Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block.   Posted by Retro DM.Group: 0
Retro DM
 GM, 38 posts
Mon 6 May 2019
at 22:53
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The weekend, and whatever plans the five teenagers had for it, were just turned upside down. Now that they were allied, however tenuously with The White Tie Society, they had 24/7 access to the secret lab, and to the knowledge that the Society had gathered so far. Granted, they didn't know too much about the super natural energies now permeating throughout the world, yet. Their data gathering network was surprisingly large, and both Marcus and Ms Calhoon were often busy going over field reports. They paid attention to the training of the teenagers as much as they could, watching and reading in shifts.

OOC: Whatever training you did is up to you. Any other actions, like crafting or buying stuff, run by me first please :)

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

Saturday came and went, and everyone returned home to get some much needed rest for the next day. With their powers expanding rapidly, the kids were showing a lot of promise, but they were still pretty drained at the end of the day. With all the amazing things that happened to them the previous day, you would think they'd catch a break. Nope.

That night, the five teenagers found themselves in a dream. A shared dream. They could see each other clearly, though they couldn't speak, they could still move around and gesticulate, and were able to convey their own surprise. When Malun tried to use her PortCon to communicate telepathically, or by displaying words with it's projector, it also didn't work. This caused the rest of them to try out their powers, and those didn't work here either. This place, even though it was a dream, seemingly had rules they couldn't break.

The dream they walked was a large, open field, surrounded by a distant forest. It was day time, and the ground was patchy with grass, and wet, as though it had just rained the night before. As they walked, they eventually sighted figures in the distance. They approached cautiously, still unaware of who it was they were approaching, and what their intentions were. From a closer distance, but still far enough to be hidden, they could make out some details of the five figures.

A tall man, clad in black and white Samurai armor, with glorious white wings spread wide, and a dai katana in his hands. A grey-skinned, half-giant of some kind, with firey hair, plate armor, a shield, and a mighty hammer. A female devil, black hair slicked back between her bejeweled horns, clad in etched leathers and a lute in her hands, magical energies coursing around her. Another man with an ostentatious but none the less imposing long bow, wearing the colors of nobility, two quivers of arrows slung on his back and hip, and a magical aura surrounding him. A short woman wearing the robes of an academic, a massive tome hovering just over her left hand, her right coalescing a powerful spell.

These five powerful and heroic figures were all facing away, staring down the distance towards a gathering of evil. Monsters of all stripes, running stampede style towards them. The teens watched as the hoard approached, closer, closer. Right before they clashed, the dream ended, and they awoke. At least, most of them did.


It's Sunday morning.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:07, Mon 06 May 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 40 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 6 May 2019
at 23:34
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Jason awoke with a gasp, panting as though he had just run a mile. He did his best to calm his breathing, taking in slower and deeper breaths until he was mostly calm. “What. The hell. Was that?” He said out loud to no one. He looked at his alarm clock. 7:40. Okay, morning. Mornings are normal. Let’s do a normal morning.

As he stirred from bed, the red haired boy felt something that wasn’t there the previous night. A small linked chain hung around his neck, with a medallion attached to it. He held the strange object up, looking at it’s design - a hammer and anvil. He looked over the strange script on it, which, somehow, he could read. “Moradin protects.”

“...what’s a Moradin?”
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 44 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 7 May 2019
at 01:01
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Sleep? Who needs sleep. Not Malun. After eventually waking up Saturday around lunch, she had spent the entire rest of the day and long into the night working. Her lab door was shut, background music drowning out most noises and she only left it to use the bathroom and grab some food from the kitchen...which she promptly took back into her lab with her to eat while continuing her work.

Waking up at roughly 8 AM when she had only gone to sleep at nearly 4:30 was not on her agenda.

Her eyes blinked open with a bit of difficulty, her mind had entered high activity despite having been soundly asleep a moment prior but her body wasn't quite there yet. It took several minutes before she was able to actually get out of bed and stagger over to her dresser to start pulling on a change of clothes.

As she stared at her mirror, hair a mess and eyes red, Malun leaned on the dresser top and grumbled into the wooden surface, "...clearly supernatural. I don't dream. If this becomes a persistent phenomenon I am going to file a protest. Need to check with the others, confirm shared experience. Whitney is closest..."

Her head slipped and thunked down onto the dresser top, "...after breakfast."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 37 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Tue 7 May 2019
at 16:00
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney awoke violently. His sheets were twisted and partially kicked off his four-poster bed. Swinging his legs over the side of the mattress, his hand gripped one of the rounded mahogany posts. His bear chest was covered in sweat and heaving. Missing.

The young man’s fingers traced the carving on his bed. As if tracing the gentle lines would calm him down. It did not.

The figures in the dream. The one with the bow, clad in white and gold. It wasn’t quite right. Missing. His thoughts weren’t forming, his normal train of thought was now a loose collection of emotions and half formed concepts. Half aware of himself, Whitney swayed to his feet. An old TMNT t-shirt, faded blue from long use, was on the floor. He had just enough presence of mind to slip it on as he walked across the hardwood floor. His feet were cold, but it didn’t matter.

The emotion of need struck him, and he raided one of the storage closets that held his mothers’ various candles and incense. Missing. Towels, knickknacks, assorted candles littered the floor as he routed around. Not exact. The aroma just needed to be close, it was the ritual that mattered most. He took a few whiffs and felt satisfied; these would do. Whitney would have wondered what that ritual was, but he was already preoccupied with his next task.

A bundle of scented sticks in hand, the master of the house ignobly made his way to the greenhouse attached to the side of the house. Missing. Running to the herbs, his hands found cool dirt. Smelling and searching, the green house was left a mess. Close enough. Whitney’s fingertips dug into the earth and removed what he needed. Needed.

Using his shirt to carry his bounty, Whitney took the door that led outside the greenhouse. His feet becoming dirtier, the stone path dug into his feet. Vaguely aware of the feeling, he might have been disturbed. Missing. It didn’t matter at the moment though.

Whitney finally got to the grill and with one free hand he opened it up. Looking at the grill top, he tossed the metal aside. The sound of heavy metal clattering on stone echoed off the house into the surroundings. The grill, little more than a giant metal bowl with some leftover charcoal now, was almost what he needed. Missing. The contents of his shirt were hastily thrown into the container. Begin. Whitney glanced around and found a bag of charcoal in the nearby shed. He placed the charcoal into the grill. Arranging it just so. Missing. Using the ash from previous uses of the grill, Whitney traced lines onto his arms and face. Soot covered; he finally lit the charcoal. The intense and the herbs began to light.

Then things got weird.

The charcoal took on a normal warm glow at first, but soon grew dissatisfied with the color orange. Blues, Violets, hints of Reds ever-present, all shifted in front of his vision. Entranced, he began to mutter. “Missing. Return to Form.” The words, English. Not personal enough. This needs to be special. “חסר. חזור לטופס.” There is was, the weight he needed. The herbs and the incense mixed together, burning much slower than they should have. The ritual itself changing the components to suit its needs.

Time passed. Missing. Return to Form. חסר. חזור לטופס. Time passed.

“I name you. אני שם אותך” A Barn Owl of white and gold sat perched on the open lid of the grill in front of him. “Hektor.”

Whitney uses Find Familiar.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:03, Tue 07 May 2019.

July Coates
 player, 50 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 9 May 2019
at 01:35
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
July awoke with the scream of spell fire and the crash of metal ringing in her ears. She jerked forward, long fingers grasping at pale pink sheets, chest heaving as if she'd just finished running suicides. Blue eyes darted around the empty room, taking stock of her surroundings. No monsters. No war. Her room remained the same as ever, the pale pink walls plastered with band posters and polaroids. The vanity was covered in a spread of makeup, several dried roses hanging above its mirror. A dark green flannel was draped across a large amplifier sitting next to a bass and a cello, and a few clothes were scattered across the floor. July ran a hand through her two toned hair, drawing her knees to her chest and trying to make sense of the dream.

It had felt so real. The fire in her skin roiled, adrenaline still humming in her veins. July's fingers slipped out of her mane, and she snapped, willing a flame to hand. She ran it harmlessly across her knuckles, back and forth, back and forth, before she closed her palm tight around the flame and snuffed it. She had yet to find use for that flex of magic, but her heart rate had at least slowed.

It wasn't even eight. July was never up this early on weekends, preferring to sleep in as humanly possible. There was no way she was going to be able to fall back asleep after that dream. However, that didn't stop her from pulling her comforter over her head and burying her face in a pillow.
Garret Blake
 player, 63 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 9 May 2019
at 02:48
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett's eyes snapped open. The exposed beams of his ceiling came steadily into focus. Gold light flooded through the window, and he could hear the sounds of birds. The slow rise and fall of his breath was a rhythm in his ears. Fingers flexed briefly against the blankets. Real. This was... real.

He closed his eyes again. Opened them. Ache. A deep, shuddering breath. Calm. Posters on his wall. The image of Henry Rollins with his arms folded staring down dissonantly across the space from the opposite wall where Kenshin Himura posed with his curving reverse-blade sword. Another breath. All real. And no getting away from, or out of it, either. That dating sim game sat jauntily on top of the playstation.

Very slowly, Garrett pushed himself up, shifting off the blanket and planting his feet on the floor, running angular hands through his matted bedhead. Deep breaths.

a gift not meant for you.

He gulped, alone in his room. There were noises downstairs. Right... Mom was home today. Her day off. Normally he would've made her breakfast, but exhaustion had hit him so potently last night that he'd overslept and now...

Slowly, the large boy wrapped broad arms around himself, clad only in boxers and a sleeveless A-shirt that clung to his shoulders and chest before hanging loose around his middle. Another deep, fearful breath. His normal face stared back at him from the mirror awkwardly hanging from the back of his bedroom door. The same as ever. Not the same at all.

Garrett swallowed again. Mom. His voice was tiny in the quiet, messy bedroom.

"... How on earth am I going to tell her?"

This message was last edited by the player at 02:49, Thu 09 May 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 42 posts
Thu 9 May 2019
at 22:38
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
As Malun looked into her mirror and mused to herself, her PortCon blipped to life, displaying another message as it had before.

::To improve database functionality, I request connection to an internet capable machine. One or two hours should be sufficient. All that is required is a compatible wire.::

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

The owl that Whitney had summoned considered him carefully, tilting it's head sideways, then opposite. It gave a quiet hoot, and Whitney took this to mean it would be friendly towards him, though how exactly that message was conveyed is hard to pinpoint. Hektor turned his head as Woolsworth came outside and saw the mess Whitney had made. He made a tired sigh.

"I presume there was a sufficiently good reason for this, young master Whitney?"

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

July could tell her mother was already awake by the smell of what she believed to be pork mole. She cooked this sometimes on the weekends, usually when she could tell someone (July) was feeling down or emotionally strained. Not the most traditional breakfast food, but a nice gesture none the less.

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

As Garret lay still, he could hear the radio on downstairs. His mother was already awake, doing whatever she did on her day off, which (when Garret didn't cook) usually involved a brief breakfast bagel and household chores.

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

Jason's house was internally quiet, though externally he thought he could hear his father on the porch with his mother, talking about something in the local newspaper. His dad worked odd hours as a handyman, so it was impossible to tell when he'd be home, or for how long, but he usually spent as much time with his mother and Jason himself as he could.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 45 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 11 May 2019
at 01:35
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Hmm?" Malun looked over at her PortCon, which was sitting on her bedside table, "ah...yes, that seems prudent. Can you run a search on various sites to see how far afield from Gridley supernatural activity has been reported while you're at it?"

Trudging over to the bedside table, Malun picked up her PortCon and brought it over to her desk computer, hooking it up to run before she went to go have breakfast and try to finish waking up.
Garret Blake
 player, 66 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 11 May 2019
at 23:03
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett slowly stretched. The first sound he heard other than mom was the sudden scraping of nails on the floor... and then an explosion of gray-furred muscular energy thudded into him. He stumbled and was immediately buried in the mass of 100 pounds of steel-gray fur and enthusiastic dog-kisses. For a few seconds everything else was gone, and the tall boy laughed as he put Duke Marmelade the huge lab-pitbull freak-of-nature into a headlock. "DUUUUUUUUKE. C'MERE YOU BIG DUMB MEATHEAD DOOOOOOOOOF."

For a few seconds, boy and tog tumbled on the floor with the latter trying to playfully devour the former's hand while Garrett mimed eating the huge pup's head.

Eventually he had to stand up. Duke flopped on the floor, his big old gray dog-eyes watching as Garrett crossed the room to his desk. The land line was plugged in, big old clunky tan phone on its base with its spiral cord curlng into the wall. It was a risk, if his mom picked up the other one downstairs, but still.

Then he noticed it. The feather. Sitting on his nightstand. Real.

Oh. Shit.

He picked up the phone. The dull dial tone echoed in his ears... then he punched in the numbers, took a deep breath, and paced back and forth as he waited for Jason to pick up.
Jason Drake
 player, 41 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sun 12 May 2019
at 00:56
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Hopping out of bed and getting dressed for the day, Jason considered the strange symbol now around his neck. Looking in the mirror in his room, it seemed to sit well, or at least didn't clash with anything he wore. He wasn't a fashionista, but as far as he could tell it didn't draw undue attention to itself. Not sure why I can read it. Maybe I should try writing in that script? Man I'm failing Spanish but I can somehow read this?

Then the phone rang. Jason had a line in his room, for both internet and his cordless phone. He saw the call ID, it was Garret. Could it be the dream? He picked up.

"Hey Garret. So I had a weird dream about all of us last night. When I woke up I had a weird symbol around my neck that talks about some entity named Moradin. How was your night?" He said all matter-of-factly, selling it with dry humor.
Garret Blake
 player, 67 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 12 May 2019
at 05:17
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
They all dreamed it then. Garrett blinked. He pressed a hand to his head, trying for a few futile moments to sum up exactly how it was supposed to feel when you'd just done... what he did. It was still firing through his brain even as he sat exhausted from a night of sleep that wasn't all that restful. Garrett rubbed his eyes. Right. He had to say something--that pause was longer than he intended.

"I... okay, so uh, you saw that too." Another awkward pause followed. "And... Moradin. Is that... I'm sorry that sounds like maybe something I've... no, I'm sorry. I have no idea what that is. It kinda sounds like that muffler place with George Foreman in the commercials?"

He cleared his throat with a slightly awkward cough.

"So I don't know how to start so I'll just... say it I guess: My dream kept going after the part where we were all there. And there was this... guy named Swan, I think. He gave me a feather. Apparently my gift was..." he didn't normally stutter or trail off this much, but the words weren't really coming out.

"Jason I just swore an oath to a dream-man over a feather and a jug of sake next to a pond to hunt down evil as long as my sword-arm bears weight and I'm pretty sure this is gonna complicate basically everything and also... I might need a sword? I think?"

Dammit. This was all coming out wrong. One hand ran irritably through his hair "So um. Yeah. That happened."
Jason Drake
 player, 42 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 13 May 2019
at 16:28
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Jason blinked on his end of the phone. Garret's explanation of his further dream was like something out of the anime they sometimes watched together. It also sounded just like the typical recklessness that Garret would participate in. He thumbed the strange necklace, trying to think.

"Okay. That's new. You drink sake? Never mind, dream man, dream sake. We do know where to get a sword, though. Maybe we should all gather up this afternoon and compare notes?"
Garret Blake
 player, 68 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 15 May 2019
at 02:01
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Uh, mind-sake," Garrett said. "So kinda? I don't know. It didn't actually really do anything to me." He paused. Pressed a hand to his head. The wings. The terrible shadows. He felt like he needed to say something about that, but it just... wouldn't come out. He wanted to. But teeth clenched. The flash of black eyes across his vision.

"Yeah," he murmured. "Yeah lets compare notes. I'm sorry to not be more of a listen. I think... This is just a lot."

Another pause followed. Garrett ran a hand through his hair. "I have this bad feeling man. Like I'm going to be dealing out a lot of hurt, and I don't know what that means. I've spent two years trying to get away from it."
July Coates
 player, 51 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 19 May 2019
at 02:02
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Paprika. Cumin. Garlic. Peppers. Clove. Cocoa. Damn, that smells good. July grumbled from deep within her pile of pillows and comforter, blue eyes shut tight. Sleep was nowhere to be found, no matter how dearly July didn't want to face the day. She buried her face deeper into her pillow, as if the silk could block out the world.

It almost worked. Half an hour passed and she had almost managed to fall back asleep. The knock at her door cut through the silence, and July was jolted back into her senses.

"July," Her mother's soft voice followed the knock, "Are you up?"

"Mmf."

"Coffee's ready."

"...m'up."

It took a few minutes for July to muster the willpower to kick free of her prison of comfort. Bare feet padded across plush carpet, nimble fingers grabbing the brush from her desk and working the rats nest into something more manageable. July frowned at the roots of her bangs in the vanity mirror. Already time to bust out the bleach again. Grumbling, she tossed the brush in the vague direction of her desk, stumbling over the ragged hems of her plaid pajama pants towards the bathroom.

A fresh toothpaste stain marred the front of her Mighty Mighty Bosstones tank as July dropped into a chair at the table. Her chin landed in one palm, the other occupied by an enthusiastic ball of energy masquerading as a dog. Penny pushed up into her lap, earning a particularly inarticulate grumble from the exhausted teenager. The golden retriever writhed in delight as July's fingers found the spot behind her ear, and despite the trauma of being awake, July smiled.

"Your coffee, sweet pea," July's mother, Eleanor, set a steaming Stanford mug in front of her before wrapping an arm around her shoulders in a side hug. July murmured her thanks, leaning into the contact. "You're awfully warm. Do you have a fever?"

"No," The word came out louder than she'd meant. July's mother raised an eyebrow, a hand already on her daughters forehead, her expression turning concerned.

"You're burning up, July."

"I'm fine, mom! Really!"

"You're not. Let me get the thermometer. I'll be right back."

July made an ineffective noise, trying to stand up to derail her mother, and was promptly knocked back into her chair by Penny's sheer zest for life, jolting the table. Coffee sloshed over the rim of the mug, and July swore, wincing at the chastising Language! her mother called from the other room.

She hadn't even managed to drink any of the desperately vital coffee when her mother returned with a small plastic thermometer. July begrudgingly stuck the probe beneath her tongue.

"One hundred and three point six. You're staying home today," Her mother's concerned voice confirmed what July had already learned in Mr. Lunesby's lab the previous day.

"I feel fine though," July protested at her mother's worried look.

Her mother simply arched a brow, tapping the thermometer alongside the digital readout. 103.6 F stared back at July. There was no way she could tell her mother that Mr. Lunesby--Gridley's resident eccentric--had given her a clean bill of health in his highly illegal underground lab, having ruled her heat a harmless quirk of the...whatever had happened to them. Her mother would have an aneurysm. And then tell her father, who would have an aneurysm and then do everything possible to get said highly illegal underground lab shut down.

"Seriously! Mom! I'm not sick," July insisted, gently pushing Penny out of her lap and finally, finally taking a drink of her coffee. "Promise."
Jason Drake
 player, 43 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sun 19 May 2019
at 17:12
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Jason paused a moment. He could tell, even across the faded signal of his phone line, that Garret had worry in his voice. He felt like he should say something to help his friend, but the right words didn’t always come quickly. Another pause. He exhaled.

“Garret, sometimes protecting people means dealing out the hurt. Sometimes that’s the only way. Don’t worry about it too much, you’ve got me to keep you in check. I’ll see you later.”

He let Garret say whatever his parting line would be, then hung up. There were still things to do before meeting back at Malun’s, not the least of which was figuring out how to pack his new armor without too many questions.

“Okay Jason. You’ve got this.”
Garret Blake
 player, 69 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 20 May 2019
at 00:20
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"You're right," Garrett heard himself say. "Thanks man. As always."

The conversation ended. He looked across the room at the small collage he'd made a few years ago out of scavenged anime magazines. Faces of heroes stared back at him in cartoon relief. Maybe it was as silly as some people had said. A bit on the goofy side... but when he'd been a skinny, angry kid dealing with the cauldron of anger and rejection that burned way down deep? It had sure helped to see some heroic rolemodels kicking ass and being good to the people weaker than them.

And now? He walked across the room. Callused fingers wrapped around the handle of his baseball bat. The feather rested on his desk. His other hand wrapped around it. The sounds of his mother going about her routines pulled at his heart. He could hear her humming as he got dressed. Jeans. An athletic tank to fight against the heat. Sneakers. He stuffed the bat into his backpack. The handle jutted out at an odd angle.

She'd always taken care of him. Watched over him every second since the day dad left the picture. Duke made a noise at his side as he stood at the bedroom door, and he scratched the big dog's ears. "She's always looked after me," he said under his breath. "Never faltered. Not once. She's looked after the people of Gridley tirelessly, even when she'd lost everything."

"My turn."

Saundra Blake was a sleight woman, medium height, with hazel eyes and blonde hair she usually wore up in the same ponytail that old yearbook photos said she'd had in high school. Practical. Kind. Her eyes brightened as she looked up at the sight of her son descending the stairs. "Garrett! I'm sorry, I meant to have breakfast ready but it was such a long shift last night and, well--" she sighed, pausing and turning off the vacuum. "--here, let me see what I can whip up. There is coffee though."

"Mom," Garrett paused.

"--oh don't start, I know you were out late, and your mother used to play rugby so it's not like I can't put something together with protein--"

"Uh, mom?"

"--and just because you've decided that all your other obligations aren't enough doesn't mean that your mother can't decide to--"

"Mom," he held up his hands. "It's fine. Let me."

She stopped. Let out a long sigh, then a warmer smile. "I really can burn eggs, can't I?"

As Garrett moved past her, shuffling pans and opening the fridge, he grinned. "Like nobody else."

She laughed and sat down at the small bar on the other side of the counter with a ghost of the smirk her son sometimes flashed. "Someday some young lady is going to run you down for those chef skills, kiddo."

"Mom!"

A laugh was her only response.

Eggs. A bit of milk. Butter. Salt. Pepper. Some peppers and Mexican blend shredded cheese. Oh hey, they still had some mushrooms! He pulled out the knife and the cutting board. Taptaptaptaptap went the blade through ingredients. Sliced mushrooms. Peppers. Green onions. Butter in the pan. Sizzling followed. He took a drink of coffee with a bit of cream and whistled. "You want two or three?"

"Two please."

"You sure, rugby ace?"

"Yes, Garrett. My heavy lifting days are behind me."

"Oh c'mon, I'm pretty sure you could still back-squat me if you wanted to."

She shook her head. "Just cook, you brat." One hand touched her forehead. She was tired. "Do you have any plans today?

A pause followed. He handed her a second cup of coffee. "... Uh, yeah. I'm meeting Jason and July for a thing with some others."

As he was plating up the pair of omelettes, his mom briefly arched an eyebrow. "And how are things with July?"

"And Jason, Mom. And they're fine."

Her smile was annoyingly knowing. "Of course."

The tall boy flicked a piece of uncooked mushroom at her. She caught it and stuck her tongue out. "How long will you be out?"

He paused, unsure for a few seconds, then answered "I'm not totally sure, I'll call though, if it's gonna be after five, okay? Scouts honor."

A deadpan eyebrow arch worthy of Giles on that Buffy show followed. She reached down and scratched Duke behind the ears as the big dog plopped down beside her.

"... was-a-cub-scout-for-two-months-honor?"

"You're really reaching there, kiddo."

Garrett slid into the seat beside her after plating the food. "What can I say," he replied with a confident kiss to his mother's forehead. "I learned from the best."

It was about an hour later that he got his stuff together. A long flannel with rolled up sleeves. The jacket. His helmet as he walked out to the dirtbike. He'd sworn an oath, and as he moved, he felt it settle on him. Heavy, but manageable. He smiled down at the big dog with his intense eyes. One more thing to do.

He picked up the landline in the garage, hesitated for a second, and dialed the Coates house.

"Pleeeeeeeease let this one go well."

A pause. A voice on the other end. Garrett swallowed.

Polite. Decent. No rudeness. Professional? Right?

"Hi Mr. Coates, it's Garrett Blake. May I speak to July?"

Hooooooooo boy.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:26, Mon 20 May 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 38 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 20 May 2019
at 20:34
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney’s senses came back to him. Endorphins surging in him, he couldn’t even muster enough appropriate shame to look sheepish about his actions. He looked to Woolsworth and then back to Hektor. The young boy was covered in ash and dirt and wore the goofiest smile.

Absentmindedly and ineffectually, Whitney began to brush off the various sediments that he had smeared on to himself for the ritual. “Woolsworth, I had the most powerful need. It was like waking up in the middle of the night parched with no other thought except for a glass of water.” Giggling to himself, Whitney spun around on the balls of his feet. “I needed him, Woolsworth. This is Hektor.”

On cue, as the young master held his arm out, Hektor made a quick hop onto his new youthful perch. The barn owl was large, but Whitney hardly noticed the weight. The talons were careful not to grip too tight, but it occurred to Whitney that falconry equipment might be in order.

“I summoned him, Woolsworth. I spoke him from some,” his head swirled, provided knowledge that brought to him the smell of incense and old paper, “celestial plane. Whatever that is.” Pride bloomed in his chest.

Whitney recalled his actions upon waking up and began to realize what he himself must look like. Looking around and at himself, he had apparently smeared his handywork all over his shirt in an attempt to clean himself. He let out a staccato laugh, like little knives piercing the air with his own joy. “Why, I must look quite the mess. I hope our staff wasn’t too inconvenienced.” Poor, Mary was it? She was probably trying to sort all the candles and incense that Whitney had strewn about earlier at that very moment.

“Don’t worry. No doubt this is another boon from my,” another barely suppressed stab of laughter came out, “unusual encounter the other day.” Whitney turned his attention to Hektor and began to pet his head. His white and gold feathers seemingly undisturbed from his own charcoal covered fingers. As if the being’s existence was above casual dirtiness.

“I shall assist in the clean up before taking care of myself. I should share this new development with our shady new friends.”
July Coates
 player, 52 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 23 May 2019
at 04:38
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Her mother kept fussing. She meant well, and she wasn't wrong to do so, but that knowledge didn't make the situation any easier. She accepted the glasses of water, declined multiple blankets, and insisted, repeatedly, that, no, she really did feel fine.

"Mom, seriously, I don't have a sore throat, or a headache, or sniffles, or anything. I feel perfectly fine," she reiterated from her sprawl on the couch. Arfur had made a home for himself in her lap, and he was clearly relishing the attention. Fully caffeinated, fed, and cuddling her favorite grumpy old man, July's mood had improved drastically over the past hour.

Her mother tutted, clearly not assuaged, but she mercifully backed down.

"Alright. Just...let me know if you need anything."

"I will. Promise," July called over the back of the couch, watching Arfur's face intently as she played with his ears, grinning as he twitched them in mild annoyance. She blew a puff of air in his face, laughing as he snuffled in response.

"Be nice to your brother," Her father's baritone drifted across the living room. July looked up to her father's chastising look over the paper. Henry Coates was a tall man with piercing blue eyes and a respectable shock of grey at the temples of his neatly coiffed black hair. The round, brown glasses perched on his nose softened the sharp angles of his face. A faint smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as he dropped his gaze back to his crossword. Penny lay at his feet, the only human she had mastered any degree of calm around. "Or I'll give him your room and you can sleep in the kennel."

July shot the dog in her lap an amused look.

"You'd let me sleep in the room though, right Arf? 'Of course I would, July, you're my favorite sister, I would never betray you'," July lifted the small maltese's front legs, dancing them about as she put on his posh voice. Arfur snuffled indignantly. "Sorry dad, but I think your pl--"

The phone rang, interrupting July's sass. Her father shifted, shushing Penny with a firm word, taking the phone out of its bay. July settled in to play with the favorite child dog.

"Coates Residence." A pause. "Ah. Hello Garrett. One moment."

July perked at the sound of her friend's name, meeting her father's gaze. His gaze was neutral as he nodded towards her. July shifted, placing Arfur on the couch before she padded across the room towards her father. He gave her a measured look as he passed her the phone. July had long since stopped paying attention to her father's quiet disapproval of her friend, and she simply smiled as she took the phone. She was quick to abandon the living room.

"Hi, Garrett," July's voice was bright as she answered the phone, a wide smile creasing her features. "What's up?"
Garret Blake
 player, 70 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 24 May 2019
at 00:03
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Ah. Hello Garrett. One moment."

It's a breath out when Mr. Coates hands him off so quickly. It could've gone a lot worse, and he was never sure exactly what to expect from July's dad. Today, however, he'd braced for what amounts to mostly nothing. A few shuffling seconds and July's voice filled his ears from the other end of the line. Okay cool. His brain took a second to reorient itself because he'd honestly spent several minutes psyching himself up for a thing that never happened.

A quick delay followed. Then he remembered that she was still waiting for him to talk.

"... H! Sorry. I was just getting ready for that thing today, and I know it's not for a little bit but I've got my stuff together I could. Um. Come pick you up and we could maybe hang out before?"

Fuckin' genius, dude. Real nice.

He coughed. A little awkward. Hoped she didn't catch that part. "I mean, assuming you don't have family stuff today."
July Coates
 player, 53 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 24 May 2019
at 04:26
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Had the call dropped? Wait, no, Garrett was speaking. Meeting up sooner to hang out? July glanced down to her stained shirt and raggedy pajama pants. She could probably get dressed and a face put on before he got to the house. But there was the whole issue of her mother's fussing and insistence of resting. July glanced down the hall towards the kitchen, where her mother was humming along to the radio and tidying up.

"No, I mean, we don't have anything, I don't think," July turned away, idly fiddling with a blonde bang. Lowering her voice, she winced, "And like, I'd really like that, but my mom kind of has it in her head that I'm sick. The whole fever thing. I haven't figured out how I'm going to convince her to let me leave the house."
Garret Blake
 player, 71 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 24 May 2019
at 07:16
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Shit. He hadn't counted on her parents not letting her out. Garrett took a second to compose his thoughts. There was the immediate tug of war between the fact that they really did have to go do the thing today and the fact that July hated doing anything that would seriously upset or worry her parents. He's always wanted to respect that... but at the same time he also knew that this was sort of a coping mechanism to manage the fact that she was planning on running off to LA in two years to become a SKA legend.

Right. That's still happening.

He brushed it aside. Priority one was figuring out whether he was actually bothering her by suggesting it. Priority two was figuring out how to get her out.

"Okay so," he said, sitting down beside the receiver and trying not to notice his furiously tapping boot. "I guess question one is... do you think that heat is a side effect of that magic... stuff? You were pretty warm on the ride home from the Lunesby's house the other night, and every time you used your magic, I saw sparks flames. It was really pretty."

Beat. Absent thoughts that he shouldn't have been dwelling on.

"Okay so, I think I might have an idea. Do you think we could talk them into letting you go over to Noel's for his mamá's amazing taco soup? I could pick you up there, and drop you off after with none the wiser."

A pause. "I mean, other than Noel."

One more pause. Then, glad that she couldn't see the creeping red on his face, he murmured "I... had weird dreams last night that I'd like to talk to you about if I could. Also the irony that I am now conspiring to help you get out of the house while trying to make a better impression on your folks is... well that's something to chew on."
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 46 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 24 May 2019
at 13:42
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Cereal had been eaten, albeit more slowly than usual. Returning to her room, Malun checked progress on her PortCon's process but found it silent. Probably still trying to download the entire internet or something. The hardware didn't have the memory for that, but it also didn't have the memory for a fully autonomous AI either.

Deciding that she'd rather not wait until her PortCon was done before talking to anyone, since she had no idea how long that would take, Malun picked out clothes for the day(in this case a blue and white striped tunic shirt and black pants), pulled her hair back into a quick ponytail and made her way out to her garage.

Once in her workshop Malun grinned at the two pieces of equipment laying finished on her workbench. Her glasses now served a purpose instead of just being a fashion statement and having bluelight protection. Two small power supplies rested on the sides of the frame, with a cool circuitry design connecting them to new lenses that contained some kind of magical tech that she built under her PortCon's supervision, allowing her to use the telepathy abilities without needing the PortCon itself. Next to her glasses was a single fingerless glove that Malun immediately slid onto her right hand. Three small silver circles on the palm of the otherwise black glove served as the weapon Malun had constructed for herself, one that she could take anywhere with no suspicion as it was just an odd looking glove. Never again would she be caught unable to defend herself and forced to rely on the bravery and/or stupidity of the others for her own defense.

With her new glasses and glove on, Malun put on her shoes and headed out the door towards Whitney's house, leaving both her PortCon and her bag at home for now.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:44, Fri 24 May 2019.

July Coates
 player, 54 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 26 May 2019
at 20:54
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
It was really pretty. July wasn't sure what to make of Garrett's comment. She was even less sure of what to make of the way her stomach fluttered at his words. Pretty.

"I mean, it makes sense. My...magic," July winced at that word, still not quite comfortable with the strange new reality she found herself in. "Kind of feels like fire? But just more? Ugh. I don't know to describe it."

Her room was quiet, and July pressed the phone to her ear with a shoulder as she rifled through her closet. Garrett's idea was...it would probably work, even as she felt guilty for considering it. Pulling out a black suspender skirt she held it against herself, considering. Yeah. That worked.

"I can give it a shot?" July frowned as Garrett brought up dreams. Had they all been there? It sounded impossible, but she'd touched enough minds now to know how permeable the barriers between people could truly be. "I...yeah. We can talk. Just give me like, forty minutes? I'll find a way to get to Noel's, okay?"
Garret Blake
 player, 72 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 27 May 2019
at 05:03
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
A pause happened as she articulated what her powers felt/looked like, and Garrett remembered what it was like to feel all of... that flowing through him. More. Yup. That was definitely a way to put it.

"Well, either way, yeah. Pretty."

Greeeeeeeat recovery, dude. He cleared his throat. Leaned against the door, glad as hell that she couldn't see the stain of red his face had turned. Okay. Okay! She was going to give it a shot. Forty minutes. He could make it to Noel's by then.

"Okay," he said. "Good--excellent. I'll take the bike and head on over. I'll head over and meet you there, and--" he stumbles here, not quite sure what to say at the close of a phonecall and startled by what jumped into his head, which is a thing that he should very much not say. "--take care, yeah?"

A few seconds followed after the call ended, and he stared at the receiver for what felt like a really long time before shaking his head at his own sudden verbal ineptitude. "Seriously? What the fuck?"

***

Forty minutes later, Garrett sat on the edge of the bike, around the back behind Noel's place, watching as his mutual friend with July watched him over the lip of a cup of coffee. For all that the bigger boy was pretty adept at wearing a solid poker-face, Noel was more than able to read his nerves.

"... You alright ese?" He said after a few moments awkward silence. "I know it's been a weird few days but you look like you're about to climb out of your skin."

"Hmm?" The look--surprised, blinking--that the football player suddenly fixed his friend with lasted a little longer than appropriate before he shook his head and ran a hand through his dark hair. "I... I mean yes? But also... really no. I dunno. There's everything that's happened and also I, well, I really don't want to get her in trouble."

It was funny. How literal monsters and magic powers still somehow ranked on par with getting into trouble with your parents or being late for school.

Then again, he supposed, Mr. Coates did have a helluva unnerving stare.
Jason Drake
 player, 44 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 27 May 2019
at 17:23
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
After having a quick breakfast of cereal with a banana, Jason got himself dressed for the day - jeans and a Thor t-shirt - and went to the garage to try to discreetly pack up his stuff. Discreet was not Jason's strong suit, but he figured a bit of noise coming from the garage was normal enough. Tangle, the bi-color tuxedo, jumped up to a shelf and sat watching him try to fit various pieces of his new armor into a duffel bag. Jason stopped when he realized the cat was there.

"Oh, it's you. Come to help me, little fuzz?" Jason smiled as he pet him, eliciting some purring. He looked back at the closed door to the house, and briefly contemplated going back in. Telling his parents everything. He could, right now, it would be so easy. Right? Wouldn't it?

"...better wait till I can really explain this. They have a lot going on."

With his bag loaded, Jason left a sticky note on the fridge saying 'Going to hang out with Garret and July, be back tonight'. Then, bag over his shoulder, he got on his bicycle and made his way out.
July Coates
 player, 55 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 28 May 2019
at 01:15
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Thirty five minutes later found July dressed, a black suspender skirt over a crisp white shirt, her dark hair braided down over one shoulder, blonde bangs skimming the sides of her face. Slipping on her checkered vans, she grabbed her gig bag, loaded up with her P-bass, water bottle, snacks and wallet. Slipping her shoulders through the straps, she took a steadying breath. Right. Time to somehow talk her way out of the house.

She found her mother on the back patio, watering the sunflowers alongside the house. She looked up at July, her eyebrows raising. July interrupted what was very clearly an admonishment.

"I'm fine! I promise, mom. I mean, look at me. I'm not coughing, or dizzy, or nauseous. I'm just running a little warm. I'll drink lots of water and I'll come home right away if I feel sick, I just...I really need to see Noel."

"July--"

"Please?"

Her mother's face creased into a frown. It was so rare that July pushed back like this. After a long moment, she sighed and nodded.

"Okay. How long will you be gone?"

"A few hours. I'll call if I'm going to miss dinner."

"I...alright. Have fun, July."

July bounded forward and hugged her mother, kissing her cheek before bounding towards the familiar path to Noel's home, before she could change her mind.

July Coates rolled 23 using 1d20+8.  Everything's FINE mom, HONESTLY (: (: (:

--

The walk cuts across three streets to Rhododendron Avenue. Three houses in stood the Meza home, a large blue two story house with a sprawling yard. July let herself in the front door, well past the point of having to knock.

"Hi mamá, papá," July called out, moving through the front room. She poked her head into the kitchen, spying Noel's mother. She offered a grin and a wave. "Where's Noel?"

"Hi July. He's out on the deck. You staying for lunch?"

"Thanks! I'll let you know," July chirped, following the directions through the house to the back of the house.

The sliding glass door opened smoothly, and July crossed the deck in a handful of strides, latching onto her best friend with a bright laugh. She'd sprouted four inches taller than him over the summer between their Freshman and Sophomore year, and he had yet to catch up. His dark hair hung long, a dark red beanie slouching on the top of his head that matched the flannel he wore.

"Hi bestie. Missed your face," July beamed, releasing him. She slipped out of her gig bag, setting the bass down by her feet. Blue eyes shifted, landing on Garrett sat perched on his bike. She leaned on the handrail, grinning down at him. "Hey, Garrett."
Garret Blake
 player, 73 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 28 May 2019
at 22:57
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett heard her arrive, his head full of thoughts both relevant and utterly irrelevant to now. Half somewhere far away in a feather-dusted dream that was half nightmare, half here trying not to shift too much from foot to foot because oh shit she was here. Seriously. This was not a big deal. It was the same as always. He became acutely aware of how warm it was outside, and started shrugging off the flannel that rested underneath the jacket he'd already taken off because dammit sweating this much sucked, and tied it about his waist, resting his frame on big arms against the bike behind him.

She set the base down and hugged Noel with that infectious sort of joy and Garrett was for just a moment blissfully unaware of just how dumb his smile looked. For a few seconds it was just like old times and He was with two of the people who first really gave him a social haven away from the Diamonds. Music was supposed to break out next, and he would sit across from the pair of them as they work out the kinks in whatever thing they're working, occasionally offering a suggestion, humming along, or jokingly saying "play freebird!"

But of course it wasn't exactly like that. Because she'd turned that smile on him and for an honest to god second he was thinking about how hard she hugged him two nights ago and her smile was the sunlight and well fuck his knees were mush. Garrett actually meant to lead with the relevant information--the vow he made, the second dream, Swan, and the feather in his jacket pocket. Instead, however, the dumb smile just sort of stayed in place and turned into a big ol' boyish grin.

"... Hiiii," he said, with more stupid in his voice than he meant. A beat followed, and then he remembered, and produced the feather from his coat pocket. "... Right. Um. So we should talk. Did you have the same dream last night that Jason and I did? With the strange figures? Because I had another one after it."

There was a pause as his tone became more somber.

"I learned something about my gift... and it came with a promise. This was beside my bed when I woke up."
July Coates
 player, 56 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 31 May 2019
at 22:25
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Had Garrett always been so...distracting? There was something about the wide grin crinkling his warm brown eyes that made it a little hard to focus. Noel had said something, undoubtedly dry and clever, but she couldn't quite string her thoughts together. Garrett's arms were just really...ripply. Big. Huh.

July blinked as he shifted, his grin melting into something more serious. Right. Focus.

"So I guess we all probably shared that dream then," July remarked with a frown. She had no idea what it meant, but her gut told her it wasn't good. Garrett, however, had had another dream. And made a promise?

He produced a feather and July arched a brow, uncertain what to make of it. There was something...unearthly about it. It was perfect. Something about it put her teeth on edge, skin prickling at the back of her neck.

"What kind of promise did you make? To who?"
Garret Blake
 player, 74 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 1 Jun 2019
at 03:14
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett pushed himself off the bike with a shift of his shoulders, straightening with a stretch and glancing up at the deck as July asked her questions. Maybe he was trying to just get up to the same level as the people he was talking to, maybe he was showing off... maybe a bit of both, but the physical energy just wouldn't abate for once and he abruptly dashed forward, grabbed the deck-rail and jumped up over it, heaving himself over and landing in a crouch beside his two friends, a bit closer to July than he'd intended, honestly. He shifted his weight a bit to keep from tumbling, and leaned against the hand-rail before reproducing the feather.

Proximity. Woops. That was her face. Like. Closer than he intended. Focus.

A deep breath followed, and Garrett's face shifted. He needed to tell them this. It was important... especially since they were all in it  together. Of all people, it was Whitney's words that were suddenly in his head. Echoing around the inside of his skull. An irritant of which he could neither rid himself nor ignore because of the infuriating truth with which they rang.

"I know you have a death wish, but your friends would follow you off a cliff. We got lucky."

The tall boy took a deep breath. "Last night," he said, "I dreamed I was in a small glade with a pond. There was a man there, with a sake jug, who called himself Swan. And he said he was my guardian." His jaw tightened slightly. It felt strange to talk about this. Unreal. But the feather in his fingers--that was no illusion.

"He... said that this... thing that happened in our world two days ago was not foreseen by he and whomever he represents. Also apparently whatever magic that bonded with me was... incomplete? According to him?" He scratched the back of his head as he spoke. July was like. Right there. "Um... apparently part of it is not... working--" Eyes of night. A black shadow at his back that drank the light. "--prop...er...ly. Nevermind that part. Okay. I guess what I have... people are normally born with it, but not me."

Your wings a shadow of what they could be.

"This gift wasn't meant for me. But I have it, and I had a choice," he said. His tone finally sobered. "To use this for a purpose. To do good with it. And I made it. This feather is the symbol of that oath--it was handed to me in the dream and was on my nightstand when I woke up."

He leaned against the rail, the sun on his shoulders and catching the occasional gold flecks in his brown eyes. "'As long as my sword-arm bears weight, I will hunt down evil.'"

Garrett turned the feather over in his fingers. Perfect. Otherworldly. Then he looked back at July, with her face like sunlight. The sober moment was broken and he cleared his throat awkwardly before watching her face carefully. "So yeah. That happened."

I need you to know. I can't tell you how I feel, but I can tell you this.
Jason Drake
 player, 45 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Thu 6 Jun 2019
at 02:21
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Riding in the morning California sun was, naturally, hot. As much as Jason was used to the heat, there was a noticeable difference today. It wasn’t that he wasn’t hot, but that he could feel that strange, otherworldly heat on the inside. It was an odd dichotomy, and thinking about it almost made him miss a turn.

He made a stop at Garret’s house. Of course, Garret wasn’t home , he was at Noel’s. “Right. Of course...” Jason sighed and hit the road once more. Oddly enough, the weight of his bag was barley noticeable. He should have been much more tired, but he felt fine. Hmm, that’s new. He wasn’t sure how that was happening, but it was pretty helpful. I wonder what I can lift now? He pondered as he made his way towards Noel’s

This message was last edited by the player at 14:06, Thu 06 June 2019.

July Coates
 player, 57 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 10 Jun 2019
at 19:37
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
To say that July was surprised by Garrett leaping onto the deck was, well, a bit of an understatement. She took a step back as he was suddenly very much in her space with a graceful explosion of movement. Just...right there. Their arms were just shy of brushing. It was strange--he had suddenly become so much bigger than her, even though they were nearly of a height. When had that happened? July distinctly remembered towering over him and Noel both, not that long ago.

And all of that wondering was completely irrelevant to what was going on. July swallowed, unsure what to make of the skip of her pulse. Her cheeks were warm but, well, that was clearly just her new normal.

July tuned back into Garrett's dream of a strange man and incomplete magic and an oath marked by a feather.

An oath. July looked down at the feather. The fire in her veins shrank away from it, as if uncomfortable. She couldn't blame it. Something about that feather made her feel tarnished. Unworthy. It was simply too bright, too clean, too perfect. As she looked at the shining feather, something in her mind flashed, and she just...knew things.

"It belongs to the Celestial Order," July spoke with a certainty she couldn't explain. The words sounded insane, but she knew in the fire that lurked in her bones that she was right. "You...serve them now, I guess? I..." Her brows furrowed, trying to make sense of the knowledge that didn't belong to her. "You're not the only one to have made that promise. Just the latest."

July winced, touching her temple at the sudden uncomfortable spike of heat. That was...a little unpleasant.

"I don't know--I don't know how I know that." Sucking in a breath, she inched back away from the feather, forcing her gaze up to Garrett and Noel. "Or, um, what it means."

July Coates rolled 18 using 1d20+3.  What the h*ck is this vow and feather stuff about???

This message was last edited by the player at 19:37, Mon 10 June 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 75 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 11 Jun 2019
at 21:16
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
She was really close. Garrett had to check himself. Okay. Okay. Cool. This was all fine. The tall boy leaned a knotted arm on the edge of the deck. As July looked at the feather, he couldn't help but... notice things. She gulped. Looked off-footed for a moment. Her eyes darted down for a second, and he saw her cheeks flush. Couldn't help but notice her mouth. Huh. That was a thing. She was acting like--

--like she was really warm. It was damn hot out, frankly. Now that he thought about it, he could feel an intense heat radiating off her. Boy. She hadn't been kidding. He'd noticed it the night he took her home--how could he not with her pressed against his back and--STOP. She was talking now, and his brows curled in as he considered the words. Celestial Order. Service. His mouth opened for a second, then closed again as he fell momentarily silent. "... not the only one, just the latest."

Garrett took a breath. The world was dizzying new information and a distracting heat that had only been amplified since the last time he'd seen her. Adjust. Think. "I mean... Swan said that if they could've taken it from me they would have... but, well... apparently it's irreversible."

He swallowed. The gulp was more audible than he cared for. At once it seemed like he was at the edge of a rapidly crumbling precipice. The height of the rollercoaster before the drop. The edge of the cliff. And before him... a drop there was no escaping. Fear rose like a lump in his throat for a  moment, and it was like he couldn't breathe. The heat rolling off July mingled with it to dizzying effect. It was more intense, today. A powerful sense at the edge of his perceptions that every ounce of him said was dangerous. He should immediately have been wary.

But at the same time, an intense, boiling sensation rose in response. Danger wasn't something he moved away from. Danger was what he moved towards like an arrow launched from one of Whitney's bows. No hesitation. No--

--Stooooop stopstopstop.

He looked down for a moment, back at the feather in his hand, and nodded slowly. Okay. Okay. The cliff was crumbling. The vertigo rose leap-like in his stomach. An inevitable drop from a high place into an unknown about which he knew nothing. But then... deep down, well, he knew why he'd done it.

"I have this, now. I wasn't supposed to, but I do. And if I can really use it to help? I have to. It would be irresponsible as hell, not to."

Silence for a few moments. That had come out weightier than he'd intended. Garrett awkwardly scratched the back of his head. "Um... I uh... I guess it means I need a sword. And... maybe we could study this later? I dunno, if those people have books, we could always... borrow some?"

An awkward throat clear followed, and Garrett absolutely, positively, did not notice Noel rolling his eyes beside him. Because for all his friend saw things that he didn't, the football player was as oblivious as possible.

To so, so many things.
Retro DM
 GM, 44 posts
Fri 14 Jun 2019
at 17:44
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The day greeted Malun with heat. Summer wasn’t quite into full swing yet, but the California sun was undeniably there. A light cross breeze helped to ease the overall warmth of the day. Her father was already in his workshop, evidenced by the dull thrum of a welding torch in the background. He’d likely be busy for a few hours, so there was time before he’d turn his attention to the latest in supernatural events and seek her out.

The walk to the Zabka-Cabot estate was simple enough, despite being uphill. The road up was newly paved only last year, and had barely a blemish to speak of, plus a sidewalk of similar condition. Hedges lining the side of this short road we’re neatly trimmed, as well as the grass. It was a stark contrast from the veritable scrap yard that Malun’s father had built up at their home.

The front entrance gate had a keypad, intercom, and video feed. Malun knew the code, of course, and was a known friend of Whitney’s, and so entered without issue, the gate opening on its electric powered hinge with a slight creak. The walk to the front door wasn’t too long from there. The ring of the doorbell was answered by one of the under-butlers, as Woolsworth was currently indisposed. He looked down at the young girl, all serious and proper as a butler should be.

“Greeting Miss Lunesby. I take it you are here to see Master Whitney? I believe he was just headed to the greenhouse. I’ll alert him to your arrival, if you would be so kind as to wait in the foyer?”

———————

Not moments later, another of the under butlers came to the greenhouse, shocked at what he saw, but doing his best to put on a plain face.

“Uhhmm, begging your pardon Mr. Woolsworth, Master Whitney, your school friend Miss Lunesby is here to see you.”

Woolsworth sighed and shook his head, looking over the mess that was his young master.

“Best you get cleaned up Master Whitney. The staff and I will see to this, don’t keep company waiting.”
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 39 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sat 15 Jun 2019
at 01:53
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
“Of course, I’ll take a quick shower right away. Don’t inform her about Hektor yet however, I think I can arrange a surprise.” The young man’s smile held a mischief it hadn’t worn in a long time.

Whitney, still holding onto the levity of the situation, ran off to his room with Hektor slowly gliding back and forth behind him. Woolsworth saw the young master disappear around the corner of the house.

Leaping through the way he came, Whitney galivanted town the hallways and up the stairs back to his room. Throwing off his cloths, he slid right into the shower room. The hot water and the steam filled the glass and tile, the slight slant of the ground let the water slide into a long grate where the excess flowed away. The excess energy he felt from before slid away with the soapy water. Whitney began to feel more like himself, or perhaps more of himself was there to feel.

In the back of his mind, he thought of Hektor perched on his four-poster bed. The bird had quickly adapted to its current form. Hands outstretched; Whitney leaned into the wall. Thoughts of Hektor flew through his head, the Owl form had suited it very well here. Hands outstretched; Whitney reached out instinctually. Parts of memories and knowledge filled his brain, combined the with the smell of dusty books and the soap that covered him. Hands outstretched; he closed his eyes. His breathing and the heat faded.

Whitney found himself perched on his bed looking at the door to the shower. He turned his head left and looked at his own bed. He continued to turn his head left and looked forward again toward his door. The sound of the shower from the next room was calming.
Then Whitney opened his eyes and he was back in the shower. Or rather, he had never left. His knife smile returned, “Oh that’s fun.”


A few minutes later, Whitney found a suitable Sunday suit for a warm summer’s day. It was a lightweight lilac shirt with a thin white jacket. Everything was crisp and fitted. Suitably prepared for company, he stepped out of his room to meet with Ms. Lunesby.

Hektor made to follow, but Whitney held out a hand to stop him. “Now, now, let’s be a surprise. How about you make yourself scarce for a minute.” Hektor, with a quick nod, disappeared into the aether.

The aether is real, I guess. And with that Whitney made his way to greet his guest. Perhaps over breakfast, he hadn’t had a proper bagel in a while.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 47 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 15 Jun 2019
at 05:43
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun blinked a bit owlishly at the "underbutler", once again caught off guard by Whitney's family and their combination of immense wealth and commitment to pretenses of aristocracy. "Ah...yes, of course."

As she followed the man inside to wait in the foyer, she couldn't help but wonder how they got butlers this...British...all the way out here in California? Did the family import them? Is being Aggressively British just part of the curriculum in butler school? Was Woolsworth even the OverButler's real name or was it an affectation to seem more...butler-y? The world that her closest(by geographical proximity) friend lived in was one that seemed frankly impenetrable to her scientific mind at times.

So it was that Malun was caught up in trying to make sense of the many questions about the Zabka-Cabot family she had(and kept coming up with more of) that she did not notice Whitney's approach until she realized he was just...there.

With a small jolt of visible startlement, she stood up and blinked at him a few times before remembering to do the vocalizing thing, "Ah, there you are." She almost apologized for keeping him waiting but remembered that she was the guest here just in time to not do that.
July Coates
 player, 58 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 04:04
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"So, uh," Noel's voice cut through the awkward silence. "All that sounds pretty crazy."

July grimaced. Her best friend leaned against the deck, coffee in hand, calm despite his observation. He took a sip of his coffee, heavy brows knitting together over dark, concerned eyes.

"I know," She agreed, shooting the feather another wary look. Celestial Order, she had said. Like...heaven. And, if the implication of this feather meant anything, angels. Angels. That was going to take some time to truly unpack. "But this whole weekend has been crazy. What's a little bit more weird on top of the impossible sundae?"

Noel drained his coffee, setting the Spider-Man mug aside. The look he gave Garrett was equal parts confused and suspicious.

"So what does that mean? Hunt down evil? That's kind of...vague. Like, does that just mean things like the weird bony dude, or like...are you going to have to hunt people?"

"I...don't know," July winced, fingers touching her temples as if she could trigger another flash of insight. Nothing. An oath. She turned her blue eyes onto Garrett, meeting his gaze with a small frown. "Did this Swan say anything else about what this oath means? Or like, what the Celestial Order expects you to do?"
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 40 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 19:58
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The foyer of the mansion and its imperial staircase was one of the greatest parts of the restoration when the Zabka-Cabot’s purchased the long derelict mansion. Apparently constructed by new money rich off the gold rush, the family had fallen from grace many years ago. The surrounding town had been founded by that family, but poor investments and time had long removed them from memory.

When Whitney’s family came here, his father had been ready to find another town for their youngest to rub elbows with the hoi polloi. The Zabka side of the pair, she saw the bones for what they were. Whitney’s mother fell in love with this staircase and spent time herself acquiring the period appropriate material and design. The carpentry alone had to be done by a specialist on the era, a woman from Maine whom was now gainfully employed by the Zabka-Cabot’s. She even carved a recurve bow for Whitney’s birthday last year. Mrs. Zabka-Cabot loved craftsman, practical art she called it.

Whitney looked down from the top of the sweeping staircase that led into the foyer. The chandelier, a testament to crystal popular in another time, shown in the early morning light coming from the windows. Ms. Lunesby was either distracted by her surroundings or by her own internal machinations. As he descended the widening wooden steps, it occurred to him that this was the smallest she’d ever seemed. Ms. Lunesby usually projected a larger than life persona when she was in her element. Whitney chastised this thought; it would do them both a disservice to underestimate her.

When he got to the bottom of the steps, he noted her different choice of arm wear. Whitney had begun to think the PortCon had been grafted to her arm. It reminded him of a person who wore glasses suddenly gaining contacts, the eyes never seemed the right size.

The young woman managed a somewhat surprised greeting when she noticed him. Whitney managed to keep his smile to himself; the lifelong etiquette lessons rang sharply in his ears.

“Here I am. Good morning, Ms. Lunesby. I apologize for keeping you waiting. I have made a rather curious discovery this morning that kept me occupied.” Whitney gestured to his right, “If you’d like to join me for breakfast, we can prepare most anything you’d like to eat. I for one am famished and could use a proper bagel.”

This message was last edited by the player at 20:05, Mon 17 June 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 48 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 20:15
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Really you can just call me Malun, you know." Malun exhaled a bit in mild annoyance at the eternal formality. At his invitation to breakfast, she scrunched up her nose a bit in consideration, then nodded, "I had cereal earlier but could happily snack on some fruit. An apple or a banana, or whatever you have is fine."

Then she paused and asked a follow up question as they made their way to wherever Whitney had food served to him, "What exactly separates a proper bagel from an improper one?"
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 41 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 20:56
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
“I suppose we are rather more familiar now.” Whitney knew his particular affectation was odd to some. But it never ceased to ruffle his feathers when someone was over familiar with him. Circumstances what they were however, Whitney realized he might have to refer to Mr. Drake more casually as well.

The small dining room was a mere stroll down the West wing of the home. Woolsworth had just finished placing the last silverware on the table. “Excellent timing, Master Whitney. Might I suggest a bagel, Marigold seemed rather pleased with this batch.” Whitney sat down in his chair that the butler had pulled out.

“That would fantastic, Woolsworth. A lox if you would.” Whitney nodded to his guest, “And a selection of fruit for, Malun.”

Woolsworth left the dinning room. A small 12 person table was set for two in front of an unlit fireplace. Tiffany light fixtures gave the room a warm glow, paintings old and modern made an oddly cohesive statement. Whitney’s mother had her touch all over the room.

“As to what makes a real bagel. Well the largest difference I suspect, is a New Yorker’s believe that everything is better in New York.” Whitney gave a wry smile, but the joke probably landed better with a different audience. “The actual answer is the process that makes them. New York bagel shops, the good ones, ferment the dough overnight. That gives it better flavor. Then I believe they poach them before they bake them. My understanding is that this process creates the chewiness.”

There were of course other explanations as to what made New York bagels superior. Soft water of New York gave it the extra spark. Secret recipes that bakers kept to themselves. For the first time in a while, Whitney missed his family on the east coast. Such sentiments were silly of course, he spoke to his family regularly. And Woolsworth was always there.

Not too much longer and the food was brought in. A bowl of fruit filled with pears, apples, bananas, peaches, and grapes was placed in the center of the table. Woolsworth assured her she need not eat any or all of it, merely take what she desired.

Whitney’s eyes reflexively grew wide to the smell of his lox. But before he dug in, he had to show off his new joy.

“Hektor, would you be so kind as to pass Malun an apple.” Appearing without sound, a large white and gold trimmed barn owl appeared on the other end of the table. Doing a small series of bird hops to the bowl, Hektor grasped the stem of an apple with his beak and made one final hop to Malun before placing it before her.

“This morning, after an odd dream, I was compelled to summon him. He’s apparently celestial in origin. I suspect I can even influence his form using a similar ritual or even recall him if he’s destroyed on this plane.” Whitney let his knife smile creep back onto his face.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:01, Mon 17 June 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 49 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 21:13
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun jerked her head slightly as the owl appeared, but it was not in shock or alarm...simply the reflexes of someone who was very high strung reacting to sudden movement. As she watched the owl move, her fingers began to twitch on the table, she usually started fidgiting when her mind was kicking into high gear.

"Sudden appearance, clearly intelligent as it can tell fruit apart and recognizes me by name or perhaps simply by your intent, summoned by magic ritual...." Malun rattled off observations as they occurred to her, "Hektor would be what is most commonly referred to as a 'Familiar' then? Usually attributed to witches or perhaps warlocks, or occasionally simply terribly clever people. Thought demonic or fairy in nature...I had not seen reference to one being divine in nature before, but folklore and the realities of magic surely have many as yet undocumented differences."

Finally finished with her observations, she accepted the apple and began to fidgit with it instead while looking back up at Whitney instead of his new familiar, "Also, that dream is exactly what I came here to speak of. We were all there, yes? Along with those who looked like they had idealized skillsets resemblance to our own? Confirmation of shared unconscious magical-mental phenomena would surly mean something to our...benefactors." There was a slight pause even from Malun before using the word. She trusted her father implicitly of course, but the rest of this society was not her father, and Malun was slow to trust.
Garret Blake
 player, 76 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 20 Jun 2019
at 02:10
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"I..." Garrett faltered. Doubt flared potent in his mind as he tried to answer the sudden spike of concern both of his friends had expressed. No, it absolutely made sense. Of course it did. He'd sworn an oath to something about which he knew basically nothing, on just... a what. A sense of fate? Duty? Obligation?

...Inadequacy?

A long pause followed, seconds stretching by with the tall boy ever more aware with each passing instance that he had managed to sound thoroughly uncertain about something grave and severe. A breath. What sort of evil? It was vague. And he didn't quite have a roadmap for the answer, other than a sense deep down in the marrow of his bones that he hadn't senselessly tossed himself on some sort of sacrificial fire.

Or maybe he had, but perhaps sometimes that was necessary. The black darkness spread from his back in his mind's eye. Garrett drew in a breath, closed his eyes, then looked back and forth between his dear friend Noel, and July... one of three people in the world for whom he would do basically anything.

"I don't think it's like that, no," he said. "And when that bone-guy first appeared, I could literally feel him coming. It was like his intention was a sick boil somewhere underground and I knew that he was coming. I think this is... I think I'm supposed to find things like him, or other... I don't know... things that want to hurt, kill, or destroy innocent lives, and deal with them. Swan didn't say a lot more, but I had this sense that he wasn't lying to me. I don't think he could. He even said they would lift this burden from me if they were able, but it's not an option."

People. Evil people though. He'd avoided thinking about that. A gulp. Audible, this time. The heat from July was... distracting. It pulled at his senses. Dangerous... but also not something he could stop paying attention to. It was like a buzzing in his head, making him faintly dizzy. With some effort he pushed it aside, before it could mix with the potent fear that surrounded talk of hurting people and Noel and July... two of the first people who had accepted him after he'd left all of that behind.

"I think," he said, finally settling his eyes on July, "that this is going to be... very hard. I don't want to kill anyone. Or hurt anyone, even... but I keep thinking about what Malun said. What if someone like Damon were to have powers. I don't know if my oath is intended to cover something like that, but..."

Another deep breath followed. "I don't like bullies. And bullies with powers are worse. So I'll cross that bridge when we come to it, and hope that it doesn't come to it." The breath came out in a sigh as brown eyes looked into blue with a conflicted look that was resolute, ending in a bit of a sad smile. "And if it does, I... well, I'll protect people. And do whatever I need to do, to do that. I think if that's my lodestar, I wont be on the wrong track."
Retro DM
 GM, 45 posts
Sat 22 Jun 2019
at 19:45
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The morning passes into the afternoon. Jason finally catches up with Garret and July on his bicycle, looking sweaty from the heat but somehow not tired from the weight he carried in his duffel bag. Conversation about the shared dream between the three, and Noel, was brief, since they had intended to go over things more thoroughly when all five of the dreamers were in the same place. Breakfast at Whitney's, though it only consisted of fruit for Malun, was as pleasant as could be expected. The new addition, Hektor, was oddly pleasant to have around, despite, or perhaps because of not speaking; but his presence around both Whitney and Malun was oddly comforting, like a routine they used to enjoy but had long fallen out of.

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

As the sun started it's decline in the afternoon, the five + bird found themselves back at Malun's house. Being that is was around lunch time, Woolsworth saw fit to come down from the mansion and provide the group with a platter of mini-sandwiches and various snacks. Malun's PortCon was still plugged into the internet wire, and a blue light on went from dim to bright, dim to bright, indicating it had completed it's task.

Mr. Lunesby entered the house from the back door, his fingers and the cuffs of his lab coat stained with grease. Just behind him, there was an odd metallic and electric sound. Clink-tink-clink-tink, whiir-wuur-whiir-wuur, both sounds together as a robotic facsimile of a Golden Retriever followed behind him. It appeared to have polished steel plating on it's exterior, and joints that were far more complex than any pneumatic or electric engineering had thus far produced.

"Ah, kids, you're all here. Splendid! Allow me to introduce my latest creation, Unit D101. I ah, suppose that's not much of a name for a mechanical companion, but I had figured that you all might have some input there? Anyway, his technology is partially based upon my Supranatural Signal Locator, but instead of just finding the stuff, this machine can harness the ambient energy that now permeates through the world. Quite remarkable results if I do say so myself."

The robotic dog looked at Hektor, and both animals engaged in a staring contest.
Garret Blake
 player, 77 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 23 Jun 2019
at 04:04
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Jason got a bear-hug when he showed up. He always did.

This was the second time in a few days that Garrett had made a ride on the dirt-bike with July just behind him. And... that... that was still not something he was used to. Especially the heat. Up close and personal, it washed over him in a wave that made him faintly dizzy. Unease. There was an almost weirdly magnetic quality to it, and the fact that some part of him registered this faint sense that it was dangerous did precisely nothing to affect the impulse to move towards it.

So it was good that he was driving and therefore had something to focus on other than the girl holding onto his back.

Pulling into the driveway of the Lunesby house, he gave her a second to get off before killing the engine and slipping off the vehicle himself, putting his helmet over the handlebars. A glance at July and

He gave waves to everyone, his general spirits seeming higher than the last time everyone saw him, and his appetite had returned. Malun a big smile and then... Whitney... who received a nod and a bit of a smile, which was more than last time. He didn't seem entirely sure how to behave around the other boy, to be frank, but once you've beat the snot out of another person and gotten some of it in return, there was a certain rapport that couldn't be completely ignored.

And then Mr. Lunesby was there. With a... robot dog. A robot dog.

That was SO. FUCKING. COOL.

Garrett was on his feet again, the biggest, goofiest kid-grin that any of his friends had seen suddenly splayed across his face before he crossed the distance and dropped down to one knee in front of the machine. "Hey buddy! Holy crap look at you! You're perfect and amazing and The best boy ever!"

And Garrett proceeded to--ignoring the machine and metal completely--scratch the dog behind his ears, pat his head, and generally love on the machine as if he was Duke back at home. A glance upwards at the name. "D101... D101... Like 101 Dalmatians? Well hell, Mr. Lunesby, we should call him Pongo!"

A quick blink followed, and slowly the big-framed teenager registered something that he somehow hadn't noticed yet, looking back at Whitney.

"Uh... is that an Owl?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 50 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 23 Jun 2019
at 15:58
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun could hear her father and Garret from her room(as all the doors were open) so she didn't miss anything while she was collecting her PortCon, unplugging it and securing it back onto her left arm where it rested nearly every time she was not actively in class.

Coming back into the kitchen/dining room(there was no wall between them) that everyone was gathered in, she quirked an eye at the robot dog, "Hmm. Two new animal or animaloid companions in one day, is it? As fascinating as that is, before we get sidetracked I would like to take the opportunity to ask everyone else if they had the same dream that Whitney and I did? All of us together, there were also figures that seemed to have skillsets and powers that were much more advanced versions of what we all can do?"
Jason Drake
 player, 46 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 24 Jun 2019
at 16:06
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The hug Jason got was welcome. He said a quick hi and bye to Noel, feeling a bit rude to show up just to leave, but they had important hero stuff to do now. Man, that felt weird to think. A few days ago his biggest responsibility was to study for class and clean up the garage when he worked. Now they had some tenuous alliance with this White Tie Society, and powers greater than they could yet understand. Like living in a comic book. Wild.

Riding his bike to Malun’s behind Garret and July, the weight of his bag still seemed light. He had no hope of keeping up with a dirkbike, even at his top speed, but they weren’t going too far, so he could catch up eventually.

As they reached Malun’s house, he couldn’t help but notice some extra tension between his two friends. It had always been there, but maybe the circumstances forcing them to be in more regular contact were increasing it. It certainly seemed that way with Garret and Whitney as well, though that was a very different sort of tension. He gave a nod to Whitney and Malun, and Woolsworth, very grateful for the sandwiches. He was mid bite when Mr. Lunesby came into the house with the amazing robot dog.

“Is that for real? That’s amazing!” He exclaimed with half a bite of food still in his mouth. He swallowed that, and was trying to think of a good name for a robot dog when Malun interrupted. Right, that dream.

“I had that dream, yeah. So you were all there. That was... I don’t know. It was like watching a movie while being part of it. And it just makes more questions. Why did we all have that dream? Who were those people? What the hell does it mean?”
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 42 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 26 Jun 2019
at 00:24
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"His name is Hektor, so don't worry Garret. You won't have to overtax your imagination for another brilliant name." For Hektor's part, the owl was currently on the floor inspecting the new robotic edition to the team.

Whitney idly wondered if they really were a team. It had only been a few days. Now they were sharing strange dreams.

"You may pet him if you wish, I do not believe he will bite." Hektor was strange one to be sure. A facsimile of a barn owl, yet not a being relative to this plane. Whitney would've liked to have known more, but at the moment he was just content the owl was there. It seemed correct, like his keel hadn't been straight until this morning.

"It was actually thanks to that dream that I-" Whitney paused on the ramification of his next choice of words, "That I summoned Hektor. I explained the procedure briefly to Malun earlier. It was like the dream we saw was incomplete and I needed to fill it. I was compelled."

Whitney felt like he should be more upset about doing anything against his will. It was like that muscle memory again, accept it felt more apart of him now. He wasn't quite sure where Whitney began and the new information ended. Perhaps that wasn't even the right question.

The words of his mother rang in his head. Whitney, did you ask a good question today? She asked him this everyday after he came home from school. The young boy took so much pride when he said yes and endeavored to do better when he didn't. Even when asking about his day, his mother was always setting him up to do better.

His old Rabbi's words rung after this. There is no word in Hebrew that means to obey, only shema. It meant to listen, to hear, to understand, to internalize, and to respond. Maybe if he was unsatisfied, it was because he had yet to respond.

"Garret, July? I assume you had this shared dream too? Did either of you get a similar sense? Maybe something like Hektor? New piece of information or a need for something?" Perhaps the mad doctor had an explanation; Whitney didn't fully trust him yet.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:27, Wed 26 June 2019.

July Coates
 player, 59 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sat 29 Jun 2019
at 23:56
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
July had tucked into a sandwich when Mr. Lunesby came striding into the home, and only just remembered her table manners as he was followed by a large, metallic dog. She covered her mouth with a hand, trying not to laugh as Garrett indulged his identical impulse to pet said canine. It was a mark of how eccentric the Lunesby home and family was that she wasn't even surprised that they now apparently had a cyborg dog.

"Aw, Pongo's cute," July said helpfully after finishing her sandwich.

Malun asked about their shared dream. July frowned as Jason asked his questions, uncomfortable with her own lack of answers. Almost as uncomfortable as the owl inspecting their new metallic friend made her feel. Hektor, Whitney had called him. It was a nice name. And the bird was, objectively, beautiful. Pristine.

Teeth on edge, she forced herself to look away. Focus, July.

"I had the same dream. I mean, if that's what it was," she looked between Whitney and the others, "I don't know. It just felt really, like, real."

She paused, wrinkling her face in mild annoyance. Really real. Wow. Articulate much? "Bah. I'm bad at words."
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 51 posts
Sun 30 Jun 2019
at 00:10
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block

This message was deleted by the player at 00:11, Sun 30 June 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 78 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 3 Jul 2019
at 03:38
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"...Hektor. Right."

The dream. Whitney bringing it up sent his thoughts back to the thing they were going to have to talk about, and that started his heart going, diverted only briefly by July's self-effacement, which was like a sudden and brief buzzing in his head.

"You're not bad at words, Jules," Garrett said over his shoulder at the tall girl. "This is just... not something words are particularly easy for. That's how it was for me too. Very... real."

A pause followed. They were coming on it now. The story he'd been dreading talking about since before he'd even dragged himself out of bed. Come on. He could do this. He'd done it twice already, to two of the most important people in his life. He knew how it was likely to be received, but confidence in it grew every time he said the words.

So Garrett stood, rising slowly from petting the metallic Pongo--that was his name now, that was just how it was--on his head, and turned, looking from face to face in the room.

"I dreamed of something else," he said. "And you all need to hear it."

He took another breath, and then he told them. The same things he'd told Jason and July... leaving out the description of the thing he'd seen in the still waters of the pond. But the rest, he didn't hold back. Swan. The clearing. The oath, recited word for word. His expression was stoic while he said it. Brown eyes flecked with gold watching them all.

And then, at the very end, he produced the feather from his pocket, holding it up for everyone to see in football and thrown-punch callused hands. The wide-receiver let go a tension-filled sigh, and said, simply:

"... and that's about it. So, whatever else is happening next... there's that."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 43 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sat 6 Jul 2019
at 19:18
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
July really needed to stop doubting herself and commit. It wasn't his place to say anything however, so Whitney kept his mouth shut.

Then Garret spoke.

"So you swore yourself to a completely unknown organization. To obey unknown morals and expectations." To kill in the name of good. He didn't say that last bit, but must have crossed even Garret's limited imagination.  Whitney knew enough of his own history to make unsavory connections to such an oath.

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Whitney let out a noticeable sigh. Hektor turned his head all the way around back to Whitney, suddenly ignoring Pongo. Turning its body around without moving its head, it bird hopped toward Whitney and nuzzled it's head into his leg.

Bending down to pet his familiar, Whitney spoke, "I suppose Celestial at least sounds like a cosmic good. Maybe Hektor knows this Swan character. Birds of a feather."
Marcus Lunesby
 NPC, 6 posts
 Genius
 Unrecognized
Sat 6 Jul 2019
at 20:01
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While Marcus seemed pleased that the teenagers liked his invention, this was the first he was hearing of any dream, and it took him slightly off guard. He raised his eyebrows as he looked at each of them.

"A shared dream? That is an interesting development. I've not done very much research on the mystical nature of dreams, though I would imagine that many folks around the globe are starting to experience such phenomenon. From what we know, it certainly seems that some people are more attuned to the new mystical energies than others."

He turned specifically to Garret "And your additional... visit, shall we say. That is most peculiar. I'm afraid I don't know anything about this 'Celestial Order', but we can certainly look into it. We'll have to contact our more mystically inclined members."

He stroked his chin stubble, thinking to himself as he talked. "I suppose we should move to the lab. Ms. Calhoon is already there, and she has a favor to ask of you all."
Garret Blake
 player, 79 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 12 Jul 2019
at 02:37
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Rather like we did here," Garrett said to Whitney. This time it wasn't a vicious jab, just a statement that he let sit pointedly in the empty air. A deep breath. He was still sorting all this, filing it away in his mind, deciding how he felt about it... no, that wasn't quite right. In his marrow, he knew that he hadn't done anything wrong. But everyone else? They didn't know that, and he couldn't expect them to.

So he'd just have to prove it.

He hoped everyone didn't see him gulping, or the way his hand shook for just a moment before he pulled it out of his jeans pocket.

To protect the helpless
 To shield the weak.


Garrett straightened his back and put the feather away. Let the air out of him along with as much of his fear as he could. Then he turned his dark eyes to Mr. Lunesby, and started walking. "Alright, let's get going."
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 52 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 12 Jul 2019
at 16:41
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun wrinkled her nose. She didn't have much use for oaths or promises of obedience to a cause or even worse a singular entity, especially not those that may come with some manner of magical enforcement. Her fingers rapidly flew over her PortCon's keyboard, typing in a command to search whatever databases the AI had access to for references to a Celestial Order and what Oaths they may require of human servitors.

Garret was wrong, not that this surprised Malun overly much. The agreements they made to the society and the oaths he swore to a mystical being were very different. After all, the society was still a collection of humans, who were just as answerable to those they employed as the employed were to them. They could, at any point, discard that agreement if they learned the society was not what they believed. But who knew what penalties could come with disobeying a magical oath...or if he even could.

As she let the AI work, she nodded and got ready to follow her father out to the lab...but not before tapping her glasses slightly to activate the telepathic contact to Whitney and Whitney alone, ::I'm having my PortCon research a Celestial Order, this Swan and the text of his Oath as we speak. I'll let you know what I find. Avoid further headbutting for now until we are armed with more information.::
Jason Drake
 player, 47 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 00:07
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Things seemed as tense as ever. Jason was starting to wonder if this group would work out the way he was hoping. Yeah, not all of the X-Men always got along, but they always came together in the end. Garret and Whitney, though? Way more petty than Wolverine and Cyclops. Jason touched the strange new symbol around his neck.

"And there's this, it mentions something or someone called Moradin. No idea how I got it, I didn't have an extra dream after the main dream. If you guys can look into that, too?"

He half shrugged, hoping, maybe assuming, that the White Tie Society would do their best to find out more. He knelt down to observe the mechanical dog, before nodding in agreement.

"Yeah, I suppose we should head on down."
Retro DM
 GM, 46 posts
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 22:37
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Marcus nodded, and commanded his new robotic companion to follow him, as he lead the group back to the upstairs faux lab and down the now familiar secret tunnel to the real lab. He continued to talk as they walked.

"We'll certainly look into that as well, Jason. As you all are aware, we get many reports from our agents around the world regarding the new supernatural happenings. With any luck, cross referencing those reports with some key words will yeild results regarding the Celestial Order, or Moradin, or anything else you might come across. Elsewise, we can put the word out to our agents to find this information, but it may be slow to come. This is all very new still, and there is a lot to filter."

The old scientist couldn't help but sound tired in that final sentence. The buzz of activity in the last few days seems to be taking it's toll on him. As the group came through the main entry, they could see Ms Calhoon already there, typing away at one of the work consoles. She continued for a moment as the teens gathered, stopping when she seemed to be satisfied with whatever she was doing. She stood up and gave the group a soft smile, almost more of a smirk.

"Morning all. I'm going to cut to the chase here: by all reports thus far, we are the only location to have experienced this strange day and night 'rift' that you all went through. Given the uniqueness of that, I want to go there and try to get through it, to that night side you talked about. This is a recon mission, in and out as quickly as is practical."

She seemed quite confident for someone who certainly had no idea if she could even get to that other side. "So, are you in?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:55, Mon 15 July 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 80 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 23:59
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Go back. Go back to the rift and the risk and the darkness. Garrett's shoulders shifted as he breathed that out. The risk was obvious and immediate, and the fact that Ms Calhoon has that tinge of immediacy in her voice tells him the sort of thing that he's recognized from worried adults his whole life. At the very least since Dad vanished:

The adults didn't know what was wrong.

Garrett was reluctant before. Partially because of his own hangups and fears. Partially because everything about what happened had overwhelmed him to the point that his ability to act first was pretty much toileted but now a glimmer of purpose had eked its way into his existence, laid itself on his shoulders with a weight that he was learning to carry. Now through the unease of his friends  (and Whitney) as well as his own doubts.

But the adults didn't know what was wrong.

The tall boy's shoulders shifted and his arms were loose at his side. Someone had to do something. Stand up. Step up. Something. He was nodding as their teacher finished talking. If the rift was still open, that meant that those... things, whatever they were, were still there too. Maybe they could get across. Hurt people.

To shield the weak.
To ensure that Good will flourish.


"Okay," his voice echoed in the space, first to answer. "If that rift is still open, then the things on the other side might be able to get through. Hurt people." He swallowed. The tension in his jaw was obvious. The play of nerves obvious through the muscles of his neck and the fact that his right hand flexed without thought.

"Yeah. I'm in... we're going to need equipment, though. I assume you can provide us with enough to keep eachother and ourselves safe?"

A glance over his shoulder. Jason. Malun. Whitney. July. Yeah. No way in hell was he letting any of them walk out there in just street clothes, if it could be helped.

So long as my sword arm bears weight.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 44 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 01:00
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney instinctively recoiled from the sudden foreign edition of thoughts being transmitted to his head. As uneasy as he was about telepathy, he appreciated Malun's tact. The young man nodded his head toward her in affirmation. He would have to inquire about the PortCon later and how it accessed or received its information.

Mr. Drake also seemed in contact with foreign agents. It seemed only July hadn't gotten an extra friend or source. Maybe the music was in her all along. Whitney's passing smile at his own joke vanished as soon as they made their way toward the secret lab. A questionable lair of science and unknown interests.

Ms. Calhoon was out of the shadows today. Whitney looked around the room this time, looking for anything noteworthy. Cameras or perhaps their history teacher crouching in the shadows. He was beginning to get the idea he needed to check every corner while he was here.

Whitney nodded to himself as she made her request. Pragmatic risk, now that they apparently were stronger than the average bear, they were likely the safest a person could be while hopping into whatever mess existed in the night.

Whitney thought about simply walking away again, but it was possible it would be more dangerous to know nothing. Woolsworth agreed, which was why he was even here. His hand automatically went to his inner breast pocket where his butterfly knife was. The butler had slipped it into his jacket before they walked over. Hopefully those lessons would prove unnecessary.

"I won't require too much equipment. If you have a practical quiver for combat with appropriate arrows, I would appreciate borrowing those." Whitney looked down at Hektor, "I would also prefer some falconer equipment for my arm, something that can easily fit over my sleeve. Other than that, I am prepared to go right now."

Whitney had not brought his bow with him. And other than being the only adequately dressed person in the room, had no obvious protective armor.

"Please do not worry, any protective gear will only slow me down and I have other methods."

Perception to check the room. Whitney rolled 12 using 1d20+4.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 53 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 15:55
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun adjusted her glasses as she watched Garret and Whitney speak, then offered a shrug of her own, "Now that I am properly equipped with methods for my own defense, I am less concerned about a return to the Giant Skeletal Snake Zone. Presuming the armored coat I requested is finished, of course."

A few quick commands typed into her PortCon and Malun had a document opened for the note-taking that would surely be required after passing through the rift.
Jason Drake
 player, 48 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 19 Jul 2019
at 20:09
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While Ms Calhoon had always been a confident teacher in the classroom, it was another thing to hear her talking about going out on a recon mission into something resembling a different dimension. Jason was apprehensive about going back, given how little they knew about it, but they were really the only people around who would be able to deal with anything that might pop up on the other side. He cleared his throat, trying to choke down his nerves.

“I’m in, since there’s no way I’m letting you all go without me. I uh, might be able to do something about equipment? Let me show you.”

The red haired boy set his bag down on the closest open table, opening it up and pulling out the makeshift armor he had fashioned for himself. It looked like a combination of go kart crash gear and some additional strap pads, with metal plating sewn into the surface for some added protection. While that was something he seemed to have made himself, the next item seemed to be crafted in some other manner. A round shield of wood and steel, like something out of a movie set. He picked that up to show the rest.

“So I was making that armor for myself, since I figured we’d run into dangerous stuff sooner or later, and I was hit with inspiration for this shield. After I gathered the material, something... something else happened. It was like I was outside my body for a while, watching myself do this ritual. The shield just manifested there, like the materials came together on their own. It was wild.”

He looked at Garret “So... maybe I can do that again, and make you a sword? I can only do it once a day, I think. That seems to be it’s limit.”
July Coates
 player, 60 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 23 Jul 2019
at 04:34
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
A mission. Back across that divide, to the unknown where they had faced Skethar. It felt like it had been months since that fight now, not mere days. The thought of going back to that strange place made her nauseous, but surely Ms. Calhoon wouldn't have asked this of them if it weren't important? Surely the possibility of another 'rift' presented a clear and present danger? July pushed through a spike of fear with a steadying breath. No one else seemed half as frightened as she felt. Pull it together.

"I'm in," she agreed, and at least her voice sounded relatively normal. July folded her arms beneath her chest as the others discussed necessary equipment. Whitney insisted he didn't need armor, and July shot him a reproachful look, thoroughly disliking the idea of her friend risking injury. Of course, Whitney was pragmatic to a fault--if he said he didn't need it, then he likely didn't. Still, she couldn't forget those long, terrible teeth. They had been so lucky before. Malun had an armored coat, apparently, and July supposed she should ask for something, but it felt too strange to manage.

Jason spoke up about equipment, his excitement cutting through the spiral of her nerves. Blue eyes pulled away from Whitney, to the large bag the redhead was unpacking. She drew closer, unable to deny her curiosity. He had fashioned together a makeshift set of armor, disparate parts somehow looking cohesive and polished. And then a shield, gleaming wood and metal, almost more art than weapon. The story of its making--or creation, perhaps--was incredible. July's expression shifted to one of confusion and wonder. Her left hand stretched out as if to touch the shield before she came to her senses and pulled back. Don't be nosy, she could almost hear her father's admonishment.

She redirected her hands to lean on the table, and looked over at Jason with a wide grin, enthusing, "That's beyond incredible. Like, holy shit dude."
Garret Blake
 player, 81 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 29 Jul 2019
at 01:59
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The appearance of Jason's work caused Garrett's eyebrows to raise, then his expression to shift into one of wonder. Slowly, he stepped towards the bag and his best friend, looking over the magnificent work of the shield. He'd always known Jason had an incredible artist's mind, had seen the potential of his work--even if he didn't always have the brain to wrap around the way he somehow made it fit together.

But this? This was next level. Whereas July held back from touching the shield, the tall boy reached out with a callused hand and brushed it over the wood and steel. Felt the artistry of it. Felt his friend's unique touch infused into the fiber of the tool. It was like... it was like the old wood-splitting axe his great uncle had inherited from his grandfather a long time ago: the touch of the artist was all over the art.

As July offered her praise, Garrett's expression was quieter, more contemplative. "Yeah," he finally said quietly. "Beyond incredible."

The offer was still in his head. It was weird to think that just like a week ago they'd been laughing and playing a Japanese dating sim and yelling at the computer for not giving Tetsu the proper ending that he deserved. That he'd earned, dammit. (They'd fix it. Somehow. There was a sequel and that damn stupid boy would get his good good ending). Now his friend was making amazing things. Beyond amazing. Callused fingertips withdrew slowly from the shield, and he nodded slowly before meeting his best friend's eyes.

"Given a choice, I wouldn't have anyone else do it."
Jason Drake
 player, 49 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Tue 30 Jul 2019
at 03:09
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The praise was a lot to take in. Jason was used to a select group of people enjoying his artwork, and some of his more practical crafts, but this was different. He didn't make this, it made itself somehow, or the power made it, but it wasn't really his make... was it? It was hard to tell where that line was. He smiled kind of shyly.

"It's ahh, it's not that incredible. There is a hard limit to it, I know that for sure. I need materials, and an hour of time." He looked to Mr. Lunesby and Ms. Calhoon "Is there some scrap metal I can use for this? Any kind will do, as long as it's the right volume. Don't ask me how I know that because I really don't know how I know it."

He looked at the rest of his friends. "I can make some stuff for you guys too, but since it's once a day and we're sort of getting into the thick of things, I figured starting Garret off with a sword would be pertinent."
Retro DM
 GM, 47 posts
Tue 30 Jul 2019
at 23:39
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Ms Calhoon seemed pleased that everyone was on board, though slightly off-put by the very basic questions.

"We're not going to send anyone into a potentially dangerous place with no equipment, especially not you kids. I know our relationship has shifted, but I am still your teacher, and I care about your safety. Not to mention, we really only have you to rely on for anything requiring supernatural intervention. I've got your backs, you can count on it."

To Malun's question, Marcus shuffled to a closed armor case on a far table, opening it and producing Malun's modified lab coat. He smirked "Kevlar lining with plastic impact plates, lightweight while offering the most possible protection. Some of my better work when it comes to protective gear if I do say so myself." He handed the coat to his daughter, putting on a confident air, despite the danger she was about to go into.

Marcus also reopened the hidden wall armory that the teens had borrowed from before. "Anything you deem useful, please take, but keep in mind to travel light. I can gather some materials for your ritual, Jason, I'm most curious to see it take place."

While Marcus busied himself with that task, Ms Calhoon looked at each of the five kids contemplatively. She settled on Whitney. "What are your other methods of protection? I know you are agile from your sports performance, don't tell me your only relying on that?"

Scant moments later, Marcus came back with an amount of scrap metal that seemed sufficient for a sword-sized object.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 54 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 31 Jul 2019
at 15:22
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun put the armored coat on without fanfare, simply nodding to her father and his assurance of quality. Then she cocked her head to the side and watched Jason for a bit before speaking up, "it's likely best for me to build my own equipment, or have it made here in the lab, as your specialty seems to be more archaic style...good for fighting monsters I would imagine, but far too heavy for me."

Turning her head again, she looked at Whitney, "as Jason needs about an hour, I think we have time to test one of my other programs, if you and Hektor don't mind. It will involve me making telepathic contact with your new familiar, and I am aware of your desire to keep that use of my abilities to an absolute minimum."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 45 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 5 Aug 2019
at 18:30
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney took a cursory glance around the room, noting the the obvious security cameras. He remembered that some museums used fake cameras, keeping the real ones hidden. He'd have to ask Woolsworth about it, the butler knew everything about security.

Mr. Drake pulled out what could optimistically be called armor. It seemed to him a hodgepodge of junk and for once in his life Whitney had much more faith in magic then he did in a tangible item. Then again, if was magically put together than perhaps the armor was more effective than it looked. Given a choice, Whitney would prefer his own talents.

The mad scientist then brought out the Kevlar lined lab coat. Finally some professional work on display for personal protection. Malun would at least be properly protected. Then their wildcard teacher turned her attention to him.

"Yes and no. Hektor isn't the only trick I can pull. However, this protection requires me to wear no armor otherwise it will hinder the, uh, spell in question." Whitney turned to Malun as she asked her question.

"Thank you for asking in advance, I appreciate your respect for my own boundaries. I will gladly help in any test you require. Hektor and I seem to share certain senses, so this should be an interesting experience." Things were moving fast around here, but Whitney couldn't help but feel eager to push his limits.
Jason Drake
 player, 50 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 03:16
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
With the scrap gathered up, Jason started what he remembered to be the ritual from before. The hour long process began with drawing symbols, five circles with an anvil in the center, and a flame upon the anvil. What these symbols meant, Jason couldn't say, but they were present the first time. These symbols connected like points on a star, and the scrap sat in the center. With the physical part complete, the red haired boy sat down in a meditative position. He closed his eyes, and breathed deeply.

The energy built slowly over the next hour, small points of light started to coalesce, and gather, slowly forming a large sort of disk of light that hummed softly under the scrap. As the ritual approached it's end, the scrap was enveloped by the light, it's shape changing completely. As the light faded, what remained in the circle was quite remarkable - a classically forged katana, complete with a black painted wooden scabbard, despite there having not been any wood in the base materials. Jason slowly opened his eyes, taking a louder breath, and smiling.

"It's done."

Jason uses his Channel Divinity to create a sword for Garret
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 55 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 17:42
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While Jason was hard at work making a sword, Malun led Whitney(and anyone else interested) outside. Once there she opened a small compartment in her PortCon which...may have not been there before, and pulled out a small silver and dark grey disc, roughly the size of a half-dollar.

"This," she smiled somewhat triumphantly, "is the connector for the most complex program I have. Utilizing a Psycho-Aetheric Connection, the disc hacks into the visual capabilities of a living creature and feeds that data into my glasses, which in turn can feed that data into my PortCon which can project a holographic screen allowing the rest of you to see it as well."

Taking a moment to type some commands into her PortCon, Malun then holds the disc out to Whitney, "The disc should adhere to any kind of organic surface easily enough, just stick it wherever would be comfortable for Hektor and press the black button in the center. To remove, hold in the two smaller black buttons on the side, it will release the biomagnetic adhesive. Once it's on, I'll start the program and he can take a short test flight around the yard to demonstrate."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:56, Fri 09 Aug 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 82 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 05:16
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
It was real. It was in front of him.

Despite knowing what was about to happen, despite years of yearning for purpose and feeling lost in his life, he still wasn't sure if he was ready for this (he wasn't). That blade was more than just something amazing his friend made. It was infused with purpose. And not just any purpose either--a terrible one (and an amazing one, if some part of him was honest, but that frightened him too).

This wasn’t something to be done lightly. Even if he’d asked his best friend to do it. Jason was the first one to see something in him other than what he’d been up until that moment, which was mostly trouble. And now Jason was giving him the sword. Making him the sword. That was heavy. Far heavier than he'd expected when he asked it.

A gulp moved the already tense muscles of his throat as a callused hand with knuckle scars from landed punches and broken glass reached out and wrapped rough fingers around the sheath. Brown eyes flicked down. Looked at the thing. Then he breathed out, and lifted the killing tool. Acknowledged its weight. Eyes closed for a moment.

Heart. Body. Breath. Arm.

The others faces filled his mind. July. Jason. Malun. Whitney. His mother. Others.

The truth was, only Jason could've pulled him out of where he was, two years ago. So only Jason could have given this to him. Full circle.

Garrett took a breath. The muscles in his forearms tensed as his right fingers curled around the grip.

There was a ringing sound, and a small flash of light as he stepped back, drew the blade, and held it up before his face. The frosty edge glinted in the lab-lights like diamond against the gray steel.

"Thank you Jason," he said, meeting his friends eyes. "For everything."

And on some level, deep down, it felt like the darkness of the world grew just a little... brighter.
Retro DM
 GM, 48 posts
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 01:35
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Given that Jason's ritual would take an hour, the two adults decided to split attentions. Marcus stayed to observe the ritual and record the energy fluxations it was bound to produce. He was quite the whole time, typing his notes as he watched everything take place.

---------

Outside, Ms Calhoon followed Malun and Whitney to observe this new 'program' as she called it. Telepathic communication was something that had amazing potential for their organization, and even for man kind, but it had to be understood first. It would also help her to know what these teenagers were capable of if shit hit the fan on their expedition. Listening to the explanation, she had to ask some questions.

"That's an impressive program, way beyond anything we've ever developed scientifically. Can you give me a more detailed explanation of it? A Psycho-Aetheric connection... well obviously I've never heard of that. The best bio tech in existence is, or was, a pacemaker."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 46 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 26 Aug 2019
at 00:03
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney could see the obvious advantages to a universal birds eye view that the whole team could access. His own connection of sight and sound was already advantageous and being able to extend that ability reliably would be an incredible boon. Or at least very interesting.

These things were all true. Intellectually he knew that this was good idea. This was something that would be used and should be used.

Sharing a psychic link like this seemed to cheapen the personal experience. Hektor was a being from another plane, and his connection to that seemed as much spiritual and scientific. Whitney knew this was a silly concern, but he couldn't shake the feeling of this action he was taking.

He took the offered disk and beckoned Hektor to bird hop over. The bird proffered it's left side, lifting their wing for ease of access. The white gold owl understood without speech what was needed.

"Thank you, Hektor." He attached the device as instructed. Not so much as a click, but the disk like object adhered as advertised. For his part, Hektor flapped a bit as if adjusting to a new sensation. With that, the barn owl took to the skies.

"I thought Aether connections were cords that computers used." Whitney let the question hang in the air.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 56 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 26 Aug 2019
at 15:39
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"That's ethernet cable. Psycho-Aetheric Connection is what I'm calling...whatever this does." Malun fiddled with her PortCon and then hovered her hand over a button, "Activating link in 3...2...1...go."

Then she pressed the button.

Immediately her vision switched to that of what Hektor was seeing. Fortunately Malun did not need to see her PortCon to hit the right keys, and immediately brought up her Holographic Projector as well, copying her sight to the projected screen. "Everything should be active. I can't see the screen so you'll have to tell me how well it's working. Also, I cannot quite see everything Hektor is seeing as his owl vision is far superior to what my human eyes are capable of perceiving, so the program compresses the data into human sight limitations for ease of viewing."
Retro DM
 GM, 49 posts
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 03:01
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Indeed, when Malun's device activated, she had sight from within Hektor's own eyes. At Whitney's will, the celestial owl took a short flight, and the Portcon display showed what he saw on it's projected screen. Ms Calhoon was thoroughly impressed, noting how this tech would allow them incredible scouting ability - which they would certainly need beyond the rift.

With the test over, they still had some time to wait before Jason's hour long ritual finished, and all of them got to witness the results of it. The forged from scrap katana looked like a brand new blade of classical design. The scabbard had a bit of Jason's own flair on it as well - an engraving of a single feather, owed to Garret's dream and the item he found thereafter.

Garret gains a Katana - equivalent to a Longsword

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

Another thirty or so minutes, and everyone was gathered up with their gear. For her part, Ms Calhoon was dressed for stealth, all in black, and strapped a silenced 9mm pistol. They piled into Ms Calhoon's station wagon, and drove back to the site of the rift. The place was still covered in caution tape, so Ms Calhoon parked well away, and the group waited until the nearby police patrol passed along the road. The teens lead her up towards the split in the earth, where all this strangeness began. Was the rift still there?

Perception or Investigation checks if you are trying to find the way back through
Garret Blake
 player, 83 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 15:07
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett was dressed in his leather jacket, the football pads that he could remember fitted underneath, some arm-guards over his elbows and shinguards under his jeans. Adding to the Mad-Max looking aesthetic was the completion of the katana, its sheath shoved awkwardly through his belt.

This is some Fist of the North Star shit. All I need is a random arm-bandage.

Next time.

Why was he thinking about this? Stop.

Hell of a way to be while dodging a police patrol. He looked over his shoulder, making sure that everyone was with, then took a deep breath, hoping that whatever grace had been granted him by these powers he now possessed would also let him see clearly enough to get everyone through before they got in more trouble than they needed to be in. Needed, of course, being the key word.

Breathing out his fear, he gave everyone his best smile--confident, but not quite hiding his fear--and said "Alright. Let's get this done, straight and simple."

Turning back to search with his eyes, a small pale flicker of silver white stirred in their depths.

Perception: 18!
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 57 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 29 Aug 2019
at 01:13
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun wore her armored labcoat and followed along, slowing down the movement of the group due to her short stature and heavy bag, but she wasn't worried about going slow with all of them now heavily armed in various ways.

Naturally with her memory she had no problems directing everyone back towards where the schism happened, continuing to explain about her new program(as Jason and Garret were not present for her first explanation), "further, I can use these discs with any living creature...well, any one large enough to carry the disc of course, not simply supernatural creatures like Hektor. And there is also a program to let me speak with animals, which I tested on some raccoons last night, if we want more than one pair of eyes on a situation. Bribe a local small animal to take the disc and look around in one area while Whitney has Hektor observe from a different angle. With these options, our modular surveillance capabilities are practically unmatched."

OOC: Investigation 21
Jason Drake
 player, 51 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 31 Aug 2019
at 15:28
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Gathering up his things and piling into the car with everyone else, Jason started to feel excited about what they were about to undertake. It would be dangerous, absolutely, but they were equipped for that in ways no one else was.

Being that this was only the second time Jason wore his makeshift armor - a combination of work leathers and go kart crash pads - as well as his first attempt at making anything of the sort, it didn’t fit quite right yet. He could adjust some straps on the fly, but he noted a need for different stitching in some places. It would serve for now.

Following along with the rest, he tried to stay low as they went though the caution tape and up the the hill where they battled the giant bone snake. The crack in the earth looked as plain as anything else, but maybe he could spot something.

Perception 24
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 47 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 6 Sep 2019
at 20:30
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The ride to the rift was cramped. Made worse by sitting between two already beefy meat boys who had decided that shoulder pads were making a comeback. He tried not to think about how his shirt was becoming wrinkled or worse, contaminated by the proximity to bulky makeshift armor. The A/C was on full blast in the front of the car, about as useful as an ice pack in the Sahara.

Overhead Hektor flew above, following the station wagon to their mutual destination. As Whitney gripped his borrowed quiver and arrows, he longed to be outside. Flying like Hektor.

Closing his eyes, he suddenly opened them to the blue horizon of California. Looking down he could see the station wagon. It was only sight and sound, but focusing on this viewpoint he could almost pretend he wasn't between his musky peers.

He saw the crevice and made to investigate before the car parked.

Perception 14.
July Coates
 player, 61 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 12 Sep 2019
at 01:52
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
July was acutely aware of how ridiculously mismatched their little outfit looked. Ms. Calhoun was decked out like some sort of sleek super spy. Garrett and Jason were both strapped up in almost Mad Max style of armor. As always, Whitney and his perfectly tailored clothes were the height of sophistication. Little Malun was practically drowning in her heavy lab coat. The leather jacket that had been dug out for July was heavy across her shoulders, but it was, she supposed, better protection than the flannel she had stolen borrowed from Garrett in the lab.

Squinting against the summer day towards the crevice, July's dark brows knit together. It seemed so mundane now. If she hadn't witnessed its formation firsthand, it wouldn't have registered as anything unusual.

A few days removed from the terror of that event, all July felt now was a burning curiosity. She pushed forward with a burst of energy, dark hair bouncing in time with long strides as she started up the hill, blue eyes scouring the area for anything unusual.

18 on that them there investimagatin check

This message was last edited by the player at 02:01, Thu 12 Sept 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 50 posts
Fri 13 Sep 2019
at 20:49
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
As the group slowly spread across the length of the narrow chasm, there seemed to be some kind of extra energy in the air around them. Some kind of tugging, or a wind vacuum that shouldn’t be there. Malun and Jason notice it first, with Garret and July spotting it only seconds later - a dim, almost black point just hanging in the air, like a tiny bead of sand. It was humming very quietly in it’s space, it’s movements barely perceptible. It’s a wonder they were able to find it so quickly. Malun’s Portcon beeped once she saw it, and displayed a message.

:: Foreign energy signature. Nature unknown.  Caution advised. ::

Everyone except Whitney passes the check.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 58 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 14 Sep 2019
at 16:04
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Hmm," Malun looked down at her PortCon at the beep, and relayed the message instantly while typing in additional commands to try and narrow down what it is NOT if the PortCon can't figure out what it IS, "I'm getting an alert for a foreign energy signature of unknown nature. It seems to have to do with that black dot in the air."
Jason Drake
 player, 52 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 21 Sep 2019
at 05:14
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
So, this was it. The spot where the earth had cracked open and somehow thrust them into a separate world. He figured they'd come back here some day, but he didn't know it would be so soon. Still, he felt confident, ready, somehow, as he searched for signs of a possible rift back into that night time space.

He spotted it almost the same time Malun did. A speck hanging in the air. He wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but maybe that is what they were all looking for? He took a few tentative steps closer to it, nodding as Malun gave out her warning.

"Well, it's certainly not a normal thing, whatever it is. The whole space here feels weird, and maybe that's because of our last experience here, but I think there's more to it."

He looked at all of his friends.

"So, who wants to touch the weird dot?"
July Coates
 player, 62 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 25 Sep 2019
at 18:22
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The air felt...weird. Charged. The skin at the based of her neck prickled, and beneath her heavy leather jacket and the midday sun, goose flesh rose along her arms.

The black dot suspended in mid-air seemed the likely culprit. It vibrated at some unknown frequency. July slowly drew closer, brows knitting together. What is it?

Jason's question cut through the air. July stopped moving, suddenly aware that her fingers were outstretched, already poised to touch the glitch in reality.

That was...probably a bad idea. July pulled her hand back, looking embarrassed as she took a step back.

"Sorry," she murmured, chastised.
Garret Blake
 player, 84 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 25 Sep 2019
at 21:15
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett was not normally the person urging caution in the face of a weird or dangerous situation. Oh sure, he wasn't as bad about risk as he used to be, but his life wasn't what one would call undangerous. So in the instance when July touches the dot, he's momentarily off-footed both by her initiative (he really shouldn't be surprised) and by the fact that he's suddenly the one wanting to urge caution.

"Hold on," he started to say. "Let me see if I can do that thing where I sense something ba--or we could do that."

There isn't much to do in that instance, he supposed with a slight gulp. If it was going to happen it was going to happen and there wasn't much point in chastising in the moment after something had already been done.

But he could try to figure out if something else nasty was lurking nearby... so stretching out with that strange sense he was only just beginning to understand, he searched the area for any sign of something... awful that might be concealed from their sight. For a fraction of a second, his brown eyes glowed briefly silver.

"Alright," he breathed. "Lets see what's out there. Or, y'know, hopefully isn't."

His left hand loosened the blade in its lacquered scabbard.

Using Divine Sense to see if theres anything nasty lurking nearby.
Retro DM
 GM, 51 posts
Sat 28 Sep 2019
at 21:28
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
As July approached, the first among to group to step that close to the strange dot, it reacted. Even though her fingers never actually touched it, it seemed to expand for a moment. The dot became, briefly, a hole, or tear in the space it occupied. She could see briefly, a night-lit forest, before she drew her hand away and the tear became a dot again.

Meanwhile, Garret extended his senses into the strange beyond space that they had been once before. His mind's eye searched for any presence that was similar to the giant bone snake they had slain just days ago, and blessedly it did not find any.

Divine Sense turns up no undead or demonic presence.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 48 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 2 Oct 2019
at 20:56
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney almost missed the dot entirely. He really needed to get it together. Closing his eyes, the young man focused his thoughts.

His hands double checked the arrows strapped to his waist, his chest felt the unfamiliar weight of the butterfly knife, a small token from his butler. They were heading into an unknown.

Mumbling a chant under his breath, Whitney reached out his hand to grasp his materilized hunting bow. A compound weapon he took often on his hunting trips with Woolsworth. It was familiar to him, and now he felt it's grip and realized he never really had to part from it now.

A second chant left his lips.
Whitney casts Mage Armor. AC 13+Dex for 8 hours

He was armed now. He was armored. Ready. The breath of his bow.

"Hektor, if you would be so kind." He directed the owl to fly into the unknown.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:22, Thu 03 Oct 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 52 posts
Thu 3 Oct 2019
at 03:23
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The celestial owl obeyed the command without hesitation, flying up and towards the strange dot. It opened up yet again, this time bigger, seeming to accommodate the size of Hektor. As he passed into it, the dot closed up yet again, without much sound.

When Hektor disappeared from sight, the intrinsic connection that Whitney felt with him was cut off. It didn't feel like the owl had died, but that he was somehow beyond the young man's reach.

While Ms Calhoon had been quiet and observant so far, this bit of action from Whitney seemed to intrigue her.

"Good idea to send him in first. Hopefully this is what we're looking for."
She looked to the other teenagers, her eyes a direct and ever present calm. "Whitney has the right idea, arm up before we attempt to go in. Who knows whats on the other side." She drew her pistol, thoroughly checking it over.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 59 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 5 Oct 2019
at 18:55
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Hmm, perhaps I should..." but Malun spoke too slowly as Hektor was already off before she'd even pulled the disc from her PortCon, "...ah. Well, I'm sure you can just tell us what he sees then."

Malun had no equipment to arm herself with that she was not already wearing, her reinforced labcoat for protection, her PortCon, her glasses with their new modifications and perhaps most importantly her new glove on her other hand, "I have nothing additional to prepare."
Garret Blake
 player, 85 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 5 Oct 2019
at 23:56
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Realizing what they might be about to face, Garrett lowered his hand. The wide receiver still wasn't accustomed to any of this. The only comparable memory was scoping out a pawnshop with the Diamonds once, what seemed like a lifetime ago, wondering whether the owner would be inside with his baseball bad.

In fact, it was amazing how similar the feeling was. Except now? Now it was for a good reason, and he was in a position to help people. With whatever this was.

Letting out an audible sigh, he addressed the group:

"I can't sense any of those skeletal snake things, for what it's worth. Whether that means they're gone or that my ability to feel them doesn't extend past that dot... well, I'm not sure. I agree with Mrs. Calhoon, though. We should be... ready."

And at this, he reached down to his side. The katana rasped free from its sheath for the first time. Maybe that was significant, maybe it wasn't... but in that moment, he was acutely aware of its weight.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 49 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sun 13 Oct 2019
at 01:41
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney realized his mistake too late. He should have instructed Hektor to return immediately after giving the Other Side a quick scout. In the back of his mind he understood the limitation of his link with a celestial familiar. It would be impossible to command anything of the creature if they were on a different plane.

"You are right, Malun. But I lost contact with Hektor the moment he passed through. If your device runs a connection similar to my own, I don't think it would have worked." Not that there was a way to test that without having actually tried it.

"As di bubbe volt gehat beytsim volt zi gevain mayn zaidah." He mutters to himself. There was no point worrying about it now.

"Well, Ms. Calhoon. Fortune favors the bold." Whitney moves to follow Hektor into the unknown. One bad idea deserves another after all.
Retro DM
 GM, 53 posts
Sun 13 Oct 2019
at 06:45
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
As Whitney approached the small marble of hanging uncertainty, it once again opened up, this time larger, as though it wants the young man to pass through. The even larger hole allowed some sight into what was beyond - a darkened forest, trees wafting gently in a smooth breeze. It only took a step and a half before this hole into another place swallowed Whitney up, and closed again.

Ms Calhoon moved to try to stop Whitney, but was too late. "Dammit, he should have let me go in first." She sighed, holding her gun upward and looking back to the rest of the teens. "Alright, right behind me then. Let's go!"

She jumped in, the dot portal opening and closing as it had before.

Without any other course, the rest went through

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

The trip through this dot to somewhere lasted only a few seconds. The space between home and wherever seemed to be void of temperature, and sound, but not of sight. It appeared as an open space of purple sky dotted with millions of star-like points of light. There was no floor, no walls, at least none that could be discerned, but with only a moment to take it all in, who could say for sure? There was a pull, and each body was tugged into another opening, bringing them out into a place that was slightly familiar.

The group came out into a forested glade. It was night time here, and there was a familiar sight - the remains of the gigantic skeletal snake they had defeated just days ago. But the bones were covered with moss and fungus, with verdant growth of flowers and shrubs around them. The fault in the earth caused by the odd shard was not present at all, just solid ground. The canopy around them looked to go upward almost fifty feet, the trees a mix of oaks, pines, cedars, and some sort of unfamiliar wood. There were sounds of insects and small nocturnal creatures echoing in the night.

That's where they were, the night.
Garret Blake
 player, 86 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 13 Oct 2019
at 18:33
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Of all the things that Garrett expected of Whitney, this wasn't it. The other boy's sudden bout of impulsiveness shot his eyebrows up his face, and the wide receiver reflexively moved forward almost before Ms. Calhoon had finished speaking he'd shot a sideways look at July and Jason before moving ahead of their teacher and through the portal.

Once on the other side, he glanced around in every direction, the blade held in two hands with an awkward sort of determination that he hoped didn't show--evidence being what it was of his raw his nerves got at the sight of the skeleton.

The skeleton. Damn, but that moss had grown fast. His brow furrowed at the sight, and he moved to check them, crouching to examine what was growing there with a furrowed brow and a look of mild concern.

"That's... odd. Stay sharp, everyone."

Rolled a 10 on investigation. Trying to tell if the moss is fast growing, or if time just... passes differently here.
July Coates
 player, 63 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 14 Oct 2019
at 03:47
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney went through the portal first which would have surprised July if she hadn't spent the past few years running track with him. His competitive streak was well known to her. And she'd never known Garrett not to take bait--and there he went. July squared her shoulders and followed, determined not to let the two start bickering.

The shift from day to night was jarring. All the colour drained away as the world flashed to monochrome. July's mouth dropped open at the sheer strangeness of the site. They had been here only a few days ago, where it had been a desert and a cracked hill. The forrest was lush, earth soft beneath her feet, cicadas buzzing, the trees whispering in the evening wind.

The fire in her veins hummed as she took a few steps forward, turning around to take everything in.

"This is...wild," July breathed out, struck with wonder. "Where did this come from?"

Magic, she knows, as soon as she asks the question. Forrests don't spring up from nothing like this without an arcane spark, even as its taken that growth and run away from it. The answer is strange, but also unsatisfying. She knows the how, just not the why, and July's curiosity only burns all the brighter.
14 on Arcana!

This message was last edited by the player at 04:14, Mon 14 Oct 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 53 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 04:42
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
With everyone stepping into this strange enlarging and shrinking hole to somewhere else, it was only natural that Jason would follow them. He was apprehensive about it, of course, nothing they were doing now seemed safe, certainly not as safe as tinkering with statues in his garage. We can do this. We have powers. Together, we'll be okay. he reminded himself. Taking a deep breath, he too stepped into the portal.

The trip through, though brief, was staggering. As he stepped out into the forest on the other side he took a moment to get his bearings. He felt slightly dizzy from the experience of... of what? Was it trans-dimensional travel? Faster than light? He couldn't quite make sense of it.

Once his head stopped spinning, Jason took in their new surroundings. The forest was both familiar and foreign. It looked like any other forest with all it's various trees, but at the same time it had some kind of alien wood growing in it. And there was Skethar's bones, grown over. How did that happen?

"Well, it looks a lot nicer now than last time."

Percpetion 21, looking out for any nearby danger.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 60 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 17 Oct 2019
at 21:00
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Naturally Malun was the last one through the portal, due to both caution and her short legs making her slower than the others. Once she was in, her eyes flicked about in every direction, taking in every last detail of the area around her as fast as her organic processor could run.

Without a word, she punched in commands to her PortCon to scan the area for latent magical activity...and frowned as she immediately got an error message. "Hmm, the scanning program isn't working correctly, looks like the field test for this one is a bust. I may have to ask father to handle the short range aetheric detector, analytics is his specialty after all."

Returning to the use of her onboard sensory array, Malun walked over to examine the skeleton more closely, while also cautiously keeping an eye out for any of the cracks in the ground that were present before, that may have been covered with overgrowth.

"Hmmm...I lack the equipment to test how long these bones have been here, but their presence confirms that it's not a spacial anomaly, this is the same location as before. However the rampant growth, including the growth on the skeleton which does not itself support plant life, suggests that either plants are growing here at an accelerated rate, or that it's a temporal anomaly and time moves faster here than it does on our side of the gap. I'll need more data to determine which one we're looking at."

Turning her attention to the canopy, she looked for the first piece of data that could provide an answer; Whitney's familiar.
Retro DM
 GM, 54 posts
Sat 19 Oct 2019
at 19:45
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The night that they had all stepped into was warmer than last time, but still much cooler than a summer day in any part of California, or even a summer night. Ms Calhoon produced a flashlight, but kept it on low brightness, just in case there were unfriendly eyes around, or curious animals. There was some moonlight, with a half moon visible through the canopy, but the shade of the trees mostly obscured it. Anyone looking long enough at this moon, and possessing sufficient knowledge of the Moon’s surface, would notice that it’s not the moon of Earth. Ms Calhoon certainly noticed it herself. She also noticed the skeletal formation with plant like overgrowth.

“So that’s the giant snake you encountered? Or at least, it’s remains? Interesting.” She produced a notepad and pencil, making a few quick notes presumably on the surroundings, and on what had transpired so far.

A moment later, a familiar hooting sound was heard, and Hektor flew down from above the boughs, landing nearly on Whitney’s shoulder. The celestial owl nuzzled the head of his master, and conveyed telepathically what he had seen so far.

Jason’s scan of the area didn’t reveal any apparent dangers. He did see a frog hop off into the darkness of the underbrush.

Garret’s investigation doesn’t yield much. He’s not an expert in how plants grow, so trying to discern the nature of this growth escapes him, at least for now.

July’s odd and seemingly innate knowledge of the supernatural tells her that this is definitely magical plant growth, but whether it’s been a passage of time or an explosive growth is hard to say.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 61 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 15:49
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Ah, excellent, there you are." Malun nodded satisfactorily as Hektor returned to Whitney's side, "Hektor, can you tell us how long it was from your perspective between when you entered the rift and when we did? Presumably you would know exactly the moment Whitney stepped through due to the magical link, yes?"

OOC: Malun is just presuming that either Hektor can understand english, or that Whitney will just ask the same question mentally to translate. She's not activating her Beast Speech just yet.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 50 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 18:20
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
To answer Malun's question, Whitney bends down to "speak" to his familiar.

"Hektor seems to have been here a few minutes. If this is like Chronicles of Narnia, then I don't think time is much faster here. We should have synchronised watches and left one outside." Whitney paused a moment as he stroked Hektor's head. That's another should-have-done for the day. "Seems like we're about to see a sunrise though, this world isn't always night. And there is a tall building too. We can follow the sun if we choose to investigate that."

Whitney fumbled in his pocket until he found Malun's little invention. Finding an amenable spot on his familiar, he placed and activated the device. Patting Hektor's head one more time, he asked his bird to circle above them for the time being. Hopefully he would spot anything that came near them.

"We have eyes in the sky, bubulah." Speaking to Malun. He really should have just left it on him earlier.
Garret Blake
 player, 87 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 22:00
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett slowly stood up, eyeing the sky as the others talked. Looking at July, his expression was briefly full of all the unease that presently coursed through him with all the strangeness they currently faced. Then he looked at Jason before saying to the others "Give me a moment to try again."

Taking a breath, Garrett's eyes glimmered briefly with a strange light, then his senses reached out into the darkness around them.

Using Divine Sense one more time.
Jason Drake
 player, 54 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 02:43
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Realizing a little late that they we're in a mostly dark exterior, Jason sent up the Light that he had demonstrated before, with the bright spark hovering just over his helmet. He listens to Whitney's explanation of the terrain, while taking a closer look at the bones that were now covered in moss-like plants. As he looked them over, he summoned up the strange energy within him, and his eyes temporarily glowed a deep blue.

"Maybe I can see some things we've missed."

Casting Light, and then using racial Detect Magic on the area, 30 ft range.
Retro DM
 GM, 55 posts
Thu 24 Oct 2019
at 22:07
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
As Garret reached into that odd, supernatural sense, a glow began to materialize in his vision. The ground around them, about sixty feet in diameter, had been touched by some divine magic, and made holy. This energy permeated even under and upon the bones of Skethar, though he could still ‘see’ a remnant of dark energy coming from them, seemingly battling this holy spell. Surveying the rest of the area, he would also note that Hektor emanates this same holy energy, or at least something very close to it, before the owl takes off again. And July was... red? Orange? Something like that.


Jason’s magic eyes see a similar glow from the area, and Hektor. As he turns his gaze, the forest itself comes partly alight, like shining a light on fractured minerals, scattering the reflection. This whole place has some magical energy within it.

Ms Calhoon, noting what Whitney said about a tall building , takes some tentative steps in that direction, carefully scanning the woods with her flashlight. “Since we don’t have any other landmarks, we should probably head that way. Maybe we can scale it and get a better view, no offense to your bird, but seeing things with your own eyes is a lot different than hearing about it.” She stops suddenly, and tries to loudly whisper back to the rest. “Something is in the brush...”
Vzzt
 NPC, 1 post
Thu 24 Oct 2019
at 22:17
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The movement of the brush suddenly produces a tiny winged humanoid. It zips upward and zig zags around frantically, before stopping at about the center point of the group. With it's movement halted, it's features become more easily observable. A dress of miniature ivy, wings that flutter rapidly, a face that is both curious and alluring. And then, it speaks.

"Hello strangers! Very strange strangers! What strange place have you come from? You certainly aren't from here, no certainly not. Who are you, strangers? Oh no, apologies, manners, manners. First know me, I am Vzzt, scout of the Brightleaf Pixies. There, now manners are in place. Who are you?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 62 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 25 Oct 2019
at 01:35
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun's mind immediately raced over everything she'd recently read in regards to magical creatures as the small so-called 'pixie' appeared. Nothing she could remember about faeries was good, to be frank. Tricksters, prone to mischief and operating under a strange ruleset that they did not do a good job of communicating to others.

Of course, who knows how much of that was accurate?

"Greetings scout Vzzt," Malun replied, keeping an even tone, "You may call me Malun...apprentice inventor of Gridley High."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 51 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 28 Oct 2019
at 20:38
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney took a beat before reassessing this new being before him. Admittedly it was probably one of the least weird things to happen to their group, but it was none-the-less odd. Also it wasn't attacking them so that was already a huge plus compared to their first greeting here.

Whitney places his bow into the second quiver on his back. It was probably rude in any world to converse while readily armed. Not that it mattered to him, he supposed. He was always armed now.

This Pixie at least seemed friendly. Whitney desperately wished he knew more. Actually maybe he did. If he could "remember" these magic spells, then perhaps that same pool of knowledge held other truths.

Whitney rolled 7 using 1d20+5.  History of Pixies, what they are like and maybe a clue about this particular one.

Well, Pixies were real at the very least. Hopefully manners matter here too.

"A pleasure to meet you, Vzzt." Surprisingly not a hard name to pronounce compared to some Hebrew words, "My name is Whitney, of the New York City Zabka-Cabots."

Whitney briefly considered introducing the rest of the group so he could start asking questions. He didn't trust Garret not to stare slack jawed before gathering his single wit. July would probably cover for him though, at least that's what Whitney was hoping.
Garret Blake
 player, 88 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 28 Oct 2019
at 22:43
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett appeared to be processing something in a way that made him a little dizzy. He swayed just slightly on his feet and blinked a few times, absorbing the sudden rush of information in a way he was profoundly unaccustomed to getting it. Okay. Okay spell. Hektor was... a special owl. Maybe like him? Celestial court? Or something. Maybe Hektor was its mascot?

Also July was orange. That was. Huh. Maybe she was secretly dutch?

"This area is under the effect of... something called a Hallow Spell," Garrett said. "I'm not sure how I know that, but I... think it means that those bones of Skittles still have some sort of residual... evil to them, but the plants are suppressing it somehow. I--" he blinked, and a bug... person... was there.

"Is that... okay nevermind. Hi!" He stepped forward, offering a hand, then thinking better of it and offering an index finger instead. "It's nice to meet you, I'm Garrett Blake, um, of Gridley High, and these are my friends. We're just exploring, and honestly we're as surprised to see you as you probably are to see us."

He offered a broad smile, looking at everyone in turn, with July and Jason being the last ones--offering a sort of 'am-I-doing-this-right' awkward expression before looking back at the bug-person.

"So um... what is this place?"
Jason Drake
 player, 55 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 28 Oct 2019
at 23:43
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The strange glowing energy of the entire forest was subtle, but still awe inspiring. Jason was a bit lost in what he was seeing, uncharacteristically not paying attention to the rest of his surroundings.

'Wow... it's beautiful..."

There was some speaking going on around him, but he didn't notice it. Not until a magical creature suddenly showed up, and an unfamiliar voice caused him to snap back to what was present. The spell started to fade as he lost his focus on it, but this pixie was definitely also magic. And it wanted introductions.

"I'm Jason, of... clan Drake? A sculptor by trade, but I have skill in many crafts. Your a scout? Maybe you can help us find some direction in this place?"

Rolled an 11 Insight to see if this pixie is being truthful
July Coates
 player, 64 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 29 Oct 2019
at 03:35
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Magical plants that could suppress evil. July was pretty sure that was more the plot line of a Captain Planet episode than reality, and yet here they stood in the glade of a forrest that could only be magic. Magic. She could touch it, shape it, feel it humming in her veins. And yet it still seemed so impossible, more fever dream than reality.

Perhaps it was silly, to struggle so much with accepting what her every sense confirmed to be real. It seemed improbable that this was simply some shared delusion. Not when she could reach out and touch Skethar's bones and the arcane flora that had claimed them. She idled closer towards the skeleton, unable to keep from trailing a curious finger along the crease of its parietal bone. What was it the monster had said? They had stolen something? And hadn't Garrett's dream confirmed that? A gift, not meant for him, but one that couldn't be undone? A spike of guilt lanced through her at the thought. Had they truly been thieves? Inadvertent, perhaps, but...

A miniature humanoid burst out of the thicket, and she flinched in alarm, taking an awkward step back from the bones. Words spilled out of the tiny being, and it took July a few moments to piece it all together. Viz..zet? Head cocked to one side, July tried to make sense of the newest impossibility of the day. A pixie. Not particularly remarkable, based on how the fire in her blood barely stirred at the sight.

The introductions offered were all a bit stilted, and July shot her friends a slightly confused look, before turning her gaze back on the winged person.

"Um, I'm just July," She waved with a smile. Hopefully she hadn't just engaged in some unknowingly rude gesture. Folding her arms beneath her chest, July drew closer to the others, holding her numerous questions so as not to bombard the new arrival.

9 on Knowledge Nature to suss out info on pixies.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:00, Tue 29 Oct 2019.

Ms. Calhoon
 NPC, 3 posts
Tue 29 Oct 2019
at 14:17
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Their teacher was perhaps more surprised by the sudden appearance of a mythical creature, giving several rapid blinks before regaining her composure and responding.

"I'm Ms. Calhoon, of Earth, which I suspect this is not. From what I know of pixies, we are in good company. Will you consider us your guests, fair Vzzt?"
Vzzt
 NPC, 2 posts
Tue 29 Oct 2019
at 14:28
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
By the fluttering about of this strange creature, it seemed they were at least entertained by all the introductions, as they went closer to each person as they spoke up. A bright smile came across their face.

"Oh oh oh, my my my, so many names, so many questions! Let us see. First! You have the pleasure of being in the Feywild! Notably, this is the Nightward side, where I scout for potential incursions. Yes indeed I am a scout, and I could give you some direction, but what direction is it you want? Hmm? Quite a difference between marching Nightward and marching Dawnward."

The pixie seemed to contemplate Ms. Calhoon's question a bit longer.

"Hmmmmmm, a guest of mine? Many guests in fact. I suppose for sake of manners, I should. You all seem quite unawares here. I think yes, you shall be my guests here, as a mannerly courtesy, since you asked so nicely. As my guests, I should first take you to a safe haven. There, we can have tea! You know of tea, yes? Certainly this 'Earth' has tea? If they have manners, they have tea."

The pixie flitted up briefly, above the canopy, as if to get a bearing on their direction, then came back down.


"Follow me if you please, we should go before something from the night finds us here. Hmmm, you are flightless, this makes you loud. Stay near me, if you please."

The small green fae then summoned up a glowing green circle before it, gesturing with it's arms, creating strange sigils out of nothing. Then, an aura of green faintly shimmered outward from them, before becoming invisible.

"Within this circle, if you please. It makes loud ones quiet. Come, come, we must'n tarry."

Vzzt casts Pass Without a Trace, giving everyone within 20ft of them a +10 to Stealth rolls.
July Coates
 player, 65 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 31 Oct 2019
at 05:18
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
So they were in the Feywild--whatever that was--and decidedly not on Earth anymore. Or, maybe the name was just unfamiliar, or time itself had been warped until home was no longer recognisable. It made July's head hurt just to think about it.

"We do have tea," She reassured the fretting pixie, amused by their priorities. She shot the others a curious look as Vzzt flittered towards the canopy, before shrugging her shoulders. They'd stumbled upon a scout, the very thing they needed most in an unknown place and/or time. What else were they going to do? Say no and try to strike out on their own? That just seemed silly.

Vzzt rejoined them and bade them to follow. July cocked her head to one side, fascinated as a pale green light shimmered, radiating outwards before vanishing. And yet as July did as asked and stepped forward, there was the most curious ripple in the air. A muffled hum whispering across her skin, like the pressure of earplugs blotting out the world, like a harmonic left to linger. Her feet shifted, and she could feel the give of the soil and foliage below, but it was if someone had put the ground on mute.

"Huh," She murmured, crunching the ground more firmly to test it. No sound, and as the checkered sneaker pulled back, not even a footprint marred the ground, let alone the twigs and foliage that should have broken. "That's really neat."

This message was last edited by the player at 05:31, Thu 31 Oct 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 63 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 31 Oct 2019
at 18:01
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun was immediately leery of accepting any kind of food or drink from a creature of Faerie due to all the stories about how bad of an idea that was, but she also had a couple drinks and snacks in her bag, so she could ensure that she remained a control group of sorts.

With a quiet nod, she followed along inside the magical emanation, recording notes on her PortCon with every step.
Garret Blake
 player, 89 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 19:00
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
By some miracle, Garrett actually managed to keep quiet. Careful steps followed the big boy as he fell into step somewhee ebetween July and Jason, his eyes glancing around in the strange light and jarringly beautiful surroundings through which Vzzt was leading them. The spell that the small--pixie? Fey-man? Bug-person?--was laying on them was something else, because even his booted feet were impossibly silent where there should've been the soft crunch of undergrowth giving way. Glancing at July he managed an awkward, impressed smile. "Wow. This is... this is something else."

Lookinf gorward again, he sheathed his sword. It... probably would be considered rude to arrive at wherever they were going with a drawn weapon, and frankly speaking it didn't seem like there was a lot of immediate threat. In fact, it almost seemed like this land was doing its utmost to keep whatever evil Skelith--Skeletor--no, Skittles represented at bay. He supposed that made his job easier, at least... and that was an offset of the parts of what he'd agreed to do that still made him nervous. I will hunt down evil.

At the very least, this place didn't seem that way. And that was nice.

Wow, Garrett. Wow. This place is not evil and that is nice is some seriously deep philosophizing out of you. You spend all night workshopping that shit in your head or did it just spring into your braincase like some aristotlian moment of sheer brilliance.

One hand pressed to his temple as he walked. "I'm a lot quieter than I expected to be," he said. "Which is good, because quiet isn't exactly my thing. More like thud-thud-thud-Garrett-is-that-a-herd-of-elephants-upstairs-you're-scaring-the-dog."

He cleared his throat. Kept going.

"So uh... Vzzt, where are we headed?"

26 stealth with disadvantage!

This message was last edited by the player at 19:24, Fri 01 Nov 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 56 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 19:21
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The unfamiliar magic aura that expanded out from the pixie, at first, made Jason a bit apprehensive. He didn't feel any different, but when he took a few steps forward he also noted what the rest had, that his footfalls had become much quieter, even without his expressed intention. "Man, magic is a lot cooler than I thought. Maybe we can learn to do that? Or at least some of us?" It was more of an out loud thought than a genuine question. No doubt they'd find out what they could do as time progressed. He followed along with the rest as Vzzt led them... wherever they were being led, presumably somewhere safe.

While Vzzt may be currently escorting them, Jason was back on alert for threats. It was a strange place, and there was no telling what might show up, especially considering a pixie, of all things, was the first being they encountered. The red haired boy scanned around for any discernible motions in the forest.

"The Feywild, huh? Can't say I've ever heard of that."

A 19 stealth at Disadvatage thanks to the spell. Perception is only 12 though, threat scanning.
Retro DM
 GM, 56 posts
Sat 2 Nov 2019
at 21:28
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The quieted walk through this strange forest was as pleasant as could be expected, given the circumstances. Vzzt had been, so far, quite welcoming. They were indeed strangers in a strange land, and for now completely dependent on their host. Ms Calhoon didn't exactly like the arrangement, and was keeping a hand atop her now holstered gun, just in case. She seemed to be studying the terrain, and Vzzt, to what exact end was uncertain.

The pixie remained cordial and happy as it lead the group onward, doing it's best to answer their questions, but of course in it's own unique way.

"It is good to know that Earth has tea, this is a very good thing. We are going to a safe place, safest place nearby, where scouts go to rest, and drink tea. We call it Moonbreak."

The pixie flitted around in uncertain patterns as it continued. It's small face seemed to contort into a look of surprise.

"You've not heard of the Feywild? Oh my, oh my that is strange, more strange. You came here intently, did you not? Or you did not? Hmm. Maybe a mischievous fairy lure you hence? Or you meddled with things you did not understand? Hmm? It matters not, you are here, and guests."

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

The walk seemed to drag on, and the position of the moon overhead changed very little. Vzzt lead them carefully, with their magically softened steps allowing them to bypass several large predators. A massive, panther-like creature stalked the trees overhead, oblivious to their passing. A pair of owls the size of Volkswagon's cross the night sky, their keen eyes not spotting them, but swooping down on something in the distant brush.

The collective Stealth of the group allows them to avoid some nasty predators.

They came to a stop inside a circle of large stones, etched with runes that glowed with some nascent magic power. The sky here was starting to lighten with the glow of pre-dawn, the stars slightly less visible. Vzzt flittered over to a central collection of rocks, atop which was a tin pot. The pixie waved their hand, and the rock which it sat on seemed to heat, and caused steam to rise from the spout. With the quickness that only such a creature could muster, tea was poured into seven small cups, which were, naturally, pixie sized. Once the cups were handed out, however, they grew on their own to appropriately sized tea cups.

The tea, should you drink it, is of a pleasing flavor to you, whatever that flavor is, and you gain 5 temporary hitpoints from drinking it.

"Now then,'said Vzzt, between sips "we are safe, we are hidden. Tell me, strange ones, what do you seek here?"
Garret Blake
 player, 90 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 7 Nov 2019
at 21:57
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett took a step forward. He wasn't really sure whether he should be the one doing the talking... but in that moment, he felt the pull of making sure that communication happens as clearly as it can, and if there's one thing he'd always been pretty good at, it was straight talk. He took a quick glance around to sort of preemptively clear his proactiveness with everyone, then said "Well, we're honestly hoping you could tell us a thing or two. We're from a place called Gridley California, and a few days ago a... portal, I guess, opened up between this place and our world. We're still not entirely sure why, and we came here to learn more, both about this place, and about why it's suddenly connected to our home."

He paused. "I mean there's more than just that. We're all sort of... new to this. Magic, you could say, and we're still figuring it out. Most people in our world didn't even know it existed--we sure didn't, before the portal appeared. Most people in our world still don't know about it, I'm pretty sure, and we're not sure what will happen when they find out."

Another pause followed, then Garrett smiled a little awkwardly. Cards on the table. "Also that um... skeletal thing. Back there. The big snake. What was that? When we accidentally stumbled through several days ago, it attacked us. Called itself... Skelithar? Sekithar? Skunk? Sorry, it's been a hot minute."

With a slight note of awkwardness, he remembered he was holding a cup of tea, and took a drink.

It was... really good!

This message was last edited by the player at 02:23, Fri 08 Nov 2019.

Vzzt
 NPC, 3 posts
Thu 7 Nov 2019
at 23:13
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The pixie listened intently, whether that was their obsession with manners or true curiosity was hard to say. They 'sat' mid air, placing their hand under their chin contemplatively.

"A portal, a world without magic, a giant snake. Many strange things apart, but maybe sensible together. There are some things I know, that I can illuminate for you.

Firstly, those bones, the large skeleton snake. We have not seen such a thing for centuries here. Most certainly it was undead, and that is nothing that fey traffic in, no no. Those bones appeared in that spot some time ago, other scouts found them, and together we hallowed that place to protect it from more dead things. That is why I did not want us to stay there long - even hallowed, the dark magics of that dead thing still persist."

They hummed, thinking on the rest. "A portal opening could explain it coming here. Curious, curious, portals are normally two ways, and you say it's not from your world - well it couldn't be, no magic there till now. Very curious. And what caused this portal, do you know?"

This message was last edited by the player at 23:14, Thu 07 Nov 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 52 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 8 Nov 2019
at 01:46
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney brushed off his rock before sitting down. Those large creatures they passed earlier were quite dangerous looking. If that scout hadn't met them when they enter, well he didn't like the idea of walking into too many dangers in unknown terrain. Hunting required patience and foreknowledge, that's what Woolsworth always said anyways.

Garret broke the ice around after the tea was handed out. He wasn't even an embarrassment to humanities first known foray to an alien race, so that was a relief. Ms. Calhoon seemed to be taking an observational approach so far. Whitney did wish she wouldn't be so obvious with her intentions however. If the Pixie didn't know what a gun was, he at least now knew it was a weapon. What was that delightful phrase, First Contact? His sister should be here, she'd make a great ambassador. Not himself.

"When you say some time ago, would that have been a few days ago? I'm not sure how or even if you keep time here." Whitney glanced down has his watch, resisting the urge to shake its mechanically powered motion. It was the type of watch where the face shows part of it's inner workings, a crescent shape of bronze gears amidst rose gold. He couldn't show how he was truly feeling, he couldn't give in to nervous movement.

It was unfortunate that the Pixie didn't offer any deep insight to their magic portal. Although he supposed it would be like if a Pixie picked a human off the street and started asking about nuclear physics. Most people don't know such specific information despite their lives interacting with it every day.

Whitney drank the tea, at first to be polite, only to discover it was quite pleasant and began to drink in earnest. "We did see a rather strange glowing something that put on quite a spectacle. Before it disappeared it seemed to vibrate the ground around us and shot off beams of colored light. After that we found ourselves next to that rather rude skeleton snake. As to what that object is or was, that is why we are here."

Whitney drank deeply from his tea, as tea was best enjoyed while it was still warm. "I am going to have a very long talk with my Rabbi one day." The beverage cooled his nerves at least. The prospect of Rabbis even hypothetically discussing a world such as this did not.

"Scout Vzzt. We are curious for more information about this place and why that portal connected our worlds. And even the nature of magic. Is there a place or a person that could teach us what we wish to know?"

Whitney looked to Malun, she probably had far more intelligent questions to ask. The young man turned to July as well. She always had good instincts and seemed to ask the questions that actually mattered. Assuming she didn't undermine her own thoughts before she asked of course.
Vzzt
 NPC, 4 posts
Fri 8 Nov 2019
at 02:52
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The pixie considered how they would explain the passage of time to this newcomer.

"Yes, that is a fun whimsy of the Feywild. There is a place of night, a place of day, a place between. We are closer to between now. But time passes, yes, as it does, things age on and on as they do. Our keepers of time feel the growth of great trees. I am not one of those, but we know of night and day cycles in other planes. I suppose it would have been... twenty days past? I hope I'm doing the numbers right."

Vzzt refilled their teacup, and continued "A strange object? You are all strange to me, but I suppose things are strange to you too. The way you describe it, hmm, something magical to be sure, but what exactly, who knows? Not I."

The last question seemed to spark something in Vzzt "Oh! Oh yes, certainly, yes. There are many in the Feywild who are wise with magic and the many worlds. Would they see you though, hmm, would they? I know not. I can guide you somewhat, but, but, I do have duties. We should have to visit my troop captain first. Yes, him first."

Vzzt, for perhaps the first time since meeting them, looked quite serious.
July Coates
 player, 66 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 14 Nov 2019
at 03:02
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
They happened upon, appropriately enough, what looked like a fairy circle at the break of dawn. July thought back to half-remembered stories. Something about dancing ones self to death? Still, seeing as how no one had started doing the macarena upon entering, she saw no issue with entering. Smoothing her skirt beneath her, she sat upon a large, smooth stone, ankles crossed and back straight. Vzzt seemed to value good manners as much as her own parents. She accepted her cup with a smile and thanks, taking a moment to enjoy the tea. Earl Grey, with a smooth curl of bergamot and vanilla ending in a delicate lavender note.

July listened carefully as Garrett and Whitney took point on questioning their host about the portal, Skethar, and the rules of the world they now found themselves in. She sipped at her tea, mulling over Vzzt's answers. At Whitney's pointed look, July somehow managed to sit up straighter, as if chastised. Manners. Right.

"We definitely don't want to get in the way of your responsibilities or anything," July spoke up reassuringly. "Especially not after you've been so kind to us. Thank you, again, for the tea. It's wonderful."

July set her cup in her saucer, hand skimming a loose bleached bang behind an ear and fidgeting with the ends as she considered her next words.

"But anything you can do to help us understand why, or how, our...worlds, I guess, seem to be linked would be deeply appreciated."
Ms. Calhoon
 NPC, 4 posts
Sat 16 Nov 2019
at 19:22
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While she sipped her tea, the teacher they had all known for several years now was very quiet. She peered at the pixie in the same way she used to look at students who were making excuses for late work or missing class. It was scrutiny, but not outright dismissal. She seemed satisfied with what she was hearing, but it was a lot of information. Letting her student take the lead here seemed to be going fine.

"If it has been twenty days, that's a good deal more time than when it was encountered. We'll have to account for that time dilation moving forward. The good news is that gives us more time to explore here before we need to head back. So, meeting this captain is probably our best course of action from here. Would you all agree?"

This message was last edited by the player at 19:25, Sat 16 Nov 2019.

Vzzt
 NPC, 5 posts
Sat 16 Nov 2019
at 19:32
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The little pixie came out of it's quite contemplative state, returning to their jovial tones, responding to July and Ms. Calhoon in turn.

"Oh yes, yes. You are all very polite, and I like those who are polite. I will certainly help however I can - granted, I am only one pixie in a big world. But yes, responsibilities, yes duty calls, as it does. If you are all agreed, we can go there now. Of course, finish your tea first, unfinished tea is no good, no good."

This message was last edited by the player at 19:48, Sat 16 Nov 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 64 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 1 Dec 2019
at 15:46
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun listened but...considering the pixie's emphasis on politeness and the fact that she's been told multiple times that people can often find her quite rude(not that she really could understand why they would?), she chose to remain silent for now. Instead of participating in the conversation, Malun took notes on her PortCon and pulled out a small bottle of Sunny-D to sip on, instead of trying the tea. Best to have a control group that isn't partaking of Fairy Food or Drinks, after all.
Jason Drake
 player, 57 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 6 Dec 2019
at 00:49
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While Jason wasn’t much of a tea drinker, he thought it would be rude to refuse, and this pixie seemed very concerned with that sort of thing, so he took a sip. It was surprisingly quite nice, tasted like peppermint, not too strong though, just the right amount. He smiled and sipped some more as he listened to the others ask their questions, and Vzzt’s answers. The positions of night and day were fixed here? And there is a significant difference in how time passes? This place was more amazing than he could really fathom. All that Vzzt told them seemed to be true, as best as he could tell.

Before he knew it, Jason had finished his tea. He felt... better? Somehow more vital. He wasn’t sure how, but the tea must have energized him somehow. We should get the recipe. Wonder if we have the ingredients on Earth?

With the pixie now suggesting they leave to meet his commanders, Jason stood up and stretched, picking up his shield and looking to the rest.

“Well, I suppose we’re good to go, right? “

14 on an Insight check for Vzzt, making sure they are truthful

This message was lightly edited by the player at 23:06, Fri 06 Dec 2019.

Vzzt
 NPC, 6 posts
Fri 6 Dec 2019
at 03:11
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
As much ado as the pixie had made about proper manners and tea, they didn't seem to make any audible note of Malun's refusal. Whether that was because it went unnoticed or because Vzzt took being polite to an extreme was hard to say. The pixie flittered about as everyone began gathering their items to continue the journey, seemingly quite content.

"Indeed, now that manners have been observed for guests, we can go an see the captain. Perhaps one of our wizened ones will also be present, and could answer your more difficult questions. That would be quite splendid."

And so, once they were all ready, Vzzt began leading the group out of the protective circle of stones and back into the Feywild proper.
Retro DM
 GM, 57 posts
Fri 6 Dec 2019
at 03:28
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Not three paces out of the circle that Vzzt called Moonbreak, a flash of light filled the twilight sky. It streaked down from the heavens with frightening speed, a comet of pink and purple flames, impacting directly into one of the stones. The ground around them quaked terribly at the impact, sending birds scattering and some weaker rooted trees to tumbling.

There, at the crash zone, an ominous magenta light shone, humming with an otherworldly sound. The comet was no rock, but some manner of vehicle. A door shunted open from the outer hull of it, and out stepped a being both intriguing and terrifying. It was... humanoid? Or at least bipedal, but covered in some manner of armored suit, which seemed to shine as though it was freshly polished. Some kind of markings adorned it's chest on the left side. There were no visual facial features, just a single, black tinted visor.

As it moved out of it's vehicle, the armored being seemed to scan it's surroundings with some kind of light that came from the visor. It spotted the group, and took a much more threatening posture.

"Lifeforms, scanning...... How lucky for me, you are exactly who we're searching for. Prepare for death."

Roll for initiative!
Garret Blake
 player, 91 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 7 Dec 2019
at 17:07
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett's sword came free from its sheath, his frame shifting as his posture rapidly switched from one of curiosity and wariness to a level of readiness for violence that surprised even him. Perhaps it was the nature of the oath he'd taken, or whatever power suffused him in addition to and beyond what Swan had spoken of.

That's new.

So was a space-car-visor-man and a threat of death. No wait, the death-threat was not new. Skittles had already done that.

Taking two steps forward, blade forward, the wide-receiver stared down the enemy, putting himself physically in-between the man... robot... thing, and the rest of his friends (and Whitney).

His voice rang out less than inspiringly in his own ears. "'Prepare for--Oh my god what is with you otherworldly weirdos and talking like bad Fist of the North Star fansubs? That's two of you in a week! Get back in your car you... star... man... thing. None of us are dying, and sure as hell not by the hand of a broken backup prop from The Day The Earth Stood Still."

Initiative... 10.
Jason Drake
 player, 58 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 7 Dec 2019
at 23:38
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The sudden shattering of the otherwise peaceful journey shocked Jason slightly, as he struggled to maintain his footing when the object impacted on the ground. He double checked on the state of his companions, making sure none were hurt from the tremor, before turning his attention back to the thing from the sky. As it glowed, and the door popped open, he couldn't help but feel like he was inside the pages of an X-Men comic book.

"What the hell now? Space men? Aliens?"

The single armored figure that emerged seemed to confirm that suspicion. And it was hostile, of course. Karma wouldn't allow things to go too smoothly for them, he thought as he readied his hand-sledge and shield.

"I'm fine with crossing genres, but I prefer if you didn't threaten my friends."

Rolled a 15 for Initiative!
July Coates
 player, 67 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 8 Dec 2019
at 23:32
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
It had all been going so well. They'd navigated the wilds untouched, had shared a lovely cup of tea with a new friend, and formed a halfway decent plan to start getting answers.

And then the sky exploded with light and a literal space shuttle came crashing down into the clearing, kicking up a massive wall of dirt and vegetation. July stumbled backwards, ears ringing with the sudden cacophony. Shaking her head to clear it, she tried to make sense of the madness that followed.

There was little sense to be made of a strange, masked creature popping out ready to kill them for their mere existence. With a shaky breath, July stepped forward, placing herself between Vzzt and their new, considerably less friendly, arrival.

"You really don't have to attack us," July piped up. It seemed important to at least put that option on the table, even as she suspected it wouldn't work. "Just saying."

Crit fail on initiative whoops.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 65 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 17 Dec 2019
at 17:42
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Fascinating, was the first word to run through Malun's mind as the spaceship(?) crashed into the ground and some manner of clearly technological life form stepped out. While the others distracted the creature with their comments and threatening posture, Malun simply took a half step behind Whitney, hoping to completely obscure the alien(?)'s line of sight to her.

Three rapid keystrokes and her PortCon was set to scan it right back. Two more and the Optic Enhancer Glove came to life with a silent vibration and expanding of the lens on the palm.

Looks like it's time for a field test.

OOC: Init of...5. :V
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 53 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Tue 31 Dec 2019
at 23:09
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Oh good, another being that believed in violence first and conversation later. Typical Garret moved right in front of him. No doubt forgetting that some people need a clear line of sight for shooting bad people.

It didn't matter, Whitney took the opportunity to square himself back and to the side. If the buffoon wanted to be a meat shield, he wasn't going to stop him. Maybe his weird Saturday Morning Cartoon references would cease if he got hit a few times. It didn't help that Jason seemed to be on the exact same page.

Malun made to step behind himself. "Good instincts, Bubelah." Whitney drew his bow in time with his breathing. It hadn't really sunk in what had just dropped in front of him, but his instincts were screaming to find its vital points before it found his.

Whitney eyed their new small friend, trying to gauge their reaction. July was moving to cover the little man. Too trusting.
Whitney rolled a 4 for trying to intuit what Vzzt thinks of this. He is not very insightful.


Rolled 22 on Initiative.
Retro DM
 GM, 58 posts
Wed 1 Jan 2020
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
With the sudden shock of the sky fallen object crashing into the ground, both Vzzt and Ms. Calhoon seemed quite quick to respond to the event. Their teacher drew her 9mm, training it on the strange armored figure, while Vzzt seemed to radiate magical energy. The sleek and hulking form of the Starman stood still, but the array of it's visor began to light up with activity. As Malun attempted her scan, she found her Portcon's scanner system to be jammed by some other source, probably this foe. The rest of her equipment seemed to be operating normally.

Turn Order:
Vzzt 24
Whitney 22
Ms Calhoon 21
Starman 19
Jason 15
Garret 10
Malun 5
July 4


With haste, Vzzt cast a powerful protective spell that cascaded over the entire group. Each of the kids could feel it's warmth around them, as the light it made seemed to armor their bodies.

"This is so rude! I'm so sorry, honored guests. As is my duty, I will protect you from this sky man!"

Vzzt casts a protective spell of some kind, giving you each resistance to magical damage.

Whitney is up!

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 54 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Thu 2 Jan 2020
at 23:10
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
It was about time that people knew where Whitney stood.

Never to be outdone, Whitney's body was moving in smooth well practiced motions. Rehearsed instincts practiced over a small lifetime, his hands knocked and loosed an arrow.

He stood at the top.

Natural 20.
26 Piercing Dmg.

Current AC 17 with Mage Armor.
HP 39/39 Temp HP 5/5
Retro DM
 GM, 59 posts
Fri 3 Jan 2020
at 00:49
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney’s arrow goes off like a rocket, cutting through the air with a sharp whistle as it spirals, impacting the Starman with a force that none of them had seen before. Even in the short time since attaining his new abilities, his bowmanship has become that much stronger.

The armor of the Starman folded inward where the arrowhead struck, and the boom of the impact followed on a delay. Even with all that force, the Starman’s figure barely moved, and it showed no signs of pain.

Whitney’s critical hit is strong, but it seems the Starman’s armor is quite protective.

After the arrow struck true, Ms Calhoon followed up with two quick shots from her nine-mil. The first bullet only grazed the armored shell, but the second struck hard, seemingly hitting the right angle on the helmet section.

Ms. Calhoon hits once and deals 7 damage

“That armor is intense, now I regret not bringing grenades.” Their teacher mused as she re-positioned herself to the right flank of the Starman.

——————
With an arrow and a bullet now lodged in it’s armor, the Starman was still barely phased.

“Your paltry weapons are no match for me.”

It’s visor flashed, blue, purple, red. These flashes were followed up by three fast-moving, high density energy beams. Each on lanced out in an arc, striking the whole group save Ms Calhoon, since she took her new position. The ground and air around them froze with cold, then blew apart with force, and finally burned with fire - as did the five kids and the pixie.

Everyone except Ms. Calhoon takes 18 damage total in the form of Cold, Force, and Fire. Thanks to the protective spell, this is cut in half to 9.

Jason is up!

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 00:51, Fri 03 Jan 2020.

July Coates
 player, 68 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 3 Jan 2020
at 03:22
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Any hopes July had that this wouldn't end in a fight went up in smoke as Whitney's arrow caught their attacker with terrifying speed. Miss Calhoon's bullets failed to drop the thing, and July took a a nervous step backwards. That...couldn't be a good sign.

Her fear was confirmed almost immediately as the alien's(?) visor shot dazzling beams of energy at their group. The heat was incredible, slamming against her skin with a blistering blow that knocked the air out of her lungs. July staggered, and the flame within roared to life. It surged out from her chest, brilliant orange and gold light sparking into a flame that snaked along an outstretched hand. Blue eyes flashed to a solid crimson, her teeth bared in fury as the fire burst forth to engulf the metal man.

"Shove off, asshole!"

Using reaction for Hellish Rebuke, 5 fire damage. At 18/22 HP.
Retro DM
 GM, 60 posts
Fri 3 Jan 2020
at 03:31
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The whiplash of the rebuking flames smashed into the Starman, but much like the arrow and bullets, it seemed to do only partial damage. The armored figure was, annoyingly, only lightly scorched by the magic fire.

Seems like he took less damage than he should have.
Jason Drake
 player, 59 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 3 Jan 2020
at 03:38
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While Whitney's attack was impressive, the blasts that rocked the whole group we're pretty terrifying. Jason's armor and shield weren't going to be much use against explosive laser blasts. This whole situation just got a lot more nuts.

Quickly recovering, Jason moved out to the left side of the group. "Maybe if we split up he can't do that again?!" It was more of a hope than a guarantee, but Jason certainly didn't want another dose of those blasts to hit them all at once.

Reaching to his inward power, the red haired young man drew out his desire to help his friends succeed, and made it manifest with magic. A spiral of welding sparks formed around Garret, Malun, and Whitney, imbuing them with energy, before disappearing.

"This should help!"

Jason casts Bless on Garret, Malun, and Whitney. +1d4 to attacks and saving throws.

Garret is up!

Garret Blake
 player, 92 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 04:19
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whitney's arrow whispered past Garrett's head, and the teenage boy made a slight shift of his feet to accommodate the noise of the miss with a slight sideways nod of his head. His neck popped. July's raging flame boiled out of her, coiling around her arm and making the edges of his senses tingle with that scent of something with a name he couldn't identify. It didn't stick. There was too much need to focus on the here and now. Jason yelled his suggestion and a half-second later a shower of sparks whirled around the wide receiver. It firmed his stance and suffused his limbs.

As his eyes locked on the robot-man, the irises flickered with a shimmering white light. He felt that same blazing purpose as he had against the snake-thing, the acute awareness that what was in front of him had to be destroyed. His vision narrowed, as if a black bar blotted out everything above and below his enemy's body. Garrett's eyes flashed.

This time he had a proper weapon. "Yeah, split," he said in Jason's direction. His voice rang through the air. Somehow ringing and calm at the same time. "Take the flanks--I'll get the center."

A foot set forward. Stance shifted. The blade was gripped in both his hands, a shimmering line down the center of his white-edged vision.

He started towards the enemy. Walking with an increasing pace. It's the way he moved when he was building speed towards a defensive tackle with every intent of moving straight through them and into the inzone. His boots thumped on the ground and his hands brought the sword down to his waist with the point behind him.

"Maybe you haven't heard yet," his voice echoed across the space. "We're new here."

Then Garrett exploded forward. His rear leg blasted a chunk of dirt off the ground behind him. He sprang forward, the robot-man growing in his vision as he launched at it. Blurred forward. Fingers tensed around the grip of the blade, and it slashed upwards in a shear of silver-white light that crackled upwards, striking the starman's armor with an audible PING.

Then the light in Garrett's eyes erupted. Light flowed through his limbs, into the blade, making the steel shine so brightly it was hard to look at.

"IRIDESCENT. LIGHTNING. SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH!"

The blazing light in the steel exploded outwards in a halo of white and a concussive BOOM.

That is a 23 to attack. 9 sword damage and 13 damage from Divine Smite if that hits, which I assume it does.

Malun is up?

Retro DM
 GM, 61 posts
Fri 17 Jan 2020
at 01:04
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garret's charge forward was not anticipated by the Starman, nor was a bladed weapon. It seemed almost counter intuitive to try to cut a man that, at the least, had a shell of metal encasing him, but it was nevertheless quite effective. The attack struck true and brilliantly, the upward cut of the sword providing a focused point for the radiant energy to blast into the Starman. While the blade itself seemed less effective, the magic force behind it definitely made a difference, causing cracks to form in the armor.

While Garret's sword on it's own didn't do as much, the divine smite did it's full damage.

"Outer hull damage. No more of that."

For all the force of the blow, and the now visible damage, the Starman seemed to be quite hardy. The singular purple-violet eye of the Starman focused on Garret, and a beam of energy burst forth, encasing him like a cage.

Starman casts Hold Person as a Reaction on Garret, DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become Paralyzed. (Post that at any time before your turn).

Malun is up!

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:04, Fri 17 Jan 2020.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 66 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 17 Jan 2020
at 02:37
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun didn't exactly want to leave cover, but after that rainbow burst she saw the wisdom in splitting up. Moving out from behind Whitney, Malun tried to keep a low profile as she moved behind the nearest bush or other leafy plant she could try to take some concealment behind instead.

Once in a position she liked, she focused her gaze on the robotic(?) alien(?) and raised her right hand, palm outstretched towards it. If anyone had been paying attention to her instead of the much more flashy maneuvers of her companions, they may have noticed a brief collection of silvery light along the normally almost invisible circuitry of her glove before that energy raced outward towards her target.

No words spoken, no warning given, only a calculating focus plotting distance and trajectory.

This was just numbers. That's all.

Hard Light Burst fire! Attack roll...24. Damage 8 Force.
Retro DM
 GM, 62 posts
Sun 19 Jan 2020
at 03:23
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The concentraited energy blasts bursts forward, slamming into the Starman with full force, and causing another crack in the outer armored shell. Apparently, it's armor is not resistant to whatever it is Malun just did to it.

Starman is hit and takes the full damage, and his armoed shell is getting more and more cracks in it.

July is up!

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:56, Sun 22 Mar 2020.

July Coates
 player, 69 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 02:30
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Whatever this person, alien, thing, whatever was, weapons didn't seem to hurt it much. That suited July just fine--she still wasn't ready to take up arms like that. The thought of a blade or bow in hand was still a bit too much for her, like it might make all this irrevocably real. As if the blistering on her skin wasn't real enough. She'd grapple with the cognitive dissonance later.

A brilliant beam of energy shot towards Garrett--and July surged forward on impulse, the flames in her vein at he helm. It puppeted her hands into a quick dance, following laws she didn't know but knew nonetheless. The flames threw sparks between her fingers, the electric sting arcing back and forth, building with her whispered words. Blue eyes focused, finding a spot just beyond their assailant, and let the magic snap to the position.

It burst outwards, like a supernova of sound, a concussive wave rippling through the air.

July looked to the pixie, calling out her concern, "Please be careful, Vzzt!"

July casts Shatter, careful to cast it so friendos don't get hit.

Starman needs to make a DC Con Save of 14 or eat 17 thunder damage, half as much on a successful save.

Using Bardic Inspiration on our smol friend.

Retro DM
 GM, 63 posts
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 17:39
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
If this metal man from the stars was anything, it was tough. July's quick rush forward and subsequent magic attack probably would have flattened most normal creatures, but this guy wasn't anything normal. His armor seemed to have it's own motion as it dispersed part of her thunderous blast, though he still took some damage from it.

Starman makes the save with a 14, taking 8 thunder damage.
Back to the top of the round!


Vzzt took the advice to heart, and flew up above the rest of them, so that they could keep out of range for any additional area attacks. From their new vantage point, they shot out a blast of icy magic, concentrated into a beam. It struck the Starman square in the chest, spreading frost over it's armor.

"Might I suggest something to cool you off?"

Vzzt flies upward into the air and casts Ray of Frost on Starman, hitting with a dirty 20 and dealing 7 cold damage, which is not resisted.

Whitney is up!

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 55 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Thu 30 Jan 2020
at 15:24
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
A small spectrum of attacks hit their group. Whitney's magic armor ironically did nothing to protect from magic. Worse still, he seemed to have a limited number of times he could draw on magic. He would have to rely on force of arms.

Whitney falls back away from the group. Garret's tactical assessment was correct, they needed to split and surround. He had the advantage of a ranged weapon anyway, he should have already been moving to begin with.

Making aim, Whitney loosed another arrow. His hands were still shaking from the sudden burst of cold earlier and shoots wider than normal.

"Tsh"

Attack Roll 8. Bless to Add to Attack 3. Total 11.
Miss.

Current AC 17 with Mage Armor.
HP 35/39

Retro DM
 GM, 64 posts
Sat 1 Feb 2020
at 00:47
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
From her new position, and with her students distracting the threat, Ms. Calhoon was able to line up a much better shot. Two quick trigger pulls, the first striking the Starman right in his visor, cracking it along with the armor, with the second shot going just wide of his head.

Ms. Calhoon rolls 15 and 19 on her attacks, hitting once for 17 damage, reduced to 8.
——————————-

Despite threats all around, the Starman showed no signs of fear or concern. The light from behind his cracked visor flared a deep violet, and three blasts of energy shot out from it. One blast narrowly missed Ms. Calhoon, the other two crashed right into Garret and July in rapid succession.
After the blasts, the Starman seemed to emanate some kind of new energy, which caused some of the various cracks in it’s armor to begin to repair and re-seal.

“Shell damage detected, auto repairs engaged.”

Starman shoots 3 blasts, rolling 11, 15, and 21. The 11 hits nothing, second shot hits July for 9 force damage - reduced to 4, and Garret for 8 force damage - also reduced to 4.  Starman uses his bonus action to heal for 7 points.

Jason is up!

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:15, Sat 01 Feb 2020.

Jason Drake
 player, 60 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 1 Feb 2020
at 19:35
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Now this metal man was self healing and blasting them at the same time. This guy is too tough, we need to amp this up.
Remembering the energy he used when fighting Skethar, Jason reached into the place again. The magic surrounded his right forearm and hand, glowing like an ember from his welding torch. He wound back his arm and launched it at the Starman, his attack crashing into the alien with a shower of radiant sparks.

“Eat this, lead head!”

Casting Guiding Bolt, rolling 18 on the attack, 9 radiant damage! And the next attack on Starman has advantage!
Garret is up!

This message was last edited by the player at 19:40, Sat 01 Feb 2020.

Garret Blake
 player, 93 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 03:44
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Outer hull damage. No more of that."

The beam of light filled his eyes in the instance after the sword connected, and Garrett abruptly couldn't breathe. It was as if his limbs were locking up, held in the vice-grip of something far stronger than the heaviest tackle he'd ever had hit him on the field. Stronger than Damon's guys grabbing his arms before the punches landed.

This was a familiar. Terrifyingly, panic-inducingly familiar. Garrett's heart hammered in his ears, in time with the pulsing light of the man of metal and whatever magic animated his frame. He was going to fail. He was going to freeze up while this thing laid its fury out on Malun, on Jason. On July. On Whitney.

No.

"I..."

Garrett's fingers clenched around the blade, and his eyes blazed abruptly with the crackle of blue-white fire.

"I... have people... who I love..." his voice rose in volume. "People... counting... on me."

The light of the Starman's paralysis around him spiderwebbed into a thousand different cracks as the teenager's voice rose and snapped.

"AND RIGHT NOW, THEIR STRENGTH IS MINE!"

There was a blast of white-blue light, for a half-breath mixed with a deeper, unsettling shadow, and the Starman's compulsion burst apart in a thousand flecks of dissipating power.

Garrett shakes off the Paralysis with a 17!

Through the gleaming after-flicker of the paralysis break, the katana came sheering in for a second blow at the Starman's neck, blade crackling with the same white light as the rest of the wide-receiver's form. It struck again, hitting a second divot a half-second before divine light ripped outwards from the point of impact.

"IRIDESCENT. LIGHTNING. SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH"

The same words ripped out of his mouth, and his voice rang above the chaos as the power released.

22 to attack. 7 damage from the sword, 7 damage from Divine Smite for 14 total!

Malun is up!

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 67 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 11 Feb 2020
at 17:03
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Auto repairs engaged.

Those words rang through Malun's head like an air raid siren. This creature could self-repair, and do so while continuing to fight. It barely moved, their attacks simply did not seem to concern it overly much.

They needed something bigger.

Slipping behind whatever cover she could find, Malun abandoned the direct route and began typing furiously into her PortCon, shifting her scanners from the alien itself to the "ship" it arrived it. If it used electrical or computer systems...maybe, just maybe, she could do something with it.

::I'm trying to hack into the ship's controls,:: Malun's mental voice projected out to all of the others, including their new companion Vzzt(she'd apologize for the intrusion later), ::if I yell the word "Mark" that means I've gained control and I'm going to smash the ship right into the creature. That would be your cue to take cover.::

OOC: Casting Remote Access to try and hack the Starman's starboat and run him over with it. Int check to grasp Alien Tech is a 13, or 15 if my Proficiency for either Computers or Arcana applies.
Retro DM
 GM, 65 posts
Wed 12 Feb 2020
at 00:41
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While the alien craft was programmed in an unfamiliar language, Malun’s PortCon display gave her enough information to make an educated guess on it’s controls. Of course, being who she was, her guess was correct. The alien craft made a whirring sound, and started to hover. Then, at Malun’s command, came flying at high speed towards the Starman.

The metallic man turned just in time to see his own craft less than a foot away from him, and in the next second- *SMAAAASH* - the collision sending the Starman to the ground, and the craft continuing on until it met a particularly sturdy tree and stopped moving.

Starman takes 19 bludgeoning damage from his own ship smashing into him, and he is knocked prone. Garret, being in melee with Starman, needs to make a Dexterity saving throw, DC 15, with advantage thanks to Malun’s warning. 19 damage, or half (9) on a success.
Starman looks like he has one foot in the junk pile.
July is up!

July Coates
 player, 70 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 22 Mar 2020
at 19:47
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun's static voice rang out in her head, and July could swear there were sparks with every exhale. The groan of metal and the whirring of engines and electronics filled the air as the craft raised up before crashing down into the alien-robot-whatever. The ground shook at the impact, dirt kicking up and a horrible grinding as the craft careened forward into a tree with a massive crack.

The fire surged in her veins, and July found her feet moving forward at its pull, chucks digging into the ground. Hands raised, shifting into familiar patterns and fire bubbling up her throat into a familiar burn as she screamed directly at their prone assailant.

Casting Thunderwave at second level for 11 damage and a 10 foot knockback on a failed DC 14 Con Save or 5 on a successful save.
Retro DM
 GM, 66 posts
Sun 22 Mar 2020
at 20:19
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Barely able to recover from the slamming of his own ship into his armored shell, the Starman was just about to float back up to standing when July moved in. The 'eye' of his visor turned to see her cast her spell, and the light from that eye flared as if it might counter it in some way.

But it was too slow.

The wave of thundering energy slammed into the Starman, hurtling him back and blasting sections of his armor apart. It made a sound somewhere between a human scream and a piece of machinery that broke under too much stress. His left arm broke away completely, and his right leg was bent backwards.

Most importantly, it was no longer moving.

Combat ends, July finishing Starman with her spell!

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

With the forest now ominously still, Vzzt breathed out a heavy sigh and dropped their protective spell. Ms. Calhoon slowly approached the body, gun up. When she reached it, and inspected it for signs of life, she was satisfied that there were none, and holstered her gun.
She looked back to her students - or the teenagers that used to be her students, and were now something else. "Is everyone alright? Any major injuries?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 68 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 23 Mar 2020
at 20:10
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun immediately moved over towards Garret, seeming very embarrassed, "Um...my apologies. I didn't expect the craft to react to my commands that quickly. I should have taken into account that a vehicle with no visible means of propulsion would use technology that had a lower period of acceleration..."

"Ah..." she almost stammered, "are you alright?"
Garret Blake
 player, 94 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 30 Mar 2020
at 22:05
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett did his best to vault backwards on nimble feet as the ship suddenly surged towards him. The impact that sent Starman hurtling into ruin checked his shoulder, sending him reeling with an abrupt and sharp jerk of pain that passed through his frame like a lightning bolt. An audible "FUCK" could be heard from his mouth as he stumbled back several feet and caught himself down on one knee.

And then the Starman was obliterated. July's magic surged past him, ripping into the armored body, tearing across its frame and rending it to pieces.

Garrett's mouth hung open. Was still hanging open when Malun asked her question, jarring him out of his shock and surprise. "I... oh yeah, I'm fine. Just a blow to the shoulder--I've taken those before plenty. Thank you. What you did was incredible."

Slowly rising to his feet, he nodded at Miss Calhoun, swaying slightly before steadying himself. The sword slid back into its sheath, and he took in each of his friends--and Whitney--before speaking again.

"Holy shit. July--all of you-- that was amazing."
Jason Drake
 player, 61 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 1 Apr 2020
at 23:21
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
It was over. The adrenaline hadn’t quiet worn off yet, and Jason was shaking slightly as it coursed through him. He rushed over to Garret, who was definitely more hurt than he was saying.

“You are not fine, you got blasted to hell and then a space ship ran into you. Now hold still.” He said as he placed a hand gently over Garret’s injured shoulder. He summoned up from the well of his now familiar power, causing a brief glow of warm light to pass from his fingers into Garret’s shoulder, spreading into the rest of his body.

Jason Casts Cure Wounds a 1st level, healing Garret for 8 hp.

His breathing seemed to slow as he released the energy. He looked back to the rest of his friends, now smiling.

“Okay... yeah that was insane. The most insane thing in a series of insane events. We’re some kinda crazy hero team now I think. Okay, anyone else bad off? I have a little bit left, I know we all took that explosion at the start. I’m alright I think, but are you guys?”
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 69 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 2 Apr 2020
at 11:11
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun nodded along with Garret for a moment, calming down slightly from her miscalculation that caused her to injure her friend.

you're not fine...a space ship ran into you

The words made Malun practically shrink within her labcoat. "I...I'm sorry...it was unfamiliar technology...I shouldn't have tried that."

Though she was hurt from the blast, she barely even heard Jason's follow up question as she was already making her way to the crashed spaceship and the robot alien. She had to analyze them, figure out what they were made from, get whatever data she could. This was her role, and if she was going to screw up in combat scenarios this badly then she at least needed to be able to do her job.
July Coates
 player, 71 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 9 Apr 2020
at 01:51
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
July swallowed, wincing at the sting in her throat. Checkered sneakers stutter stepped forward, shoulders rising and falling with breaths that tasted of sulphur and a rabbit fast heart.

The robot-alien-person-whatever lay in a broken heap, limbs bent round the wrong way and sheared off at the joints. July watched it for several labored breaths, as if it might claw itself back up to try and kill them again.

Despite the fire inside, that thought made her go cold. That thing had tried to kill them. It had hurt them pretty solidly in that attempt. July was suddenly aware of the sting from the christmas lights energy beam death show. She looked down at her hands, faint blisters rippling across her palms. A flame flickered to life with the flex of her fingers, as if to remind her that this is real, you did that.

Jason's question knifed through her thoughts. July dropped her hands, the flame extinguishing with the clench of her fists.

"I'm okay," she rasped. Another swallow and this time her voice was more solid and her smile back in place, "Just a couple blisters and bruises here."

She approached the others, all too happy to put distance between her and the broken thing. She'd broken it. Killed it. But as much as the thought unsettled her, the relief that it was no longer hurting her friends was better. She fell in next to Garrett, bumping his arm with her elbow.

"The anime stuff is admittedly a lot cooler with a sword than with a stick," July grinned a bit, blue eyes flitting to take stock. Whitney looked almost unphased, hair and clothing barely rumpled. It was kind of unfair, really. Ms. Calhoon seemed similarly calm, which was more unsettling than annoying.

"Are you okay, Vzzt? Do you know what that robit-alien-whatever was?" July asked, looking up at their host, before her eyes were drawn to the somehow smaller than usual frame of Malun digging in the wreckage. Her lips curved into a small frown, and on impulse she sank into the familiar static space of linked thoughts.

Malun? Are you okay?
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 70 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 9 Apr 2020
at 22:40
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun started a bit at the mental contact that was not initiated by her. It felt...Other to her. Staticy and hot, like words interrupted by flickering flames without actually interrupting the words somehow.

Tapping her glasses to activate her own mental communication, she replied to July without looking back. ::My injuries are unpleasant but not crippling. I can focus on my investigation as those of greater combat value are repaired, I do not know Jason's magical reserve limitations nor if they replenish as quickly as my equipment's, so tactically speaking my injuries are of lower priority.:: Her mental voice was utterly flat and devoid of emotion, as if she had made herself enter a nearly robotic state of function.

Of course, Malun was not as difficult to read as she believed herself to be. She entered this robotic state when she was upset and desperately trying to cover her emotions, and she was still only fourteen. Her more insightful friends had had ample time to see this behavior in her before. The odd thing is that when like this she had a bad habit of talking down to the object of her upsetness, and really only them.

July had never heard Malun talk down to herself before.
Vzzt
 NPC, 7 posts
Thu 9 Apr 2020
at 23:38
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The pixie came down from their high up position, and fluttered around the now dead corpse of the machine-man that came from the stars. They breathed a sigh of relief, wiping sweat from their forehead.

"My word! Such a rude arrival! No manners at all!"

They looked about the group of humans, noting their injuries, and how one of them was already trying to apply healing magic.

"Oh, forgive me! I can help with this. Please, hold still just a moment..."

The pixie called Vzzt then let out a soft, resonating note. It was soothing in a way that regular music couldn't be, and the group felt their bodies start to magically recover.

Vzzt casts Mass Healing Word, healing everyone for 9 HP.
Garret Blake
 player, 95 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 10 Apr 2020
at 01:19
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"You are not fine."

Jason wasn't wrong, and as much as his inner tough guy would like to argue, Garrett couldn't muster the knowingly-bullshit argument that he was just a little bruised. In the past few moments he'd been hit by a hacked spaceship after fighting a robot-man who shot him with lasers that burned, froze, and electrocuted him. And he'd fought back with a sword, barely useful armor, and the apparent divine power of a man with a sake jug named after a bird.

"I mean I don't mean that I'm fine," he said, showing visible relief at his best friend's healing power, "just that I'm not as bad as I could... be... you know what nevermind, we'll just go with not-fine. Or more fine now. Because of the healing, and thanks for that."

His tone was grateful, genuinely, and that's how he felt as Jason unpacked the notion of being a team of heroes, which sounded absolutely not like something he would've drank up with the urgency of a hoover a mere few days earlier. Maybe the sheer awesomeness of it all simply hadn't caught up with him yet. The sword in his hands felt natural as a football tucked under his arm or a skateboard beneath his feet, and that too was... intense. A small grin formed on his face as he glanced down at the weapon in his hand. So what, they were a Sentai team now?

Wild.

July jolted him out of his thoughts a half second later, and the grin widened as he looked up at her. Boyish and bright. "It does help. And I'm not gonna lie, as scary as all that was, fighting a robot with a sword was definitely up there on the Holy-shit-that's-amazing scale that exists somewhere in my head.... and speaking of amazing? Seriously, July, that was Awesome."

He paused, letting out a breath, and Vzzt was suddenly suffusing them all with another round of healing energy that washed across him in a comforting wave that was nonetheless extremely strange. He was almost certainly never going to get used to it. "Thank you, Vzzt," he said with a nod of his head. By now he was definitely starting to feel more even-keel.

"Okay, so, a robot just attacked us. Maybe if we get a look at what's left of him and that spaceship we can figure out what... ever the fuck that was all about. Because so far? We've had a skeleton snake accuse us of theft and a robot come hunting for us looking to wipe us out. We've very clearly caught the attention of something--or several something's--very bad."
Jason Drake
 player, 62 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 10 Apr 2020
at 17:01
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garret accepting that he was hurt was good enough for Jason. He was about to continue on healing the rest of his friends when their guide took charge of that task. Vzzt's magic seemed a lot more powerful than his, and he was thankful the pixie had allied with them. They certainly would have been a lot worse off from the initial volley of the alien robot guy.

"Thanks Vzzt. That feels a lot better. And thank you for protecting us earlier, that could have gone very badly without you."

He was interested in inspecting the Starman's body, but Garret brought up a good point, and it made him pause.

"Yeah, it's too weird to be a coincidence, right? He said we were who he was looking for. How did he know about us?"
Retro DM
 GM, 67 posts
Fri 10 Apr 2020
at 20:11
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Standing over the body of the defeated Starman, Malun’s PortCon buzzes with information, previously blocked by some energy field around the alien itself. The display shows an analysis of the metallic armor, and pin points a spot just to the side of the visored helmet.

::Metallic substance, origin unknown. Scanning elements... not present in the periodic table. Scanning electronics... Compatible device located.::

The device, whatever it was, seemed to be under a secure panel on the side of the helmet section.

Malun can attempt to use her Tinker’s Tools to open that panel. DC 13.

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 20:11, Fri 10 Apr 2020.

July Coates
 player, 72 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 3 May 2020
at 02:30
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Something about Malun's flat affect tugged at July's heart strings more than just the words themselves. Even with the younger girl's voice ringing in her head, it was like Malun was simply miles away, shut down and alone. July opened her mouth to try to say something, but nothing came to mind or tongue.

Vzzt's unearthly note cut through July's thoughts, a surge of warmth that was chased by the impossible sensation of her ravaged throat soothing and bruises fading. Wide blue eyes turned down to her hands, where blisters receded into smooth skin in a heartbeat. Every inch of her skin was vibrating, as if the spell was more the familiar adrenaline rush of stage lights.

"Whoa," July exhaled, flexing her hands. That was... whoa. "Thank you, Vzzt. I feel way better now."

Garrett turned a grin and 'amazing' on her, and the pleasant warmth in her chest spread like a wildfire, like the burn of cheap beer with friends and music, miles outside of Gridley, on a perfect summer's night. July's answering smile was giddy, a little drunk.

Damn, that healing spell was something else. If someone could figure out how to bottle that feeling, they'd make a fortune.

After a moment, the sobering reality of their situation kicked back in. July winced as she looked back down at the broken body of their assailant, fidgeting with the hem of her leather jacket.

"I mean, Skittles said we had stolen something, right? And like, that dream bird guy said you weren't supposed to have your powers?" July's dark brows knit together as she looked back up at Garrett and then turning her gaze to the others, chewing thoughtfully on her lip. "So like...I mean, we didn't do anything on purpose, sure, but maybe Skittles was like...right."
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 72 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 3 May 2020
at 13:39
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Elements that do not exist within the known periodic table." Malun's voice piped up, loud enough for Ms. Calhoon to hear her at least. "I've found what might be an access panel, my PortCon has located a potentially compatible electronic device inside."

After futzing with the panel for a few moments with her tools, she frowned, "...I can't get it open."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 56 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 4 May 2020
at 04:05
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The fight abruptly ended with a bang. More accurately it ended with Malun somehow crashing the ship straight into it's pilot and nearly taking out Garret in the process. He was fine tho, Whitney knew that should be surprising but the feeling never came. All things considered, such as elementally flavored laser beams, he was relatively unhurt. The fight felt like ages, but on reflection was over in moments. It was unsatisfying.

Energy crackled and stung the skin as his light burns mended. The pixie's magic undoing what harm he had taken. It did not calm his blood.

He could faintly hear the others gathering around the thing. A soldier, a drone, a robot? Too many unknowns. Too much energy.

He found himself pacing in a circle around the group looking into the forest and what visible sky they could see through the foliage. One foot, two foot, bow gripped in hand. Three foot, four foot, breath in, breath out.

Perception roll: 20 (not nat)

Whitney's eyes darted as he paced around. Investigation into the so-called space ship and it's pilot was beyond his skills. And yet his feet needed purpose.
July Coates
 player, 73 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 10 May 2020
at 06:14
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun's statement piqued July's curiosity. Elements beyond the periodic table was the sort of thing that should be impossible, right? Hadn't they talked about that in chemistry? The heaviest elements being man-made, past the limits of exploding stars? It didn't make sense.

Of course, nothing about all of this made sense either. Maybe this could get them some answers.

July approached, trying not to notice how humanoid the broken alien-whatever-person-thing looked, to focus on the closed panel in question. Nothing about it sparked recognition or insight--this was just a broken (dead?) thing (person?). Guilt churned at her insides, for both having broken (killed?) it (them?), and for not being able to help figure out what it was.

Except like, wait. Maybe?

"Hey, Malun? Want to try that inspiration thing again?" After a pause and a nod from the younger girl, July took a deep breath and let the fire churning in her chest flare to life, golden strands of light blossoming out to connect with Malun. "You've got this."


July rolled a whopping 7 on the attempt to Help Out with Investigate, so have a Bardic Inspiration, a delicious 1d6 of help.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 73 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 11 May 2020
at 02:14
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun let the inspiration magic wash over her and felt her own thoughts rearranging themselves in her mind with their assistance. The panel was sealed by a form of latch she had not seen before and did not have the tools to open, that much was obvious.

Suddenly she snapped bolt upright and stood up, "Ugh, OBVIOUS!" The sheer disgust in her voice at her earlier failure was evident to everyone as this time she was not remotely quiet. As she rapidly moved to the ship and rather easily pried open the same hatch she saw the creature exit from before with a miniature crowbar, she continued, "the creature is biomechanical in nature, an access panel in that location must be for maintenance and no sapient creature requiring mechanical maintenance would travel without the means to perform self diagnostics and repairs. The tools I need are thus naturally in its own ship."

The moment she was finished speaking, Malun pulled herself back out of the ship with a strangely shaped tool in hand, "This looks right."

Pushing her glasses back up, she darted back to the fallen robot-alien and easily undid the latch on the panel with the proper tool. "There. Ugh, I needed magical assistance to think of that. Utterly embarrassing."

With the panel finally open, Malun took a look inside and grimaced, "Hmm...no this won't do at all." Standing back up she looked over her shoulder, "Jason. I require something vaguely resembling a workbench, trying to learn the nature of this creature's internal integration while sitting on the ground will be unpleasantly difficult. Can you manage something?"

Then as an afterthought, "also, either way I'll need someone to hold a flashlight for me, the lighting of a faerie forest might be aesthetically pleasing but it's hardly conductive to delicate mechanical work."

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby rolled 25 using 1d20+5+1d6.
Jason Drake
 player, 63 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 11 May 2020
at 02:41
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
When Malun at first failed a her attempt to open the panel, Jason was trying to think of some way to help out, but nothing solid came to mind. He watched July employ her strange ability to make other people just be better, still in amazement at such a power. He kind of had to snap back out of his own thoughts when Malun asked for his assistance.

"A bench, uuuhhhh hold on..." the young man looked around for some relatively even-height stones, and there were several scattered about from the original impact of the space ship. He placed them evenly spaced apart and set his shield on them. "Not exactly flat but it's what I've got." When she asked for a light, he made his magical light appear on the tip of his hammer.

Casting Light to give Malun the light she needs.
Retro DM
 GM, 68 posts
Mon 11 May 2020
at 02:51
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
With the end of the battle, Whitney's adrenaline was still surging, and it seemed to focus his sight better than it typically was, like a hunter still looking for prey. He didn't see any more objects from space, or other wildlife coming near the crash site, but he could see the strange constellations present in the permanent twilight sky. One of them seemed to form the shape of an archer, not unlike Orion, but much more defined with the arrangement of stars, almost as though it was deliberate.

With the help of July's inspiring ability, Malun's second attempt at opening the panel was much more successful. Her intellect seemed to be sharpened even more than usual, allowing her to find the tool from the ship and open the panel up. Inside, there was a circuitry assembly, and a central, deep violet gem, which Malun could surmise acts as the focusing apparatus for the Starman's own hard light projectiles. Her PortCon seemed to confirm this.

::Compatible device. No radiation detected. Internal power source of target offline.::
Ms. Calhoon
 NPC, 5 posts
Mon 11 May 2020
at 02:55
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While the teenagers studied the dead trash can further, Ms. Calhoon also scanned the horizon for more threats. Her eyes had adjusted to the low light of the twilight that didn't move, and she focused carefully, checking for any movement. She shot a look over to Whitney, who was also scanning about.

"Nothing moving nearby. You see anything?"
Garret Blake
 player, 96 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 14 May 2020
at 20:31
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Yeah, he definitely did call us thieves," Garrett said, nodding as July mentioned Skittles. A pause followed as she brought up his dream, and he was briefly back in Noel's yard, hearing what she'd said about the Celestial Order.

Service.

"Um," he chewed his lip. "Yeah. Swan said that my powers, at least, weren't supposed to be mine. That they were intended for someone else. He also said the link tying them to me is a bit... incomplete." And for the briefest moment he was back on the edge of that lake, seeing the reflection of something terrible staring back at him from the waters.

"Which is... complicated." His last words were almost solely to himself. He watched as Malun tried and failed, then tried and succeeded to pop open the panel on the Starman, which seemed to imply that the thing was almost completely mechanical, rather than organic. Or maybe he wasn't? Elements that didn't exist on the periodic table. Living armor. Garrett rolled his shoulder. That was gonna keep feeling weird, wasn't it? He supposed that being shoulder-checked by a spaceship wasn't something you just got over, even with healing magic.

"He might have been right," he continued as Malun worked, "But there are varying degrees of that. The lot of us ending up with powers we didn't ask for is a few degrees removed from literally stealing them on our own. I sure didn't ask for what I s--"

No. NO. Not going there. He wasn't ready.

"--I mean," he covered after an awkward second. "I mean this is great and all, but I can't say I'd have pilfered it deliberately even if it was right in front of me. I've stolen enough in my life. Don't need to add further acts to the list."

He shouldn't have joked about that. Christ, but this was coming out all wrong. Walking over to where Jason and July were standing just a little bit back from Malin, looking over the younger girl's shoulder at what she was doing with a momentarily innocent expression of curiosity.

"So um. What's all that mean?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 74 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 14 May 2020
at 21:03
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"To be quite frank," Malun sighed, "I have no idea how this creature's systems work. This, however," she reaches her hand in past the wrist and pulls out a deep violet gem, pulling it free of a few wires and cords still connected to it, "is some kind of power source. It was clearly hooked in to the weapon systems, not its general function, so it seems worth taking and probably safe."

Getting the gem cleanly free and wiping it off, she pulls out a sample collection bag from her Giant Bag Of Stuff and places the gem inside, returning it to her bag when safely contained. "I'll bring this back and use father's equipment to analyze it. It may prove useful, and certainly knowledgeable."

Measuring Garret for a moment, Malun then shrugged and responded to his comment quite matter-of-factly, "I would have. Whether we knew of it before or not, powers like this exist and are either currently unknown to humanity or known but kept secret and controlled only by a select few." The young girl adjusted her glasses, and without any hint of smile or humor continued, "I am opposed to both of those things. If knowledge can be obtained it should be."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 57 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 15 May 2020
at 03:18
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Did we bring any cameras with us?" Whitney gazed at Orion. He didn't know his constellations very well, but he'd be a poor archer not to recognize him. A giant of Greek myth, an archer to rival the best. The only man to hunt with Artemis, although his strength didn't save him. Might and skill never did save heroes in any myth.

His blood coursed, still on edge, but he was able to actually listen to people now. They were taking apart their mechanical assailant. Now Garret's limited brain cells seemed to be trying to convince themselves that people who murder on sight should be taken at their word. Why was he like this? It took all his will power not to roll his eyes.

"At worst we are unwilling accomplices, Garret. Please stop trying to reason out the ethics of the situation and stick to coming up with your creative battle cries. Those are somehow less embarrassing to witness." Garret should stick to what he does best and not worry about things outside his control. The idiot has enough problems without trying to invent new ones for himself.

"Malun, I hate to lean on your intellect this much. But do you recognize any constellations here? That one over there," Whitney points with emphasis, "is Orion. Or at least very similar. If this is a different planet, the constellations shouldn't be remotely similar and I have doubts about any coincidences."
Jason Drake
 player, 64 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 18:41
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The discussion of stealing powers or finding them, intentional or not, makes Jason pause to consider.

"I mean we obviously didn't ask for this, but I think I'm with Malun here. If it was presented, or I had a chance to take this power, I would. Better me than someone shitty. And as much as Skethar and this metal dude say we 'took' it, I mean, they both wanted to kill us. Not exactly a source I would trust, you know?" He shrugged "At least I know we won't do anything evil with these powers."

He looked over to Whitney, his eyes slightly narrowed at the comments "Is this really the time for that? Garret has some valid concerns, you could address them without being... you."

Then there was the talk about constellations. Having not really looked before, Jason turned his head up to twilight sky.

"Huh...weird."
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 75 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 5 Jul 2020
at 16:02
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Of course I have a camera,"  Malun stored the gem in her bag and fished out a small disposable camera, handing it to Whitney.

Then she looked up at the sky herself and cocked her head to the side, "No. That appears to be Orion but there are too many stars. Hmm...but it's in the right spot...Sirius, Procyon, the Pleiades, these are also all in the right place. But it's too perfect. Brightness levels are incorrect to account for the visibility of stars by the naked eye that are not even visible by telescope at home. There are stars that should not be there."

Malun looks back down at Whitney, "Frankly that looks like an artist's rendition of Orion and the night sky. They put all the important stars into place then just made up the rest. Along with adding extra stars into the constellation to give it extra definition and make it easier to see. Much like you might see in an illustrated children's book."
July Coates
 player, 74 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 02:38
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Would she have taken it, if this power had been offered instead of foisted upon her? July chewed her lip, trying to untangle the question. If someone had asked her to welcome fire into her veins, would she have said yes? Malun's conviction was certainly compelling. Knowledge should be free, to help people, to give them opportunity. And yet, something seemed to be keeping her from echoing that point, from the assurance that she would take this power if given.

At least I know we won't do anything evil with these powers."

July's brows knitted together as Jason's words landed, her stomach twisting itself into knots as uncertainty settled in the churning of her stomach.

What if they did? What if they--if she--couldn't control it, lost herself in it? Drowned in the fire and heat and did horrible things at its whims? And even if that weren't the case, what if she failed? What if she made a mistake and the consequences were exponentially worse because of this power?

She'd already broken--maybe killed-- something or someone, with it. They had all done a part, but it had been her voice, her thunder, that had made the thing fall.

July shook her head, arms folding beneath her chest. Not now. Later. When we're home again. She pushed back the 'if' lingering in that thought and looked to the others, staring up at the stars. Blinking hard, she took a steadying breath and said, "Maybe we should get moving again? I don't really want to find out if this gu--thi--whatever, has friends who might come looking."
Ms. Calhoon
 NPC, 6 posts
Sat 25 Jul 2020
at 02:55
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Now observing the sky more carefully, Ms. Calhoon took out her own camera - a more professional grade one that a spy in a movie might carry - and took several photographs. She also photographed the remains of the Starman, and the ship it came on. When she was satisfied with what she got, she looked to her students expectantly.

"We should keep moving. Get to the safe zone with Vzzt. Are we agreed?"
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 58 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 27 Jul 2020
at 01:49
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
A children's storybook. It certainly feels that way. Whitney began to move around, snapping pictures of the strange horizon. It's familiar, but not too familiar. This forest could be in the boundary waters where his butler sometimes took him. A forest clear of the smog of pollution. At least they had no lakes to portage here. Only this strange metal being.

Click. Ms. Calhoon may have her own camera, but Whitney may as well give Malun her own set of data on equipment she could personally verify. When had he become so mistrustful? Probably when he found out that his teacher was part of paralegal investigations. Paralegal groups did not historically end well for certain groups of people.

Click. "Unless there is any other equipment we can scavenge, I would agree that we should get moving."

Click. I am the breathe of my bow. He was beginning to calm down. A walk to some answers would do him good.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 76 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 27 Jul 2020
at 03:07
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"I have nothing remaining to do here," Malun responded with a quick nod, swiftly repacking everything in her bag.
Garret Blake
 player, 97 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 27 Jul 2020
at 04:36
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett didn't immediately react to Whitney's comments about ethics. For a few moments he was too busy rolling his shoulder. It was probably going to bother him for a bit, even with the healing he'd received. Jason's response rolled over him as he was adjusting his jacket and the belt that held the sword to his waist. It still didn't sit... right. Like there was something about it that didn't fit, and that only made him think of the shadow in the still waters. The thing he saw in himself that disquieted as much as it meannt anything else.

And then there was the way his friends responded to the fact that he swore a vow to the celestial court. They were right, on some level. But he also wasn't convinced that he was wrong to do it. Some things needed doing, even if the reason why couldn't be adequately explained at the time.

Did that mean he was operating on faith? He'd never been particularly religious. He and Mom hadn't attended regularly in years, and he was pretty sure that whatever all this was, it wasn't exactly a Christian thing.

"Yeah," he said to Ms. Calhoon. "We need to head out. Get to safe harbor of some sort, whatever that means here."

And he almost didn't say it. Almost kept it entirely to himself... but as the seconds dragged on and the moments piled up, Whitney's comment kept ringing around in his head.

Then, finally, the words just sort of came out. "Of course you don't care about the ethics," he said before turning back to head wherever they were going.

What I do has to matter. How I do it has to matter. Otherwise there's no deck under my feet.

"You're not the one who swore a vow."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 59 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Thu 30 Jul 2020
at 17:31
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"The sheer arrogant audacity, you putz." Whitney felt like ice had suddenly been plunged into his veins.

"I can't believe this. But I think I have somehow overestimated you." This idiot is using his vow to a vague authority figure as what? Some high ground?

"I will not be lectured on ethics by some mongrel who licks the first leather boots that give him a moral crusade." Whitney suddenly realized where they were.

Damn it. I should have just let it go.

"Tsk. Let's just go. Picking a fight here just puts us all in danger." Whitney was pushing every instinct of anger. They can't afford this right now.

A crunch came from his hand. He had clenched his hand so hard the plastic of the camera had buckled. A sharp end dug into his palm and bleed a little. Whitney didn't feel it, but he knew he should.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:55, Thu 30 July 2020.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 77 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 30 Jul 2020
at 20:44
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun froze a bit as her (theoretical) friends took shots at each other once again...and the worst ones she'd ever heard from them. Without looking at the two of them, she shot a practically pleading glance to July, the only person she'd ever known to get both Whitney and Garret to back off at the same time.
July Coates
 player, 75 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 7 Aug 2020
at 19:17
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
They'd gone almost a whole day without Whitney and Garrett coming to verbal blows. July winced as Garrett delivered his jab, and again as Whitney's retaliation was more carpet bombing than punch. How could it be possible that they could find something to fight about in the middle of something so strange and terrifying?

"What the Hell, Whitney," July snapped, turning on her friend, equal parts irritation and disappointment creasing her brow. "Mongrel? I don't care how pissed you are, that's seriously gross and not okay, full stop. Don't you dare say that again."

Her face didn't soften as she turned her attention on Garrett, and the frustration in her voice only heightened, "And the last thing you should be doing is picking a petty fight, Garrett, especially given the clear and present danger of literally everything around us right now. And just because Whitney was shitty about it doesn't mean he's entirely wrong, either-- we don't know anything about that 'Celestial Order' or whatever, and now you're apparently beholden to it, which is understandably worrying!"

Fists clenched and shaking, she delivered another round of sharp looks to the two boys, before looking almost pleadingly to Vzzt. "Can we please get going before another one of those robit-alien-people things come around again? I just want to get somewhere safe without having to kil--stop--I just want to go home, okay?"

This message was last edited by the player at 19:19, Fri 07 Aug 2020.

Garret Blake
 player, 98 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 7 Aug 2020
at 21:00
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett's mouth opened at Whitney's use of the term mongrel, but the words honestly failed him. Died in his throat and left him unable to formulate a proper response before July managed to pull together the courage to speak up. There was a part of him that was proud of her for doing it. He knew how difficult it was for her to muster the strength to--

"... we don't know anything about that 'Celestial Order' or whatever, and now you're apparently beholden to it..."

"I didn't--"

What came before and after didn't actually land, because that sentence burned into his brain like a searing brand.

"... licks the boots..."

"--I'm not--"

It all hung in front of him, and for a moment he just stared at both Whitney and July with an expression somewhere between shocked surprise and something else. Something deeper and earnest and thoughtful and reflective and sad and sensitive and impulsive and everything else that Garrett was. And hurt. Above all else, hurt.

He thought about Swan. About the lake, and the reflecting pool and the vision he saw within. Dark shadows and a broken shard of whatever was attached poorly to him in an imperfect bonding he wasn't supposed to have. In the moment it had felt like the right thing to do. Felt with a certainty that he apparently couldn't explain. The words wouldn't come to him when he needed them, abandoned his mouth and fucked off somewhere else, leaving him not able to explain. To try and account for himself. To make it right.

"...I..."

Just. Like. Always.

Everyone probably expected a retort, because Whitney's words never failed to summon one. Or a shuffling of his feet and an admission of something when July stepped in.

His head sank. No more words came.

Okay. So. Just like always, nobody would take the time to trust his judgement or his intentions. He couldn't unpack it, and even one of his closest friends didn't trust that he hadn't made a conditionless promise with no thought at all. There had been thought. What felt like an eternity of it, compressed into an instant.

"Okay then."

What happened next was worse than either. Garrett's mouth closed. His face went absolutely stony and blank, and he turned around, walking away from both July and Whitney.

"Alright. Lets go."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:02, Fri 07 Aug 2020.

Retro DM
 GM, 69 posts
Sat 8 Aug 2020
at 00:23
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Their teacher was about to step in, when things seemed to come to a head. Ms. Calhoon still had a disappointed look on her face as her students finished this round of bickering. Making a quick mental note, she finally did speak up.

"Lets follow Vzzt, then. Lively discussions after we're safe."

The pixie, though quiet this whole time, had a worried expression, at least until Ms. Calhoon spoke. Then, they seemed to shake off their worry, and put their happy face back on.

"All right then, yes yes, to the captain! Not too much farther, not at all. The troop camp is on the edge of twilight and sunset. Not far."

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

Not far was still about two hours of walking. Vzzt's magic made it rather simple for them all to quietly creep through the woods, the twilight sky becoming slowly brighter. Paler shades of trees and plants started to turn more vibrant the closer they got to sunset.

They came to another clearing, this time with a full camp of humanoid creatures that could only be described as Elves. Tall, with unblemished skin, pointy eared, and graceful in every single motion. The camp itself was about one hundred square feet, with barricades made of living thorns that slowly coiled and turned in the ground. Tents made of... leaves? Or some kind of organic equivalent, were in neat rows, and Elves were doing regular drills with swords, spears, and arrows towards the back end of the camp. Pixies flitted to and fro in the open air.

And standing guard at the entrance closest to the group was a giant tree-man. A massive tree with legs and arms, eyes, a nose, a mouth, a beard and hair made of purple leaves, and a genuinely curious look on it's face as the group approached.
Garret Blake
 player, 99 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 8 Aug 2020
at 02:45
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The walk was an opportunity for his mind to shut off. Well, shut off might have been an oversimplification. Garrett's mind was going a thousand self-flagellating miles a minute, pouring over everything he might have said or done differently whilst also making every step with long legs take him further ahead. He walked relentlessly, pulling ahead of everyone else as if he could maybe beat the ground with his boots until whatever was eating him bled out of him with the rest of his energy.

It didn't really work.

And then... elves. That was new. He didn't know exactly why he was surprised--this new world seemed to offer no shortage of incredible things, but it still took him off-guard. He pulled up short, eyes at first stopping at the knees of the tree-man.

Then they slowly traveled up its frame. Up torso and barky limbs and shoulders until it arrived at a face.

Tall. Very very tall.

Garrett gulped, momentarily relieved of his worries and guilt over everything that had just happened. Treeman. That was a treeman. And those were elves behind him. Honest-to-god elves camped and doing... something.

Okay no, stop getting distracted. Introductions. He needed to say something. It was only polite.

"I um," he started, looking up at the treeman's face. "Hi. I'm Garrett. And uh. This is Jason, and Malun, and July, and Whitney, and Ms. Calhoon and um. We... come in peace?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 78 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 8 Aug 2020
at 04:11
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun's mind raced to recall everything she had read about tree people. There really wasn't much information and what there was...well, was often conflicting. So clearly it was time to gather data.

Of course...how to do that without just asking questions, which she was not convinced wouldn't result in Bad Things here in fae land, she wasn't quite sure. Letting others do the talking for now, she alt-tabbed over to a new document and began recording observations once more. Estimate of size, bark pattern, leaf shape and color, any resemblance to existing trees she could think of, anything she could to help her later identify this new type of fae(?) creature when she got back to the normal world.

As she typed, her quick eyes darted around the area looking for any leaves that may have fallen off of the creature that she could stealthily snatch on their way out later. She would never be so rude as to ASK for a sample to bring her father, but she saw no harm in taking something already discarded.
Jason Drake
 player, 65 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 12 Aug 2020
at 00:47
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The walk to the camp was somber for Jason. He had a lot he wanted to say, but no place to say it, not yet. His friends were acting stupid after just working together so well, it almost didn't make sense. Was it a perfect fight? No, but there was no such thing, as far as he knew. Not with the way things were now. Nothing was going to be perfect...

Those thoughts went right out the window when they reached the camp and were staring at a giant tree-man. Jason blinked as he looked up at it's face, staring, waiting for something to happen.

"Well... seems friendly. Hi there. Hope we aren't interrupting anything?"

20 Insight to gauge how nice this tree thing might be. Seems nice.
July Coates
 player, 76 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 24 Aug 2020
at 16:41
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
July felt nauseous. Her stomach refused to settle across the miles, anxiety flaring with every racing thought. Even the scenery, alien and beautiful, couldn't quite distract her from the heavy weight in the pit of her stomach.

Until the camp. July's footsteps stuttered, her blue eyes going wide as they found a scene seemingly right out of a storybook. Elves? Impossibly perfect, as graceful as willow boughs, making even what seemed to be work as elegant as ballet. Pixies like V'zzt darted every which way, faster than she could track. Her heart leapt, but the anxiety was more one of wonder, her curiosity piqued.

V'zzt had called this a troop camp, that they should speak with their Captain. She hadn't really thought about that before, but seeing martial drills and an imposing tree on guard begged the question: if this was a military camp, was this simply training, or was this an active campaign?

"Um, hi," July piped up as she was introduced, waving. She tried not to make her staring around the camp too obvious, but it was just so strange. So... Pretty.

July Coates rolled 7 on perception using 1d20+1 because she is but a simple, useless bisexual.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 60 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 26 Aug 2020
at 15:04
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
You can't spell Temperance without Temper and around Garret, Whitney had that in spades. More than anything he was feeling more irritated with himself. It felt like he lost and any words he could summon to defend himself would dig him further into a hole. He felt shame like never before and it bothered him so much.

Clenching his jaw, Whitney fell in step with the group once more. This tension released without fanfare when they began walking into the camp, his eyes began to soak in the wonder.

These are elves and not the small cartoon ones on cracker boxes. Whitney fought the urge to drop his jaw completely as he took in the image before him. The smell of the forest seemed especially strong here, like fresh rain on foliage. The living tree and the people behind fell so neatly into the pages of Tolkien, Whitney couldn't help be taken back to his childhood.

Hektor, show me the camp. Whitney closed his eyes, hoping to see the fullness of this camp from above. He needed to focus, to make sure things were safe.

The sound of pages turning by Woolsworth's hand came to his mind. A gentle voice reading stories. I'm too young to be this sentimental. Focus now.

Perception Check rolled 10 by Hektor.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:05, Wed 26 Aug 2020.

Retro DM
 GM, 70 posts
Tue 1 Sep 2020
at 03:10
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The large tree man didn't speak, but nodded as the group was introduced. Vzzt flittered forward and spoke to it in a language that none present understood. The giant tree being nodded again, and stepped back to let the group pass through. Hektor flew up at Whitney's command, getting the literal birds eye view of the place. As the group passed by the giant living tree, Malun would see a few of it's leaves on the ground, and could grab a handful in passing.



Moving into the camp proper, some of the Elves stopped their activities to observe the strange newcomers. A smith of some kind stopped mid hammering, others who were eating looked up from their plates, a pair doing combat drills ceased their wooden swords mid air. It was clear enough that these Elves had not seen their kind before. There were whispers among them, speaking in a language quite foreign to the teenagers.

Vzzt led them to the outside of a larger tent, no doubt where this captain was residing.
"Please, please, wait a moment out here. It is proper that I go in and inform the captain before your meeting. As you are my honored guests, none here will harm you."

With that, Vzzt fluttered into the tent.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 79 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 1 Sep 2020
at 17:16
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Ent and/or Treant leaves were quickly and stealthily pocketed as they were allowed into the camp.

Then...everyone started speaking in a language she didn't understand. That was fine, naturally she had prepared for this eventuality. Typing a swift command into her PortCon and activating the link to her glasses, Malun initiated her translation program with a bit of smugness.

Lightly, her mind reached out to everyone else in the group, ::I have activated a translation program, I'll be able to understand them shortly. Ms. Calhoon, should I project what I hear to everyone else?::

OOC: Casting Comprehend Languages, naturally.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:18, Tue 01 Sept 2020.

Retro DM
 GM, 71 posts
Mon 7 Sep 2020
at 01:31
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
While she was still not used to this sort of communication, the benefits of it couldn’t be denied, and Ms Calhoon responded mentally :: Yes Malun, that is a good idea. ::

Malun's translation technology and mind relay both take effect, allowing her to seemlessly decipher what is being said and relay those words to her friends and teacher. There is a lot of hushed banted in the crowd, but she is able to make out several closer conversations.

- "What are they? Not Elves at all, right? Could they be human? I've never seen a human before."

- "I don't care what they are, I want to know why they are here. Vzzt was right to bring them, no telling what they are up to."

- "Does this mean there are more creatures from other worlds coming? Like that giant bone serpent?"

These conversations were halted when Vzzt finally fluttered out of the tent, apparently with their captain in tow.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:50, Fri 09 Oct 2020.

Imrion Ninevines
 NPC, 1 post
Mon 7 Sep 2020
at 01:57
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
A tall, tanned skinned figure stepped out of the tent, just behind Vzzt. He wore some kind of armor, seemingly metallic, green tinted with silver filigrees, shaped as layered leaves. He wore no helmet, his vibrant amber eyes scanning the newcomers with a military scrutiny. A sword hung by his left hip, long and slender. He stared at the teenagers and their teacher, long enough to almost be awkward, before giving them a slight bow.

"Greetings, n'e ndor-e, I am Imrion Ninevines, captain of the Dune Salka. Vzzt tells me you are honored guests, in the tradition of the pixies. I will honor that tradition, as long as you do not prove yourselves unworthy of it."

How an Elf from another world knew their language was probably the last thing on their minds, but his command of english was as good as any humans'. He motioned for them to come into the pavilion. "If you would please step inside? I think we have much to dicuss."

n'e ndor-e translates as outlanders, Dune Salka as Rose Dancers.
Garret Blake
 player, 100 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 11 Oct 2020
at 18:15
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Having had a little time to cool down from the business in the aftermath of the Starman, shame started now to creep into Garrett's mind, teasing at the corners of his thoughts, how his temper had managed to ride through even as he forced it down. He didn't know what the consequences would be, ultimately--didn't yet dare look at July and Whitney--but a sinking part of him knew that they would be there. Would exist, and he'd have to pay them when this was over.

So he did what he'd done with sports, with academics, with everything else he'd done since trying to turn his life around: took what was in front of him and poured all his attention into it. He looked at the Captain and, after a second or two, returned the bow with one of his own before following Imrion into the tent.

"It's an honor to meet you," Garrett said, taking his cue from the elf in front of him. "We're from a place called Gridley California. My name is Garrett Blake."

At this, cleared his throat a little awkwardly, not sure if he should introduce everyone else, not sure if it was his place to presume to speak for them, but also not wanting to leave a phrase hanging awkwardly in the air. "Thank you for your hospitality."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 61 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 16 Oct 2020
at 03:34
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
They had no idea what passed as manners here. Nothing could be assumed. Even coming out saying, "Hey we're new here, sorry if we break etiquette by mistake" could be seen as insufferable. Whitney asked Hektor to keep circling the camp and to come down if something seemed amiss. No need to show them their whole hand.

Well, silence is also not an option. Best to make a mistake in good faith. Whitney followed inside the pavilion.

Whitney adopted his best "fancy dinner party" face. On the occasion he had to be social darling for his parents, Whitney became very good at adopting this mask. "Shalom. Thank you for your hospitality, I am Whitney Zabka-Cabot. Captain Ninevines, I hope we can both benefit from sharing what we know." Whitney did his best not to let his eyes wander the large tent too much. He could not afford to come off as rude right now.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 80 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 17 Oct 2020
at 01:58
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Recalling stories about bad things happening when one gives their name to the fair folk, Malun inwardly winced at her friends' quick introductions...but in fairness she doubted they knew the same stories. Research was her job, after all. And after meeting Vzzt, it was a bit too late, at least for the others.

"You may call me Malun," the young inventor added in the most polite tone of voice she could figure out, "I would like to note that Vzzt saved our lives out there, they and your organization have my thanks."

Unlike Whitney, Malun was not able to hold a steady gaze towards their host. Her eyes quickly flitted over the pavilion as she followed the other sin, her fingers still rapidly flitting over the keyboard of her PortCon to note everything she could see. Included in her notes was a comment about how the captain spoke perfectly clear english, which did not remotely escape her notice.
July Coates
 player, 77 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 18 Oct 2020
at 20:35
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Imrion Ninevines, like everyone else at the camp it seemed, was pretty in a way that made it hard to think. The thousands of questions racing through her mind didn't help her focus. Malun's translation--spell? program?-- clued July in to conversations that had only moments ago been incomprehensible. Outlanders, like Skittles. A threat. July blinked, and cast a less starstruck, more wary look around the camp and the truly fantastic amount of weaponry among all of the stunningly beautiful people, and back to Imrion, beckoning them into a pavillion. Imrion, who was well-armored, and well-armed.

If ever there was a time to be as polite and perfect as her parents expected of her, this was it. With a steadying breath, she stepped into that role. July's spine straightened, her shoulders rolled back, and the smile that lit up her face was placid as she pushed down every question, every anxiety that had bubbled to the surface in the aftermath of Garret and Whitney's confrontation, and followed the rest of the group. She fell into place next to Jason, keeping her gaze locked on their host.

"I'm July Coates," She introduced herself in turn, hands clasped in front of her to keep from fidgeting, every bit the picture of mild-mannered.
Jason Drake
 player, 66 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Thu 22 Oct 2020
at 02:31
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
There was something calming about the place, despite all the military weapons and drills going on around them. Maybe it had to do with the seeming order of it, after so much chaos had hit their lives. It wasn't any less alien, but it wasn't a monster trying to kill them or a man from space with lasers blasting at them, so that helped.

Malun's psychic connection was crisp and clear, but somehow it confused Jason. Was he hearing double? Something was off, but he didn't know what. Imirion's appearance distracted him from that thought. He looked right into the eyes of the Elven captain. This was a serious man, military through and through, poised, graceful, and probably far more deadly than he was letting on. He was not unlike a house cat, friendly and even nice to look at, but deadly when the time came to hunt. Right now he was friendly, and Jason hoped he would stay that way.

"I'm Jason Drake, it is an honor, captain." He said with a slight bow, entering the pavilion as the Elf beckoned.

That is a natural 20, for 27 total on Insight!
Retro DM
 GM, 72 posts
Sat 21 Nov 2020
at 15:43
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The interior of the pavilion was as elegant as it was functional. It seemed as though the pillars which held up the canvas were tree trunks that had grown specifically to support it, and the canvas itself was comprised of giant, bronze colored leaves, layered over one another to be water tight. The interior lighting came from some odd form of plant bulb at the end of a vine, several of which glowed warmly about the pavilion, twined around the pillars or hanging from the canvas.

A table of solid stone laid in the middle, circled by chairs that were comprised of more large leaves with vine supports. Imrion went to one side of the table, but did not sit, instead gesturing to the chairs and waiting for his guests to be seated. Vzzt flitted by, coming to the center of the table and producing their teapot and cups from some extra dimensional space, using magic to quickly heat up a fresh batch of tea.

"So," began Imrion, with a calm and even tone " Vzzt has explained that you come from another world, and that another strange man of metal came from the sky to attack you. I also understand that those bones in the nightward lands are somehow connected to you. Any details you can fill in would be helpful."