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Fireheart



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Omnom says...



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*clickity click!*


Thanks to the Hearts, we owe our lives.

Thanks to the Hearts, we no longer just survive, we thrive.

In a land filled with mechanical marvels and cities sprawling as far as the eye can see, primordial beings rule all with a hidden hand.

We have never see or touched these things, and for good reason. If a mortal being took control?

A Heart has disappeared. You, and five others, will be the only thing stopping the world from tumbling into chaos. Your journey begins here, as your fate is thrown together. To live or to die, the world sighs and heaves with you.

The World

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Hirvanc holds a steely empire in the cold, dry reachs of the southern lands. Near the coast, they dominate the seas with an iron fist. Harsh and steep mountains block them from any southern neighbors and no one dares try to oppose their sea stronghold.

High Hextech cables string together the short arrangement of cities, forming a tight-knit community in the harsh environment. Known for their short tempers and rigid government, they're about as friendly as the land they live on. But, something has kept the community in the icy desert for generations. Tourists are not welcome into this nation, and to the common outsider, not everything is as it seems in Hirvanc.

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The sovereign nation of Myar is a loosely connected infrastructure within the vast savannah. Brought together by need. Scarce resources and a desolate port brought much of the savannah to its knees. United under the banner of Myar, a large city-state, this fragile alliance is on the brink of declaring war just for resources.

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The kindgom of Brythalon is held together by the high city of Corvinas. Controlling most of the northern resources, with multiple large rivers, forests, and a bustling port network, Brythalon is considered the epitome of technology within the land. A strict -and questionable- oligarch rules over the land, but not much is known about the governing body to the outside world. While Hextech powers the lands, Brythalon keeps its secrets close at hand.

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Set along dangerous volcanoes in a desolated island, Kirkiln is an economic powerhouse that teeters precariously between order and chaos. Saying that this place has a governing body is an overstatement. This place relies on unspoken laws and a combined lust for the fortunes lying deep within the island to continue going.

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Dressuin is less of a country and more of a moving ecosystem. Located on the island of the same name, this hextech society rests on a plethora of floating mountains. Many airbenders have migrated here because of the peaceful inhabitants and nomadic lifestyle.

The Magic
The six hearts are naturally magical, and the land flows with its energy. The most common form of magic is the art of element bending, which is a skill that comes commonly through the land. Most people can only bend one element.

There are outliers of magic rarely practiced, such as light-bending or shadow-dancing, but they are arts so lost in times that any form of those types of magic today are incredibly difficult to do well. Some magic arts are lost in time, and maybe that's a good thing.

The Characters

Character Slots
1. Corrick Malair - Earthbender - Omnom
2. Malek Kiv-Myar - Firebender - Lumi
3. Halona Adeen - Waterbender - Omnom / Vellichor
4. Acarelis Ilmatar - Airbender - ScarlettFire
5. Rakel Gavark - Firebender - Sheyren

Brief Character Template:
Code: Select all
[b]Name: [/b]
[b]Age: [/b]
[b]Gender: [/b]
[b]Bending: [/b]
[b]Brief Personality: [/b]
[b]Brief Appearance: [/b]
[b]Tropes: [/b]


We will come together and work on our expanded characters together! Think of it as a plotting session/character session.
Last edited by Omnom on Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:10 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Formerly Kirkiln





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Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:50 pm
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Omnom says...



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The port-city of Brivington sat on the edge of two nations: Brythalon and Myar, and it showed.

Corrick settled himself into a worn leather seat as the train rattled down the Brivington track. His heart pounded in his ribcage, struggling to free itself and scamper off to somewhere that wasn't Brythalon. He couldn't blame it, honestly.

The track weaved through the city, etching a line of wood and metal and stone between the illustrious past of Brythalon and the disasterous future of Myar. To his left, constant construction of the city's innards happened, as little ant-workers clattered together, their movements like an infrastucture of oil and blood, the buildings the machine. Brythalon seemed to be struggling to maintain a sense of cohesiveness within the city, as refugees poored in from the East, his right. In stark contrast to the engineering marvels that Brythalon prided themselves in, the eastern side of Brivington was run-down and filthy, as if all of Brythalon's sewers emptied onto the buidlings there.

No wonder this track had a nickname like The Divide, Corrick thought with a grimace. Of course, he could do outlandish things like grimacing, since the crowded, musty cabin he resided in was completely void of other people. It was all that he could afford at the time, but he enjoyed the privacy that it provided. Crowded people meant interactions, and that led to too many questions that he didn't feel like answering.

His knuckles clutched a crumpled note, pressing it between his white-from-pressure fingertips and the torn cushion. Mentally, he kicked himself for even coming back to Brythalon, let alone keeping that accursed note that drug him back in.

The pain returned to his joints as he adjusted himself, trying to find a spot that lessened the pain enough for him to think. I'm getting too old for this shit. Absentmindedly rubbing his knuckles against the armrest, Corrick groaned and leaned his head back. Neither view was pleasant to him and he tried not to think of the land he was entering.

The train chugged into the station, click-click-clicking its way to a stop. Steam filled the air above the train, filtering its way up the station. Corrick sat there for a moment, taking in slow breaths. It calmed him, focusing solely on filling his lungs, and not the stilted horror that awaits him outside of the comfort of the train. Yeah, the marble and waterfalls and plastic people may seem like a perfect, upbeat society, but...

Looking out that window, Corrick was reminded of all the... not memories of this place. No, memories wasn't raw enough. All of a sudden, the smells of Brythalon, the thick perfume-vapor that clung to every fabric of clothing with ravenous claws, and the hearty aroma of freshly cooked meats and bread escaping through pristine doors.

No, saying that this place left him memories would be too polite for it.

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The walk to the airship was filled with stress, keeping his head down, and snuffling down past experiences.

The ship, although built in Brythalon, was Dressuin influenced. Even the mere thought of stepping on the deck sickened him, but more than the contents of his stomach were at stake here.

He noticed security littering the massive docking platform, checking all passengers coming in for their invitation letter. Well, that's a fuckin' problem.

Someone pushed passed him, knocking him forward. He turned with a growl.

Auburn hair flooded his vision, only barely contained by some goggles. "Oh, gosh! I'm so sorry. Oh, gah, I'm such a klutz."

"Mmm." Corrick grimaced and almost said something, but something caught his eye. A circus group stumbled past, bumping their way onto the docks.

Corrick turned to the lady that ran into him, but she had disappeared. Ah, well, he had more important things to attend to, like sneaking on that airship.

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The pristine hall met his worn and muddy heels with a sharp thud. Clean door after clean door gave him solemn and unwavering stairs, as if the whole boat knew who he was. The paint and tiles muffled their silent screams: Murderer. Liar. You don’t belong here.

If only they knew.

Corrick fumbled with the key before sliding it into the door, the silver “A28” reflecting the hazy blue light of the Hextech machinery running along the walls on his face. His unkempt jawline deepened and his sunken eyes nearly vanished under the new shadows.

A slender woman jumped up as the door opened, letting out a shaky sigh when she saw Corrick. “You startled me, Corrick.”

“You don’t say,” he grunted, tossing the key on the dresser. Noticing the mess on the bed, he motioned to it. “I see you’ve made yourself comfortable while I’ve been gone.”

“Oh, that stuf- I really really did mean to clean that. I just had to find something.”

Corrick picked up wooden dice, cracked in several places. “Did you find whatever you were looking for, then?”

“Nope.” She frowned. “The dumb rock should be around here somewhere.”

Corrick growled as he shoved the hastily scattered items to free a spot. He plunked himself down on the bed, slowly massaging his sore legs. A letter caught his attention from the massive pile of junk that was now at the end of the bed. “So this ship is called Leviathan, Rana?”

The woman, Rana, glanced at the letter absentmindedly. “Oh yes. I think it’s certainly appropriate for this massive thing.”

Corrick, reading the letter aloud, started:

”Welcome to Leviathan, the newest airship inspired by Dressuin’s nomadic lifestyle. This new model features a fully self-sustainable economy on the craft, including a large greenhouse for fresh foods, a Hextech-powered distiller and an all-new power source that includes capturing lightning from storms.

“--Are they seriously trivializing Dressuin’s culture by commercializing it?” Corrick fumed.

“Oh no, whatever shall we do? This is the first time this has ever happened,” Rana mumbled.

“Okay, you don’t have to be so sarcastic about it.” Corrick growled and continued reading. “--Tours will be provided through the Hextech halls the entire first day of the maiden voyage. Attractions include: a ballroom with several performing artists throughout the day, a steamed pool, and a light show after dusk… we will be landi-... all right, it says here the ship will go to Dressuin to pick up more people, then start its maiden voyage to Brythalon. It’ll land there, ending the first flight.”

“And after that, it’ll act as a self-sustaining home for those seeking refuge from Myar,” Rana said, putting her hair up. “It’ll be in the air forever after that.”

“Which means,” Corrick groaned, crumpling up the paper, “we’ll have to find him before that happens.”

“You were always so observant and calculating, Corrick.”

“One of these days, I am going to kill you.”

“You’ll try.” She shrugged. “And fail.”

He growled. “Let’s just get this done.” He rose from the bed, letting out a strained sigh.

“Love you, too,” she muttered, leaving the room after him.

So we have a little over a day to find this man in the land’s largest airship, on the largest maiden voyage in history, with the largest crowd on an airship in history. What could fuckin’ go wrong?
Last edited by Omnom on Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Formerly Kirkiln





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XxXTheSwordsmanXxX says...



Gobban


"I don't know about this Haslfur," Gobban said looking over the massive airship that resided in the port. The hull was massive gleaming in the sun like it was made of stars. Idly making Gobban wonder how many smiths labored over those plates. The hours spent making them the perfect shape and strength.

"My boy, I know that you have a hard enough time with heights, but these things are perfectly safe. And this one is supposed to sustain itself so there is really nothing to worry about," the large, bald man said clapping Gobban on the shoulder. "And it's the maiden voyage. How many chances are you going to get to do something like that?"

"I would rather take the train. At least it stays on the ground," Gobban sighed. "When you asked me to come along on this smithy showing I didn't think you were going to have me deal with something like this."

"Sometimes you just have to grab reigns and hope for the best. Now go on before they take off, or you'll find yourself walking home." Haslfur let out a bellowing laugh.

Gobban smiled at the man. They shared no physical traits. Haslfur was a giant mountain of a man brimming with well-formed muscle and a large maul over one shoulder. Not six hours ago Haslfur has threatened a loud-mouthed Hextech smithy with that very maul, challenging the man to put his life on the line against old fashion forged iron. Though they shared no blood, Gobban always looked to Haslfur as a father.

Gobban sighed, grabbing his bag of clothes, and headed for the loading ramp. Giving his ticket to the woman at the booth he returned her smile with a blush and a nervous glance.
She tore the flimsy piece of paper into two and returned the stub to Gobban’s shaking fingers. “Enjoy your time on the Leviathan,” she said in a cheery voice. Gobban could only nod and quickly turn away.
He gave a final wave to Haslfur before heading up the ramp. He wasn't terrified of heights, but if you asked any earth bender where they would rather be, they will always tell you, 'on the ground.'

Stepping onto the ship, it was an amazing feat of engineering, both metal and Hextech. Gobban just wandered around on the main deck looking at the different aspects of the ship. He ran his hand along the lengths of wood that made the banisters that surrounded the deck to prevent anyone from falling off, the ornate design wandering beneath his calloused fingers.

There were, of course, people that noted his rather meager appearance. Partly singed clothing of less than exquisite fabric and a smithing hammer shoved through his belt made him stand out like a sore thumb on the ship. He hadn’t seen it at first but most everyone there was wearing something more of upper class attire. He felt completely out of his element. Normally he would just stick by Haslfur to keep from having to address his discomfort. Maybe that's why Haslfur insisted that I come on this ship, he thought to himself.

"Can I help you with something?" A young man dressed in a uniform that matched the woman at the ticket booth. "Perhaps you're lost. I'm afraid that this ship is only for passengers." The man's eyes flicked down Gobban, taking in the state of his clothing.

Swallowing nervously, Gobban fished in his breeches and held out the stub of his ticket to the man. The uniformed man inspected it with a great deal of suspicion, but he finally returned the torn paper with a huff. "My apologies. Would you like me to escort you to your room?"

Gobban shook his head quickly. He didn't like to bother people, but he quickly moved away from the judging eyes of the ships crew member. But it was just him. Everyone around him was now looking and commenting on him. He could see it in the way they spoke in hushed voices while pointing at him. He could feel his heart hammering in his ears.

Sensing the eyes burning into him he quickly headed for his cabin. Wandering down the corridor of doors he spent at least twenty minutes, just trying to find his room. Opening the door he smiled as he headed in and closed the door behind him. He looked out the sea port window before quickly turning back. He didn't like looking down at the ground so far beneath them.

Sprawling out on the bed he let out a content sigh. Maybe this won't be so bad, he thought.





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Lumi says...



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A black night in Myar; the air so hot and heavy that it felt oppressive. Malek knelt, black garb covering his slightly-lighter skin, his shoulder touching his partner's. "There are nine men on the first and second floors. All the loot must be belowground."

"Check again, Akar." Malek insisted. "I'm not getting caught with my pants down with Myaran radicals."

He could tell Akar was grinning from beneath the mask. "Rest assured: nine men, then the haul is ours to spread to the ghetto." A shrug. "Or we could take a boat. Make a nice line for that D-word place you're always moaning about in your sleep."

Malek tightened his belt and planted a kiss on Akar's mask. "For this life and the next."

"For this life and the next."

Malek expertly tossed the grapple soundlessly onto the other rooftop, tying it to their anchor before making an acrobatic dash across and into the second floor window of the tin building. Akar followed and flooded the room with a wave of sand as Malek swung his limbs around in a break-dance of flame, taking the men out with little hassle. Moving their sandstorm downstairs, they were met with crossbow action at first sight. Akar filled the room with swirling dust as Malek dove to the tin floor, heating it up until the men couldn't stand on their feet, scrambling for tables and dropping their weapons. Akar grabbed the crossbow and sniped the helpless cowards one by one to the floor where they cooked.

Malek released his bending hold on the metal floor and nodded to his companion, who was suddenly very still. The sand shroud covering them dropped into nothingness. The crossbow hit the floor. Malek took a step towards Akar, but saw the dart in his neck. No-- he called in his mind, and dove to catch his partner, only just before he hit the ground.

Malek pulled the mask off and wiped beads of sweat away. "We've got to get you out of here."

"The rations are downstairs. People will die if you don't take them."

"They'll torture you."

"And think of all the jokes I'll have when I come out."

"I can't."

"Malek?"

"I can't."

"Big brooooother?"

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Malek opened his eyes, hazy, against his will, wanting more sleep. A little hand from below had a grip on his leg hair and was promising an unfortunate incident if he didn't comply, so the rogue sat up in his bunk and immediately hit his head on the ceiling above, forgetting how cramped the sleeping spaces for refugees were.

"Ahmed, what is it, kid?"

"Sister and I are hungry and the ration guards won't serve us because we don't have one of those G-words. We thought you could be it."

"A God? I'd be happy to. I'm certainly qualified enough."

"No, smart-head. A guard-something."

"Ah." Malek smacked his mouth apart a few times before nodding. "A guardian." Then he laid back down and coiled up for warmth.

"Oh COME ON, Malek! You did it back home! Why not here?"

"I'm on vacation," he mumbled into his pillow.

Ahmed raised an eyebrow. "Sleeping at night and eating food doesn't count as vacation."

"Which is why I'm sleeping with two pillows."

"I'll make it three pillows if you help us."

Malek shot back up and slammed his head into the ceiling again. "Alright, I'll do it." He hopped down from his bunk and stretched, squatted, limbered up, and then grabbed his pants and headed for the stagnated line at the front of the refugee block. Some of the Mayarans who recognized him sighed in relief as he passed.

At the desk, he leaned over on his elbows with his kids on each side and cocked his head to the side with a wide smile. "Howdy, friend," he charmed.

"Sir, please take your place in line."

"It's come to my attention that you refused to serve my children due to my absence. Am I unerstanding this as--" he raised his voice "--you're refusing to serve rations to children refugees from Myar?" The crowd behind him booed the guards.

"Sir, we simply don't allocate resources to unsupervized youth as they tend to be irresponsible. But since you're here, you and your family can take your place in line like all the other law-abiding refugees from your neighborhood."

Malek raised an eyebrow. "My...neighborhood?"

"That's not what I meant, sir. I'm sure not all Myarans know one another."

Malek looked at the crowd, which was getting rowdy. "Oh hell no," he said, and slammed a hand down on the desk. "You listen to me, Mr. White Privilege From Mountaintop Spring Brythalon. We are Myarans. We work day-in and day-out for every goddamn penny we have and our nation is utterly distraught with poverty and war, so you don't get to come down here to our cell block and tell our kids they can't eat because they're irresponsible. Because the last time I checked, it wasn't Myaran children who were out dropping Hextech bombs into the ocean to see if fish could waterbend." Malek slammed the man's papers off the desk. "Man, fuck y'all."

He and the kids walked off, the crowd roaring in cheers for him, but he had something much more intense in mind.

Back in the male block, he knelt beside the kids. "Okay, you two go back and get in line. Brother's going to take care of some bad guys, okay?"

The kids ran along. Malek squatted to beneath the bunk and pulled out a black duffel bag. A zip, and he was holding his rogue garb, dusty and tattered from stab wounds. He pulled on the armor and his mask, binding down his hair, and exhaled slowly to lower his heartrate. Then he closed his eyes, imagined the layout of the room, where the guards would be most vulnerable. Behind their station had been an open port hatch leading to the floor above, so a casual walk to the stairwell could give him access to the staff quarters.

Malek swept through the line of people and up the flight of steel stairs, taken aback when he reached floor B1. There were normal tourists checking out the less-than-optimal-but-still-not-slum quarters. He growled beneath his breath and created a few fireballs in his hands...and began juggling as he meandered towards the staff quarters. Tourists coin-slotted gold pieces into his pants, which he made note to handle later. Using his foot to leverage open the door to the rations chamber, he picked his targets and used his juggling balls to knock them out in seconds. Malek jumped down the porthole and grabbed the men, dragging them to the back, and pointed to an elder he recognized from the Myar slums. "Please do the people some justice for a change and feed our hungry?"

The old woman nodded, but shook a finger at him. "You know, one of these days all your punches and kicks and balls are going to get you in trouble."

Malek grinned beneath his mask. "What's trouble when you're as slick as the night?"

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The fresh air above was quite something to behold. A little bit of the Savannah, a little bit of the mountains. Ahhh, Malek took it all in as his kids licked at ice cream cones bought with juggler money. "So this entiiiiiire ship will keep itself floating in the air by taking zaps! of! e! lec! tric! ity!"

"We already knew that, Malek. And we can spell it. Can you?"

"I-T."

Ahmed giggled. "He just schooled you, Abrah."

She crossed her arms. "He won by a tech-ni-cal-i-ty."

Malek yawned and stretched his arms above his head. "Really wish there'd been enough change from my brief run as a carnie to get ME an ice cream." He turned his head to see a gang of teenage blonde kids staring at Malek's kids, whispering to themselves. "Maybe I'll juggle s'more up here. Or teach you two how to do it. Then we'd really rake it in."

"I think it's cheating if you use your bending. You just make the fire come back to you."

"Not true..." he trailed off, noticing another group of rich tourists watching them like pickpockets. "I mean I could if I wanted, but..."

"Big bro, you're all distracted more than usual. Who's on your mind?"

Abrah grinned. "It's a girl, isn't it! You're looking for a hot date!"

Malek snapped out of his stupor. "I uh. Yeah, Abrah. Hot date. Also ice cream. I really want one." He scratched the back of his head and looked to see a group of strangers standing around two benders on the deck, wrestling for control. One tapped out with a bloody jaw. Half the audience threw loads of money at the winner.

"Whoa, fuck me."

Abrah and Ahmed covered their ears.

"I could really use money like that."

"Then get in the ring, kid. If you win, you get 40% of what the bookie takes in. You lose, you lose."

Malek looked at the row of losers all tending to their wounds--one of which included a hip bone shoved through the pelvis. He cringed imagining all it could've hit on its way.

But that money though.

"I'll do it. Firebenders are natural scrappers"

"He'll do it, folks! Welcome to the ring the Myanar Fireman!"

A man in the distance hit Malek's earshot: "Did he say Myanar Fireman?"

Across from a tanned girl around his age with her chest in binding tape, he took his wide stance, fire in his eyes.

"Ready! Begin!"

Malek charged forward in a shadowstep to sweep the woman's leg, but twisted over as she leaped into the air, leaving a twister in her wake. He tumbled to the side and regained his balance, adapting his stance. An airbender. Different. Fire engulfed his fists and feet. He jumped after her, overshooting so his gravity brought him diving down onto her into a grapple. He let out a grunt as the fire spread around his body and consumed them, breaking her hover. On the deck, having her pinned, he unleashed a slurry of punches, leaving charred flesh behind on each hit.

Finally, with enough energy, she generated a sphere of air, sending Malek reeling dozens of meters into the air. She caught him in a cyclone, but he buckled himself into it, letting his personal fires whip up into the tornado--until a vicious firestorm was between the two. In a last-ditch effort, the airbender took a tiger pose and charged energy before unleashing a crack of thunder into Malek's chest, sending him to the deck with a loud grunt. Still unsure what to do with the firestorm, the airbender began to waddle back towards the edge of the boat as Malek staggered to his feet. He grinned and held out a palm. "The trick is to just let go." And a fire blast sent the airbender reeling off the edge.

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I am a forest fire and an ocean, and I will burn you just as much
as I will drown everything you have inside.
-Shinji Moon


I am the property of Rydia, please return me to her ship.





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ScarlettFire says...



Image


Aracelis stared up at the hulking airship above her with wide eyes, taking in the expanse of molded metal. Not as elegant as the Dusan or the other Dressuin ships, but it'll do the job, she thought with a sharp nod. She was going to like it, but she was still uneasy. Apparently, the Leviathan was going to Dressuin. Aracelis wasn't keen on going home. It was the last thing she wanted, but if she was going to call the ship home for any length of time, she couldn't complain. She just wouldn't leave the ship if it docked in Dressuin.

Plan in mind, she approached the boarding ramp, hiking her lone bag back onto her shoulder. Aracelis knew she must look a sight, what with her midriff showing and barefoot, but she didn't mind. The woman in the both raised an eyebrow at her but didn't comment. She just asked for Aracelis's ticket. Aracelis handed it over and received a stub back before being directed towards where most of the entertainment was going to be housed. She shrugged and headed off in that direction, taking in the ship's magnificence and the state-of-the-art hextech everywhere she could see. It was definitely not as elegant or as advanced as Dressuin, but it had its own kind of charm.

There was a bit of a crowd on the main deck, probably seeking the fresh air--an array of colour and sound that would give anyone a headache if they stayed too long. Aracelis pushed through it, trying to find her way down towards the ballroom her invitation mentioned. According to the Ticket Lady, the entertainers' quarters were nearby. Aracelis figured that was probably the floor below, but the ballroom was as good a place as any to start with.

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The door slammed behind her as she stormed into her shared room. Speaking to the man who oversaw the entertainment was infuriating. He was an arrogant pig of a man with no regard for others' feelings. Aracelis snorted and stalked over to the only empty bunk in the room. The three other dancers were staring at her with open curiousity.

"Rylin give you shit?" one of the other dancers, a pretty woman with near-white hair, asked.

Aracelis glanced towards her as she dumped her bag on the floor by the bunk. "Rylin? That the entertainment overseer?"

"Yep."

She snorted. "Yeah, you could say he was."

The white-haired dancer pushed off the bunk where she'd been leaning and offered Aracelis her hand. Aracelis took it and they shook firmly. "Eirwen," she said by way of introduction, then gestured to the other two dancers. "Bianca." Here, she gestured to the woman with hair the colour of pale gold. "And Rufina." The last dancer, with pale red hair. "You?"

"Aracelis," she replied, giving each woman a nod in return. "Does he treat everyone like dirt?"

Eirwen shrugged. "Usually." She returned to leaning against her bunk and waved the other two dancers over. "Welcome to the Leviathan, Aracelis. What brings you aboard?"

Aracelis grinned. "Adventure."

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Talking to Eirwen and the others was a little overbearing after a while, which was probably why she had sought out the fresh air of the main deck after stashing her bag beneath her bunk. The trio talked non-stop, usually about dance moves or seduction techniques. They were quite intense in their passion for the topics of discussion. Aracelis shook her head, leaning more heavily into the main deck's railing.

The metal was sun-warmed and the heat had started to burn the skin of her arms, but Aracelis didn't care. She rather liked it. It reminded her of home, which in turn reminded her of her parents. I wonder what Mother and Father would think of me now. Would they still want me to come home, learn about anything but dancing? She snorted and pushed off the railing. The less they know about where I am and what I'm doing, the better. Her gaze narrowed. In fact, I'd rather they didn't know anything at all.

As she turned to head back below deck, there was a commotion behind her. It was probably the fighting. She'd been listening to it on and off for several minutes now, and her curiousity was growing. Aracelis turned just in time to see a rather attractive, well-defined man send a woman sailing overboard. She stared along with the rest of the crowd in the sudden silence that followed, suddenly wishing she were anywhere but on that deck right at that moment. The woman had been an airbender, like Aracelis.

She swallowed and backed up a step, fake-gold wooden bracelets rattling as one hand reached for the railing and missed. Aracelis tumbled onto her ass with a wince. That had hurt. The metal of the airship was much harder than it looked. And hot, too. A hand landed on her shoulder, startling her. She rolled back onto to her feet, hand coming to rest on the belt she wore. It was an automatic reflex, one she'd been trying to train herself out of. Obviously, that hadn't been very successful. She hesitated when she met the steady gaze of a handsome older man.

"Uh, hi."
"I bow to ChildOfNowhere, my one and only master."


"No one screws Yamcha but life!" - Bulma, DBZ Abridged.





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XxXTheSwordsmanXxX says...



Gobban | Airship Deck


It didn't take long for Gobban to become restless in the cabin. As much as he would feel out of place on deck, he couldn't spend the entire time in his cabin. With a grunt he pushed himself to a seated position and idly pulled out his ticket. He couldn’t believe that Haslfur had gotten him a ticket to travel on the largest airship created. His finger ran along the torn edge of the ticket as he noticed a small series of printed words printed on the bottom of the ticket.

WORKER’S PASS

Gobban chuckled and shook his head. Of course, Haslfur got him job on the airship. But then again, as long as it had to do with metal, Gobban was fine with it. Slipping the ticket back into his pocket he got up and headed back for the deck.

Once on deck, he did his best to ignore the staring and whispering that he heard around him. He just tried to enjoy the breeze, despite the fact that his stomach was doing flips from being so far away from the ground. He just closed his eyes and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on his face and the hum of the ship.

"Begin!" he heard someone call out on the deck. Looking over to the crowd that was gathering he could see two people having a bending duel. Both seemed really skilled in their bending, much more than Gobban had. But he really didn't try to use his earth bending for anything outside of his forging. But the rather aerial display was quite a display of skill.

Gobban idly thought about how useful fire bending would be for his craft. The ability to heat metal without using coals and even focus it onto the smaller points rather than have to heat up an entire large section and cool the parts you aren’t working on. But in truth, he figured if given the choice he would stick with his earth bending. It helped him far more than just heating metal up.

But as with all things, there must be an end. The fire bender sent the air bender sailing over the side in an eruption of fire. Someone beside him, wearing bracelets fell down. He quickly put his hand on their shoulder only for them to suddenly react by jumping away and getting to their feet.

It took Gobban longer than he would have liked to admit that this was a woman. A very attractive woman close to his age.

Say something! he screamed at himself. His mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water for several moments. His cheeks turned as red and as hot as burning coals and a sheen of sweat was already developing on his forehead.

Ask her if she's alright! Compliment her clothing! Say SOMETHING!

But the more that he tried to get himself to talk, the more it felt like a noose was strung around his neck.

His mouth was becoming as dry as a desert

He was pretty sure he was about to pass out.

Well you've gone too long before speaking she is going to think you're stupid...you can't make this any worse so just.....say hi.. he said to himself before he swallows thickly, trying to revive his tongue.

"Uh, hi,"

That's a start. Could have sounded a little more confident...but it's a start.

He could sense his inner voice beating its head against an anvil right now.

"Hi," she said, frowning at him.

Great...now you have gone and irritated her.... The voice scolded.

"Um...are...you....o..okay?" he stuttered through the words, like each one took all of his concentration to get out....because it did.

“Are you sure that I’m the one you should be worried about?” she responded giving him a once over his shivering form. Noticing the way that his hand clenched and unclenched, the almost panicked look in his eyes. Gobban looked like he was face to face with the bogey man.

Gobban tried to get himself to say something else, but he could already feel his feet pulling him away. Hurrying to any place that wasn’t here. His eyes on the deck as he tried to escape his embarrassment he ran right into someone else. The two forms tumbling to the deck with Gobban on top.

“I’m so sorr…orr…” Gobban felt his mouth go slack as he realized that he had just tackled yet another woman about his age. She was staring up at him in shock as his arms were placed on either side of her head.

Brilliant Gobban! Absolutely brilliant! the voice screeched. He jumped back scrambling back as he bumped into a passing waiter, making the entire contents of the waiter’s tray dump onto Gobban’s head. Anyone able to see passed the dripping food and mucked up hair would note how Gobban looked like he was on the verge of crying. They hadn’t even left port yet and already he was regretting getting on this boat.

He slowly stood to his feet and shuffled toward his room to try and clean himself up.
Last edited by XxXTheSwordsmanXxX on Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.





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Lumi says...



Image


Malek had killed many airbenders on many ships in his time, but never before had there been such a confusing and memory-blanching crack as that of her lightning grasping for the rails one last time.

Between belabored breaths, he silently wondered if the children had heard it, and even quieter still prayed that they had not. Still, though, the spectators threw the money at him: some at his feet, some at his head in a scathing reprimand for the assumption anyone would have. "Ahmed, Abrah. What you can carry is yours to keep." Malek began scooping together gold pieces and stuffing them in his pockets, stopping as his gaze drifted over the horizon of the railing again. He thought about the blood money, how he would've done anything for it back on the streets.

He remembered the nights when his neighborhood's water would run cold because the slum lord had been captured by a radical or just offed by a gangster, how he'd spend hours under a water tank heating every bit of it so they could all at least say they were clean and warm.

But now, he wasn't sure which role he fit into. Regardless of everything, why the moral plague? Why the sudden onset of dreams of Akar and the need to help? The past was the past. Dead. Gone. It had left Malek to fend for himself. Morality be fucked.

As his hand reached for a coin, a long shadow cast over him. There was sudden frigidness about the air around him, though it still burned with his blood.

"E'd oe'quo, th'lathol."

Malek froze, staring ahead. None of the Myarans on the ship dared to speak their mother tongue within earshot of white people. It was part of the agreement for safe haven by the bullheaded, racist president of the Leviathan's head company. Exhaling, Malek stood.

"Ahmed, Abrah. Head inside and find a place to play with other children." He closed his eyes before barking. "Go!"

And he turned back to his mysterious stranger. His height, his build, nearly his face.

"Ben'o ed cho'es-n."

"Aj? Gao e'lo qus'j e besh'jdi mesh'j-dol. Th'lathol, lonec'v-ro d-jed melo am gaol-qu. Deno vak-c d-jo thoe-qud."

Malek stepped forward calmly, eyes closed, and pulled back the man's hood. A small regrowth of skint hair left no indication that they'd met before, nor that they'd meet again. "No," Malek replied. He shook his head. "But I would never wish a countryman harm." He leaned in, kissing the man on the cheek, then again on the forehead. "For now and the safe return."

The man nodded and returned the kisses on Malek's face, clipping the edge of his mouth. "Because I cannot guarantee the same." The Myaran pulled his hood up and ducked down into the regrowing sea of people, leaving Malek faintly touching his lips in memory.

Malek was never one to allow himself vulnerability; however, in that moment, he could only, with fogged vision, wonder three words on Akar: Where is he? Where is he? Where is he?

Image


As he'd followed the last of the coins to the clearing of the deck and away from the charred safety rails, Malek's head wilted to the left as he noticed, at the bloom of a nearby staircase, a young woman dressed almost like she belonged with the refugees. She'd noticed him, too, from the appearance of things, as she was quickly taking the stairs two at a time to make space between them.

He had never been a charming sort, he thought, but a change of pace was what his day needed--and that woman looked nothing if not a change of pace. It's for that reason that, in a gesture potentially much too romantic to register with Malek, he shouted across the deck in front of guests and workers alike: "Please don't go! I feel like I need you."

The woman stopped, and Malek leaped from pipe to pipe to get to the second platform where she stood. "Did you just confess love to a stranger?"

"I don't know what that is, if I'm being honest."

The woman put a hand to her chin. "Really? How disappointing."

Malek straightened up and put on a soft smile. "I am a son of a diplomat, sent to the ship to ensure the ease of the refugees."

"No, no, no," she interrupted. "A son of a diplomat would know to wear more than you are." Her eyes rolled down his chest. "Much more."

He sighed and nodded, holding his hands up. "Fine, fine. You want honesty? I'm a street thief from Myar who takes from the rich to make my people's lives better." He snagged something from her belt--a tiny HexTech gadget. "And you don't seem to be a saint, either."

Her smart tongue rolled up to say something smart, but she grinned instead. "Fine. Your name?"

"Malek Kiv-Myar."

"Which means...?"

"Seems pretty straightforward to me," he deadpanned, crossing his arms. "Malek, son of Myar."

"So the nation is your mommy?"

"And daddy."

She nodded. "So, orphan then."

"Bastard orphan, if the rumors are true. And you?"

"Not a bastard, not an orphan, not from Myar."

He smirked. "I meant your name, smartass."

She leaned in close, as if telling a secret. "Acarelis."

"Ace. Got it." Malek scratched his chin for a moment, fidgeting with the smithy's bauble he'd stolen from her--until she snatched it back--and then a plan hatched in his head. "I have a plan to stave off boredom, piss off some rich white people, and probably make us some cash in the process."

She flicked her wooden earrings. "If I wasn't listening before, I sure as hell am now, Malek."

His golden eyes began to smolder with a grin. "Let's make the biggest raid we can of the rich folks' quarters. We compare hauls, and whoever gets the better shit wins."

Ace dabbed her lips with a finger. "And if we get caught...?"

He waggled his eyebrows. "You don't get caught when you're as slick as the night."

Image


Shortly into robbing the second room blind, Malek had grown a bit bored of common thievery (and women's pearls) and decided to take this precious opportunity to take a luxurious 5-star HexTech Feature bubble bath, which he had never before experienced. The way he was beginning to understand it, as water poured into the high tub over his copper kneecaps, that the chemicals that became bubbles were released in waves from what doubled as a massage jet, which Malek had conveniently placed under his ba--

"Malek!"

"Yeah, Ace? Find any pearls that don't look like tapioca balls?"

He could feel her rolling her eyes on the other side of the door. "Just because you tried to eat a pearl doesn't mean they're evil, you absolute potato."

"I think I cracked a tooth on the third one."

"...you bit more than one?"

"Mom always said you have to try something three times before you know you don't like it."

It took her a few seconds, but the sigh came regardless. "I was going to tell you that I found a security card. One that matches the doors for staff quarters."

"Oh, that's gonna be a handy bitch."

"I know, right?!"

"Okay, okay, put it with the stuff, and we'll move on once I figure out how to drain the water in here."

Ace leaned against the door. "...did you wash behind your ears?"

He groaned. "YES, MOM."

Image


In room nineteen, Malek found a closet full of tuxedos and gowns. He laid out matching ones, and Ace came from the adjoining room with something behind her back. "Desert Hare, I have a present for you."

Malek raised his eyebrows. "Is it the gun that you're finally going to shoot me with, ending this short-but-memorable affair?"

"Not quite as good as that," she admitted, putting two white tickets on the bed. "Two passes to tonight's gala. We will be able to attend as honored guests!" She gestured dramatically over her head. "Rich! Famous! Honorable! Guests!"

Malek smirked. "Then it deeefinitely puts these clothes to good use." He held up the tux and gown. With an eyebrow raised: "Which d'you want?"

They'd changed, and Ace had tied back Malek's hair into a managable mess that he admitted looked good. "I admit, it looks good." He positioned himself behind her in the mirror as they struck poses couples would--or wouldn't--make together. "Maybe one for Oh, there's the shrimp cocktail!." And they posed.

Ace snapped her fingers. "One for Here comes the Dressruin dancers!" And they pretended to clap one another's hands.

Malek thought. "And how about Look, darling, it's those--" KER-THRASH. The ship heaved forward. Malek brought he and Ace to the ground in an embrace as parts of the room rushed out of place. When the quakes stopped, when there was steadiness, he opened his eyes.

And there she was--sort of an instantaneous thing. A way of combustion, he felt. And she was in his arms and he in hers, and his heart was pounding, and her eyes were wide with shock and anxiety and his were wild and his heart raced, his heart raced, his heart raced.
I am a forest fire and an ocean, and I will burn you just as much
as I will drown everything you have inside.
-Shinji Moon


I am the property of Rydia, please return me to her ship.





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ScarlettFire says...



Image

“Are you sure that I’m the one you should be worried about?” Aracelis asked, raising an eyebrow and giving him a quick once over. Something shiny caught her attention and she quickly moved forward, pressing a hand to his chest while the other snagged the pretty thing right off his belt.

The young man stumbled back, lips moving but no sound coming out. His face went went bright red. Then he turned and fled from her, leaving Aracelis standing there, frowning. After a moment, she shook her head and turned for the stairs. What a strange young man, she thought, tossing her newly acquired pretty bauble into the air and catching it.

A glance back over her shoulder as she reached the top of the stairs and found the firebender from earlier just straightening up from where he'd been bent over, picking up coins. For a split second, she was frozen, staring back at him. Then she whirled and went down the stairs, taking them two at a time.

"Please don't go! I feel like I need you."

Aracelis stopped short. Mostly because he'd cut her off on the second landing. Partly because she hadn't really ever had someone say that to her. She stared at him, frowning. "Did you just confess love to a stranger?"

Image


Aracelis stared up at Malek in shock, feeling like her heart was hammering in her chest. His eyes were wild, shocked. She pushed at his chest, anxiety making her hands shake. "Get off me, you potato!" she exclaimed, growling when he didn't move. "Malek!"

His breath caught up in a sudden, hands releasing her shoulders and backing away as if caught for thievery--or committing a magic trick. He shook his head. "The sh-ship moved. It moved." Wild eyes. What kind of animal? Aracelis narrowed her eyes and decided jackal. "Did we just--are we in the--where's the liquor?"

"I know the ship moved, jackal," she snapped, climbing to her feet. "I felt it. That's what they do, you know. Move." She fluffed out the skirt of her borrowed dress and sat on the end of the bed, pointing a finger to a nearby cabinet. "Liquor's in there."

The copper-skinned man fumbled to the cabinet and grabbed a bottle of red booze with a prominent XXX on the label. He sighed into his seat, cross-legged on the floor. "What time is our party, Ace Kiv-Skyline?"

She eyed him thoughtfully for a moment, then pulled the passes from seemingly thin air, faning herself with them. He was acting weird but she'd think about it later. Ace peered at the passes closely, then went back to faning herself with them. "We still have a few hours," she said, gaze straying to the bottle of red. Ace raised an eyebrow at him. "Desert Hare, whatever shall we do with our time?"

He shrugged, opening the bottle.

Ace sighed. "Really?" she asked, then shook her head and pushed off the bed to go stand in front of the mirror. She did a quick twirl, watching ice whirl into deep, sky blue. "Well, then. Drinking it is." Ace turned to snag the bottle of his hand.

"Hey!"

She wagged a finger at him. "You're supposed to share, jackal!"

Image


Those few hours seemed like minutes as they finished the bottle between them. The ground felt like it was swaying for Ace. Maybe it was the bottle of alcohol --what was in that anyway?-- or the ship catching dol'thorec-hic!-so, as Malek slurred out. Each time it sashayed, there was a Swish-Th-thump.

"Deeear Ace--" Swish-Th-thump "--would you like to dance?"

"Aren't we already dancing, Jackal?" Her words were slightly slurred, but she either didn't notice or care. Swish-Th-thump.

"I--hic!--think I'd know." His shoulder bumped into the wall and he rolled to his back, facing a mirror where they could see his slicked hair, clean face, the suit. Well, Ace could only see part of it, but she assumed he saw more. She squited at him, rubbing at her face. He seemed to be able manage, though, a clear thought. "The last time I danced, I was surely a different man."

Swish-Th-thump -- Ace tried to ignore it, but it was starting to bug her. She pushed off the bed and joined him in front of the mirror.

"A less handsome man?" she suggested, leaning into his side and peering into the mirror. "Or more handsome?" She squinted and shrugged, tossing the empty bottle aside. "I can't tell anymore."

"A man who...earned a branding on his body. Who tore down establishments, broke down walls." His head rolled and their noses nearly touched. "Is that handsome?"

Aracelis squinted at him, then turn to study their reflections again. "Well, I see pretty."

Swish-Th-thu-CRACK --there was a massive crash, startling Ace into dragging Malek away from the mirror. She stumbled into the far wall, almost tripping over the bottle, and turned to peer over Malek's shoulder.

A massive rodent jumped out from the new hole in their wall, almost getting it's hind legs stuck as it tried to escape a gloved, grimy hand furiously grasping at it's location just a moment before. It landed on the floor with a cushioned thump and scrambled to its feet, only to freeze at the sight of the drunken duo half-tripping into the corner. It blinked once, pale red eyes staring the two down. Then it screeched.

In the next moments, Ace couldn't be sure who was the loudest in their squealing, the monstrous rat, herself, or Malek. It was probably Malek, as he jumped from her iron embrace, bursts of scorching hot flames sprouting from his fists.

"You're gonna hurt it!" a disembodied voice shouted to him.

"It's what fire does, Wall!"

"You're gonna burn through the floor, you jackal!" Ace scambled away from the rat and into the corner.

"That's not a jackal, that's a rat."

"I was talking about the squealing child on the bed right now."

"Oh, I can't see."

"..Wait, since when did walls talk? That's a new feature."

The rat, now with a burnt tail, ran into the door and knocked itself unconscious. Ace finally calmed down and looked between the rat, the wall and Malek. Then eyed the rat carefully, shifting against the wall for a moment before glancing down and blowing out a small sigh of relief when she found the dress undamaged. She really liked her new-borrowed dress.

"Walls talk?" Ace asked, exchanging a confused glance with Malek. He shrugged. "Huh, weird."

The gloved hand in the wall waved at them. "The name's Halona, and I'm kinda stuck."

"Walls aren't known for their flexibility," Ace muttered, squinting at the wall.

"We could burn off the hand," whispered Malek.

Ace smacked him over the head. "Don't burn anything else," she hissed, pushing at his shoulder. "You're gonna singe my dress."

"There's a body connected to that hand, too."

"THE WALL HAS A BODY?" Malek half shrieked again, readying his fists. "DIE, FOUL AMMIT!"

"What's an Ammit?" Both the wall and Ace muttered in mutual confusion.

Malek growled at Wall. "You're a Crocodile who devours souls! But...in the sky now! In walls! Skycodile! HIC! Soulligator! I'mma burn you now."

"NO!" Ace squealed, throwing the nearest thing she could reach--a shoe--at his head, "no burning! THE DRESS!"

"It's a very pretty dress," the wall commented.

"Why thank you-- wait, I thought you said you couldn't see?!"

"I'm just distracting you so I don't become a flame-broiled-Halona." The hand fidgeted. "Listen, it's been fun almost getting burnt alive, but I've got to ask: would you two lovely people come outside and help me? I'm kinda stuck."

Malek leaned in close to her and whispered into Ace's ear where Wall couldn't hear him. "Rule One of sky travel: don't trust Skycodiles, no matter how much they call you lovely."

"You seem like a strong firebender, Jackal." She winked at him.

He froze in the same position for several seconds before pushing off the wall beside her and before heading for the door. Ace could only imagine what he found. She chuckled, leaning back against the wall for a moment.

"You broke a breaker." A snicker. "You're a breaker-breaker."

Curious, Ace wandered out and squinted in the brighter lights. "Gods, it's sunny out here." She paused a moment, squinting harder before staring at the woman--not Skycodile--trapped in the Hextech breaker. "Who let the sun out?"

"But we're in a hallway--"

"I thought it was nearing nighttime." She looked at Halona more closely and sighed. "Oh. A real person."

Malek cocked an eyebrow. "Why's the power still on? No part of this makes sense."

Halona turned her head up from resting on the wall to see Malek before her eyes widened. "Oh," she paused. "You're..." A cut. "Absolutely drunk, aren't you." That was a good save, Ace thought. "...but you're from Myar?"

"Planted and harvested, yeah--HIC!--why?"

"Aye," interrupted Aracelis, wincing, "let's get her out of the wall before your first date." Malek seemed mightily amused when she joined him, casually leaning on the wall like she didn't need it for support. Ace pouted at them both. Way to go, Ace. Getting drunk first day on the ship. "We're not drunk."

Malek looked at the breaker's remains and stuffed his hands in his pockets. "Hellonah, how fast can you run?"

Wall --or Halona, whatever-- scrunched her eyebrows in genuine confusion. "How would running possibly help in this situation?"

He seemed to ignore her as he glanced towards the wall then turned on his heel to head back into the room. Ace watched from around the door-frame as Malek fetched his daggers from his old clothes and brought them to the door. "Ace. I cut it all out, you blow it out, we run out." He winked. "In the dark."

"In the dark..." she trailed off, frowning at him. After a moment, his plan seemed to make sense and she nodded. "Alright. You cut. I blow. Then we run."

"Wait, why are we running?"

"My kinda first date, Ace." He spat fire on his blades and stabbed the wall as they grew red with heat.

Halona squinted at the fire. "I'm not gonna get hurt by this, right guys?"

Ace grinned. "Way more exciting than back home."

"And in three--"

"Right, guys?!"

"--six, bee..." He slashed, slashed, slashed, slashed! "Blow!"

She blew, and then ducked as sparks began flying. "I THOUGHT I SAID NO MORE FIRE!"

The breaker blasted through the wall and into the bedroom, shutting off the power in the hallway and freeing Halona. Unfortunately, it also plunged them into semi-complete darkness. For a second, Ace was blind--but when her eyes adjusted and she realised she was fine. Absolutely fine.

"Cheese it!" shouted Aracelis, and the two grabbed Halona --who, for some reason, picked up the unconscious beast-- and wobbled for freedom.
"I bow to ChildOfNowhere, my one and only master."


"No one screws Yamcha but life!" - Bulma, DBZ Abridged.





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Omnom says...



Image


"Is-is there anything that I could do to help? I can do many things--"

Rylin, the entertainment overseer of Leviathan, stopped in his tracks. "Look, girl. I'm on a busy schedule here. The ship is about to get off the ground and I have fifteen groups of entertainers to round up, two musical arrangements to rehearse, and an entire gala to freak out about and prepare for any last-minute drop-out cowards before the eventful and stressful evening.

Halona pulled out the RSVP ticket she received two weeks before. "But I got this and this amazing man Druskin, you must know him--"

"--Nope, doesn't ring a bell--"

"--he spoke incredibly nice things about you--"

"--AHH THAT DRUSKIN YESS--"

"--saying you could get me a job on this ship as an entertainer--"

"--AND THE memory's lost." Rylin plucked the ticket from Halona's hands and mock inspected it. "Yes, yes, this looks like something that could get you a job with the finest entertainment business in the land --and now the air." His faux-smile dropped. "You are not getting a job from me, girly."

"But--"

"End. Of. Story.

"So," he leaned in, spittle spraying everywhere --good thing she had her goggles actually over her eyes at the time-- and the hot stench of rotting flesh and cheap ale, "little miss goody goggles," he grunted out, poking her head, "I don't need your help. I don't want your help, and the ship will be better off with you rotting among the lightning wells."

And with that, Rylin left in a hurry, beckoning three dancers to his side like he was someone truly important to the ship before they blended into the crowd above the deck. Halona crossed her arms, angry for a moment. Her brows furrowed. "You know what, Mr. Grumpy-Pants? You. Are. Right! The ship will be better off with me in the lightning wells." She smiled and strode off to the depths of the Leviathan, leaving the queer looks that wealthy ongoers tried to bestow upon her behind.

Halona Adeen was meant to be on this ship. She was meant to do something here. She knew it.

Image


Five levels below the entertainment deck, Halona found herself in the middle of an entirely different ecosystem: The Electrical Hub.

Swarms of people ducked under HexTech pipes, the reflective blue coursing through them splashing pale colors onto the markedly plain clothing the workers wore. None of the faces were particularly grim or pleasant; there was a lack of any emotion as they hurried about with their jobs, only a calm, or sometimes rigid, neutrality.

A woman popped up from an intake pipe next to Halona, nearly forcing her bones from her skin in fright. "Oi sorry, didn't mean to scare you there!"

Halona coughed as her lungs tried to inhale normally once more. "You... have a habit of scaring people who walk by this intake valve?"

"Oh, nah, not people I know!" She chuckled and popped out of the pipe, bouncing to her feet. "But, you, darlin', is a new face around here and I haven't seen a new face since that one guy snoopin' around. All he got was a face-full-o-wrench." Seeing Halona's shocked expression, she laughed. "I'm not gonna hurt ya, you don't seem suspicious."

"I hope not," Halona smirked, "I'm just looking for a job. The last guy..." she hesitated, thinking of a good way to say it without making him sound like a jerk, "didn't want to give me one."

"Now, who wouldn't want to give a job to such a pretty gal like you? I'm Gora, by the way." She held out her hand, and Halona glanced at the neon grime covering them. "Oh, it's from the intake valve," she said, gesturing to the pipe next to them. "I didn't take ya for a gal against grimy hands, but, hey whatever suits you." She winked, wiping her heads on her blue-dust-and-oil covered jeans, mixing the blue-and-black into the brown fabric even further.

Halona smirked, smiling wide. "I'm Halona, Gora," she said and wiped her hand along the inside of the valve and held it out. "Nice to meet you."

Gora returned the smile and shook her hand, an impressed look painting her face. "Nice to meet you, Halona. Welcome to the family." And in one fell swoop she hung her arm around Halona's neck and ushered her forward, deeper in the heart of the electrical system that ran the behemoth that was this ship. As they moved and ducked, bobbed, and weaved (not necessarily in that order) around piping or electrical circuits or HexTech power lines, things got brighter and blue-r. Halona wondered why everything was blue.

"Why is everything so blue?"

Gora chuckled. "It just depends on the heart of the HexTech, hun."

"The.. heart?"

"HexTech is a tricky thing, but it's all based on the very Aether that flows through each and every living thing. Just like the six Hearts that give us life and power over elements, these HexTech hearts, well..." She moved out of the way to reveal a large and blue crystalline tower with hundreds of spikes jutting out from it's six sides, each one connecting to an equally small clear pipe that probably lead somewhere else in the cavernous room.

"That's..."

"Amazing? Beautiful? Jaw-dropping? Yeah, we've heard it all before, hun."

"It's magical."

Gora hesitated. "That it is." She sighed softly and Halona could've sworn she saw her eyes glisten against the harsh but cool glow of the reactor-Heart. "Say, you said you wanted a job, right-o?"

Halona nodded. "To be honest, I thought that's why you brought me through this maze you call a functioning system."

"Oh, you think you can do better, then?" Gora scoffed. "Fine then, lil-miss-ego, your first job shouldn't be too difficult."

Image


"Your first job shouldn't be too difficult... sounds about right." Halona muttered as she shoved her hand further and further into the HexTech and steel concoction that made up the wall.

For the past few hours, she had been tracing broken HexTech lines within the housing floors. They were seemingly random breaks, but Halona knew something was causing them from a horrifying experience she had back on a smaller airship she used to work on.

For context, know that Halona caught the Norrat--a rodent of abundant fat--wrecking the wall system near room 421. Sparing details of animal cruelty, there was an attack.

The rat flew through the wall, and so did her arm, which was stuck. This is not my plan, she thought

That was not her plan at all.

There was screaming inside. There was fire inside. Smoke and name calling, and then name-calling at her for being the wall.

But she wasn't a wall. She was a person!

I'm a person, Halona thought, and tried to appeal to the drunkards inside with flattery.

The flattery worked well. Too well, as before many names could be exchanged, there were knives involved. Long ones! And more fire! And blowing!

But she was free, and the lights were off. And the Norrat was hers. The Norrat is mine! she exclaimed in her mind, but the drunkards pulled her along out of the hallway quickly filling with angry rich people, who, from experience, were quick to blame people like the drunkards.

Also, Oh my lord, her head screamed, What just happened --I should get this Norrat to Gora.

The trio emerged at the open-air back of the ship where thunderclouds broke behind them in their wake, gorgeous and terrifying, discharging in a gorgeous array of azure energies. It made her slow down, suddenly, and realize how quickly the past half hour had gone for her.

Aracelis --or Ace, as Malek drunkenly corrected her-- guffawed through labored breaths. "You really do raise the bar for first dates, Malek."

Halona frowned. "I hope I'm not included in that."

Malek winked, then realized he did so with the wrong eye, and suddenly all of his concentration was put into slowly winking to Halona the right way.

"We need to get this Norrat back to my boss." Halona lifted the rodent up to Malek's winking-eye level.

"GET THAT BEAST AWAY FROM ME."

"Malek, it's unconscious." Halona wrapped its long and crisp tail around one of her belt nooks. "You two love birds can come with me or continue with your evening. Although," she peered back to the living quarters, "it's a little dark down there right now."

When she turned back around, Malek had enflamed his torso, arms, and head in a red blaze. "I make do in the darkness."

Ace raised an eyebrow. "How is your tux not on fire right now?"

He shrugged. "Normally I don't wear a shirt when I do this, so your guess is as good as mine. Either way, I personally want to follow the Wall. Make sure the beast dies a gruesome death."

"I wanted to rob--er--see the penthouse suites. But if this could be interesting..."

"The animal is not going to die --what did you say?!" Halona shook her head. "Nevermind, just... Don't. Touch. Anything."

Image


Malek rubbed his palm, where newly burnt fleshed pulsed blue with HexTech scars.

"I told you, I told you, Malek!"

"But it was shiny."

"You're lucky you're a firebender." Ace held out his injured hand. "HexTech burns are usually ten times worse than this." She inspected it, then slapped it softly. "It'll heal."

"Your machine is not as artistic with it as the men back home. A little line there and it would've spelled Victory...but right now it just says Panic."

"Oh my lords and stars, is he all right?" Gora rushed up to Malek, much to his surprise. "HexTech burns are extremely painful, are you okay, hun?"

"I've had... worse." Malek slowly winked with the right eye and gave her a sly grin.

"Well sweetheart, if you've got burn wounds, we have the means to heal 'em nice and well--"

"No." He stood from the floor and pulled his jacket over his shirt and vest. "What I mean is, as a rich and honored member of this new air society, you can air trust me that There Are Some Things That Should Not Heal."

"He's fine, Gora." Halona reassured and Malek nodded with a goofy grin. "I found what was causing all the electrical outages, though." she said, tapping the Norrat still attached to her hip.

"That's quite disturbing. What is it?" Gora bent down to inspect it.

"It's a Norrat, something native to Myar but they started infesting ships a few months ago and now it's made its way to Dressuin. I had to deal with one not too long ago."

Gora chuckled. "Well, it's kinda cute."

"You think that monster is... 'kinda cute'? It's been munching on your HexTech cables and it almost ruined my night of robbi-- I mean, sight-seeing." Ace coughed and crossed her arms.

Gora glanced up at the three of them and a soft smile inched onto her darkened face --either from dirt and grime or a tan, Halona couldn't be sure which. "One thing I've learned when working some not-so-pretty jobs is that every animal deserves just as many comforts as we do. Food, water, shelter," she scruffed its matted hair, "love."

Taking the sleeping creature from Halona's belt, Gora embraced it and stood once again. "It's not a popular opinion, nor one people are comfortable with. The big question, though, is how this lil bugger got on the ship."

"It wasn't an accident." Halona said. "Someone did this as a distraction."

Malek, arms crossed and head down away from the trio, slowly raised his eyes to watch them.

Gora's eyebrows furrowed. "A distraction? For who, and why?"

Ace crossed her arms again --Halona swore that was the girl's favorite pasttime-- and scoffed. "They were trying to sabotage our date."

"Not everything revolves around you two, y'know."

And in the bickering, he slipped away towards the dark stairwell to the slums below.

"No, that's not what I meant --althoughthatwouldbewonderful-- I mean, they're obviously targeting the ball."
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Omnom says...



Image


Corrick stepped into the cavernous greenhouse cabin overlooking the main deck, its dome roof housing countless different flora. He covered his eyes, shielding himself from the blinding reflections of huge, drooping leaves that reached the very top of the dome.

Exotic fumes instantly filled his nostrils and he scrunched his nose. No wonder nobody visited this place unless they had to. A small grove gave way to many multi-colored vines with giant flowers that pollinated the earthen ground below. Water tanks with tiny fish occupying them supplied hydration and nutrition to grow beds that held various fruits and vegetables.

A lean man rested against a vine-covered tree, lazily munching away at a spritefruit, his back to Corrick.

"Do you know how hard it is to arrange for a meeting with you?"

"Important people have important meetings." The man turned to meet Corrick with a cocky yet quizzical expression. Tossing the fruit, half-eaten, away, he held out his hand to Corrick.

Staring at the calm, outstretch hand, Corrick growled and spat in his direction. "You and important don't belong in the same sentence, Arryn."

He gasped in mock astonishment. "You hurt me, Corrick." His fake expression morphed into an ugly grin. "Then again, my reputation isn't nearly as impressive as yours, Corrick of Brythalon."

"I told you not to say that in public, Arryn."

"Reeelax Corrick." He spread his arms and shouted, "THERE'S NO ONE AROUND."

Silence.

He gave Corrick an I-told-you-so face. "See? Come come, take a fruit, they're free and wonderful. I promise you, you haven't tasted anything this fresh in Brythalon. Well, maybe."

Corrick scoffed and ripped off a boradamelon. "So this place is just a bountiful harvest of free food?" He followed Arryn into an ornate balcony with two cushioned benches.

"If you dare to enter it." Arryn smiled and plopped down on the bench, patting the seat next to him for Corrick. He obliged the sly man and sat, inspecting the fruit in his hands. "Yes, this place, this ship, will change so many lives, friend."

"I'm not your friend, Arryn. How can you even stand the smell of this place?"

Arryn tapped his nose. "Lost all sense of smell during a furnace incident, so places that normal people stary far from, I flock to."

Corrick nodded grimly. "Gives you ease of access for secret meetings."

"Like this one?" Arryn asked smugly.

"Like this one."

Arryn shimmied further into the plush cushioning of his seat. "No, this one isn't a random meeting place. Norwood himself allowed me this area for relaxation." Picking up a pitcher of something slightly transparent, he poured himself a glass and gestured to Corrick. "Would you like a glass?"

"No." Corrick eventually gave up on trying to understand the fruit in his hands --he never really dealt with the parts leading up to eating what's inside before-- and fidgeted in his seat. He never did like overly expensive things. "So, you and Norwood are working together now? How long has that been happening?"

"Long enough. Our partnering had its benefits."

"Are you trying to get on his good side or something?"

Arryn hid a knowing smile under his cup as he took a sip. "Something like that."

Corrick gawked, and for a moment some facade from deep within dropped as his face filled with pure astonishment. Then, realizing where he was and wishing desparately he had a cup to hide his feelings like the man next to him, Corrick coughed awkwardly. "Surprising how things end up."

"Yes, but enough about me." Arryn set his cup down. "As much as I like our little chats once or twice a decade, I really am a busy man, Corrick of Brythalon."

"To the point --somewhat. You've changed, Arryn. Anyway," Corrick sighed, "I know you have complete control over any and all transmissions that come to and fro this ship."

Arryn sat forward suddenly. "How do you--"

"Save it. I just do. Look, I need to know if you got anything coded under these," he fished a crumpled up paper from his pocket and stuffed it in Arryn's hand, "cyphers."

Arryn looked at the paper for a moment, then to Corrick incredulously, then back to the paper. "I mean, it's possible that I could have, but it would take time to go through all of the records."

"I don't have time for you to have time."

"You don't understand, this is a deli--"

"No, YOU don't understand, the entire fucking ship is in danger, and the key to every-fuckin-little-thing lies within those encoded transmissions you may have overlooked." Corrick was standing at this point, chest heaving. "That very recklessness can, and very possibly might, take this ship, and all of us with it, six feet under."

Arryn looked distant for a split second, then sighed. "I will see what I can do from here until the ball. For now," he gently pushed, with one hand on Corrick's chest and the other on his shoulder, him back slightly, to allow them both to stand. "Have you looked over this balcony yet, Corrick?"

Corrick stared at him.

He let out a chuckle. "It's not like i'm going to throw you over or anything."

"The thought crossed my mind."

"Those days are past us. C'mon."

Reluctantly, Corrick obliged and leaned against the balcony.

The greenhouse deck overlooked much of the ship, sitting so high above the main deck that it was all but invisible to the average sightseer, as it blended in with the reflective glass of the greenhouse, especially now as the sun started to set. But, up there, leaning against the marble railing, Corrick could see everything. A couple fighting over who got the best light during the day or who used up the most power during the night, pouring more attention over their books than each other. The noise effortlessly rose to the balcony, as clear as it would be down below, perhaps even more so.

The blue circuits of HexTech mingled with the bright but pale yellow of the lights to marry in such a way that allowed the Leviathan to sparkle and shimmer against the calm and distant sea below, its lights performing an endless dance with the shy stars appearing all around them. It was a clear evening; it was beautiful.

Arryn studied Corrick as he took it all in. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"

Corrick couldn't lie. "It is."

"From here, Not only do I see all of these people down there, but I feel like I can see the entire world." He sighed. "Listen, Corrick, I will help you out, but I doubt you'll find anything this way." He gestured below them. "All of these people... not only do I trust that they're here for the right reasons, they've all been verified and checked out. Those tickets don't come easily to aboard this ship. You'd have to be on here for a reason,"

Corrick's jaw tightened. "And if you're wrong?"

"Well, if I'm wrong--"

"No!" He got in Arryn's face, nostril's flaring. "Now is no time for 'if's, Arryn. Imagine how Dressuin would react if you brought a murderer and a thief into their mountains?"

Arryn pushed him away with a surprising amount of strength. "I brought you on board, didn't I? In fact, maybe the only danger here is you, Corrick."

A cough cut through the tension between them two, and they turned to look at an all too familiar woman standing in front of them. "Am I interrupting something, boys?"

They both stopped in their tracks, sheepisg looks splattered on their faces.

"Rana!" They both said.

Corrick raised an eyebrow. "You look--"

"--Absolutely stunning." Arryn clicked his tongue. "My my, you know how to clean up."

For once, Corrick had to agree with the slimy being of a man. She wore a form-fitting red dress with a gold embroidering marking the lengths of the corset. Black feathers marked a diagonal line from under her right breast to her left hip.

"Of course I do, darling." She smiled and approached Arryn, locking him in a deep embrace. As their lips separated, she turned to Corrick, who growled in return. "Arryn, honey, would you please excuse my comrade and myself for a moment?"

Arryn looked suspicious but she reassured him with another peck on the lips.

"We're not going to do anything, for fuck's sake. It's business." Corrick pushed him back into the greenhouse.

"Just business, eh? Is that all I am to you, Corrick?" Rana idled up to him.

"That's all you are to Arryn, that's for sure." He glanced back to the greenhouse. "Seriously, though, you could have warned me of your plans with Arryn."

"Why? Did I shock you?" She smiled. "That was the plan." Upon looking at Corrick's expression, Rana shrugged it off. "Nothing will happen, Corrrrrrick. This is purely business, like you said."

"What, our relationship or your's and Arryn's?"

"Well, wouldn't you like to know." Clearly, Corrick wasn't having it, and Rana could tell. She sighed. "Fiiine. I'm going to the ball with Arryn to see to it that we get our information. Nothing more, nothing less." She shrugged. "Unless, of course, he doesn't reveal the codes until later that night."

"Rana--"

"--I'm jokiiing"

"No, I couldn't care fucking less if you decide to sleep with the man. He's dangerous, though. All businessmen from Brythalon are. They only do things that are advantageous to themselves."

"I know, darling. Nothing more, nothing less. Who do you think I work with?"

Corrick growled. "I am not a filthy businessman."

Rana carressed his cheek. "I never said I was talking about you. Anyway," she motioned, moving away, "I haven't gotten a flicker of information regarding this Myanar guy you--"

"Myaran man." Corrick corrected her.

"Myaran, Myanar, what's the difference."

"One won't get you killed if you say it when we go there." Corrick frowned. "Anyway, continue."

"Anyway, I haven't gotten anything regarding this... Myaran man we're searching for. Entertainment director, nothing, board of rooming, nothing, I haven't talked to the head of HexTech yet, but I doubt that'll be anything different."

Corrick nodded grimly. "Unfortunately, same here. I never expected it to be that easy, though. He's onboard, gotta be."

"Well, besides Arryn, the only thing we can do is wait until the ball. I doubt he's going to miss an opportunity to do something at such an event like that one." She poked his chest. "You just have to find yourself a date, mister."

"I thought I had one before now," he muttered.

"Puh-lease, did you really expect I would want to show my face with you like that in public." At his hurt expression, she pat his shoulder mockingly. "It's only business, Corrick."

He knew she was right, but that didn't mean he wasn't allowed to get pissed. Them arriving together at such a formal event would tip off their target immediately, and they would get nowhere. No, her sassy ass was right. He had to find a partner to the ball.

Just then, another part of the ship's power flickered off, somewhere in the housing area. Right after, three disgruntled --and two seemingly drunk or blind, by the way the ran into people-- hurried onto the main deck, much to the chagrin of everyone around them.

"Another power outage. That isn't a coincidence." Rana said, peering over the balcony.

"Yeah..." Corrick squinted at the three people, trying to make them out. They looked awfully familiar... awfully important.

Two of them sloppily embraced each other, both dressed in extremely formal attire for their dunkard state. One was a woman, the one who engaged the contact, and she looked beautiful, but the other one...

A Myaran man, no doubt about it.

Corrick, inspected every inch of the situation, etching it into his memory. The two separated their embrace and seemed to chat with the third one, who look disgusted, to say the least.. The third one, a redhead woman who looked as if she belonged in a mine somewhere, lifted up a rodent, which freaked the Myaran man out. She then wrapped it around her belt and they rushed down to the industrial quarters.

Corrick stood for a moment, trying to piece together everything. "Rana, why would a Myaran man be heading for the industrial district? Especially with two women and an abnormally large rat?"

"Sounds like a good time to me."

"Rana!"

"What?! I don't know, Corrick. It could be anything."

Corrick rubbed his temple. Sometimes she made him hurt more than any stab wound. "That third one, she didn't seem to want to be with them. The one with the goggles and the rodent."

"Sounds like she works in the industrial section to me. Could have caught the two and is bringing them to justice like a good person."

Corrick glared at Rana. "I doubt it, but it's worth a shot. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I just might have a date to the ball."
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Lumi says...



Image


It would be a frosty afternoon in hell before Malek allowed the sabotage of the world's eye to fall on his people. His fists clenched, unclenched. His teeth bore together. As he entered the slums, he could think of nothing he could possibly do to stop what was oncoming--what he was piecing together.

"Theeeeere you are, big brother!"

"We've been jumping around all afternoon waiting for youuuuu!"

"Abrah, Ahmed, not. Now."

"But you're in a weird fancy suit with a wasp and everything."

"It's called a vest, Ahmed," Abrah corrected, "and he looks dashing in it."

Malek stopped by the doorway to the men's barracks. "Kids, listen. Brother needs some thinking time, okay? Do you remember what that means?"

"Not to wake you up, no matter what soup the neighbors are serving."

"Not to go in your room, no matter how much screaming we hear."

"Not to clean up blood, even if it's yours."

"Not to ask whose blood it is, even if it's yours."

"Not to be able to recognize your blood because it freaks you out."

He inhaled deeply and slowly exhaled. "All of that. No one gets in, got it?"

"I'm just beginning to realize how often you came home bleeding after our parents died, and wonder if it will impact us as we grow older."

Malek nodded and patted Abrah on the head. "I'm sure it will." And he opened the hatch door and entered the bunk with a sigh, unfastening his jacket. Thankfully, all the men were either in line for the shower, or visiting their women for a reason to take a shower. Malek had time to get the hell out and track down the insurgent.

He undressed and stuffed the rich man's clothes in his duffel bag, and heaving out a breath, laid back on his bed, rolling his nails down his chest. He still smelled like the cologne from the penthouse. The soap and deodorant and aftershave. In his left hand was the one remaining wad of cash he'd stolen from the suites, totalling a few thousand in whatever currency it carried. He rolled off the bunk and stashed it in the bag as well, grabbing his ragged black garb--or what remained of it--from the bag, checking it for holes.

"Were you always such an exhibitionist in the hood?"

Malek's head jerked forward towards the voice, finding a familiar face in Kafele, an old partner in crime from the slums. "Since when is it a crime for a man to air out when he's alone?" Malek threw his legs into the chausses in his hands and went to meet Kafele with a hand-clapped hug. "My brother, it's been too long. One would think you were buried in the depot yard."

"Well, that could still be true, you know."

Malek tilted his head to the side. "Go on."

"I just mean, my brother, that some of us seem to be slaving away for our people. Feeding the hungry, tending to the sick and elderly. Being fine and proper folk." His eyes narrowed. "And here come rumors of a hoodlum Myaran running about, flaunting his bending, picking scrap money off the deck of the ship, and--" he shook his head, "--fraternizing with women from Dressuin."

Malek craned his neck back and crossed his arms over his chest, chin high. "Kafele, you got men after me? You tapping lines? Walls? Did you miss the part where I fed our people by taking down the guards stealing our food rations? Did you miss that?"

Kafele held up his hands and sighed. "Brother, brother, you got it all wrooooong. C'mon, man. Let's--" he reached into his coat pocket and brought out a pack of rolled Myareed. "Chill." He put a hand on Malek's back and nodded to the door leading to the railings below the ship. "No charge this time."

Image


Below, on the black metal railing, Malek closed his eyes and exhaled, unnatural billows of smoke flooding from his mouth and nose in droves.

"Fuck, man," laughed Kafele. "I forgot how much you put out! That shit's because you're a firebender?"

Malek nodded and held up a thumb ignited with a focused flame for Kafele while he took a drag. His eyes narrowed, and he pointed to Malek's hand, opening it a bit. "Got a little Panic in your life now?"

"Figured it'd been too long since I got the rest, right? Who doesn't need a little panic in their lives?"

Kafele stroked the pinkish flesh with his forefinger and shook his head. "You know man, you should properly ink this. Remind your enemies who and what they're dealing with."

"Can't afford a metalbender. Not even a bad one like you." The two laughed.

"You got any Hex on you?"

"Some black fibres I nabbed from a suite. Why?"

Kafele tossed the butt of his Mayareed over the railing; Malek did the same. "You got all the materials and I'm feelin like it's a be sweet to Malek day." He shrugged. "So I'll do it for you."

Malek gave over the spool of HexTech fibril and held out his hand. "This reminds me of old days, Kafele. You, me, Akar. Being in stupid places and being marked for it."

"Did I ever tell you about the mission," as he began bending the metal into Malek's palm, drawing blood, "when Akar and I fed the borough with a cargo train of meat meant for the border?"

"Never heard of it. Guessing it was a failure."

"Total success. Now. You know Akar better than anyone on this green earth. Imagine it through his eyes, Malek. What was the first move?"

"Okay. So I'm...Akar. It's night in the depot district, and I'm with you--the best metalbender I have. So my first move..."

Image


"Brother, on the stomp to release the nails, you mangle the tracks. This train won't reach Brythalon whether we succeed or fail." Akar pulled his mask up over his face and made the symbol of Victory over his forehead and cheek. Kafele did the same from the other side of the tracks. Crouched low in black garb, Akar felt the earth all around him for oncoming disturbances until the stones began to rattle in the distance. He stomped, shooting loose the earthen components of the tracks and began to surf down the earthen highway towards the oncoming train with Kafele holding his back.

On a slow curve, Kafele tossed out two throwing knives and bent the back, releasing the hatch on the door and brought the two benders inside the train, immediately gaining a sense of heartbeats within their area. "Three Brythalon men and seven stronger heartbeats. Hired Myaran men."

Akar pulled to the side of the kart, lifting a passing boulder from the earth and hauling it, though the air, inside the car. "When you're ready, brother."

"I breathe with you."

"My heart beats with yours."

Akar gathered energy before shoving the boulder through the cargo doors in the train, breaking down barriers straight to the engine room. Immediately, men who weren't knocked out or away by the boulder came after the source. Akar drew his bow. Kafele drew his cesti.

"Thieves from the slums? The barrens? It matters not. We'll wash you filth away before we reach the depo--" The Brythalon guard dropped to the ground, gurgling on his own spit as one of Akar's arrows pierced his throat.

Kafele threw iron stars at the enemy, forcing them to blow into shrapnel before landing. The guards responded with fire and wind while the Brythalon guard retreated to the back of the carrier.

Akar gained distance from the flames and shot binding arrows at the Myaran men's feet; however, a gale of wind threw Kafele back into Akar, and both of them back into the corner of the box car. The Myaran men approached.

Do you trust me? asked Akar.

With everything. replied Kafele.

Akar threw his voice.

"STOP DAWDLING AND KILL THOSE MYANARS!"

The guards turned to the Brythalon guard in the other corner, who, realizing the trick, was beginning to back away into another car. "No...no! Get away from me!"

Image


"And the nine of you delivered the packages throughout the borough. Through Akar's eyes."

The tattoo was done. "You must have known Akar far better than I did...you just recounted my own story better than I could have."

"It must have been an inspiring job. There was a copycat who pulled a similar stunt just a month before the refugees received their passes for the Leviathan."

Kafele instinctively averted his gaze. "Did you cook it good, or burn it like you burn other meals?"

Malek tilted his head. "Kafele, when was that job?"

Still staring at the darkening evening clouds, he smiled. "You know, our work's not over, Malek."

"When was that job?" On-edge, Malek stood up and put a hand on one of his daggers' hilts.

"It was a month before the Leviathan passes came. Before the miracle of the white man's company said he'd take mercy on us poor folk. Malek, you still have work to do!" He stood and grabbed him by the shoulders. "Don't you get it? He's going to really liberate our people!"

Malek stepped back. "How long have you been a pawn without will, Kafele?"

"How long have you been a child blind to the color of the burning sky of war, Malek?!"

"What is his name?!"

"Don't ask questions you don't want the answer to."

"No, no. I want this answer. I've seen his face. He's not Akar. Who is he?"

"N a d i r ."

"And what does Nadir want with me, Kafele?"

There was a large grin before he pulled a black mask from his neck up over his face. "Your fire. Or silence. Though we hear that your lips were just as nice."

Malek shouted into a fiery charge, grabbing Kafele by the throat. The man raised his fists and shot Malek in the gut with one punch, the face with another. Reams of metal from the lightning net closest to him came to entangle him, but Malek shot up with fire erupting from his feet, sending him airborne. With the metal railing circling him as electric boomerangs, he shot off fire blasts down onto the railings, singing Kafele's clothes and exposed torso, forcing him into a retreat against the metal hull.

Malek dove in closer, but as he neared to deliver more strikes and slashes from his daggers, Kafele, shot from one side of the hull to the other, a magnetic jumping spider. Pieces of the hull came dislodged and swiveled in the wind towards Malek, cutting his chest and ribs through his parrying.

"You're a fool if you think trading famine for slavery will bring freedom to our people!"

A volley of fireballs onto the hull of the ship, superheating it.

"And you're a fool if you think a nation without rule can be a nation at all!"

Malek dove in, dodging the pieces of the hull flying his way, and grappled Kafele free from his grasp on the ship. The two oscillated wildly for control of the flight--and fight--as Malek brought them both far out from the ship. "You'll tell me everything! You'll tell me so I can stop him!"

"You cannot stop a Hydra! But I'd rather take us both into the sea below than see the head be crushed!"

Malek began to struggle as His tattooed hand began to move towards his neck, locking him into a choke-hold until he couldn't breathe. Kafele added his own grip as the two began to fall faster and faster, but in a last ditch effort, Malek released his fire in a blaze around his body, burning Kafele in all places. The choke hold released, and Malek flew them back to the ship, crash landing on the railing with no stamina left. Kafele, skin blistered and hair burning, picked up a piece of the railing and held it up.

"I'm sorry, Brother. He really did care for you."

"Y-you didn't..."

"All things unite in the end." A smile. "That's what he told me at this moment."

Malek closed his eyes. "All things unite in the end."

"Then I'll see you not too long from n--" There was a crack, blast, a crash, and a gasp as a gale passed by Malek, opening his eyes to see Kafele fall past the railing and into the clouds below.

Malek slowly rose to his elbows and peered around, finding Aracelis shaking up above by the port door.
I am a forest fire and an ocean, and I will burn you just as much
as I will drown everything you have inside.
-Shinji Moon


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ScarlettFire says...



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Aracelis's attention drifted as Halona and Gora spoke, the pair turning to examine the HexTech heart--as Gora described it. She frowned, eyeing the doorway Malek had vanished through a few minutes ago. All the talk of distractions and sabotage had sobered her riiiiight up, so she was suitably broody on top of annoyed. And I was having such a nice date, too... Ace sighed and eyed the new girl and the grease monkey again. They'd quite obviously forgotten about her, invested as they were in things she couldn't care less about. She wondered if they would even notice if she slipped away right now or not...

She glanced towards the doorway again, then back at Halona. Only to find the girl gone and Gora disappearing into a large pipe, rat in hand. Shaking her head, Ace slipped towards the doorway and followed it until it dumped her out into what had to be the slums she'd been hearing about. All in all, the walk had taken her several minutes, and now she stood dressed up all rich-like with a bunch of Myaran men eyeing her off. She touched her belt, tempted to unfurl the whip it hid but decided against it.

Aracelis offered them an awkward smile and ducked her head--just as a small knot of Myaran children circled round her and caught her up in their path. They pushed her along a few steps before two young-ish kids stopped short and gave her a pair of equally confused looks. She blinked down at them.

"You're a pretty Dressuin woman, ain't you?" one asked, tilting their head in curiousity. "What're doin' down in the slums dressed like that for?"

"Um," she began, looking towards the slightly older kid. "I'm... looking for someone."

"Who're you looking for?"

She grimaced. "Malek."

"Ooooooh!" they said in unison and exchanged a look.

"He didn't say anything about pretty Dressuin women, did he?"

"Nope!"

"COME ON! THIS WAY!"

They each grabbed a hand and began dragging her off down the hall. Ace tried to protest but gave up when they gave her grins that were all teeth. She sighed and shook her head. "Wait, where are you taking me?"

Instead of answering her, they threw rapid-fire questions at her, but she only caught half and sometimes they were in Myaran so she had no idea what they were saying. And then they were approaching what appeared to be some kind of sleeping quarters--Men's, most likely. Especially if the, uh, Myarans watching them were anything to go by.

"Are you his girlfriend?"

The question threw her off and she hesitated. Was she? Ace didn't know, but smiled politely as they reached a hatch and said, "Yeeees, I suppose I am?"

One kid squinted at her. "Is that a yes or a no?"

"It's a yes," she confirmed, still hesitant. It wasn't like he'd asked! What was with these kids? She scowled and they tugged her forward another step. They dropped her hands quickly and studied her closely for a moment. The attention was uncomfortable, but at least it was nothing more than childish curiousity.

"I knew he had a girlfriend," the other one said, grinning wildly as they bounced on the balls of their feet. "You know he might not be here, right?"

Ace frowned. "Why not?"

"He went off with a Vlosheo," the older-looking one said, giggling slightly. "He probably needs the money he threw in there!"

Her frown deepened. "What the hell is a Vlosheppo?"

The pair burst out laughing, falling to the floor and rolling around. She sighed heavily and shook her head, stepping over one kid to touch the hatch. "If you're not gonna tell me, I'll just go in."

"Gonna get that money for the Vlosheo, huh?"

"Seriously, what the hell is a Vlosheo anyway?"

The kids seemed to sober up and the older-looking one sat up to squint at her. "You mean you don't know?" the kid asked, and frowned. "Why else would you be here, then?"

"I told you I was looking for Malek," she insisted, growing frustrated with the pair. "Are you going to tell me where he is and with whom?"

"He's with a drug dealer, so you should probaaaably grab his duffle and go take it to him."

"He's with a what?"

"Drug. Dealer."

Ace groaned and shoved open the hatch. The small bunk inside was empty, but she could see a black bag sticking out from beneath it. The corner of a very familiar jacket was sticking out of it. "Seriously," she growled and was pulled back by one of the kids as she made to enter. "What?"

"He said no one should enter!"

"But you just said he didn't say anything about pretty Dressuin women!" Ace threw her hands up in frustration. "You two are quite a piece of work, you know that, right?"

One of the kids rolled their eyes and ducked into the room, struggling to drag the bag out from beneath the bunk. "That's why we're the most fun, y'know?"

"Reeaaallyyyy," Ace drawled, eyeing the kid as they dragged the bag over to the door then somehow picked it up and shoved it into her arms.

"Really."

"Why am I even still talking to you two?"

"Just take it to him," the older kid grunted, pushing her back a step. "Brother might need it."

"Wait," she said, hesitating. "Did you just say brother? Oh, gods, please tell me I am not talking to that crazy firestarter's siblings!"

They both looked at one another and back to Aracelis. The boy shook his head a little, but nodded a little, too. "He told us to--"

"He told us," the girl interrupted with a glare, "not to talk about it." She smiled. "Not even to his pretty girlfriends." A pause. "Even if there's blood."

"Even if there's blood," Ace repeated slowly, growing concerned. Just what kind of man had she decided to go on a robbing spree with? "....do I even want to know?"

"Probably not," the girl said brightly and then she was being pushed back another step. "Go!"

"Go where?" she snapped, scowling again. "I don't even know which direction he went off in!"

They stopped pushing and looked up at her with those little kid faces. The ones that break hearts. "The guy he's with...scares us. He used to show up at our apartment at night and either drag Malek off or leave him bleeding."

The boy shook his head. "He's a bad guy! A villain! And he's been acting real shady since we've been on the ship!" The two looked at one another. "But Brother isn't that bad unless someone really deserves a punch!"

"Or kick!"

"They're probably on the railing below where the Hexy people work on the ship's hull in the mornings."

Ace swore and grabbed the bag properly, spinning to face the vague direction of the area they'd suggested. She paused mid-step and glanced back. "Thanks, kids," she said, and tossed them a couple of coins she'd snagged off the stammering, blushing kid earlier. "I suppose I better go make sure the crazy firestarter isn't getting himself into trouble again, huh?"

The kids looked at her with deadpan eyes. "Abrah," said the boy, "just do the thing."

The girl twisted her arms about her and blasted a gust of air out into Aracelis' torso, sending her tumbling through the porticulus behind the barracks, the kids waving bye.

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Ace righted herself, smoothing out the skirt of her stolen-borrowed dress --those kids were right brats, just tossing her over the edge without warning like that-- and glanced up. She inhaled sharply as she caught sight of Malek. He was laying amongst mangled railing with a man leaning over him. Ace squinted and took note of the burnt and singed nature of Malek's attacker, posed to bring a piece of railing down upon him.

She reacted without thinking and sent a sharp gale towards the pair, shoving Malek's attacker up and over the broken railing into empty air. Malek turned to look at her and she scrambled to his side, dumping the bag so she could move and get a proper look at him.

"Who the hell was that just now?" she hissed, hands hovering over Malek, not quite sure if she should touch or not. She glanced up then scowled and looked away. "Or is this one of those things I don't want to know about?"

"You're not supposed to here," he growled back. Ace finally decided touching would need to happen and began checking over his injuries. After a moment, she glanced up again. "How'd you even know where to find me?"

"A pair of kids told me." She shrugged. "Mistook me for your girlfriend."

"What?"

Ace blinked at him. "What, what?"

"Kids?"

"Yeah," she said, bending back to the task. "One of them called the other Abrah."

Malek swore and tried to sit up, pushing her back. "Stop that," he said, brushing her hands away with a grimace. "We need to get away from here."

"Why?"

"Because we just killed one of my own!"

Ace just stared at him for a moment. "Yes, I know that. I was the one who shoved him overboard."

"It could get us both killed."

She sighed and sat back. "Are you serious? He was trying to kill you!"

"And I grabbed you up because I needed easier cash. We're all demons, all right? Now we're leavi--hnng!" He dropped and placed a clenched fist on his ribs. There came voices rounding nearby.

I heard the noise from down here!

There was screaming and shouting!

Oh my lord, what if someone's hurt?!


Malek gripped Ace by the shoulder and stared at her with wild golden eyes. "Get us out of here and you will know every goddamn thing you want down to the things only God knows about." And he struggled to his feet, and he staggered, and picked up one of the loose pieces of railing ot use as a walking cane.

Ace scrambled to her feet and followed after him, stopping briefly to grab the duffle bag. "You had better make good on that promise, Desert Hare."

Image


"Why are we breaking back in?" Aracelis held Malek up by one shoulder, the rest of his weight supported on the cane as they walked through the blinking-dark hallway.

"Look at these guys, Ace," he whispered back. "Ain't a one of them gonna pick a fight with a lady in waiting and a beat-up Myaran she's escorting to her quarters." He half-grinned. "Such a merciful lady you are. Might deserve a new dress for this."

"As much as you deserve bandages and rum." Aracelis turned him as they passed the HexTech workers and entered their cabin from before where the rest of Malek's clothes were still splayed on the floor, same for Aracelis' on the bed where she laid him down. "Now don't move or you may literally drop your spleen." She paused, listening for the workers. "I can't hear them and their drills, they can't hear me...or your screaming."

"Screaming...?"

She whipped a bottle of rum from the dry bar and doused a line of her dress in the liquor, immediately scrubbing it through the deep cut on his ribs. It elicited a mighty roar from the jackal.

When she was through, she blew gusts of air through each cut, making them shine. "How much energy do you have left?"

"Between zero and fuck off." He looked up. "Why?"

"You're still bleeding. Firebenders cauterize. I'm sure you know that."

"I know that."

"So man up and flame on, Malek," she cut.

"Throw me an apple, Ace." He waited. "Ace?"

"There's so much of your burning blood on this dress, it looks like I just slaughtered a village of Volcanic Piglets." She was looking at other dresses before she found a black, form-fitting one she adored. "Right, apples. Apples?"

"Firebender. High metabolism. Bad guy at the party. Do you really want me like this at the party?"

She groaned and tossed him three apples, which he downed in two bites each, core included. "Now...your wounds."

He motioned for her to join him on the bed. When she sat down, he took her hand and placed it at the base of the cut at his hips. The intensity of his body heat was nearly breathtaking. "I can't see them," he whispered, drowsy. "Guide my hand - I promise you won't be burned."

"I better not be," she muttered, and began to guide his hands over the cuts. His hand grew almost unbearale hot and a slow, steady trickle of flames appeared--but otherwise she was, indeed, unharmed. As their hands slowly moved, as his chest heaved, she placed a hand on his head and rolled back his hair. "You were an absolute fool to try and deal with that lunatic alone."

"That's how I am, and it's worked so far."

"And what would Abrah do without her big brother?" He fell silent. "I showed up the moment you surrendered your soul to defeat and snatched you from death." The wound was closed. "And yet you scold me for saving you." She stood and dropped his hand, turning away as her dress dropped to the floor.

"You don't understand how much danger you were in."

As she worked the black dress over her hips, she turned back. "This is coming from the man nearly impaled beneath a ship! By a drug dealer no less! What choice did I have?! To crack the whip on the murderer or watch the death of someone I've come to--" She stopped herself short, crossing her arms. "You're insufferable."

Malek slowly sat up on the bed. "And you're ignorant. If a Myaran kills a Myaran, we bury the body and pay respects. But if an outsider kills a Myaran, there is no fire in hell that burns hot enough to erase your sin."

Ace's face slowly diminished in demeanor, and she swallowed slowly. There was a long, agonized, dreadful silence between them before she whispered.

"Then mark me as a sinner and move on. He's not the first person I've had to kill."

She left for the bathroom as Malek stared after her, and when she returned, he was standing with his back turned to her.

"What are you doing?"

"Can you read it?"

"Read what?"

He held a flame up from his hand just bright enough to illuminate the markings on his back, all in Myaran tongue. "These are not the names of the people I've killed, Aracelis. Those markings would cover my entire body. This is a reminder that I killed a man who left behind two starving children with no one to call mother, father, or brother."

The flame went out.

"That is the mark of sin."

"Alright," she said slowly, looking a little pale. She took a step closer, fingers hovering over his back. "Did you do these to yourself?"

"The demon's name doesn't matter once the flames begin." His arms crossed in front of him, almost like...like he was hugging himself. "His name was Kafele, the man you killed; and he was a rat working for an insurgent aboard the Leviathan. So far I know his face and a name...which could be fake. He approached me before I met you, Aracelis. He asked for victory, and conceded death in the process. His skin was unbearably hot--to where I couldn't imagine his power." He shook his head as he turned around. "The gala will be a bloodbath, Ace. You shouldn't go."

She snorted. "Please," she scoffed, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "As if I would miss the opportunity of a gala. And you still own me a dance, jackal." Ace sighed, giving him a stern look. "I came here for adventure, Malek. A little bloodbath and a crazy insurgent won't stop me."
"I bow to ChildOfNowhere, my one and only master."


"No one screws Yamcha but life!" - Bulma, DBZ Abridged.





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Halona set her hands on her hips, squinting at the Norrat now affectionately nestled within Gora's arms. "So... Boro, then?"

"I think it's fitting." Gora combed a hand through its matted hair. "So you think this little guy is causing the outages on this ship?"

Halona shrugged. "Him, and others like him. Frankly it's the only thing I can think of. He's kinda... growing on me."

"He's only dangerous if you think he is." Gora frowned. "So, if there are more of these darlin's on this ship, the big question is how they got onto the ship? Because," she ruffled Bora's hair, "there are still power outages all over the ship. Resident quarters, refugee bunks, parts of the barracks. We're still working on putting the final touches for the ball. That should've been done days ago."

"So, we're behind schedule then." Halona grinned. "Gives us a challenge! I do believe there are more Norrats out there. We need to round them up if we stand a chance against these outages."

Gora scoffed. "Darlin', 'behind schedule' is putting it lightly. If we don't figure out the solution to this problem, these outages will put too much strain on the hub. And that's never a good thing when there's hundreds of people on this ship, depending on it. Everyone's working overtime to get it done."

"I suppose I could help, and maybe Ace and Malek can do the same --Ace? Malek?" Halona swiveled to emptiness behind her, and a distinct lack of the two there. "I think I can get some people to help... if I can find them."

"Ohhhh no you don't." Gora steered her in the other direction, past, around, and underneath pipes and burning hot engines to a group of five engineers. "These are the heads of their departments. I'd like you to teach them everything regarding Norrats. Their movements, their nesting habits, what they like to feast on. Everything." Gora nudged Boro to her shoulder and strapped on her goggles, a grin plastered on her face. "Oh, and make it quick. We're on a timeline here!"

Image


A dozen-or-so minutes --and many almost-hair-pulling moments-- later, Halona separated from the group and headed back to Gora, who found herself shoulders deep underneath a broken down engine. Halona smiled and nudged her leg. "They're trained and ready to go. Soo... where do you need me the most?"

Gora scooted out from the engine, panting at the effort. "Well hun, I actually do need something with your... expertise. And by expertise, I mean you're kinda the only person that's not swamped with work right now."

Halona chuckled at the thought. "At least you're honest, Gora. So what's the problem."

Gora heaved herself up and picked something out of one of her pockets. "An outage. Well, one of the firsts actually. Maybe you'll be able to find some kind of answer from it."

Halona nodded. "So, going to the beginning, then." Gora flashed a warm smile and knelt back down, inspecting the engine. "Oh, and Halona?"

"Yeah?"

"Don't forget to enjoy the ball. You're a resident on this ship first, and an employee second. Sit back and enjoy life when you can. You won't always get that leisure."

Halona hesitated. "Thanks, Gora. Honestly."

Gora just flashed a knowing smirk and disappeared back underneath the engine.

Image


The hall she was assigned to wasn't very far from the whole Norrat incident. The outages seemed to be fairly random. This one was out, a hallway two floors below and nearly on the other side of the ship was out, and of course the hall where she encountered Ace and Malek was out.

A pale blue light attached to her goggles illuminated a short area in front of her as she inspected the damage. The Hextech lines that supposed to act as both a power transit, light source, and stylish decor to the ship now cracked and seemingly imploded within itself, taking much of the wall with it. A flurry of cracks and lightning spread the wood and metal of the walls, creating an art piece of destruction.

Halona sat down at a burnt control panel and set out all of her tools, sighing. She should have been focusing on the task at hand, but her mind kept wondering to the couple that vanished. Vanishing wasn't quite the right word --no, abandonment sounded better. They abandoned her without even letting her know.

She mentally chided herself. Of course they would leave her after things got boring. She didn't know them; they didn't know her. They were pretty clearly drunk when they followed her antics. Perhaps as the edge wore off, they realized they pretty much went with the plans of a complete stranger.

Even so, she thought as she unfastened the screws on the panel, light now in between her teeth, she thought there was a potential friendship there, just waiting to blossom.

Lifting the second, heavier panel off, Halona set the light down on the inside and reached in, feeling the innards of the cracked Hextech conflux. Cracked, well, wasn't a particularly good word for it. Shattered, or maybe obliterated explained it far better.

Again, her mind drifted. Halona was beginning to wonder if she had formed a crush on the duo that basically shook her life up as soon as she met them. If not them, she very well had a crush on the tiny bit of life they infected her with. They reeked adventure and drama. Halona found herself smiling as she thought of that.

For so long her life had been guided, to put it lightly, by the people she looked up to. First, her family back in Hirvanc, then her mentor/teacher in Dressuin. Her employer in Brythalon. The list could go on. But those two, they gave her something she never really experienced to a large degree before: freedom, and the consequences, both good and bad, of the actions you make on your own.

They certainly didn't act like the typical rich couple she had experienced when working as a bodyguard/escort in Brythalon. Perhaps there was something more to be explored there, if she ever got a chance to meet them again.

No matter their background, Halona mused as she inspected the innard workings of the wall, they awoke something within her that had either been missing or buried deep, deep inside: a thirst for companionship.

It was only after a few moments of a strange feeling on one of her fingers that Halona pulled her hand back into her field of vision to notice a baby Norrat munching away contentedly on her extremities.

"Now where did you come from?" Halona muttered reassuringly, gently removing her glove for the Norrat to continue its chewing. Leaning back in, she scanned the innards more thoroughly. In the corner, nestled snugly between two Hextech pipes, was a compilation of twigs, wood, and metal. A Norrat nest, Halona ventured a guess. Which meant an entire Norrat family resided within these walls.

Halona shuffled out from within the wall and flashed the light over the destroyed parts. These rodents had been here for a long time, long enough to make a nest. "These gentle creatues couldn't cause this..." Halona muttered.

So they were back to square one. Their only lead on the outages and destruction had just been ruled out. "Who knows how long these rats infested this ship." Halona furrowed her eyebrows.

She turned to report the news to Gora immediately --only to run into something incredibly sturdy in front of her.

"Sorry," a gruff voice called out, and nearly caused Halona to jump out of her skin.

Flashing her light revealed a tall man with a stern frown etched into his stubbled face.

"Oh good gracious." Halona bent down and focused on breathing for a moment. "Do-do you know that this place is restricted for civilians? You should not be here; it's quite dangerous."

"From the cracks in the wall or the rodents you were playing with?"

"The walls, uh both, u-uh, look I really do urge you to leave." She glanced past him. "How did you manage to make it down here anyway?"

"Nevermind that. You're Halona, right?"

She squinted at the man. "Yeah, and you are?"

The man coughed. "Corrick."
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Now that Corrick was out of the horrid smell of that greenhouse, he could actually think about the situation at hand. The crowds of mingling and loitering citizens fell away as nothing more than distractions and noise --and as he lingered on the thought, the more he realized that they were taking their true shape, so to speak. So many people with money thinking they have influence so they distract from the real problems. No, the people weren't important in this case; the money was. Money speaks volumes when the people holding it have no personality of their own.

Then again... He thought of the promised small fortune waiting in an abandoned coastal residence for him. Arms-for-hire, the rich locals in Brythalon liked to call him. His way was murder for money --or at least that was what everyone believed.

But not his latest buyer, Corrick mused as he pushed past the thick crowd partaking in the pre-gala events to the stairwell leading below. Confidentiality was always one of Corrick's top priorities with his clients (because if he didn't show them respect for privacy, why would they for him? Many knew his past --or at least a portion of it-- just by looking at his face) but this latest one took extra precautions against Corrick. Not that he blamed the guy --especially after knowing how close Arryn and his buyer was-- but Corrick felt he garnered at least enough of a reputation to get the job done.

Apparently not.

The largest break in trust, for Corrick, was the demand to bring Rana along in this mission. It was "too dangerous" according to him, but Corrick knew Rana was mean to keep an eye, not on the mission, but on Corrick himself. Purely business.

Fuck that.

Corrick halted at an intersection. Two fancy flights of stairs led down to his right and left, probably to more private quarters for the supporters of this ship. Another, more basic sets of stairs led down to the "Electrical Hub" and "Barracks." If Corrick had to guess, judging from her appearance, the woman with the rat and goggles would most likely be heading down the latter.

He started to the Electrical Hub's stairs, but hesitated. The other two were were nicely dressed, prehaps getting ready for the ball later that night. Corrick wouldn't doubt there was a higher chance of them being in the private quarters than in the Barracks or Electrical Hub.

Corrick glanced at the multitude of stairways with a grimace. "Why the fuck does there need to be this many stairs?" he muttered.

The choice was there, and he had to admit, it was tantalizing. He could end this all or play the long game with a stranger. If he did encounter the terrorist Myaran, it'd end up being two benders on one. He didn't know the girl's abilities, but he heard of the man's. It would be a difficult fight one on one, to say the least.

The risks were there --on both sides.

"Fuck it." Corrick took the Electrical Hub stairwell two at a time. As Rana was always quick to remind him since the beginning of the mission, it never hurts business to have a partner. If he was going to go to the ball, he was not going alone. And since the option of having Rana as a date was out of the picture, he needed this stranger.

His thoughts wandered to Rana and Arryn's relationship-but-maybe-not-a-relationship-and-just-business. He never could tell with Rana --or for that matter, Arryn. They were both two different sexes with the same personality, two sides of the same backstabbing, sensual coin.

Then again, it's all just business. Purely business.

He just wanted this job to be over.

He chided himself for the thought. Separating emotion from things like murder was a dangerous path to thread. Letting your emotions rule yourself wasn't any better, though. It was a balance. Always a balance with these situations.

...But this one was starting to wear on him. He never did like having the past meet up with the present. Those situations usually ended in... well, death, for at least one party involved.

Rana always managed to keep it professional, at least in her unique ways. She didn't know the full details of the mission though.

Then again, neither did he. No matter how much persistence, questioning, interrogating, even threatening he attempted in the rat nests of Brythalon and Myar's outer thresholds, he didn't have a clue regarding the Myaran man he was hunting, besides the fact that he elluded anyone who tried going after him, even the best of hunters.

Corrick's thoughts quieted down as he reached his destination: The Electrical Hub, an --albeit kind of rough-- almagamation of Hextech energy, metal, and heat. As he dodged a pipe, just to run into a vent opening wider than him that stood past his hip, he realized just how rough this combination was.

Although cluttered and cramped with machinery, pipes, and vents, the so-called hub was... well, deserted. Corrick rubbed the now probably bruised shin as he ducked under a plethora of connected Hextech veins.

It would make sense that not many people be there, as they were most likely dealing with the mess of power outages riddling the ship. However, he saw them come down this way not that long ago.

Corrick scooted around a bustling engine and backed up from it, attempting to dodge various other concoctions of technology.

"How the hell does anyone know where they're going in he--" his forehead rammed into a thick glass pipe, quickly interrupting any coherent speech or thoughts.

"Gods, fuck, owwwww." Corrick ducked under the pipe.

"Now what did that pipe ever do to you?" A woman popped out from a vent in front of him, causing him to jump back... and hit the pipe again.

"Fuck, who are you?" Corrick asked, now cradling both sides of his head.

The woman peered at him inquisitively. "I could ask you the same thing. In fact, I probably should." After a moment, she held out a grimy hand. "The name's Gora. I run this place."

Corrick shook it. "I'm Corrick."

"You got a last name, Corrick?

Corrick grimaced more than usual. "If you don't, I don't."

Gora chuckled. "Fair enough, Corrick no-last-name. What can I do you for?"

Corrick coughed and leaned on a metal... something. He ran out of names for these things. "I'm looking for someone, and I believe she might've gone through here."

Gora shrugged her head. "Well, a lot of people come through this place. It's pretty popular. You got a description?"

Corrick grimaced. "Red hair, large goggles. Was carrying some kind of rat."

"Ah, that girl, yes." Gora reached back down into the vent and pulled out a wrench. "May I ask why you're looking for--" She gestured to him, expecting him to continue.

"Uhhh..." he managed, stumbling over his words.

"Sooooo you're looking for her and you don't even know her name." Gora smirked as she crossed her arms. "Sounds mighty suspicious if you ask me."

"I didn't ask you."

"No, but you asked me her whereabouts --and apparently her name, now, too."

"Look, lady--"

"Gora."

"--Fine, Gora--"

"And Boro." She pulled a huge rat from the vent.

"What?! Look, I-I'm trying to ask her to the ball, okay?"

Gora crossed her arms, the rat --Boro-- now nesting comfortably between them. "You are a terrible liar, Mr. No-last-name."

Corrick growled out of frustration. "I am not lying."

"Then you're withholding the truth. Makes no difference to me." She raised an eyebrow. "What do you really want from her?"

Corrick sighed, a headache beginning to form, either from ramming his head into pipes or from this annoying woman and her rat. Possibly a mixture. "All you need to know is that she's important to this ship having a successful maiden voyage. So, I need to get to her, and soon."

Gora studies him for a few seconds. "Very well then. Keep going that way," she points to her left, "until you find a hallway. Take it. She'll be the first and only light you see in there. Goood luck."

Corrick muttred out a "thanks" and passed under a pipe, following her directions.

Before he moved too far, Gora shouted, "By the way, Corrick. Her name's Halona. Don't walk all over yourself like you did with me."

Image


Now Corrick found himself face to face with the woman he was tracking down, and she was blinding. Blinding him, with that stupid torch of hers.

"Could you stop flashing my eyes with that for a moment?" He straightened his shirt and exhaled slowly. "I'm Corrick, nice to meet you."

She blinked twice, glancing past him again. "You did already tell me that, right? Or did I hit my head and suddenly become able to predict the future." She chuckled at the joke. "Anyway, Corrick, boyo boy were you lucky that I wasn't armed." She glanced behind her. "Well, at the moment at least."

"Yes, I'm sure, anyway--"

"Yeah, back home I was known for freezing men who tried to come onto me too hard." She giggled. "But anywho, I'm rambling because that's something I tend to do when I'm nervous." She grasped his elbow in a traditional Hirvanc salutations and shook it firmly, all the while turning them to switch positions. In one quick moment, Corrick found himself staring at the dimly lit shadow of a retreating Halona.

He shook out of the daze and sprinted after her. As he caught up to her fast pace, he muttered, "Halona, wait. I was going to ask you something."

She gestured nonchalantly. "You can ask on the way, I need to relay very important information."

"Oh, uh okay. Well, I was wondering--"

"Yeah?"

"If... you would like to be my date to the gala?"

She halted.

"Yooou know my story about freezing boys wasn't a joke, right?"

Corrick backed up a bit. "I do now. But, please, hear me out."

"But I barely know you."

"I know, but--"

"Why in the world would I want to go to the ball with a stranger?"

"Well, if you jus-"

"You know, if this is your way of trying to woo girls, you're going about it sooo-ho-hooo wrong. I'm not even that picky."

"Okay!" Corrick sighed. "Just... let me explain for a moment."

She put a hand on her hip, but was silent. Corrick took that as a go-ahead. "No, I don't know you, but I have seen you before. With two others, a Dressuin girl and a Myaran man."

"Have you been spying on me?"

"No, no, but I have been looking for those you were with. When you went galavanting off with them, I saw that. Look, those people are not good people. That man is wanted, and you were with them right after a part of the ship's power fell."

"Are you trying to threaten me?" she scofffed.

"No, but I am warning you. Come to the ball with me and help me keep an eye out for them. No doubt, with how they were dressed, that they're going to the gala."

"And why would I do that? I know them better than I know you."

Corrick frowned, this time a sympathetic one. "Do you know them as well as I do, though? Are you just fine with the fact that they're murderers and a danger to this ship and everyone on it?"

She faltered. "No."

"Look." He put a card that held his room number in her hands and folded them over it." Think about the offer. But not too long. I wouldn't want the both of us to miss this party tonight." He set off back into the faint light of the Electrical Hub, but stopped. "Oh, and Halona? I would like to see you there. This isn't forcing you to do anything. You have your own actions, and you deal with your own consequences."

With that, he left her in the unlit corridor.
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Formerly Kirkiln





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Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:48 pm
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Lumi says...



Fire flickered around the two in the penthouse and gave a warm glow to them facing each other lying on the bed, apples rolled between them.

"You sure you don't want one?" He held up an apple and met her gaze with flickering golden eyes. "The rest of our story will be full of the worst of tragedies."

Image


"And I came home. She was on the floor, and Ahmed was attempting to clean the dirt from her wounds. But it was clear from the attacker's strikes that it was a blunt weapon - something that, for a child, is alien to the rogues in the slums." He bit down the center of the apple and laid his forehead against Ace's, eyes closed, swallowing. "It was a warning shot from someone in The Gardens, and it came with our tickets for the Leviathan."

"She looked so flawless when I saw her, Malek. How did she heal in such a short time?"

Malek hesitated before he ran weak fingers down Ace's arm, shaking his head. "She didn't," he whispered. "Where we were, where we are, there's no miracle healer. I cauterized the bleeding, but she'll be scarred for life."

Ace scoffed. "You don't have much place to talk about that right now. You're basically a ragdoll, and you're planning to face someone whose name you can't even speak without fear."

"That's unkind of you," he growled, flitting from the bed. "I can show you that I'm ready for him. I have tricks you haven't seen. Maneuvers you won't understand."

Ace stood up and air-blasted an apple into his gut wound, doubling him over. "Then fight me."

"The fuck, Ace?!" he spat.

"I refuse to allow your idiotic testosterone pride to send you to your death after the shit we've gone through in the past 24 hours. So either nut up and fight me or find the next window to hop out of because I'm done coddling a suicide mission." She retrieved her whip, her breath heavy. "I won't stand by and watch you die, Malek."

Malek grabbed his daggers with his head down and nodded as Ace blew the furniture up into the corners with a gust of wind. He lunged.

Ace cracked her whip into his side and broke him into the wall, knives dropping to the floor. He retaliated with a fireball - too slow - which she dodged by stepping to the left. Her whip wound around his neck and brought him in close where she got a chokehold on his throat. "Dead in three moves. I can't let you do this."

He pushed himself away and landed on his ass on the floor. "I don't understand," he whispered. "I don't understand why I'm suddenly so weak. In Myar, I was unstoppable."

Ace sat down beside him on the floor and took up an apple. "In Myar, you had Akar and Kafele. You had allies. And from what I've seen of you so far, Malek, you've been trying to do everything you do here alone." She took a bite of the apple. "Stop leaving me out."

They sat against the wall for the longest time, Ace recounting stories from Dressuin where others had fallen just like Malek: alone and refusing help...until the door shook open against Malek's makeshift locks.

"You two need to l-let me in...in the name of th-the law!"

Malek looked to Ace, who looked back at him.

"Wall," called Malek weakly, "I didn't take you for the law enforcement type."

She stumbled in, ducking under a razor wire. Panting slightly, Halona brushed her work clothes down and shook her head as she found the two against the wall. "Some real...mess...is going down on this sky boat, guys.

Malek pointed to the gaping, cauterized wounds on his abs and ribs. "Victim Number One, pleased to meet you."

Halona but a hand to her mouth but shook her head. "No...no. He said. No, we have to get you patched up!"

The two looked at the waterbender like she'd failed to speak Common. Ace piped up: "You can heal?"

Halona nodded while already dismantling the carbine of her handgun. "It takes a lot of prep work but...yes. I mean, it takes a lot of work, period, but yes."

"Why should I trust you if you just accused me of being--"

"Malek," cut Aracelis, "she's going to help you. Her breathing is steady and she shows no signs of lying." Her eyes narrowed. "Someone is after Malek?"

Halona nodded, brushing hair from her face as she worked on her gun. She took a deep breath. "I don't even know the man--well not really--but the risks he talked about were so high that I just couldn't. I couldn't stand by and let these horrible things happen."

Malek nodded. "I know the man he's likely after." With help from Ace, he stood and explained his encounters to Halona.

Image


"Nadir. His name sends chills down my spine." Halona cautiously approached Malek before holding his shoulders in an embrace. "I shouldn't have doubled you. Either of you." She looked down at the gashes in Malek's musculature. "But there are two things. One, I am going to the ball with the man who is hunting you, and while I believe you, I do not believe he will be as easily swayed." She put a hand on her forehead. "And two, I'm also afraid I'm going to have to hurt you to help you."

Malek nodded, and when Halona made for the bathroom, he followed.

"If there are more wounds below the belt, you'll need to--"

"Got it," he mumbled, stripping as he staggered past her. In the mirrors of the bathroom, his full body exposed, for the first time he saw how badly his body really was damaged from Kafele's attack.

"Making incisions in the major wounds for the HexTech crystals." Small sawblades of water circled her forefingers as she inserted tiny jewels into his skin, bringing his face to a blood red. "These will act as catalysts for the healing procedure...at least, they normally do. Some bodies just don't take to them, like non-benders. Some people are just harder to help, I suppose."

Malek nodded. "I could qualify."

"You could qualify, yes. Just look at the blood at your feet." Ace crossed her arms as she entered the bathroom.

"Malek, stand in the shower basin, hold onto something. The water will start lukewarm and just become hotter and hotter, but it's just. It's healing, okay?"

He did so, grabbing hold of the shower rod and facing the two of them with tired eyes. "As long as it's not cold, I'm fine."

"And here I thought you didn't have hot water in Lower Myar."

"Folks on my block sure as hell did."

Halona, realizing his meaning, slowly nodded, then turned on the shower. The water hit his body and quickly became steam as his pain turned to anger, anger into heat, and heat into fire around him.

"Suppress that, crybaby." Ace's eyes wandered over his wounds between patches of steam as the water grew hotter and hotter still--and before long, with Malek's teeth clenched and eyes shut tight, hanging threads of muscle began to stitch back together, loose skin began to stretch from their dead ends into taut, connected life.

As his groans and screams came, his wounds vanished, and the shower rod shattered in his hands, heated to its breaking point.

The water stopped. Malek panted. his hair stuck to his face and eyes, but his hands moved over his body to feel no wrongs--before he fell to his knees in the shower basin, his aura a brighter, fiery shade of red than before.

"The crystals are still energizing you, but I have to admit, I--I've never seen recovery like that."

Ace nodded and turned her back before stepping from the room. "This will be an interesting story for your boyfriend, Halona! 'Honey I Healed The Enemy.' I can see the reviews already: all the way from riotous applause from Malek to a great hand-slap from the strange new man." She scoffed. "Just be ready to smack him back twice as hard."

Malek scoffed from the tub. "You two realize, if this man intends to interfere with my stopping Nadir, I won't hesitate to cut him down where he stands...right?"

There was quiet from both women.

"Ace? Halona?"

"You know...Nadir was so sure Kafele could handle you--but you're basically a phoenix, aren't you?"

Malek rose from the tub and stepped out of the bathroom, head turned to see a masked Nadiri Agent holding Ace at Dagger's Edge by her throat. Halona shook, holding a now-useless gun in his direction.

"I just seem to be more effective than a web of spiders. Something about relying on others to help off my prey."

He growled. "I knew Kafele was great enough to take you down! You worthless, traitorous snake!" He lunged at Malek only to be blown off balance by Aracelis, where he landed on a pair of knives grabbed by Malek. He leaned in close to his face.

"You listen close so you can tell all your comrades in hell: Myar spits on you and all you stand for."

And he dropped him to the floor, the body convulsing with a lack of oxygen. Halona dropped her gun and backed away as Malek began to pillage the body for useful armor and weapons. "You were telling the truth...you were...you were telling the whole truth!"

Ace sighed. "Malek is an asshole, Halona, but he's not a liar."

As Malek pulled on his new leggings and boots, he readied his clothes for the ball. "It's time to end this shite once and for godsdamned all."
I am a forest fire and an ocean, and I will burn you just as much
as I will drown everything you have inside.
-Shinji Moon


I am the property of Rydia, please return me to her ship.








He who knows only his own generation remains forever a child.
— Cicero