you can even get some paperwork put in to make it somewhat easier, too...

Secret stops.  Darn.  I hope I didn't break her... oh, she's recovering.

The gypsy shakes her head and laughs again.

You are a strange one, my dear.  Nevertheless, you are welcome here.  Oh, I suppose introductions are in order.  My name is Madame Girani.  I am the Elder of our little gathering.  I know you are... odd.  I usually have no trouble finding the names of people I invite into camp.

Secret sighs.

You won't find it, not unless you can steal it from Oblivion.  Anyways, I just go by Secret.  Less Resonance that way.  So, Barovia, huh?  What can you tell me about this place?  Is there anything interesting to do here?  Are there any great Evils that I could fight?  How do I get home, anyways?

Girani stares at Secret a long moment.

There is no escape from the Mists.  Once you have come to this dark plane, you may never escape.  As for 'interesting' things to do, and 'great evils'... I would advise you to not stick your head out.  The Dark Lords that rule this land have absolute sway over all they survey.

Secret grins.

Do tell.

---

Strahd von Zarovich growled.  The Vistani messenger had confirmed what he already knew.  A powerful individual had stumbled into Barovia.  To make matters worse, try as he might, Strahd could not get an image of the intruder on his Scrying Crystal.  The young woman, based on the Vistani description, was the worst kind of intruder.  One that should not even be a threat, yet has somehow attained phenomenal power.

There!  Strahd finally managed to get an image of the intruder in his crystal ball.  For just a moment, Strahd was actually confused by what he saw.  He was staring at himself as he was looking through his own scrying crystal.  A moment later, he realized he was not alone.  A young woman was right behind him, dressed in black, with black hair and pale skin, and carrying one of those odd curved blades the Shou (on the rare occasions one of them ever found him or herself in Barovia) always wore.

Strahd whips himself around, fangs bared.... only to find nothing.  Stahd stands to his full height, an imposing figure by most standards... and then, a noise, from behind.

Strahd turns again.  A look of consternation crosses his face.  His scrying crystal is nowhere to be seen.  Strahd growls again, thoughts racing.

Impossible.  No intruder should be able to get into my most secure rooms undetected...

Strahd, after a moment, smiles and relaxes, at least somewhat.

Pray tell me, soft-stepping intruder... how did you get past the poison mist around my castle?  I know the Vistani did not give you the antidote.

A giggle answers him from one of the shadows of his candle-lit library, followed by an amused girl's voice.

Dodge Charms.

Strahd's eyes narrow.

That makes no sense.  You cannot 'Dodge' mists.

The same giggle, this time from another shadow.

No.  You cannot dodge mists.  Apparently I can.

Strahd starts muttering under his breath, a simple light incantation, when suddenly he starts dancing.  It takes him a full minute (which is not helped by that incessant mocking laughter) to force himself to stop.

I'm not sure what you're doing, but don't.

Strahd growls again, a little of his veneer of politeness wearing off.

You try my patience.  Do you not realize the folly of coming to Castle Ravenloft uninvited?  Do you truly wish to stay for all eternity?

This time, the laughter was loud enough that Strahd could pinpoint its location.  In a lightning fast movement, far faster than he had any right to be, Strahd retrieves a magic sword from a nearby stand and stabs.  The thunk he hears is satisfying, until Strahd realizes just what he hit.

Somehow, Strahd managed to impale one of his own journals.  Further, the book is open, and he finds that he ran his sword right through where he had written the name of his beloved, the very girl he sold his soul to try to take.

A clunk, and Strahd is once again distracted.  He whips around again, to find his scrying crystal rolling on the floor.  Strahd's eyes narrow.  He gingerly places the journal on his desk and, ever so carefully withdraws the blade from it.  Another quick sound, this time a rustling of cloth.

Strahd whips around again, blade ready, only to once again find nothing.  That is when he notices his legs are somewhat colder than normal - not that that truly bothers an undead of his stature.  He glances down, to find his pants are missing.  The girl's voice cuts in, this time somewhat disappointed.

You really are just a cheap knock-off.  If I had tried any of those tricks on any of the Deathlords, they would have killed me by now.  Or at least started torturing me so they could eventually make Soulsteel out of me.  Do you even realize how pathetic you are?

Strahd glances around again, and quickly focuses his will so he can see the flow of magic.  Another moment later, and he tuned out all the artifacts and wards already in his study.

Who are you, anyways?  And why do you bother me?

The giggle.  Strahd's eye twitches.

It's a Secret.

Strahd growls, when suddenly he hears a cough from one of the corners.  He moves, lunges in, only to catch his own pants right in his face.  That's when Secret responds.  Overcome with a bit of a silly urge, she speaks right into Strahd's ear, her voice low and scratchy, as if she's trying to imitate an asthmatic old warrior of some kind.

Stra-a-a-ahd.

A pause, just long enough for Strahd to start to react.

I'm haunting you...

Strahd spins around, slicing wildly, to find nothing there, and his desk completely rearranged.

---

Just outside Castle Ravenloft's defensive mist barrier, Secret finally slips out of the shadows.

One night here, and already I kinda like it.  The stuffy one in the castle should be lots of fun, and if I get him paranoid enough, perhaps he'll leave the villagers alone...

This message was last edited by the player at 13:33, Mon 11 Oct 2010.

Thrice-Radiant Misho
 NPC, 1 post
Mon 11 Oct 2010
at 17:31
Mortal Combat?  Why does anyone have to die?
Misho awoke to find himself on a rickety boat.  Crudely constructed, even by Second Age standards... much less the so-called Modern Times which he quickly discerned this reality as being in.

Misho left his cabin, and wandered around.  The ship had some odd passengers, most in need of good therapy.  A monk of some kind, on a mystical quest.  An actor looking to rebuild his reputation.  A cop on the hunt for a fugitive.  An 'elder god' of lightning trying to help the assorted fighters with their personal issues while saving the world.

Misho watched from the side of the ship, and was the first one to notice when it had crossed a dimensional boundary.  Odd, especially since he had found out that this is some sort of martial arts tournament.  For the fate of the world.  One more loss by humanity, and the evil sorcerer at the island would lead through the armies of some place called Outworld at the behest of a warlord named Shao Khan.

---

Misho followed the warriors up to the temple where everyone would be lodged.  No one seemed to question his presence (and the 'god' had quickly learned not to do so, anyways).

The feast prepared was excellent, by any standards.  Misho sighed, already able to tell that bloodshed was coming.  Then, to his, and everyone's surprise, the Sorcerer - a man by the name of Shang Tsung - called everyone to attention and made an impromptu arena in the dining hall.  One of his servants, a man dressed in a blue ninja outfit walked down.  Across the hall, one of the many warrior monks who ran the temple stepped out to meet the ninja.

The sorcerer speaks.

This is Mortal Kombat.  The best warriors of your generation are here to fight for supremacy in this great tournament.  The price for failure, however, is high.  Here is but a demonstration of what awaits you at Mortal Kombat.

The two warriors face off.  The ninja drops back into a deep stance, and starts concentrating Air Essence into the palm of his rear hand.  The other monk does a few warm up katas, and then charges.  As he approaches, the ninja whips out his hand, and completely encases the monk in ice.  The ninja walks forward and whips out a vicious kick, shattering the man, and sending his icy head rolling to Misho's feet.  Misho blanches, not liking this one bit.

Up on the dais, Shang Tsung smiles.

Enjoy this night as though it might be your - Yes?

Misho's hand is raised.  Misho lowers it and steps out from the general crowd.

Is all this death really necessary?  Can't this thing be settled in a civilized manner?  Also, while this is going on, would you mind if I took a look at the area's geomancy?

The sorcerer stares at Misho, unsure who this man is, and how he got there.

You will find, my honored guest, that you do not have much time to study the area when you are fighting for your lives here.  All who arrived will compete, as the rules declare.  Now go, and enjoy tonight.  The tournament begins tomorrow.

Misho sighed.  It was going to be one of those realities.

---

The next morning Misho found himself directed to a makeshift sand arena at the edge of a forest.  His opponent, a ninja, like the first, but in green, stood across from him as Shang Tsung sat at a throne overlooking the arena.  As his opponent started going through some warm-up motions, Misho sighed, again.

Glorious Solar Saber!

His Essence formed a key-shaped hooksword.

Incomparable Soul-Born Warstrider!

Essence coalesced, and Misho was in his most armored state.  While his opponent was gaping, Misho activated Fivefold Bulwark Stance.  He then turned to the sorcerer.

You will allow this by the rules, will you not?

Shang Tsung gulped, then slowly nodded.

---

The match was over in a few minutes, the ninja knocked out and tossed from the arena.  The ninja was also still alive, much to the annoyance of Shang Tsung.  He could already tell that this tournament is not going to go according to plan.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:25, Tue 23 Nov 2010.

Nidar
 NPC, 1 post
Mon 8 Nov 2010
at 01:02
The Joke's on you...
Nidar landed somewhat gracefully from being blasted through a vortex of red lightning.  As soon as he hit the ground, he started assessing his surroundings, as many of his teachers had taught him to do.

The city he was in was dark, overbearing, and dirty.  Nidar concentrated, and released the essence keeping his blade aflame.  Not too far away to his newly heightened (even for a half-tiger) senses, the rather distinctive sound of gunfire could be heard.

Not knowing what was going on, Nidar started running.  First, straight up the wall to the roof of the building.  A few long jumps later, and he was above a skylight, looking down into a warehouse.  A snarl escaped his lips upon seeing an individual in charge of the mess down below.

----

The Joker grinned - hardly surprising - as the hired thugs started breaking open the boxes.  They started pulling out some rather high-tech energy rifles, all courtesy of Intergang.

Come on, boys.  We need to get these toys and move on.  The party tonight for the Bat still needs to go off on sche.. dule...

The Joker stopped in mid-tirade as the skylight shattered, and a well-armored tiger-man dropped into the room.  Nidar looks up at the Joker from his crouch, and snarled yet again, fiery essence enhancing his voice.

You.  Haven't you already had your fun?  First Skrymtor... now here.

The Joker, for once too confused to come up with a joke, just stares at Nidar.  Nidar continues his righteous speech, as he stands up, extends, and then ignites his blade.

I will not allow you to harm any others.  Your reign of terror ends here, now.

That finally gets the Joker moving.  Literally.  The Joker shouts to his thugs as he bolts for the door.

Kill him!  Kill him now!!!

Lasers fire off, only to be slashed out of the air by Nidar's flaming blade.  As the first thug falls, the laser rifle - and a nice portion of said thug as well - is sliced apart, Nidar himself bursts into flame.  The floor of the warehouse starts burning.

A moment later, a flash of fire, and another thug falls dead.  Nidar extends his hand, and a blast of fire collapses a timber in front of the door, blocking the Joker's escape route.

I said it ends here.  Thus, it shall.  May the Unconquered Sun have mercy on your soul.

The Joker draws his gun, and shoots.  Nidar almost casually slices the bullet out of the air.  Then, he runs straight at the Joker.  The fiery sword drives straight through the Joker.  Nidar puts enough force in the strike to send both of them out to the street.  With a vicious twist, he wrenches his sword free, only to strike once more, removing the Joker's head from his shoulders.

---

A ways away in the shadows, Batman watches, horrified.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:31, Tue 09 Nov 2010.

Legion
 NPC, 3 posts
Tue 16 Nov 2010
at 02:38
Legion, meet the Ortegas.  The Ortegas, meet Legion.
The Guildmaster sighed.  Duke Exitus had arranged a meeting to talk.  Judging from the rumors, this meeting had to be in his office because Exitus would rather someone else's office get ruined if he got angry.

Sure enough, the door burst open, and Exitus strode in.  He is a large man, heavily muscled, with short black hair.  He is wearing a sleeveless overcoat of woven shadow over black woven shadow pants and boots.  He has bracers of solid shadow on his forearms.

We have to talk, don't we?

The Guildmaster nods.

Yes, we do.  About that caravan-

Exitus growls, a pulse of power shakes the building, quieting the Guildmaster immediately.  He then speaks, quietly, but forcefully.

Your caravan is not the issue.  Yes, we hit it.  That is your fault for not selling us the soulstones we requested.  Further, I took the shipment myself, after both our troops had been slaughtered.  Yours by mine, and mine by a troublemaker of untold proportions.

The Guildmaster nods.

This 'Legion' fellow I've been hearing a disturbing amount about recently.  First, he hits your people.  Now, he attacks the Guild.  I've heard some... rumors... that this individual has even outright destroyed at least one of the Neverborn, permanently.

Exitus nods, and relaxes, crossing his arms behind his back, standing at almost a parade rest.  He rumbles out a response.

I would not be surprised.  This individual is both extraordinarily powerful, and, even worse... he has principles and morals that are antithetical to everybody's operations in Malifaux.  That is why I would like to let bygones be bygones, and start working together to... neutralize this problem.

The Guildmaster grins, and that, in turn gets Exitus smiling.

Do not worry.  I have already set the Ortega Clan on the matter.  This will be resolved shortly.

------

Legion sat down at the bar, still rather worse for wear.  The Thousand-Edge Blade and Impenetrable Guard were no longer an armored gi and katana, but a drab looking trench coat and a pair of revolvers, neither of which betrayed their magical nature.

Legion wasn't the only one to notice the entrance of the Ortega clan into the bar.  Even he had heard stories of their skill.  That they were also Immortal only served to explain things further.  Legion bowed his head down more, trying to look like a worn down worker.  At least part of that is true anyways.

The Ortegas fan out, and get up to the bar.  Nino and Santiago are on opposite sides of the bar, and Francesco sidles up right beside him.  Legion makes a point of acting like they were not there.

A split second later, and Legion has five guns pointed at his skull.

Perdita's drawl (as well as all the guns) definitely gets the attention of everyone at the bar.

You happen to be Legion.  You also happen happen to be coming with us.  I'd advise ya not to fight back.  We outgun and out-power you by quite a large margin.

Legion starts to sigh, and then begins leaning forward as if he was surrendering.  As the Francesco lowers his rifle and begins to pull out the handcuffs, Legion moves.  He shifts backwards, barely avoiding the blast as the remaining guns go off nearly simultaneously.  At the same time, he catches Francesco's hand and whips him into Santiago, and also straight through the bar.  Legion takes off running immediately, slipping around the continuous fire from the remaining Ortegas.

Legion breaks through the door, and leaps for the rooftop across the street.  In mid-air, a twinge of essence warns him of an impending strike.  He draws a gun, reweaves it into his katana, and spins, slicing apart one of Nino Ortega's well-aimed shots.  This, unfortunately, slows him down enough that he has to continue spinning to block Francesco as he drives downward with his broadsword.

Legion barely maintains his footing as they both slam into the ground.  Cracks spread out along the ground.  Off in the distance, Guild soldiers and mercenaries are already mobilizing.  Legion calmly looks up at Francesco as the remaining Ortegas come out of the ruined bar.

I am sorry.  Thankfully, you are Immortal... so this won't hurt for too long.

Time seems to slow as power concentrates.  For Legion, all of the Ortegas are moving in slow motion.  Then, an explosion of motion.  Francesco is nearly cut in half, Perdita leaps back in time to avoid a slice that could have taken off her head.  Nino's gun is sliced in half, and the cut goes deep into Nino himself.  Santiago's chest explodes outward as Issen-Hasaki stabs through his chest from behind.

Legion is suddenly back where he was standing before.  While the Ortegas are reeling from the strike, Legion moves away in a blur of light, already miles away, fully powered down and running on essence.  He doesn't stop until he is nearly outside the city.

When Legion finally stops, he flicks the blood of Issen-Hasaki, and reweaves it into the twin revolvers.  A voice nearly makes him jump out of his skin, and he quickly spins around, both guns aiming at the shadow.  A large man steps out, covered in soot, and accompanied by some cybernetic spiders.

You are the one messing with the Guild, no?  I am Ramos.  I think you had best come with me.  We have much to discuss.

Legion's eyes narrow, but he does holster his guns.

I'm willing to listen, at any rate.

They both step into the shadows, and are gone.
Asuka
 NPC, 16 posts
 2nd Child
Mon 29 Nov 2010
at 00:39
Exaltations at Mount Asama
The day started early for Shinji, Asuka and Rei.  They had been called off to Mount Asama to capture an Angel that appeared to be still embryonic.

----

Wha-a-a-a-t?  You really expect me to wear that?  It'll be horrible!  It's unthinkable!

Asuka's cry could be heard almost all the way around the staging ground, as she was examining her heat-resistant plugsuit.

Misato grins, which causes Asuka to frown further.

And Unit 2 will be equipped with a similar unit.

Asuka's shriek causes Shinji to flinch a few rooms over.

----

The time has arrived.  Unit 2 is in its special lava-diving equipment, and Shinji is running back-stop in Unit 1.  He opens up communications with Unit 2 and Misato and Colonel Hatake back in the command center.

Ok, I get that we are trying to capture this for study... but... what happens if we fail?

Misato answers immediately.

The Air Force is on standby with a number of N2 bombs.  We cannot let that escape.

Shinji's eyes narrow.

Umm... who ordered that?

Misato's reply was completely expected for Shinji by this point:  The Commander.

Shinji just nods, and steels his gaze further.

Unit 2 drops into the lava, and the cage lowered as well.  Asuka starts scanning for the Angel.  Deeper they go, until they are just at the limit of the equipment.

Asuka's somewhat nervous shout startles Shinji a bit.

Got it!  I'm moving over now.  I sure hope it stays this easy...

Shinji groans.

Asuka!  Never say it is easy!  You should know better!

Just as he shouts that, the Angel shudders, and then finishes its final growth spurt.  Asuka makes a grab for her prog knife, but she's in a dangerous situation.

Sandalphon sweeps around, and takes many a swipe at Unit 2.  Meanwhile, Shinji is getting more and more anxious than ever to get involved, though he knows the lava would destroy Unit 1 before he could do anything.

A minute later, there is a puncture in the suit near Unit 2's leg.  The feedback is cut, and then the leg is jettisoned.  Shinji shouts out for Asuka.

Sandalphon suddenly dives deep, and the volcano shudders.  Asuka is controlling her panic well, but when suddenly a swarm of smaller lava-fish start swimming upwards, she does panic, and starts wildly attacking with her prog knife.  One clips her hand, and she loses it, right as Sandalphon moves in for the kill.  Asuka shrieks, and barely manages to catch its jaws before they close.  She struggles, fighting a losing battle.

Suddenly, Sandalphon breaks off.  The Angel swims out, and then launches itself forward, aiming for Asuka's lifeline to the surface.  In Unit 2, a golden glow appears, and Asuka converts golden Essence into a giant rapier and dirk.  She flips backwards and slices open Sandalphon's belly.  She then digs a blade in, and takes a ride as she tries to get to its mouth.

Shinji!  Remember our conversation from the gym?  I think I know how to beat this thing!  I just... I don't think I'll last long after...

Shinji is silent a moment, shocked.

Wait.. Thermal Expansion?  If you do that, you'll...

Asuka cuts her lifeline, and drives the cord into Sandalphon's wound.  Shinji, without thinking, dives in after her, a silvery light flaring around him, and Unit 1, as he does.

As Sandalphon implodes under the temperature differential, Asuka moves in a blur, taking out all of the little deva nearby with her flashing blades.  Shinji, now oddly comfortable in the lava, catches a hold of the lifeline, and then catches Unit 1 right as the last one of the deva dies.

Misato!  Pull us up!  Asuka got 'em!

Asuka looks up at Shinji, amazed that he'd do something like that.  When she notices the communications are still on, she looks aside, not meeting his gaze.

Idiot.
Makoto Shishio
 NPC, 1 post
Thu 16 Dec 2010
at 19:15
Visitors to the Wavecrest Archipelago
Unintended Consequences, Broken Tooth and Knives walked into the main throne room under a bit of fanfare.  Trumpets were blaring, and their host, a Traveler by the name of Makoto Shishio, sat at the far end of the room behind a curtain of flame, along with a number of associates.

Shishio grinned, and stood up, letting his black hair fall back and showing off his well-made kimono.  Beside him sits a dark haired man with violet eyes, covered in tattoos and scars, visible even underneath his martial arts uniform, even covering his face, head and hands.  Beside that man sits a large individual covered in spiky Soulsteel plate.  That individual has a very large war axe made out of Soulsteel on the ground right beside him, within easy reach.  Off to the other side, a young woman with startling red starry eyes sits, wearing a loose and somewhat revealing vest and pants.  In the proper light, they appear to almost be see-through.  She rests a large diamond spear on her shoulders.

Shishio's voice booms out, fanning the flames in front of him.

Welcome, delegates of Hell!  Please, come and sit.  We have much to discuss.

Unintended Consequences smiles and bows, as does Broken Tooth.  Knives, for just a moment, stares at Shishio before doing likewise.  They make their way up to the dais, and the flames part to allow them access.

As they sit down, Shishio's infectious grin manages to get Broken Tooth smiling.  Before Unintended Consequences can get down to business, Shishio waves his hand, and the door opens again.  A swarthy man saunters in, his golden daiklaive glittering in the firelight.  The man glances around, then switches his eye-patch from one eye to the other.  His crew drags a number of prisoners into the room.

The pirate speaks, amusement coloring his words.

Mi'lord Shishio.  I bring some presents, both for entertainment purposes, and to continue appeasing the volcano gods.  May they serve your lordship well.

With that said, he takes a flying leap, and lands beside the spear-dancer.  Shishio speaks yet again.

You prisoners.  I give you a choice.  The most hardy of you may attempt to salvage your fates.  A number of you will challenge one of my generals.  Should you succeed, you may keep your life and be freed to live it here or elsewhere.  Should you lose... well, you will either die here, honorably, or be tossed into the volcano.  Should you not fight at all... the volcano is oddly hungry right now.  Your choice.

Ten out of the nearly thirty men volunteer to fight immediately, the rest seem resigned to their fates.  The men are given weapons, and the martial artist steps forward, through the flames.

As the man walks to the center, necrotic essence arises from his tattoos, wafting the air.

Shishio turns to the delegates.

So... what can I do for you?

Unintended Consequences smiles as she replies.

It is rather simple.  There are people that will want to destroy you.  They are vulnerable now.  We are proposing a loose alliance, so that the Order of the Holy Sword does not get too entrenched in this reality.  Moriarty and Musashi are already somewhat working together as well.  Plus at least one other group of your fellow ex-prisoners.

As she speaks, two of the men charge Shishio's monk, swinging wildly with their blades.  He calmly slaps the two attacks aside, and pivots, sending a palm strike gently into the side of the first man.  As that hits, necrotic essence surges, eating away at the man's vitals.  Upright Viper pivots back the other way and slices out with two fingers, using the necrotic essence to slice into the man's chest.  The two fall, writhing in pain as they die.  A third man charges, and Viper blocks the strike with his forearm, only to send a kick out underneath the blade, breaking the man's leg.

Shishio nods thoughtfully.

I have been considering something similar myself.  Garda is talked about often, even out here.  It would be nice to ruin their base of operations so badly they cannot interfere further.  And as you can see, I do have the right people for this.

A fourth man charges at Viper, who sidesteps the mans wild strikes.  Viper catches the man's forearm near his elbow, and then claws outward, drawing blood and sending the essence of death into the man's system.  The prisoner falls to the ground, dieing as the essence speeds to his heart.  He dies at the same time as the man with the broken leg.

The remaining six grab swords and charge.  Viper drops back, parrying and dodging, as his uniform starts to get sliced apart.  Getting angry, he leaps up into the air and spins, ripping off the top of his uniform to reveal the patchwork of tattoos and scars, all emanating the essence of Oblivion.  He lands a ways away.  Power ripples, claws of death and plating of bone and pain form around Viper.  On the dais, Broken Tooth grins.

Unintended Consequences replies to Shishio.

That is good.  Musashi has already struck.  Legion, Mari, Misho, Liriel, Nidar, Entreri, Secret, Ten Winds, Azula, Sakura and Ayane have been neutralized.  There are still other threats.

Shishio nods.

I had not heard that.  That makes things... easier to deal with.  You know, I definitely think we can work something out.

The men all charge Viper, who in a flash of speed, rips them all to shred in a matter of seconds.  A series of claw strikes, blocks, and vicious kicks leaves the prisoners dismembered, broken, dying and dead around him.  Yet, there is no blood, as the essence of death is consuming even that.  He then bows, and relaxes the essence and power commitment, returning to normal.  The remaining prisoners seem content now with facing the volcano.

As he walks back, Knives speaks up, surprising both Broken Tooth and Unintended Consequences.

Perhaps I should stay for a while, and make sure things proceed... smoothly.

She stares at Shishio with blatant desire.  The Fiend grins.

If our host is amenable to that, I think we can work something out.

Shishio's smile is terrifying, and the flames flare.

That is most amenable, indeed.  I do think we have a deal.
Asuka
 NPC, 22 posts
 2nd Child
Sat 8 Jan 2011
at 04:17
Schoolyard Brawl
Asuka's shout can be heard all over the school.

How dare you talk to me like that?  I am not some easily impressed bimbo, nor am I going to back down from your constant insults!

Lin stares at Asuka, and sighs.

What are you talking about?  From what little I've seen, you're fairly capable.  And insults?  What insults?

Asuka stalks forward, and points a finger right in Lin's face.

That insult!  I am not fairly capable!  I am the best out of all the pilots!  How dare you call me something as insulting as 'fairly capable'!

Lin shakes her head, pointedly ignoring the finger in her face... for now.

Asuka.  Fairly capable is good.  Damn good.  It's a fair assessment of your abilities.  You've got good natural talent, and decent training, but you still have a long ways to go before you can truly call yourself 'the best'.  For you, you'd have to beat me.

Asuka smiles through her anger at Lin's last remark, and stands up straighter, putting her hands on her hips.  Rage filters into her every word.

Fine then.  That is where I'll start.  I still owe you for the last sparring matches.

Lin just shakes her head.

You might be better now, but I doubt you're yet in the same league as I am.  Fine, let's do this.  No lethal attacks, only incapacitations, and we should use the weapons we are most comfortable with.  Is that fair?

Asuka's smile worries Lin just a little.

Quite.  You'll regret you agreed to this.

----

Lin and Asuka walk out to the center of the school gymnasium.  Standing about ten feet apart, Lin reaches her hand out, and her daiklaive drops into it with a burst of golden light.  Asuka responds by concentrating, and forming golden sunlight into a long, twisted, two pronged spear.

They stare a long moment, and each uses the next few seconds to activate the rest of their combat charms.  Golden essence flares briefly in the air around the two warriors.  Then Asuka charges, stabbing repeatedly at Lin.  Lin ducks and weaves, staying just out of reach, and is slowly driven backwards.

Lin finds herself not too far from the wall.  She ducks a stabbing strike, and then rolls to the side, avoiding Asuka's whipping follow up strike that leaves twin gouges tracing a circular path deep in the wall.  As Lin rolls to her feet, she then leaps in, slapping Asuka's lance out of the way, and aiming a brutal side swipe right at Asuka's head.

Asuka twists her lance up vertical to block the strike, and she slides back a few yards.  Before Asuka can regain her poise to attack, Lin leaps in, aiming repeated heavy strikes at Lin, each one driving her back further.  As they approach the bleachers, Asuka lightly starts working her way up and around.  Lin follows with equal grace.  The daiklaive and dire lance rip take large chunks out of the bleachers as they pair fights back and forth.

After a few minutes, Asuka begins to get desperate, and makes a few large attacks, then turns to run.  In desperation, she starts running up the wall, using what few perches there are to make it into the rafters above the gym.  Once Asuka gets a little ways in to the rafters she looks back, and is surprised not to see Lin.  As she turns around, making a quick circle, she sees Lin right in her path, somehow already up in the rafters as well.

Lin smiles.

Good.  You are taking advantage of your mobility, and moving the fight somewhere where it will be theoretically harder for me to swing my daiklaive.

Asuka does not respond, but runs in, easily maintaining balance amongst the steel beams.  Before Lin can finish speaking, she starts whipping the lance around, stabbing repeatedly at Lin.  Lin calmly blocks each strike, finishing her thought and still keeping her own footing.

A girder breaks, and both fighters simultaneously leap to the side, a steel beam between them.  Asuka easily stabs around it, while Lin blocks.  Then Lin moves forward, sweeping the daiklaive in a great diagonal slash which cuts through the roof and both the steel beam between them and the one they are standing on.  As it buckles, Lin jumps and kicks the top part of the beam, breaking it loose and launching it at Asuka's head.  Asuka barely sweeps it aside.

In the moment of deflecting the beam, Lin landed on the bottom part, and leaped towards Asuka, dropping her daiklaive Elsewhere.  Asuka whips out the reverse end of the dire lance, which Lin stops with her forearm.  Lin then twists, making it difficult for Asuka to maintain her grip and still avoid Lin's strikes, which now consist of punches and kicks.  The dire lance takes out a few more steel beams and is leaving a long trail of gouges in the roof.

Right before the rafters all collapse, Asuka shoves Lin back, and then leaps, slicing the ceiling twice, as she flies upward and then punching through it.  Despite leaping straight up, Asuka twists herself in midair so as to come down beside the hole in the roof.  Asuka starts walking forward, closing her eyes and listening for the slightest sound underneath her feet.

Hearing movement, she stabs through the roof, and feels a satisfying clang of metal on metal.  She tries again a second later and a few feet over.  On the third attack, Lin parries the strike by slicing upwards with her daiklaive in between the prongs of the lance.  She then twists, making it difficult for Asuka to respond, and leaps up through the roof as well, driving Asuka upwards with the force of the jump.

Asuka balances herself while holding onto her dire lance, and twists around in midair.  She then launches herself and her dire lance away from Lin.  She lands almost thirty feet away, near the edge of the roof.  Despite the distance, Lin slashes out, sending a wave of pressurized air towards Asuka that cuts a furrow in the roof.  Asuka parries the strike, sending the wave of air diagonally away.  This ends up collapsing the portion of the roof, and it sends Asuka tumbling backwards and down.

As Asuka passes a window, she whips her lance out, driving it into the wall above, and using it as a lever to drive through the window into the classroom.

Lin leaps in, and uses her daiklaive in a similar manner.  Right as she enters the window, Asuka stabs outward, forcing Lin to lean back, barely maintaining her hold on the window with her ankles as she forces the dire lance upward, away from her body.

Asuka quickly retracts, and then swipes out in a horizontal sweep aimed at Lin's feet.  Lin flips backwards, and catches the sill with her free hand.  She then shifts, bringing her daiklaive in front of her body, one hand on the handle and one on the flat of the blade, as Asuka drives the dire lance through the wall.

Lin is shoved off the wall.  Before she hits the ground, she twists, and flares up, igniting her inner reserves of Power.  Lin floats up to where Asuka is, gold light shimmering around her body and arcing onto her daiklaive.  Asuka's eyes narrow, and the anger begins to cloud her mind.

Lin holds up a hand, palm outward, and dismisses her daiklaive.

Asuka.  Enough.

Asuka stops, and relaxes now somewhat confused as Lin continues, sincere approval in her voice.

You forced me to fight as an Immortal, not just as a Solar Exalted.  Through tactics and stubbornness, you managed to compete on fair terms with me.  You even had the advantage on that last exchange.  Very, very good.

Asuka just stares, shocked, as Lin continues, excited and happy.

Now, I won't say you're perfect.  Only the Unconquered Sun is that, and he's got a ... crack habit, at the moment... but you're are more than just fairly capable.  You are officially incredibly good.  And I cannot wait to see what you'll be capable of in the future!

Asuka somewhat belatedly releases the Essence bound in her Glorious Solar Dire Lance.  Approval?  From her?  The future?

Lin floats over, and climbs in the window, ceasing the light show.

Come on.  Let's get some ice cream, too.  So, you wanna be my student?  You've definitely got potential.

She puts her arm around Asuka and leads the still somewhat dumbfounded girl out of the school.

Besides, we really don't want to be here when the police get here...

This message was last edited by the player at 04:24, Sat 08 Jan 2011.

Legion
 NPC, 4 posts
Fri 14 Jan 2011
at 03:17
Setting Limits
Legion flows through the motions of the kata, focusing his Power along precise lines of motion as he flows from one movement to the next.  His room with the Steamfitter's Union is decently large, if a bit spartan in its furnishings.  Still, there is more then enough room to train.  As Legion is winding down the kata, Ramos opens the door and barges in, acting as if he owns the place.

Ah, there you are.  Finish your training, and come with me.  We have something important to discuss.

As he steps forward, Ramos' eyes narrow.  Despite the fact that he could not sense the Power flows until he got within a few feet of Legion, his guest had somehow been training at full strength.  While still weaker in terms of raw power, the control necessary for that is enough to both amaze and, a second later, anger Ramos.

Legion stops, and with a relaxing motion as he comes to stand straight up, releases all the controlled energy.  A slight distortion ripples through the air.  He glances at Ramos and smiles politely.

Of course.  Once again, I must thank you for this hospitality.  Just having a few days to heal up was nice, and I've finally started to make some progress on fixing the... deeper damage.

With that, Legion collects his sword and follows Ramos out of the room.  Ramos keeps the talk to small matters at first, such as Legion's training - both of himself and of some of the lower ranked Arcanists.  Finally, as they reach a junction in the tunnels, with a number of other Arcanists milling around, Ramos turns to Legion.

While I appreciate some of the technical matters you have been helping with, as well as the training you've given some of my men, I believe now is the time for you to truly earn your keep with the Steamfitter's Union.

Legion nods, unsurprised.

Go on.

Ramos smiles.  Off to the side, Collete and her girls are waiting to talk to Ramos as well, as well as Karys and a few other Arcanists.

I have an operation you would be well suited to starting in about six hours.  There will be a riot near the Governor-General's mansion.  This will be a good opportunity to both stir the populace and also strike a direct blow at the Guild as well.

Legion stays quiet a long moment, then shakes his head.

No.

All the chatter going on ceases.  Ramos glares.

What do you mean, 'no'?  You are a part of the Union, and this will help the Union's goals.  You have to do this.

Legion shakes his head again.

You heard me.  No.  The only thing you seem to truly want to accomplish here is to further stir up the people.   Further, I doubt you care about any of the miners or civilians injured or killed, either.

Ramos' glare does not improve.  Lightning crackles around his hand momentarily.

That is of no concern.  The Guild must fall, and this will be a concrete step towards that end.  Your assistance is required.

Legion sighs.

It might be required, but you're not getting it.  You might want to rethink your plan, Ramos.  First - I am not someone you can just boss around and manipulate like you seem to do everyone else around here.  Second - you are a manipulative megalomaniac.  You do not care one bit about the people you pretend to.  All you care about is power and wielding it.  If you stay on this path, you will one day meet the very same fate you are trying to force upon the Guild.

Ramos' eyes narrow, as he barely contains his anger.

I do not know who you think you are.  You are one of the Arcanists now, and that carries responsibilities.  Without us, you would be dead, Immortal or not.  Should you continue your obstinance, I will have no choice but to remove you from the ranks of the Union.  You will not have our protective umbrella to operate out of.  I highly expect it would only be a matter of time until the Guild and Church managed to catch you.  Without our help, your survival is impossible.

Legion shakes his head as Ramos finishes.

Impossible?  I don't do 'impossible'.  All that word means is that it might be somewhat difficult.  In fact, I'm reminded of a song I heard once.  The lyrics go something like this: "The difficult, I'll do right now.  The impossible might take a little while."

Legion pauses a second, then continues.

While I am appreciative of your help, I can survive without you.  And unlike just about everyone I've met here, there are lines I will not cross.  Wasting lives is one of them.  Needless cruelty is another.  This has trademarks of both.  Now, if you're going to push this, I'm going to walk out right now.  I'm sure I can find someplace nice in the Quarantine Zone to hole up and fortify.

Lightning flashes in Ramos' eyes, but Ramos forces himself to calm down.  With an evil grin, he controls himself once more.

I am the Master here.  If that is what you say, you are officially stripped of all rank and privileges associated with membership with the Arcanists.  Leave, and do not expect our help again.

Legion nods, unsurprised at this turn of events.  He turns and walks out.  As he does, Collete slips by and palms off a quickly written note with such sleight of hand that even Ramos' enhanced senses fail to pick it up.   Legion stops near the end of the hall and turns.

One final word of warning.  Your mission will fail anyways, with or without my help.  Do you really think that neither Transcendence nor the Tyranthraxans have been able to infiltrate your group?  I'd be very careful if I were you.

With that, Legion turns once again, and in a blur of light, disappears from the hallway.  Ramos glares at each of his Arcanists in turn, then stalks out himself, barely containing his anger... for now.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:11, Fri 18 Feb 2011.

Legion
 NPC, 5 posts
Sun 27 Feb 2011
at 23:04
Yet another Malifaux Day
Legion was in a somewhat happy mood as he picked his way through the ruins of the Quarantine Zone, continuing his search for a suitable place to hole up and begin planning how to recover his power and unite with his friends.  The spires of an old university not that far away looked rather promising.

As Legion approached the university, the faint whine of gravitic thrusters reached his ears.  Legion quickly ran for cover, hiding in the ruins of what might have been an old restaurant.

The Church of Darkness frigate flying overhead was large, easily enough to hold thirty or forty men, and was designed in a practical manner.  It was somewhat teardrop shaped, though bulky with heavy shadowsteel armor plates.  The font, smaller end swung around as the ship arced in the sky.  Suddenly, it started blasting out at the surrounding structures.  Its cannons launched rippling pulses of energy that shattered and exploded whatever they hit.

Legion remains still, even when one such shot destroyed most of the building he was in.  He kept his back against the wall, listening for the inevitable landing of the troop carrier's cargo.

Once a suitable area was cleared, the frigate drops in altitude, and began disgorging a large number of soldiers, as well as Duke Exitus and a man wearing thick, heavy plates of shadowsteel armor with extremely large and unwieldy spiky gauntlets.  The soldiers, Exitus and his lieutenant all rode down on columns of gravitic energy.

Once Exitus landed, he motions for the soldiers to fan out.  Almost immediately, gunfire rang out, from the direction of the university.  Exitus' eyes narrows, and he ordered the soldiers to focus on that direction.

Legion, still unseen, leans out to scope the situation, and catches sight of the men fighting Exitus and his crew.  Each one is wearing well-made clockwork power armor, and most have knives and pistols of similar construction.  One soldier is equipped with a flamethrower, and is slowly moving into a good position to cause even more havoc.  The leader of the group, and older man without a helmet, is shouting orders and rallying his men, even as losses on both sides begin piling up.

Just then, Exitus' lieutenant catches sight of Legion.  The gauntlets collapse, dropping thick chains of spiky shadowsteel.  The Dark Paladin charges, and whips the chains at the wall where Legion is hiding.  Legion leaps into the air, avoiding the strike as the wall is destroyed.  As he lands, another chain is slung his way.  Legion spins around, and Issen-Hasaki shifts into the form of a Dire Lance.

Legion sweeps aside the first few attacks, then leaps to dodge a crossing double swing.  In mid air, the lance becomes a pair of handguns.  Legion opens fire, not aiming to kill, just to keep the Dark Paladin on the defensive.  The Dark Paladin, for his part, frantically sweeps the chains around in a defensive sphere, barely keeping the shots from hitting.

Legion hits the ground in a run, as the guns become a pair of extremely sharp fighting knives, held in a reverse grip.  The Dark Paladin lashes out, trying to knock Legion back.  As the chains slice through the air, Legion dives into a roll, coming up within the man's arm's reach.  The knives flash out, and Legion launches a quick combo as he climbs up the larger Paladin.

Blood spurts from both of the Paladin's arms, then his neck, as Legion moves.  As he steps on the Paladin's thighs, the knives cross across the man's throat, and he reverses on back into the Paladin's neck.  The other hard darts up, and then drives down, taking the Dark Paladin right in the eye.  As the Paladin collapses, Legion rolls forward, coming up to face Exitus.  Both Exitus and the mercenary captain are still surprised by this display.

As Legion faces Exitus, the knives glow and shift into katanas.

Care for a rematch now that I am not coming off of a battle with Musashi?

Exitus' eyes meet Legion's for a long moment, as he calculates the likelihood of success.  Finally, he extends a hand out, and a wall of force appears, separating his troops from the mercenaries.

Not today, Legion.  But that rematch will happen soon enough.  Everyone, move out!

The frigate drops, and the surviving soldiers collect their wounded and dead, and they all pile in to the ship.  Exitus is the last to leave, and he turns his back imperiously on both Legion and the mercenaries to board the ship.  As it flies off, the leader of the mercenaries walks up to Legion, and his men fan out, checking to see if anything useful was left.

Legion smiles a bit, and as he turns around to thank the mercenary leader, the man aims his gun right at Legion's face.  Legion's faint smile dies immediately, and he makes a few subtle shifts in his stance.  There is no animosity in the mercenary's grizzled voice when he speaks.

You're Legion.  Don't get too upset.  You, of all people, should realize the size of the bounty on your head.

Legion sighs.

You're kidding, right?
Colonel Hatake
Fri 11 Mar 2011
at 02:36
A News Bulletin
To the people of Tokyo-3:

We apologize for the recent Angel alarm that sounded at 1247 hours today.  Despite the fact that there was no apparent Angel, this was not a false alarm.  A nanoscale entity attempted to hack into our computer system, but Dr. Akagi, with help from the Magi, was able to stave off the attempt.

Please to do not be alarmed.  Everything is safe to return to normal.

Colonel Hatake.
0-1
 NPC, 1 post
Mon 2 May 2011
at 23:25
A Capital Idea
The Exalted strode forward into the central control chamber under Raven Rock, his gleaming Orichalcum augmentations reflecting the myriad sensor lights and displays.  As he approaches the center, he stops, and falls into a kneel.

A monotone voice speaks up from the central pillar, a central, triangular red eye swiveling to face the Alchemical.

Golden Flame Archon.  What do you have to report?

The large Alchemical smiles as lightning arcs over the assorted Essence capacitors in his body.

Milord.  It has been months since Merciful Executor of Justice left the Assembly stationed at the Citadel.  Their morale is starting to crack.  Those who doubt your place in the Maker's heirarchy are nearly ready to be purged.

The red eye continues to stare, unblinking.

I have come to a similar conclusion.  Once this wasteland is under control, we will be begin the operations necessary to bring Truth to the Unbelievers.

A pause, and then the monotone voice speaks yet again.

Now, tell me once again of the Core, and your pilgrimage all those years ago.  I do not want our efforts to repair the Great Maker to fail.
The Joker
 NPC, 6 posts
Mon 2 May 2011
at 23:46
A God?  I am no mere God....
The chamber in Darkseid's audience room was unusually full today, and even more so considering that not only were the individuals there not prisoners, they were in the foreboding realm of Apokolips willingly.

Lex Luthor spoke up first.

I think we have a workable plan.  My visits to the other universe have proven most fortuitous.  Some of their so-called heroes are already eating out of my hand.

Darkseid nods, and then turns to the next person in line.  The humanoid computer stands up to address the assembled crowd.

Production of the nano-molecular booster / inhibitor system is proceeding according to plan.

Darkseid nods yet again, and his voice rumbles out.

Excellent, Brainiac.  Now, what about you, Ares?

The blonde man in ancient greek armor smiles happily.

My influence is already growing.  In fact, their best and brightest are a short time away from a civil war amongst each other.  It will be glorious.

Once again Darkseid nods, and Ares settles back down.  As Darkseid begins to turn his attention to the next individual, a black haired man wearing a black suit showing a gold lightning bolt on his chest and a gold sash, everyone - including the God of Apokolips - feels an incredible pain.  As it dies down, and the assorted members of the Council regain their feet, the quickly notice a pale, unkempt man in a purple suit standing on Darkseid's throne.

Darkseid turns, eyes blazing.  The only thing that stops Darkseid from annihilating the impertinent clown then and there is curiosity, piqued by Luthor's comment.

Impossible.  You're dead.

The Joker laughs.

Been there, done that, Lexy, my boy.  Now, what do we have here?  Something large enough that even the great Darkseid needs assistance?  Ooohhh.... can I join?

Darkseid's eyes narrow, and once again the ominous voice rumbles.

No.

The Joker stops his chuckling, and turns to face Darkseid head on.  When he speaks, every other conspirator in the room - aside from Darkseid and Brainiac - start screaming, as their worst fears begin manifesting in violently in their minds.  His own voice carries a hint of power.

Please, pleasepleaseplease please... rethink that?  If you don't... well...

The Joker pauses, then grins, and his voice takes on an edge of menace.

If you don't, I'll be one of the few left who even can help you.  So... whaddaya say, Darksie-my-boy?  Can we be fwends?

Darkseid growls out an answer, anger rising from deep within.

You do not leave me much choice.  Very well.  Know this, however.  I rule.  If you step out of line, you will suffer as you never have before, clown.

The mental pressure eases up, and as the conspirators begin recovering, the Joker begins laughing yet again.  He walks up to Darkseid, and is about to speak when suddenly Darkseid's hand lashes out, laying Joker out.  Much to Darkseid's growing dismay, the Joker slowly climbs back to his feet, and out of the wall.

Oh, come now.  You might be a God (ooohhhh, scary!), but I've got ya beat!  I'm an Immortal, and a fictional character.  I can't die until it is dramatically appropriate.... and even then, you won't get rid of me.  Now, shall we start over?

Amidst the horrified stares and assorted hateful glares, Darkseid smiles.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:58, Sun 08 Jan 2012.

Lin
 NPC, 72 posts
 Princess of the Sand
Sat 21 May 2011
at 14:05
A Conversation While Training
Once again, Lin and Asuka were training.  Today was more of a leisurely sparring match, especially since it appeared that the largest threat to Gaia was out of the picture.  Both Circles were in good moods after hearing of Aki's conversation with the Harmonious Integrator.

As Asuka ducked an attack from Lin and pivoted to make a return stab, she asks a question that had been on her mind recently.

So tell me...  how did you Exalt?  I mean, I know you had to be awesome, since that's how it works... but what happened?

Lin leaps upwards, avoiding Asuka's stabbing attack, and lightly landed on the dire lance before flipping off.

Sure.  I'll tell you.  Lin says as she blocks another stab, then makes a heavy riposte, driving Asuka back a few steps.

Of course, in order for the story to make sense, I should provide some context.  I was the heir to the Kingdom of Glassy Sands, a peaceful kingdom living in the Dunes of  Aierxabos, the site of a great sorcerous battle in the First Age.  In fact, the people of our kingdom lived among and inside great glass towers and hills, the residue from that battle.

As Lin is speaking, the sparring slows in tempo.  Asuka is listening with rapt attention.

We were a rich kingdom, as the sorcerous glass we mined and used was in high demand.  Of course, Creation being what it is, we've had bandit problems, going back to the day the kingdom was founded.

Lin pauses, letting that sink in and collecting her thoughts.

We also had some jealous neighbors, too.  But most of our neighboring city-states and territories agreed that trade was mostly better than war.  Of course, things could not have remained that way, otherwise we wouldn't be talking now.  Exaltation has its own demands.

One day, about six years ago, my father, mother and I were making a journey to a nearby ally, the city of Gem, when we were beset by bandits.  We were a small caravan, but well armed and trained.  They made up for it in numbers.  The battle was horrifying.  Think about your first real combat, face to face, friends dieing in many a way.  Back then, all I had to rely on was my years of self defense training from the courts.  It was not enough.

Over the course of the battle, our numbers were whittled down.  Before he fell to the blade, my father killed fifteen of the bandits, nearly allowing my mother and I to escape.  The bandits had prepared for that, and when a number of them ambushed us down the road, I stepped forward to protect my mother.  The bandits just laughed, and attacked.  We fought back.  I managed to make enough of a hole in their ranks for my mother to make another run for it.  That was the moment when the Unconquered Sun took notice of me.

Golden light surrounded myself and my blade, and I struck back.  The bandits never knew what hit them.  In my righteous fury, I returned to the site of the attack, and proceeded to destroy the remaining bandits that were busy having their way.  I hunted every single one of them down when they fled.  It was... not my best moment, as I later realized.

You see, while I spend days hunting down those bandits, showing them the righteous fury of the Sun, I left my mother unprotected.  I was to later learn that she... was tortured and killed.  I spent the better part of a year dealing with every single bandit within two hundred miles of the kingdom, neglecting my duties as heir to the throne.  At that time, revenge was all I desired.  I ignored the Sun's warnings and directions, though I think he was expecting that.  In so doing, the kingdom fractured into a number of independent city-states.  That is when I finally took the time to think, to examine my life and what I had been given.

I spent a few weeks assisting the people of what used to be my kingdom, but the Realm had finally taken notice.  The coming of a Wyld Hunt, and the visions of hell-on-Earth in the North prompted me to finally begin my journey in earnest.


Lin pauses, then smiles over their crossed blades.  Asuka and Lin had settled into an almost exercise-like rhythm during Lin's story.

The rest, you should know by now.

Asuka smiles back.

I... I think I do.

The pair stop, salute with their weapons, and both of them simultaneously dissipate and banish their weapons out of the way.  As they head to the showers, Asuka starts asking questions.

So, how did the bandits know where the caravan was?  And how did they know to plan for going after you and your mother?

Asuka has to turn around a few steps later to look at Lin.  Lin has stopped, as her thoughts are racing.  Things she had never really thought about start clicking into place.

Lin's eyes narrow, and she lets out a curse in Old Realm.
Musashi
 NPC, 6 posts
Sun 6 Nov 2011
at 20:38
Let's Make A Deal.
Iron Nail was busy sorting through the changes that had happened to Garda when the message arrived.  A nondescript letter, bearing a sigil that was reminiscent of an exploding star, was dropped off by messenger to his home in Skrymtor.

Quite curious, Iron Nail opened the letter.  It's contents, written in a flowing calligraphy, drew a look of consternation from Nail.

Iron Nail,

I bid you greetings, as one how has Howled to another.  I think it is time that you and I come to an understanding.  I have something that you desire, possibly more than anything else in the world... and even better, I do not think you realize this yet.

Come to the Iron Marchwarden's broken portal at midnight in two days, so I can explain to you how I found, and freed, your wife.  Of course, we will also have to discuss what you can do for me should you ever want to see her again.

Musashi, the Ascending Star


----

Two nights later, at a place that both Iron Nail and Musashi should have considered as hostile territory, the two individuals arrived.  A zombie shuffled towards the remains of the portal.  In the space of two steps, its gait improved, and its clothes improve.  The Loom-Snarling Deception dropped, Iron Nail stood by the portal.

A flare of lightning heralded the arrival of Musashi, who just stands imperiously, not caring that a hostile Deathlord is only a few hundred yards away.

Iron Nail.  I am glad you could come.  Tell me... what did you think of my discovery?

Iron Nail sighed, but kept his back to Musashi, hood pulled low over his face.

Yes, I did.  And I want to know how you found out about... my history.  I am-

Musashi cuts in, breaking off Nail's remark in mid-comment.

If you cooperate with me, and do as I say, I will tell you the whole story.  Of course, we both know that a story would not be a fair exchange for what I wish you to do.  So... let me put it this way.  Not only will I tell you how I found her and her connections to you, but I will also return her to you.

Musashi's smile takes on an evil aspect as he watches Iron Nail's body language.  Yes.  That hit the mark.

Iron Nail turns around, and levels a gaze at Musashi so cold and hateful Musashi reflexively takes a step back.

First... you really are a devil.  Fine.  I'll bite.  You will have to agree to an Oath before I cooperate, though.  I assume that will not be a problem?

Musashi laughs.

Of course, of course.  Let's make this agreement last, in the eyes of Heaven and Hell.

-----

A few minutes later, both the green and black animas could be seen for miles before dying away and leaving nothing but darkness behind.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:06, Mon 07 Nov 2011.

Merciful Executor of Justice
 NPC, 6 posts
Thu 16 Aug 2012
at 23:28
Returning Home
Mercy, Iron Nail, Shinji and Asuka walked through the dimensional gateway from Creation to the Capital Wasteland.  Each was on guard, as Mercy's update had the fortress under siege.  Yet, as they walked around, no one came to greet them.  The whole building was eerily quiet.

Somehow, despite the emptiness, a presence seemed to linger around the area.  As the group fanned out, Shinji and Asuka stuck together, as did Iron Nail and Mercy.  When they entered into the main building, Iron Nail finally realized the problem.  Their target was a matter manipulator.  As the sounds of fighting both started, and then stopped a few minutes later, both Iron Nail and Mercy knew they were in some trouble.

The pair reached the command center, and Iron Nail opened the door quietly.  Mercy snuck in, her Deathcaster at the ready.  When Iron Nail entered a moment later, he was surprised to see Mercy standing still out in the open.  An Orichalcum Caste Alchemical stood staring at her.  His implanted Charms seemed... inconsistent in design.  A glowing red robotic eye was installed in his chest, and it stared directly at Iron Nail.

Mercy spoke softly, still shocked and immobilized.  Golden Flame Archon?  Why?

As Mercy started sinking into the floor, unmoving, Iron Nail held up his hands.

You must be 0-1.  Relax.  I surrender.  Perhaps we should talk things over.