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Aether



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Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:43 pm
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Lumi says...



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keep your eyes low, anberlin,
lest the moon shiver your sight away.

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You were an operative for Anberlin Calloway's defense law firm: muscle or brains to make the operation move like an exotic dancer. This was in a lofty office building. This was in the grand capital city, Lemuria. This was on the blessed continent of Mu, the shining united republic in the sea.

This is not your story. Flash time to now, when the Calloway Law Firm has been...dissolved. You are afraid, for something wicked is awakening; and your group of former comrades are scattered across the calamity-stricken capital. What hope is there for the sinking city of Lemuria? What hope is there for you?

Our story begins as she contacts you with a new job: a mission--save Lemuria.

o.1 your aether

There are three channels of Aether: Black, Red, and White. You are attuned to one of these channels.

o.1i black aether

Black Aether may be channeled through swords, knives, scythes, and machinery.

♦ Black Swords will evoke The Dark Knight, a greatsword-wielding soul sapper who may use his own aether to drain the life from his victim.

♦ Black Knives will evoke the Mesmer, who may manipulate the mind of her foe with illusions to allow for deadly melee attacks.

♦ Black Scythes invoke the soul of the Necromancer, who commands the dead and the departed souls to do her bidding.

♦ Black Machinery will evoke the Apothecary, whose concoctions and tonics enfeeble and bolster enemies and allies.

o.1ii red aether

Red Aether may be channeled through swords, knives, staves, machinery, as well as cesti.

♦ Red Swords evoke the soul of the Berserker, who is a dual-wielding swordsman whose power relies on taking damage and dealing it to keep himself alive through adrenaline.

♦ Red Knives evoke the soul of the Vagrant, who is a nimble and masterful bladedancer. This master at arms is hard to hit and hits hard, so caution is advised.

♦ Red Staves evoke the soul of the Summoner, a powerful mage who wields elemental magics to eliminate and bind her foes.

♦ Red Machinery evokes the soul of the Machinist, a gadgeteer who is masterful with gunworks and bombing. The Machinist should not be considered one-trick, however, as his gadgets are quick to turn to artillery.

♦ Red Cesti evoke the soul of the Monk, a melee healer who gathers energy to assuage injuries through attacking enemies. They are masters of the energies within the chakra, and at great heights may awaken hidden potential in allies.

o.1iii white aether

White Aether may be channeled through swords, staves, and cesti.

♦ White Swords evoke the soul of the Templar, a shining knight who wil defend her allies and aid the injured in combat through the flow of White Aether. Wields a sword and shield.

♦ White Staves evoke the soul of the Astrologian, who wields White Aether for her allies and against her foes to control the hands of fate. Predominantly skilled in the healing arts, the Astrologian is alternatively known as the Medium for her ability to predict strategem through arcanum.

♦ White Cesti evoke the soul of the druid, a master shapeshifter who is at one with nature. There is no doubt that her power stems from the wild itself, and there are boundless speculations on the confines of her abilities to shapeshift into fauna.

o.2 your body, mind, and spirit (and livelihood)

Anberlin Calloway's legal team consisted of no more than six members. You were one of those six. That was your life. This is your file. Perhaps you have read it, or perhaps you have not. After all, she has made notes on you over the years. Maybe it would be best not to allow the calamity to water-damage this, however it is you feel.

Code: Select all
Anberlin Calloway, Esq
1409 Angara Fairway Apt 30φ
Judiciary District, Lemuria

This is your file to be given with your severance pay. As stated in my missive, you hold my regrets for your sudden unemployment; however, I will not bear shame for upholding my law firm. Perhaps we will meet again if the need arises. I believe I would enjoy that.

[djm]Name: [/djm]
[djm]Age:[/djm] 25-33
[djm]Gender:[/djm]
[djm]Aether Attunement:[/djm] Black, Red, or White
[djm]Starting Weapon:[/djm] Your weapon of choice in our introduction.

[djm]Appearance & Habits[/djm]
Answer here, and include notes such as your sub-species if you are an anthropomorphic human.

[djm]Personality & Traits[/djm]
If you wish to list any tropes, they would go here.

[djm]Why Do You Wish to Work For Calloway Law?[/djm]
You find this page of your job application stapled to your file. I wonder if it remains true.



o.3 the law as you knew it

1. Third person
2. Past tense
3. No backwards writing
4. Use the DT and your fellow cast members abundantly.


o.4 the ones who suffer, those yet to come

@Lumi
@AstralHunter
@TheSilverFox
@Sheyren
† @Tortwag
† @Nikayla

@Jagged@Caesar
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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Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:04 am
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TheSilverFox says...



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"That is that."

"That went poorly."

"You know that it isn't your fault."

"If I ever believed that, I would not have been standing beside you."

Dressed in his finest and standing tall, a bitter Brayel was considering in what ways he could bribe, extort, or murder the orchestrators behind this kangaroo trial as he walked down the marble steps of the grand courthouse of Lemuria. The crowd parted, though mainly for the sake of the lady walking beside him; she, in turn, parted his thoughts with a glance and a frown, breaking his concentration. Word had spread of this unfortunate event, and so had the rumors and questions.

It was true that he feared her. He had once thought of her as an obstacle on his path to success and wealth, a boss that he could push and usurp. In response, she had so thoroughly destroyed him as to cost him half of his funds, several guns (surrendered to the authorities), and his almost being arrested. Brayel had not dared step in her path since, though his fear had soon been accompanied by a deep sense of respect and admiration for someone so powerful.

In the future, he would wish that, at this moment, she had been but a tad stronger. They reached the bottom of the steps without confidence or energy, spirits dulled by the recent deposition and the unusually hot weather (winter having only officially passed a couple of weeks ago). Still, they retained their straight postures and blank expressions until one man in the crowd, wearing a wide-brimmed fedora that hid most of their face, a classy white suit with a not-so-classy clip-on tie that looked miserable in the hot weather, and surprisingly thick arms lifted from pockets, refused to walk away. As they approached, Brayel saw, from the corner of his eye, Anberlin stare at the stranger in confusion, as though they were eerily familiar.

The strange individual took a wide stance when they were a couple of paces from him, causing them to stop. Brayel attempted to move to the right, but the person leaned in that direction, blocking him. Frustrated, the fox stood back, reaching for the leather cover of the pistol attached to his belt and hidden behind his shirt. He hesitated. There were now several others, distinguished by their large hats and white suits, visible at the intersection of streets that marked the front of the court. Four beside lampposts, two by dark alleys, and assorted others by the wide iron fence, the imposing fountains, and the gardens within the court's land. They were now surrounded.

"If you would kindly come with me," said the stranger in a graveley voice, reaching a hand out to Anberlin. "I think there is something we need to talk about."

Confused for only a second longer, realization struck her. "Get your gun," she whispered to Brayel in a deadly calm voice, between gritted teeth. "The law isn't going to matter soon."

His only question answered, the fox pulled the gun out of its holster as Anberlin stepped in front of him. "Now, why don't you talk to this," she said to the stranger before punching him in the face. In the seconds before he could react, she managed to yank out several smoke bombs from her pocket, throwing them harshly upon the ground.

Both had only just as much effect as was needed. Anberlin grabbed Brayel's hand and began to sprint down the walkway towards the street as the stranger staggered back, surprised by the unexpected, if ineffective, blow, and was overwhelmed by smoke. Gunshots and screaming rang out as the attackers pulled out guns of their own and began to fire, shooting through carriages (horseless or otherwise) and leaving people scattering in terror. Brayel himself began to take aim, bothered by the rush of the wind and the smoke cloud around him, as well as apparent instability of the ground at his feet. It wasn't long before he realized the latter wasn't in his head.

Were it not for the ground beginning to quake, the assassins might've been easily able to dispatch the duo as soon as they began to run out into the open. However, as though the gods had chosen to grant them a small reprieve (or, perhaps, damn them in the long run), the street and sidewalk began to quiver and shatter. The white suits collapsed or lost their footing, some misfiring their guns or aiming into the sky. Anberlin and Brayel leaped over a segment of rising ground to escape onto the street, hearing the loud footsteps of the stranger and his allies angrily pursuing them. It was simplicity to stop, aim the pistol up, and shoot the first man to leap over them. He collapsed in a bloody heap on the mostly abandoned street.

As the dead man's accomplices followed, Brayel prepared another shot. Anberlin, however, viewed the lack of cover on the wrecked roads - save for a few flimsy carriages - and swore under her breath. A few seconds later, they were back to running again, she creating a series of false images of the two wherever they stepped. Looking behind him, the fox could see the stranger roaring in anger, pulling out an impressively large gun and pursuing them with somebody on either side of him, all trying to shoot through the copies and aim for the real ones, with little sucess. Between all the smoke, the challenge of running across shaky earth, and the fires that were beginning to appear all about them, it was a miracle that anyone was able to keep moving. As it stood, many of the other attackers had fallen over or met a grisly fate at the hands of weakening buildings and pushed cars.

Nevertheless, they all kept at it. Anberlin guided Brayel as he turned around and aimed for the stranger. One shot. It hit the person to the right, causing them to drop into a growing chasm on the road. Flustered by this, as the ground had stopped shaking only a few moments before, Brayel tried to fire once again at the stranger. An afterquake then took hold of the landscape, leading the bullet to dispatch the other companion, who crumbled in a pitiful heap. The stranger bellowed in rage and persisted, growing a bit closer with each step. Now legitimately frightened, Brayel was quite happy when a lamppost fell down in a cloud of smoke and dust, blocking the road in front of the pursuer. Within a few seconds, the dust had passed, and the man was nowhere to be seen. The fox breathed a sigh of relief.

"I've stopped him. For now," he said, adding the last part with a hint of dread and bitterness. Seeing no one else following them, Brayel turned around, only to find Anberlin raising her free hand outwards and creating a cloud of fog. As the wielder, she was more than capable of seeing through the mist and picking a route of her choosing. All he could see, however, was the cracks in the road that they were running around. Fires provided distant lights, their flickering mingling with the distant sounds of bells, sirens, and screaming.

By now, he hadn't the slightest clue of what she was doing. They were heading in what he remembered to be the general area of the docks, but she didn't seem to be in a mood to explain anything to him. Naturally, that was but the tip of the iceberg of his confusion. Questions billowed in his head: Who were they? What did they want from her? Why did she recognize them? Would they stop? Would the earthquakes stop? Unfortunately, none of those questions even neared his vocal chords. If she wanted him to know, she would have told him already. If it was best for him not to know, she would not tell him. Her presence all but assured that he could ask no questions unless she specifically allowed for it. As such, they proceeded in silence, or as much as was possible in the middle of a collapsing city.

They didn't make it far. In only a minute or two, a light appeared ahead of them. Anberlin seemed to recognize it, as she made to slow down and turn around, shouting something in the din that sounded like "no!". However, making itself out to be fire, it expanded rapidly in their direction, destroying the mist that it touched. The earth shook violently beneath them, sprouting chunks of earth that latched onto their legs. Falling first, Brayel felt the ground on his legs shift form until they resembled cuffs. As he landed, pieces of cobblestone jumped from their positions and did the same to his arms, leaving him thoroughly helpless, his gun clattering onto the ground.

Flames shot over their heads, destroying the last of their disguise. The fox turned his head to the right, watching as Anberlin futility tried to wrench herself free from her bindings, looking infuriated. And then, without provocation, he found himself struck in the face by a polished shoe, causing him to reel back in pain. Eye twitching in rage, he was able to see the silhouetted figure of the stranger looming over him, holding Brayel's pistol. They flashed a smile, raising the pistol into the air.

He only had time to hear Anberlin ask, "Decker...?" before he was hit in the head by the back of the pistol and passed out.


******



Brayel awoke to the smell of the sea.

Or, that was his third sensation. The first was a raging headache; the second was pulling up his hands to his head, only to find them cuffed to the wall.

"Good day."

After a minute's adjusting, the fox could see the impression of somebody through a slit on the locked door in the cell. Other than that, there wasn't much else to see. The walls were made of dark, rusting iron, with virtually zero accomodations beyond the hard metal seat he was resting upon and the holes in the wall to which he was attached. Earthquakes had taken a number on the entire structure, warping and distorting parts of it. For the most part, however it still remained intact, save for the small grate at one corner where sea water occasionally poured in. The floor had an inch of it.

"Stupid way to kill me," Brayel remarked angrily, still dealing with the pain emanating from his head. Spots danced in front of his eyes.

The voice was distorted by the walls, but sounded fairly feminine. "If she complies, you won't have to die."

The fox laughed. Another wave of water poured in as he said, "Then may she do the right thing and get rid of me."

"Presumptuous, aren't you?"

He thought for a few seconds. "You've clearly captured both her and me, am holding me hostage and using me as a ransom so she might do whatever it is you want, she doesn't seem to trust you people, you have me stuck in a room where I can drown or starve slowly and..." he looked down. "I'm not wearing a shirt. Possibly not anything else."

"You were wearing body armor under your suit. Clever, though totally pointless. We just wanted to make sure that, if she says no, it would be simplicity to walk in there and kill you before you take a breath. I thought you knew all about good people who, by circumstance, do terrible things?"

Brayel growled in fury, causing his head to respond in turn. "If I knew anything about you..." he said, fighting through the pain.

"Oh, of course she would never tell you. Well, no need to worry, because there are bigger monsters out there. We're fighting them. So should you. And believe me, you'll be safe here."

"What makes you so sure?" spat Brayel. "And what makes you think I won't go after your monstrosities first?"

"Because you're willing to die for her sake. We believe she is willing to do the same for you. When she is told the stakes of the game, she'll have to work with us, and you'll come crawling to her. Believe me, she won't get away from us this time."
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
a persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma per ciò che giammai di questo fondo
non tornò vivo alcun, s'i' odo il vero,
senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

Inferno, Canto 27, l 61-66.





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Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:39 pm
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AstralHunter says...



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"Godsforsaken" - a misleading adjective. A regular person might have thought it indicated a remote or desolate location. In all fairness, it did. A regular person might also have thought it indicated a wretched or abandoned location. In further fairness, it indicated that too. But Sephtis and his mentor weren't regular people. They understood the fuller meaning of the word: even gods deemed certain sites too dangerous to explore.

It therefore spoke volumes that the two of them so nonchalantly traversed the forbidden sands of Redwind. Were it not for the scythes in their hands, they might have been considered foolish; instead, foolish and impertinent was more likely. Such was the way of necromancers.

Yet only one of them moved without hesitation. Being a golden wolf, not a jackal, Sephtis' profiency in necromancy was not inherited, but acquired - and recently, at that. Unlike Meirion, he still possessed his reservation towards dying. Unlike Meirion, he knew his place in the natural order.

Of course, that meant not questioning the divine will, and if the Mistress of Fate had ordained that he must follow Meirion wherever the man led, so be it. With any luck, the artefact known as Tomos tou Psithyros - the Tome of Whispers - would elude them, just as it had eluded their predecessors.

Meirion raised his hand in a halting gesture. "Here."

They stopped atop a reasonably tall dune, where their surroundings could be surveyed under the light of the full moon. Sephtis looked to his mentor, his silver hair and waxy skin providing a stark contrast to his sooty robes.

"Do you see it?"

The man scowled. "What we seek cannot be perceived with the mundane senses. You should know that."

Sephtis bowed his head slightly. "Apologies."

Meirion turned around, producing a dagger and slicing his palm in one fluid motion. He watched with limited interest as his blood dripped onto the sand. After about five drops, he pulled a cloth from inside his cloak, first using it to clean the dagger's blade and then pressing it to the cut.

"The blood of another is required."

The wolf obliged, pressing his thumb against the toe of his scythe and causing blood to gather there. He pulled away, allowing it to drop. Like a silken veil pulled by an unseen force, the sands receded, revealing a narrow stairway leading into the bowels of the earth.

"The desert is an ever-shifting landscape," Sephtis stated. "This dune would not have been here next week. How, then, could the entrance have been located here?"

Meirion smirked. "You begin to realise the predicament faced by all those who have come before us." He stepped forward and descended, gesturing for his apprentice to follow.

Despite leaving the moonlight behind, Sephtis was surprised to discover the way ahead as illuminated as the sky above. The light came from nowhere and everywhere. It unnerved him. He touched the walls to ensure they weren't illusionary and met solid stone.

The seemingly endless reached its end as the staircase levelled out and brought them to a rectangular chamber with dimensions fifteen metres by nine. Four miniature staircases, one from each side of the room, led to a dais in the centre of the room. Upon the dais rested an unembellished altar. Upon that, the tome.

True to its name, the Tome of Whispers called to them, breathing words beyond their understanding. Sephtis resisted their summons - their knowledge wasn't his to claim.

As if afraid it would flee at the slightest provocation, Meirion approached slowly, cooing at the ancient volume. Once at the tome, he gingerly caressed a page and tilted his head sideways, resembling an individual leaning in towards the seductive promises of their lover. If so, decades of courtship had finally seen him triumph.

"At the risk of sounding hasty," Sephtis said, "I recommend we take the tome and leave before anything unexpected occurs."

Meirion's trance broke. "We?"

"I meant no disrespect. My only desire is to see you achieve your life's aspiration."

"And so I have. Yet an unexpected occurrence has already arisen."

Sephtis tensed. By the time he had met the necromancer and entered his service, the man had already driven himself near to madness with his obsessive research. Over the course of the past six months, he had experienced more than one paranoid outburst. Meirion would accuse him of sabotage, jealousy, resentment and the like, often threatening violence. Defusing the situation had required all of Sephtis' tact and patience each time. He wondered if perhaps his mentor had finally passed the threshold of sanity.

"What do you mean?" he asked cautiously.

"Come closer. What do they say?"

Still too suspicious to be relieved, Sephtis circled around and approached from the opposite side. The whispers intensified, becoming comprehensible.

The aurous one listens but wishes not to hear. It seeks to remain ignorant.

"I can't make it out."

Meirion gently paged through the tome, looking as though unaware of the other's presence. "Would you like to know what they say to me?"

The aurous one listens but wishes not to hear. It seeks to remain ignorant.

"Truthfully, no, I do not."

His mentor suddenly looked up, meeting his gaze. "They say you seek their favour for yourself. That you have all along."

The argentine one wishes to listen but does not hear. It will forever remain ignorant.

Sephtis clenched his jaw. "Then they are wrong. I have never harboured any interest in this tome. Nothing has changed."

"And yet they confirm what I have known since we met in the autumn." Meirion spoke softly, barely audible. "It was always too perfect - you finding the most suitable mentor to teach you, me finding the most suitable assistant." He fidgeted with his scythe. "How long have you been biding your time?"

The argentine one wishes to listen but does not hear. It will forever remain ignorant.

The canine gripped and ungripped his own scythe, but it brought him no comfort. He wanted to hold the sword hanging at his waist, but knew better than to reach for it. "Before I met you, I worked as an enforcer for three different law firms. Before I met you, I never even knew this existed." He looked past Meirion at the staircase. He should have left when he had the chance. "You know this."

"What I know and what you tell me are two very different things, Sephtis."

"No, Meirion, what you know and what the tome tells you are two very different things. All sources warned us this would happen."

The other necromancer looked down at the volume again. "What do they say? Tell me the truth this time."

A gift of gold ungiven, a tribute of silver unreceived. A precious metal will be sacrificed.

He sighed. "Give or be received."

Nodding, Meirion took a step back. While moving, he deeply inhaled and sliced the air where his apprentice had been a moment before.

"Then you know what must happen. I shall give."

Sephtis backed away and rose from his crouching position, adrenaline already surging through his veins and arteries. "Indeed. You will be received."

"Then let us test ourselves!"
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Meirion raised his arms, summoning black flames throughout the chamber. From these flames stepped forth charred skeletons, both them and their weapons ablaze. Sephtis' heart sank - he had known his mentor possessed considerable skill, but not to such an impressive extent. He himself could barely raise a corpse, so he would only escape alive by relying on his experience as a Dark Knight.

The first skeleton dashed closer, thrusting at his chest. Letting his battle instinct take over, Septhis spun to his right, deflecting the bony sword with his scythe's snaith and smashing the skeleton in the face with the heel. He continued the revolution and halved the skeleton with his next turn, causing it to burst into smoke. He borrowed some of the released energy before it could dissipate and drew it into the chine. Still following the arc, he used his momentum to launch a spectral blade at the next skeleton, destroying it too.

He came to a stop, realising he was unused to such frequent circular motions. The room swam in front of his eyes, almost making him oblivious of the ball of dire energy Meirion lobbed at him. He stepped out of the way, allowing it to hit a skeleton instead, but found his arm lacerated and sizzling.

Inhaling through his nose and biting down to avoid screaming, he danced to his left, dispatching the skeleton responsible while simultaneously attempting to dispel his dizziness. He again absorbed some of the black mist and launched a spectral blade at Meirion himself that time. The necromancer parried it with ease.

"You dare use the technique I taught you against me?"

"If I am the interloper you claim me to be, why should you expect anything less?"

Sephtis scanned the chamber. The columns of fire remained scattered throughout the interior, spawning more skeletons for each one he slew. They would cut him down before he could ascend the stairs, but targeting them without aid would be of no use. He had to remove their source.

He lunged forward and sliced through three more skeletons. Afterwards, he leapt towards his teacher, engaging him for all but five seconds before feeling the burn of another sword, that time against his back. He disengaged and moved away, taking a few seconds to recover.

The tome delighted in the battle, whispering excitedly, Sulphur is incense, blood is wine. Your screams will be our music. Your flesh will be our feast!

Meirion took heart in his small victory and jeered, "I shall serve your treacherous bones as a banquet!"

Sephtis gritted his teeth. "If you feed their hunger, it won't be in the way you think."

He charged, engaging the necromancer with more agitation. His mentor was experienced and easily parried every blow, likely waiting until he would tire. And with the rate at which he furiously attempted to land a hit, Sephtis knew it would be over soon. But his life was on the line, so defeating Meirion in honourable combat with a weapon he lacked experience wielding simply wasn't an option.

After Meirion deflected yet another attack, Sephtis did the unthinkable: he threw his scythe at his former mentor. He didn't even throw it from afar, making it spin forwards impressively; no, it was a toss, as if he wanted it to be caught, not inflict damage. The sheer stupidity of the act stunned the necromancer - long enough for the apprentice to revert to his old ways and unsheath the sword hanging from his belt.

An unexpected reversion, an unexpected cost. A price has been paid.

Incredulous, Meirion looked down at the sword piercing his abdomen, the scythe in his hands forgotten. "You would forsake your training so easily?"

Frozen in his lunge and breathing heavily, Septhis eyed the skeletons around him. All were in the process of dissipating. The columns of fire vanished as well.

"When I was lost, you provided guidance and gave me a new focus. None of that would matter if I died."

"Struck down by my own apprentice." He tossed his scythe on the floor, fully aware he had lost. "I knew I would rue the day I took you on."

Sephtis channeled Aether into his sword and leeched Meirion's vitality through the hilt. His wounds instantly began healing. Closing his eyes, he said, "You drove yourself to madness. I never harboured any ill will," and pulled his sword free.

Meirion scowled in disgust as blood and gore oozed from the puncture. He backed up and sat down, supporting his back against the altar.

"What will you do now?"

Opening his eyes and sheathing his sword, Sephtis sat to his left, keeping enough distance between them to avoid staining his ochre robes. He reached over and relieved his mentor of the dagger he had used earlier.

"I honestly don't know. My intent was to assist you in retrieving the tome and maybe learn something from it too."

The necromancer laughed bitterly. "Congratulations, then. You have it all to yourself now."

A gift of gold given, a tribute of silver received. A precious metal has been sacrificed.

Sephtis softly banged the back of his head against the altar. "I didn't want it. I still don't. This isn't a victory for me."

"Necromancy has no winners. There is no victory. There is only the end of the race."

"Then you ran well."

Meirion eyed him dubiously. "Did I? You claim I've lost my mind. And all for naught, no less."

"Death seems to have returned your sanity, however briefly. And you're not dying alone. How many necromancers can claim that?"

The man stared ahead of him. "I suppose you have a point." They remained silent for a while before he spoke again. "I do not fancy my corpse rotting here."

Sephtis huffed. "And what do you propose I do about it?"

"There is a spell. Page two-hundred-and-fourteen."

Groaning, the wolf rose to his feet. "I'm surprised you didn't say two-hundred-and-sixteen."

"Ye gods! Have mercy, you lupine devil."

"What?" Sephtis turned to the mentioned page. His eyes grew wide and chills racked his frame. He paged back to two-hundred-and-fourteen. "I feel the urge to gouge out my eyes and empty my bowels."

Meirion reached over for the dagger, grimacing as he collected it and presented it on his palm. "It can be arranged."

"Not like that, you bastard." He read through the spell's instructions. "Are you sure you want me to do this?"

"I couldn't think of a more fitting end to my legacy."

Sephtis sighed sadly. "You have to be dead first."

Looking at the dagger still resting upon his palm, Meirion said, "It can be arranged," before gripping it in his right hand and plunging it into his chest. He flinched but removed the blade, letting it clatter beside him. Holding his hand underneath the stream of blood and regarding it with abnormal fascination, he said, "Don't abandon your training again, Sephtis. Once taken on, necromancy is brutal and unforgiving." His mouth opened, but he seemed confused, unsure of what he wanted to say next. "Damn, I wanted... last words... meaningful. Guess..."

Stooping down, Sephtis looked his mentor in the eyes one final time. "Thank you."

Meirion nodded slowly. "Rvrsn... ad. Nt... sake."

An unexpected reversion, an unexpected cost. A price must be paid.

Taking a moment of silence, he bowed his head. After the moment had passed, he spoke the incantation and made the gesture exactly as indicated in the tome. At first, it seemed like the spell had failed, but then Meirion's corpse, robes and even weapons burst into purple flames. The fire consumed everything within seconds, leaving behind nothing but dust and ash. A golden urn materialised from nothing and sucked all the powder into it. Sephtis collected the lid beside it and sealed the urn. He stowed it inside his cloak - it weighed surprisingly little - and made to leave, but the tome called him back.

To shun knowledge is to spit in the face of the gods.

"This place is called godsforsaken with just cause. There is no telling what would happen if I removed you from your altar."

Actions have consequences. Abstinences have consequnces. Consequence is inevitable.

"Then I shall try my odds elsewhere, thank you."

He made for the stairs again, but when the tome whispered to him one final time, he simply snorted and continued his ascent. Haunting as they were, the whispers no longer held any sway over him.

Yet in his absence, they did not cease. The chamber, as empty and ominously alight as it had been when two had entered, echoed with a warning.

The bell tolls; the bells toll. The bell tolls; the bells toll. The bell tolls...
But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
- Paul the Apostle

Spring has returned! Winter is over, and BrumalHunter is no more!





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Lumi says...



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Ocean spray, the morning tide broken on the stone pillars that cast incorporeal glows into the fog; the whisper of mist fell between women who didn't know--in all their years--how to properly say an appropriate word.

Anberlin, quiet, together, holding her spirit in taut knots between belly and teeth, fastened the buttons on her sister's jacket as others passed by, luggage clattering with hers. "It's not too late to cancel your internship."

"-no-"

"I can raise your salary a few pieces at the firm, you know. Some of the lowers can take a hit."

"-i'm going-"

Anberlin suddenly came to terms with the hard reality of her sister's leaving. Months back, when they'd fought, when Anberlin had told her to find work somewhere else, she was just all talk. She was all game. She didn't think Aerie would pack off to the Manalands for years on end--but the offer she'd received was too good to refuse. Personal Archaic for the Pontifex of Espergale. Cost of living covered.

Aerie handed Anberlin a deck of tarot that felt warm in her hands. "I'll write to you, Annie."

"And you won't work too hard?"

Aerie changed her expression. "I'll do as I please." With a grin she pulled Anberlin into an embrace as the ship's bell chimed behind her. It was time to load.

"Don't get caught up in all those Alanaaran boys! They'll beat down your door!"

"Try to find a good replacement for a priceless asset." She winked.

Anberlin did have someone lined up to interview that day, but--

"Aerie."

She stopped on the loading platform and turned, coat blowing up in the wind. "I'm gonna join you as soon as..."

"As soon as what? Your career winds down?" She scoffed and dismissed her with a wave. "Girl, your career won't be over until this world is in the dark."

She wrapped her arms around her chest for warmth in the mist as they said their final goodbyes, as the ship disembarked, as she last saw her beautiful Aerie.

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Smellingsalts brought her to. Captured down by her wrists and ankles, the tidebreak at the docks splashed against her face, made her flinch. The waves broke away as Decker walked out in front of her and knelt, pulling her chin up by fingers holding razorblades. Any flinch, any disobedience...

"Good morning, Annie."

Forcing supernatural calmness through her nose, she glared through wild eyes at him, raising her chin. "Go. To hell. You son. Of a bitch."

"Anber, Anber, I thought we were friends!" He tossed the razors into the bay as a sign of good faith--and brought his hand back around to slap her down with a shock. "I'm about to get real with you, Annie, and I need you to l i s t e n. Maybe it'll get you your life back, eh?"

Anberlin's eyes slowly widened. It was normal for the district attourney to cut deals, but for this...

"It could all be over. No more mud. No more hearing that name, Calloway."

Anberlin brought herself up on her knees and looked him wild in the eye. "What pound of flesh do your mob demons want? Or what have you not chewed off yet? Or what--" she spat, "--will you take from a woman of stone unbreakable as Lemuria itself to try and make her crumble?"

Decker stood up and motioned for the suits to free her. "When your spot in the cogs blew and the Praetorium was eliminated, lots of responsibilities fell on my head to oversee in the city." Anberlin rubbed her wrists where the ropes had worn the skin down to raw flesh.

"The earthquakes...?"

"Supernatural bullshit falls under the Praet's jurisdiction...and now mine." He turned his head. "And now yours."

"Nothing on this planet qualifies me to--"

"Case B84-Gamma. Case T13-Omicron. Your dissertation in grad school regarding the nature of aether and the Midgar Lore of the Six Hearts." He nodded. "And you have some brilliant minds at your disposal, all here in Lemuria."

Anberlin crossed her arms and walked away several steps. "You assume too much. Without pay, they all abandoned hope. They took Dante's words to heart."

A grin. "But you invited them back."

Anberlin stopped, side-eyeing the suits around her. "Andres, what did you do?"

"..."

"Andres?"

The man took off his jacket, folding it neatly and placing it on a fish crate nearby, undisturbed by the quakes.

"Strap her."

Anberlin lunged for Decker, grabbed by suits and restrained in a set of buckles latched to a metal table. She began to call out, to scream, to wail at the top of her lungs, but as the suits lowered her into the ocean, Decker looked over her, preparing for torture. "You're gonna talk to some saints, girl! One way or another!"

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The office. The sun has just set and anyone who could have business here has long-since turned tail and fled into the adders' nest of the judiciary district of Lemuria. The lights, off; the walls and floor match in an ancient heated wood-to-cream design that no one had ever bothered fixing despite, to be blunt, bountiful funds.

The doorknob of the defense office rattles, and as the door opens with a glide, in walks Anberlin a tad wet from rain. In her office clothes, she kneels lady-like to turn on the radiator that hums to life, and then takes a seat at her desk.

"Annie, you've done it," with her head lying gingerly against the desk, earrings clattering. "You're the last one standing." From her new field of vision, she catches a glimpse of a film reel in a packed box that seemed to have arrived from the courthouse. She picked it up and placed it in her projector, but stopped, putting nail-to-lip, then paced.

She finally settled for her seat and a glass of whiskey in a broad glass. The film had been given without a sound track, but she didn't need one to relive this.

The D.A. approaches the defendent on the stand with finger pointed.

The wolf in the jumpsuit breaks his chains and dives for Anberlin--

--and she shuts off the reel.

The rain is inside. Quite deep and salty. Hard to breathe with all the whiskey burning her lungs. She glances to the window to see the rain, touches the glass pane, and the fish swim by. Anberlin blows bubbles for them.

She blows bubbles for her sister, for Brayel. For just those two, though only one never left her side.

And outside the window, she swims down to the streets where coral has covered cars and payphones. This is her world as she will remember it, burning a-drown, and a voice speaks to her that they're losing her. Losing her, moron. You're the one who wanted to drown her for cooperation, dickhead, now look what you've done.

Y̖͚̟̠̥̭͚̦o̢̰̣̪͙̻̤ù͉̞̼̭̼͍̳ ̸͈͎͕̬ć̨͙̤̟̙̹a̶̘̺̳ͅn҉̧̨͕̺̤̫̣͚̲͔̦ ̢̭͢ͅb͚̣͈͉̩̬̻̝̕o͘͏͍̦̱̻t̵̮̭̪̝͚͚h͓ ͔͙̱̭̝̼͎́͘͞b̩͙̟̟̮̙̱͝ȩ̨͚̬̖͝ ̶͏̝̙̯͍̯̞̜f҉̻̲͓͇͔̼ṛ̭̟͚̣̠̬e̢̤̫̟͟ͅe͝҉͙̼͚̳͠,̶͖̼̫̪́
͇̩̰̟̯̕͢y̧̰̣̣̤ó̝̮͉̦̮̭̲͈͝ú̮̹̺̹̭͘ ̣͇̱k͏͕n͇̕͜o͏̛̜̝̠w̶̛͇̥͈͠ ̵̪̭̫̲̼̜̰͍i̛͖̲̱̤͈͓̠̦̥͝ț̷̡͙̬̹̺͓͈͢'̻̰͞s̡̜̬̼͙ ̞͍̯̯̲̪̣͡j̢҉҉͍͈͇̖̦u͚̗̣̩͍̭̜̲ś͓͕̠͓̜̼͞t̷͉̮̦͞͠
̧͕̤͙̟̭̭͡ạ̛͙̙͍̜ ̴̹̮̤̬̖̬́͢ͅs̤͈̦̰̝̩̘̣̀m҉͇̺͕̥̱̝a̸͙͖̗͚͡ḽ̣̫͔̠̫̘͟l̨͕̫̪̙͡͝ͅ ̢̛̲̪̮̳͉̲̘f͔͇̬̀e̡̗͕̘̙̞̬͓e̶̝ͅ.̺ ͟͡҉̦̹̲
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Anberlin's eyes shot wide as her head plunged high above the water. Decker held out a hand that she slapped away, bringing herself onto the dock by herself.

"So, well, didja get a vision, my psychic dream, or what?"

Anberlin slowly addressed him as a suit gave her a towel. "I need three days." Her breath was ragged and sharp. "To gather my people."

Decker looked at his people. "What's wrong with my people?"

Anberlin looked around the congregation. "Who c-can tell me what the f-f-f-first law of ah-a-alchemy is?"

Decker looked around at his quiet bunch. "Fine. Three days, and we move on this. That happens to be my daughter Ivana's birthday. I got her these adorable little pink glasses, and we're taking her to the theater to break em in."

Anberlin stared at the small pink glasses in his hands as he motioned around. "Where is Brayel?"

He whistled three times. "I'll have eyes on you, Calloway. Don't try anything funny. Or we'll crack you like an egg."

Her eyes narrowed as her comrade was ushered from a containment unit in his smallclothes. "Likewise, Decker."
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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Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:53 am
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TheSilverFox says...



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"Not good enough," said the petite old lady as she fired a bullet through the broken window of a former storefront. It shot through a can positioned on a stool, sending it flying and spilling out its decades-old soup onto the floor. "Just shy of the center."

Waving the small cloud of smoke away, Brayel scowled as he shoved open the door into the building. "I'd rather be packing my bags than spending my hours listening to you," he grumbled, kicking aside shards of glass with his sandals (most shoes warmed his feet too much). He found the can lying against the wall beside the door leading to the back of the store. As she had said, it was a near-perfect shot, blowing through most of the target roughly painted on the can's middle.

"Could you not just tell her to hire someone else?" called Sophia, setting the pistol down onto the table gently. She donned her most beatific expression as Brayel threw the can through an empty window, pulling out another one from one of his many pockets and setting it on a counter. It was at a sharp angle from her.

Brayel ducked behind a display, poking his head out, as Sophia picked up the pistol again and focused on aiming, squinting through thick glasses. Of course, she was now far too accurate for him to ever worry of being shot accidentally, but old habits died hard. "I'm the most experienced person she knows," he said. "And you could already shoot a fly from this distance."

Another soft boom rang out. The fox restrained a yelp as he pressed himself to the ground, narrowly avoiding the bullet that embedded itself into the wood not three feet from him. After a quick third shot, the next can was also decimated. Carefully pushing himself up, though his hand scraped a piece of glass in the process, Brayel glared at her as she came into his view. "It is not flies I would like to kill," she explained gracefully, likely trying to pretend she had not made both shots intentionally, setting the gun down. "I would rather deal with intruders."

His frown grew deeper as he stood up, dusted himself off, and walked towards her. "They're must easier to hit than intruders," said Brayel, eye twitching. "Why don't you choose somebody other than your former lawyer to teach you how to shoot?"

Undanted, Sophia held her chin up and stared him down as he approached. "I shot a robber in the stomach and only wounded him. You told me how to aim for the heart next time, and told me I could call it self-defense. And a recluse like you needs somebody to keep himself from going mad."

"I am not a recluse," he retorted, standing by the table. Sophia handed the gun to him, and he slipped it into a pocket. "At least I'm better than a paranoid old woman who collects Molotov cocktails the way her peers collect cats."

They began to walk down the abandoned street, with a clearly aggravated Sophia grabbing his hand and looking at the cut on it. "Your mother says you never speak to her anymore. All you ever talk to are me and that other...whoever she is. There are rumors about her, you know. Strange ones. Ones about how she controls people, influences their minds and make them hers."

Brayel yanked his hand away. He grabbed gauze from the folds of his shirt and wrapped it around the cut on his palm, wincing as it mixed with the matted fur and blood. "My mother doesn't need to know how I'd like to spend my spare time. As for my friend, she has no need to control me. I have seen her work, and follow her with fear and respect alike."

"I tell your mother anyway. She knows all about your little hobby, the scars on your face and arms, and that you're about to return to a city even more rotten than you are." She looked thoughtful for a few moments, and then stopped to point at a mockingbird resting atop a lamppost. "You could do with less domineering friends, at the least."

"Isn't that all counterintuitive?" retorted Brayel, rummaging through his pockets for ammo. "If I mind myself some friends, abandon my present life, dive right back into a "normality" that I know doesn't exist, won't that be the end of this little arrangement of ours? Or is this all so you can nag at me for your own amusement?" Successfully, he reached for his pistol and began to load it.

Sophia laughed; it was more cruel than anything else. "You have me there," she said, accepting the gun and taking aim at the bird. "It just so happens that I am goner, and I love taunting other goners." She fired, striking her target and causing it to fall ungracefully onto the road. "Convincing you to stay is hopeless, so I believe this is where we must part ways. I hope that the blood of a lovely old lady on your hands will be worth it. Enjoy being devoured by the spiders, dearie."

"You would live through the Apocalypse itself only to spite me, madame." The fox rummaged through his pants pockets and eventually yanked out a strange device. "This is an experimental silencer. Since you have enough ammunition and weapons as it stands, any other parting gift would be repetitive. Of course, as you live in an abandoned apartment, anything less than a cannot shot would be imperceptible to your neighbors. May this serve well in making you even more quiet than possibly necessary."

The lady happily took the device, but stared up at Brayel's scowling face and frowned. "You really do need less controlling friends. It would also be better if you did not show your affection by taunting and being blunt, though I did not like you being a liar either."

Brayel chose not to respond, instead storming away, leaving the dangerous old lady in the middle of the road with her most recent victim. In the back of his mind, though he trusted Anberlin intensely, he hoped that he would not end up like the bird.
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
a persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma per ciò che giammai di questo fondo
non tornò vivo alcun, s'i' odo il vero,
senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

Inferno, Canto 27, l 61-66.





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Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:28 pm
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Sheyren says...



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It was snowing. Drifts of white powder lined the cracked stone roads, and it was cold. Oh, so cold. Welturna gripped her brother's hand tighter, as he hurriedly led her through down the road. His face was a strange mix of determined and nervous, and she was sure it was new to him. Seeing anything but confidence in those dark gray eyes was abnormal, and it filled Welturna with a sinking feeling. However, whenever he met her eyes, the same confident look she was used to returned, if only for a second. Despite the situation, he continued to reassure her, just by being himself. And despite the situation, she smiled knowing that.

Puffs of snow fluttered down in front of her, and she resisted the urge to stick out her tongue and catch one. The look in her brother's eye hinted that now was not the time for that. So instead, she ignored the extremely tempting flakes before her. The two figures kept walking, just two silhouettes in a dark, formidable night. The lights from the houses on either side of the road went out, one by one, as they passed, and eventually they were left with only the eerie shine of the moon above them. It gave off little light, the result of it being only a waning crescent, but the snow reflected. The icy ground glowed, and despite the situation, Welturna was able to acknowledge its beauty.

A cold wind slammed into the two, and Welturna flinched into her brother's heavy winter coat, which he was letting her wear. “Detrian, I need to stop. My legs are sore, and I'm cold,” she said, dropping down into a bank of snow.

“We need to keep going,” Detrian responded, before lifting her by the hand he still held. A quick concerned look turned to confidence, and, despite the situation, he gave her a reassuring smile. “You can do it, I believe in you. Just a little further, and we'll arrive at Aunt Jea's house. Then you can rest.”

Silently, Welturna nodded and let him lead on. In silence, they continued the trek, until finally a house was visible in the distance. Unlike the other houses on the street, this one still had its lights on, and smoke billowed up from the chimney. “That's Aunt's house!” Exclaimed Detrian, excitement growing in his voice. He led Welturna further, picking up the pace, but was stopped by a voice from a side-alley.

“Hello there, Detrian. We've been looking for you.”

Detrian tensed up, turning to his right and seeing a group of three men in brown cloaks emerge from the shadowy alley. He glanced at Welturna, mouthing one word. Hide. After a quick glance around, Welturna realized her best shot at hiding was the snow bank, and she silently leapt into it, peeking out from the freezing cold hiding spot.

“Oh, you. A little cliché, the dark alley and the snowing night, don't you think? You can totally do better.”

“Be quiet, boy. Who exactly do you think you are, without your mama and papa protecting you,” said what appeared to be the group's leader. He pulled from under his cloak a blood-soaked sword, shield, and pair of cesti. Welturna gasped out loud when she realized who they belonged to, quickly catching herself. But it was too late. The leader raised an eyebrow, looking in her direction. He nodded for one of his men to check the very snowbank she hid in.

Paralyzed with fear, she watched the figure approach her. It seemed her legs were unresponsive, and she had lost control of her entire body. The man stopped in front of her hiding spot, and he pulled a knife out from the concealment of his cloak. Raising it, he prepared to throw it into the snow. Welturna closed her eyes, bringing her hands together for a prayer, and expected a painful stab. She waited for her demise, but it never came. Opening one eye, she saw the man on the ground, a cestus in his back.

Detrian was holding the other cestus, and it became clear he had thrown it to protect her. In one fluid motion, he ducked behind the other cloaked figure, and wrapped his arm around their throat. A quick swipe and the man was on the ground, bleeding out from his throat. The leader of the group grabbed the bloody sword and shield, swinging the blade at Detrian. He ducked again, sliding on the icy stones of the street and standing right in front of the man. The cestus was plunged into the man's stomach, but in the same motion, the broadsword slahsed through the skin of Detrian's back. His shirt was torn entirely off, and he fell backwards into the snow.

His assailant leapt over to the fallen comrade in front of Welturna. He tore the cestus from the back and lifted it to the sky. In a split second, a snowy owl hovered where he had stood. It spread its wings and flew into the stormy night. Welturna leapt out of the snowbank and ran to Detrian's side. He was bleeding badly, and without a shirt, the cold was quickly seeping into him. If he was lucky, he would make it to sunrise.

“Wel...turna...” He weakly muttered, running his hand down the side of her face. A tear rolled down her cheek, and he wiped it away. “I'm... sorry... You're on... your own...”

She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. Instead, she remained silent, tears now streaming down her face. He smiled and offered her his hand. It was the hand which still gripped their father's cestus. He dropped it into the snow, and wiped it clean of blood stains. Offering it to her, she reluctantly accepted. “Take... this...” He paused, trying to decide what to say next, and probably last. “Don't... grow up... too fast.”

His eyes glazed over, and his arms fell limply onto the ground. His other hand fell open, and inside was a note. Welturna opened the folded note, finding nothing but a clump of snow. It was a mystery why he left a clump of snow in the note, but she was too distracted to ponder it further. Looking down at her brother's dead body, she let out a wail, loud enough for the whole street to hear. Lights came on, window curtains pulled open. But no one went outside to comfort the heartbroken child, and she sat alone in the snow, tears streaming down her face.

A cloud covered the moon, and the street went dark.

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Welturna stood before the grave. “Detrian Darmanoa, June 6th, 1886 – December 11th, 1893”, it read. She solemnly stared at it, closing her eyes to blink away tears. Turning away, she crossed the path in the graveyard, stopping at another grave. “Jea Fewquern, March 16th, 1859 – April 14th, 1908.” The graves had no visitors, no one stopped at them. No one acknowledged that these two pivotal figures in Welturna's life had even existed, besides herself. She wished she had brought flowers to lay on their graves. She hadn't brought flowers.

Looking up at the sky, she watched a flake of snow fall. It drifted down before her eyes, reminding her of that day. Unlatching her bracelet, she laid it in her open palm, unfolding the blank note attached to it. No matter how she tried, she could never interpret it. Why did Detrian have this in his hand? Was she even meant to have received it? And why was there snow within? That clump of snow had long since melted, but somehow, her heart hadn't.

She shook her head, returning the bracelet to its rightful position on her wrist. It was getting late, and the graveyard would be closing soon. With one final glance at the graves, she turned and made her way to the gates, brown coat billowing in the breeze behind her. As she left the deserted yard, a snowflake fell before her eyes. “Don't grow up too fast,” she remembered Detrian saying. With a smile, she stuck out her tongue, catching the flake.

Above her, in the large elm tree shadowing the cemetery, a snowy owl hooted before flying away.
"I give you permission to use 'Sheyster. Sheyfia. Shey Boss. Don Shey.' as a signature quote. XD"
-BrumalHunter


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Kaylaa says...



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Raegan pedaled down the street on her bike at full speed through puddles and past patches of people. Past families and groups of friends that talked and laughed that she could only envy. If they were herds of sheep, Raegan was a wolf that wanted to hunt them down and slip into their clothing. Even those who weren't laughing she envied.

While on two feet she coasted, on her way to the junkyard again. As Raegan rode she thought about all of the nicknames she usurped over time. Junkyard girl. Street urchin. Vagabond. All of these were only partially true. At the end of the day when the sun descended from the sky and tucked into bed, Raegan did too. The difference between her and the child she claimed to be was a bed, roof and father.

A bed too small for her growing body, a roof with leaky holes and a father never around, but a bed, roof and father nonetheless. The difference between her and the child she claimed to be was the fact that a kid living in the alleys would've been more than happy to have just that.

Despite the emotional turmoil that built inside her, Raegan knew that her father loved her. That's why he worked long hours and came home with aching bones. She wasn't able to count the number of times that she went out of the room for two minutes and came back to a hat that covered his face and legs that dangled off of the couch. He seldom spoke more than fifty words and the words that he spoke were breathy as if a brick sat on his chest.

The thoughts poked at the mental wounds she attempted to seal shut over and over again but now she wanted to let them bleed dry. No friends to give her solace and no parental figure to guide her through life, she couldn't feel less than alone in the world.

Somehow after all of the sorrow she faced, joy almost literally sprung into her life. Raegan's thoughts and bike came to a halt when her eyes locked onto a wounded bunny. In a hurry she set the piece of scrap metal against the building and picked up the bunny. From a nearby tree with newly-spread mulch around the trunk she broke off a branch.

Raegan knew that without an actual staff that her ability to heal would be unstable if it weren't already but she had to try. She couldn't stand by and watch the bunny bleed to death. She set the bunny gently onto the ground and towered over him, holding the twig out in front of her with her eyes closed. The two likely outcomes played out in her brain: the bunny lived or the bunny died.

Raegan just hoped of the first when she opened her eyes. Letting all of her aether flow through the branch, she peeked at the bunny. A wave of relief washed over her. On that day, a new life began for her when his wound sealed shut. Cecil I entered and the unintended neglect left when she sought out her career as a veterinarian. When she sought out happiness instead of scrap metal and spent her afternoons taking care of Cecil I, learning to control her aether instead of being alone.

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Frantically, Raegan searched the house for Cecil II but he was nowhere to be found. He always stayed in sight--she trained him to be that way. She looked away to do the dishes for a second--to wash off a plate--and when she looked back, he was gone. He never did that.

She rinsed her hands from the soap and dried them off with a towel before going to look for him. Raegan called his name out and listened for the ringing of his collar but to no response. She concluded saw two possibilities: Raegan left the window open and made way for Cecil II to escape from the house or somebody kidnapped him.

From her foresight, the first option seemed to be more likely, but she couldn't be sure. Slipping on a pair of shoes and socks, Raegan went outside to search for him. The descriptions ran through her mind as she searched. Cinnamon fur, ocean blue eyes with a white stripe on his left ear similar to his father's streak of white that ran through his own fur.

She took to the same city streets where she found Cecil I, walking past the veterinarian office where she hoped to do more than volunteer. Those who wanted a job that paid well in this world needed to have money. Rich parents or a talent that people wanted. People with White Aether were able to make a living off of healing by becoming doctors or working somewhere in the medical field though not many cared for animals. Even people who became oracles went into a career path that guaranteed pay. Raegan wasn't broke but she wasn't able to take care of her animals with ease either.

Lemuria, the city that she grew up in, was in shambles. Raegan never grew attached to anyone after her father passed away. After her mother passed away, even. She never swore to never care for human life ever again or swore off her emotions, she wasn't that way. Raegan never saw the chance to connect with anyone on a deeper level than acquaintances. She found herself only scratching the surface when others seemed to be so close to each other.

Raegan, seeing a light brown clot of Cecil's fur on the ground, dashed towards the heart of the city. In the distance, an injured man bled. She knew his fur anywhere. What she didn't know is the future that laid before her. She couldn't have known.

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Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:25 pm
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TinkerTwaggy says...



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The cold breeze was, as usual, Miyavi’s only friend in the ordeal that she called a game. She would prick up her ears and listen to it tickle them until the other sounds of the forest she stood inside of began to invade her senses. A group of bushes, their leaves rustling as the playful gales moved them. Squirrels going about their business, high up in their nests. Birds, too – at least three groups of them. Families, no doubts, with the little ones chirping for the food they knew their parents would bring them. Ah, and of course, the bugs. The hardest ones to hear, to perceive. Their delicate little paws smoothly touched the ground, but to Miyavi’s frustration, she couldn’t tell what species they were. But no matter: she was ready – that much, she could feel.

Miyavi opened her eyes and jerked her arm upward, tossing her favorite chronometer in the air. She promptly brought her arms back to her belt and, in a swift movement, equipped her gun gauntlets as she bent her knees for her last test. She brought an arm forward: one bullet was shot, right at the center of a target calmly placed against a tree’s trunk. She had barely finished the movement that her turnabout was already complete. She used the momentum of the action to bring her second arm forward, hitting a target somewhere behind her. As if dancing, she moved her feet on the side and brought another arm upward, fixing her aim towards a faraway target hidden by a veil of leaves. Half a second later, the shot was fired, with the squirrel hidden in the tree shrieking in surprise. Miyavi had just enough time to reposition herself straight like a lamppost, arm up and palm open, ready to receive the chronometer that fell in her hand. She clicked on one of its button and eagerly gazed at the screen, using the moonlight’s glare to aid her eyes.

WHAT!” Miyavi immediately shouted in the night. “I missed my record by two seconds?! Seriously?! UGH!” she fell on her knees and sighed with exasperation, tightening her grip around the innocent little object as her tail wagged wildly behind her back. “Oh gosh, oh gosh, oh gosh, how do I tell her that to Miss Purprille, I did everything else perfectly, she’s gonna think I’m out of shape, she’s gonna put me to pieces again!” she let a childish giggle escape her lips. “…I wonder if I’ll get to keep the scales and fur combo.” then a gasp. “Right! Less talking alone! Less hesitating! More moving.” Miyavi rose back up, walking towards another part of the forest, where Miss Purprille was supposed to be monitoring her progress. Miyavi pulled out a folded paper from her brown-colored military pants’ pocket, re-reading it with utmost attention. “…Well at least I’m done with the schedule…” she muttered to herself. She closed her eyes, once again listening to the sounds of the forest. Among them, the noise of a regular, calm respiration came to Miyavi’s ears, and she walked right towards it, smiling tenderly as she contemplated the sight that she expected to find.

It was as if she was dead – a lifeless, innocent toy, left for Miyavi to discover. Her body, sat on the ground, leaned against a tree, with her arms placed across each side of her bust, touching the ground with their gray gloved palms open. Eyes closed, mouth slightly open, her pale white simian face with thin beige fur leaned on the side, the neck below covered with a long red scarf that kept her warm along with the all-purpose black skintight suit she wore below her trademark purple pants and shirt, over which rested her signature black cloak with white stripes.
Walking towards her with the silence of a curious bug, Miyavi approached her beloved caretaker and crouched in front of her, making sure that she didn’t touch her legs. She put a hand in the mid-long black hair cascading down her neck, enjoying the magic of the moment for several seconds before Miss Purprille opened her peculiar cyan-colored eyes.

“…There’s nothing more sickening than a sentient being in love.” were Miss Purprille’s first words.

Miyavi’s hand moved from Miss Purprille’s hair to her cheek. “But you’re so cute when you’re asleep.” Miyavi whispered, her smile unwavering. “It’s the only moment when… when…”

Miss Purprille’s gloved hand took Miyavi’s, caressing it with her thumb. “…When I’m stable?” she suggested. “When I’m not switching from one emotion to another, like now? When I’m not replacing your body parts with others? When I’m not pushing your body and mind to your limits?”

“…When you’re not stressed.” Miyavi corrected. “Everything else is fine. Everything else is something I love.” “But this…” she put her left hand right below Miss Purprille’s eye, pressing her thumb against the dark rings under her tired eyes. “This, I don’t like.”

“That’s how the world goes, Mimi.” Miss Purprille replied. “That’s what pressure does to a human being. But anyway, none of that matters anymore. It’s midnight, right? Time to stop everything and celebrate your birthday.”

Miyavi instantly rose from the ground, letting out an excited gasp. “You remembered!”

Miss Purprille rose after her, stretching as she did. “Of course, I remembered, Mimi. It’s why you’ve been training for literally twenty-four hours straight.” she continued, walking towards her lab, with Miyavi right next to her. “Today was the final training session. Now all I need to do is give you your gift and I’ll be done with all this.”

Miyavi’s feathered ears trembled with excitement as she tried to imagine what kind of gift Miss Purprille would give her. But she knew her caretaker enough to guess that she shouldn’t harass her with questions, so instead, she wrapped her arms around Miss Purprille’s own arm, and wrapped her long tail around Miss Purprille’s waist. Then, Miyavi placed her head on her shoulder, closing her eyes to savor the walk as the gentle breeze that hadn’t left her side breathed on.

“Twenty-four years, Mimi.” Miss Purprille whispered. “Twenty-four years, I’ve spent polishing you to be the perfect creation. Twenty-four years, I’ve spent eating my nails, gnawed by the thought of having to scrap you like all the others. Twenty-four years, I’ve spent pouring my mind, my knowledge, my soul into your being so that you’d be ready to face anything, to do anything, without fear, without trouble.”

Miyavi’s hand reached for her caretaker’s hand once more. But it had been closed into a frustrated fist.

“Twenty-four years I’ve spent decaying in that lab, testing every experiment I could try to make you flawless. Experiments on the forest, on animals, on people, on myself. But you had to make it harder for me, didn’t you? You just had to be your own person. You just had to love your own person. You just had to love me, too, despite everything I’ve done to you, to us, to everything I came in contact with ever since you were first made. You just had to love it all.”

Naturally, Miyavi was aware of everything that Miss Purprille was talking about. But telling her that she couldn’t help loving everything she did, that she couldn’t help developing her quirks, would only fuel Miss Purprille’s frustration. And Miyavi knew her enough to know that there was no need to do that. So, she remained silent, she kept on smiling, she kept on waiting for the closed fist to turn back into a gentle hand.

“And now, look at me.” Miss Purprille continued. “I’m a mess. My emotions are completely destabilized, I fall asleep at random times of day or night, I can’t think properly, and my desk is full of thousands of papers, thousands of notes that I spend every morning trying to reorganize, again and again, all of this to prove that stupid company that they can’t go on without me, that I’m the genius they need, and that you’re the weapon they’ve been waiting for. I don’t even care about fame or glory. I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore.”

Miyavi slowly pressed her lips against Miss Purprille’s cheek, until her fist finally turned into a tired, so very tired hand that Miyavi greedily united her own hand with.

“I hate you.” Miss Purprille declared. “I hate you so much. Everything you represent, everything you are. But you better work, you hear me? You better work like I want you to. You better make sure that this… thing that makes you who you are stays intact. Forever.”

Finally, Miyavi opened her eyes, once again plunging her gaze into the lovely cyan glare of Miss Purprille. “I love you too.” she whispered back. “And I’ll never fail your expectations anywhere but here, at the testing ground. If you think that I’m ready, then, I must be. And you’ll be proud. Proud to recognize everything you are in me, everywhere I go. I will find the path that you have lost.”

Miss Purprille pressed her forehead against Miyavi’s, her gaze shining with prideful tears that refused to pass the barrier of her eyes. “Please, Mimi.” she whispered. “Do that. And let nobody stop you.”

Miyavi would never be able to ever remember exactly when their walk had stopped that night, but it resumed after the moment was over, with her once again closing her eyes, unwilling to see the end of the road until her caretaker told her.

“We’re here.” Miss Purprille said after an ephemeral eternity.

Miyavi opened her eyes, contemplating a sad sight: it was a giant hangar with metallic walls. The abandoned building was stricken by decay, its walls appeared cracked and rusty, and a tree, about as big as the building below, had somehow grown over the construction, as if nature had taken possession of it. She didn’t know the building, but something within her told her what it was.

“This is my birthplace.” Miyavi whispered calmly. “Isn’t it?”

Miss Purprille freed herself from Miyavi’s embrace and walked forward, gazing at the building in silence. Nostalgia, grief, or maybe something else – Miyavi would never know what Miss Purprille felt at that moment. “Strip, if you may.” said Miss Purprille.
Miyavi raised an eyebrow as she started removing her brown jacket. “You usually prefer me naked and torn apart before we make out.”

“And it is because the latter hasn’t happened that you should know nothing of that sort will happen tonight.” Miss Purprille replied impatiently. “Now do as I–”

“Done.” Miyavi approached her caretaker, and she had to admit that the cold breeze around her was less enjoyable that it was before, since her body was bare, but her fur protected her well. “Did you purposely put the whole ‘let’s put a larger amount of fur around her chest to hide it at all times’ deal, by the way?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“I did.” Miss Purprille confirmed. “It’s better for your enemies not to know exactly the size of something they might be aiming at.”

“…But they’re not very big.”

“I know, Mimi, but enjoy watching how big men and women alike will think they are – the former, out of lust, the latter, out of envy. The fur is also there to keep you warm more effectively.”

“Hmm…”

Miss Purprille pressed a button on the side of the metallic door, almost perfectly camouflaged by the wall around it if it weren’t for its golden knob. An eerie blue light started glowing around her finger. It then disappeared, and the door opened by itself. Without waiting, Miss Purprille walked inside, with Miyavi right behind. As soon as her bare feet stepped inside, she froze. A second later, she had already leaped outside, grabbed the gun gauntlets and utility belt she had abandoned along with her clothes, and equipped them before rushing back inside, slowly moving towards Miss Purprille. She knew there was no trap, no last test for her to deal with. But with the smell of numerous dead bodies, she just couldn’t help it.

“Your senses and instincts as sharp as ever. You do function like you’re supposed to be, at least.” Miss Purpril commented in the surrounding darkness, visibly unconcerned by the sight Miyavi had already guessed. “Now, then. There’s a light switch on your left. Turn it on… And marvel at the sight.”

Miyavi slowly placed her arm on the wall next to her and pressed the switch below her finger. She closed her eyes for a few seconds as the light came in, and then, she contemplated the room with a calm gaze.
There had always been one thing that Myavi prided herself over anything else. She had never broken the one promise, the one rule that Miss Purpril had always urged her to uphold: to never enter the “Old Lab” until she told her to. And finally, Miyavi stood there, contemplating remnants of her caretaker’s past life.
Dozens of body parts were scattered on the ground, left to their decay. Some had bones sticking out of them, others were heads with so much missing spots that it was hard to tell which species they belonged to, even with the fur. Many had a pained expression painted on the few complete faces she could see. And aside that, there was the blood. It covered the entire floor, painting it with an oozing, eerily glowing red.

“There used to be a few tools here and there for me to do my job here,” Miss Purprille commented, “But I moved everything away except the parts.”

Miyavi focused her gaze back on Miss Purprille. Next to her, she could see a plain brown table on which rested a folded purple coat modeled after Miss Purprille’s, a new pair of gun gauntlets, a mandrill-shaped toy with cyan eyes and a music box. The table itself was protected by a transparent force field.

“Happy birthday, Mimi.” said Miss Purprille in a calm tone. “Don’t worry, you’ll take your gifts after this is all over.”

Miyavi nodded, unsure how to feel. She was excited about the gifts, of course, as she had never really received anything from Miss Purprille herself, but something felt… off.

“What was your job here?” Miyavi asked, before letting out a tiny gasp. “If… If I may.”

“Don’t worry, Mimi. I took you here so you could ask questions. As for my job… It was to create a new batch of perfect chimeras using a new method to make them less… bestial. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that with a few concoctions born from ÄWC’s Apothecaries, I could, among other things, give birth to chimeras instead of wasting time making them out of spare parts.” Miss Purprille let an ironic smile grow on her face. “Because why risk messing up with spare parts when you can produce your own?”

Miyavi nodded. “I assume this is the part where someone other than me would be shocked.”

“Very much so. In any case, since these chimeras were directly born from me, it was easier for me to keep them in check and educate them. they had a direct link with me and wouldn’t dare attack me even during a few accidents. Thing is, they felt too much, cared too much, and that was bad for business.”

“Which means that you’d have to terminate them and try again, which explains the bodies here.” Miyavi deduced.

“Yes, but before doing that, starting again meant getting new test subjects. So, I’d have use accelerated growth potions to make them adults, and you can deduce the rest.”

“Chain growth, the babies getting necessary elements from both the failures and you to ensure that they’d perform better than their parents.” Miyavi completed. Then, she frowned. “…Is that… Is that why…?”

“Why I grew addicted to making my creations suffer and why I became aroused by the idea of absolute control over their fates with none of them minding that, thus allowing me to fulfill whatever fetishes I developed with them?” Miss Purprille completed bluntly. “Yes, it is. I am a monster, but ÄWC didn’t care how this experiment would mess up my psyche, my creations didn’t care if enjoyed myself with them more than was necessary, and I was too desperate to do anything about any of that.”

Miyavi let a tiny smile appear on her face as she approached Miss Purprille at the center of the room. “…If it’s any consolation, it was fun.” she said. “Really fun.”

“It was different with you, Mimi.” Miss Purprille continued. “I was getting to that. The difference between you and them is that I didn’t give birth to you. I made you.”

Miyavi’s eyes widened. “…Oh.”

“After fifty subjects terminated, I was starting to panic. So, I decided to go back to something I mastered a lot more, which was creating chimeras out of existing parts. Except that instead of using what ÄWC provided me, I used what I already had in store. This, is why you’re here.”

“You’re going to terminate me?”

“No.” Miss Purprille put her hands on Miyavi’s shoulder, a strange glow enlightening her eye. “You’re my ultimate creation, Mimi.” Miss Purprille declared. “You were made of the fifty beings that were born out of my own flesh, with characteristics taken directly from me. In other words, your body is a patchwork of my own flesh and blood. I didn’t want to use the Apothecaries’ potions given by ÄWC anymore, they costed too much. So, instead, I used my innate Mesmer’s abilities to slowly pour my mind into yours.”

“Your… Your mind…?”

“My understanding of the world, my vision of the world, my knowledge, my feelings, how I deal with them, everything I am was poured into you, and I’ve been doing that for twenty-four years, promising the company that raising you naturally with a bunch of illusions as your first training fields would prove to be more effective than accelerated growth, while also give me time to learn skills outside of my comfort zone to modify your body as you evolved, slowly but surely.”

Miyavi’s entire body trembled as she began to realize what her caretaker was telling her. “Why… Why are you telling me this now?”

Miss Purprille took Miyavi’s hand and dragged her behind the table. On the ground rested a grey-colored cylindrical canister with an orange ring glowing around it, and golden-colored spheres placed around the ring. Miyavi gasped as she recognized the object. “…Fireburst Pod?” she whispered.

“Yes, the prototype is complete." Miss Purprille confirmed. "It was your favorite weapon, wasn’t it?”

Miyavi nodded furiously, remembering the firework-like explosion that occurred after the grenades exploded in mid-air before falling back on the ground, destroying anything in a specific radius. Even most magic defenses didn’t last long with a fully-charged pod hitting it.

“Good.” Miss Purprille approved. “I’d like you to kill me, if you may.”

Miyavi’s growing smile immediately vanished. She blinked, then stared into the lovely cyan eyes once again. “I… I’m sorry?”

“You’re going to blow up this place with the Fireburst Pod, and me along with it. Of course, you’ll be entering the force field by the table beforehand. It’s designed to survive the blast.”

A horrified expression painted itself on Miyavi’s face. Then, slowly but surely, she attempted to regain her composure, thinking deeply about her caretaker’s words. She never did anything without a reason, not even in her unstable state. “…What will happen when you die?” she inquired.

“My most elaborate Mesmer experiment will trigger and activate: that, would be Ectoplasm. Sacrificing my body to cast an illusion on your mind using my soul to manipulate it. Nothing should be able to get rid of that, unless you die.”

Miyavi’s breath quickened. “…Wait, so… You’re staying with me as a wandering soul?”

“It’s not wandering if I’m haunting you, specifically.”

“…But you’re… You’re basically giving me your… Your everything!”

“And thus, making you not only a chimera with both brawns and brains – not that the other ones were stupid, just not mad scientist level – but also making you able to create your own things. Which means that you’ll continue my work, I’ll still be able to supervise it and not have you mess up everything with your annoying quirks.”

Miyavi’s jaw opened slowly, as if she was trying to swallow the infinite amount of possibilities Miss Purprille had just given to her. It took her several seconds to acknowledge the impatient taps Miss Purprille’s foot was making on the ground, and several more to enter inside the forcefield, and let her caretaker turn on the Fireburst Pod before she walked back in front of the table, arms crossed, staring at her creation one final time.

“About a minute to load.” Miss Purprille informed, looking slightly annoyed. “Make sure to fix that when you start doing your own thing.”

Miyavi nodded absentmindedly. She took the music box behind her and rotated the lever to enjoy the melody.

Spoiler! :
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My Identity.” Miyavi whispered. “My favorite. And about a minute long.” she finally allowed herself to gaze into the cyan stare one last time, making sure that she’d carve the image of Miss Purprille into her mind, the Miss Purprille in flesh and blood that she’d never, ever forget. “I absolutely love you.” Miyavi declared, standing at the edge of the force field.

“Whatever.” Miss Purprille replied as the firework-like sound invaded the building, with the numerous bombs flying towards the high ceiling. Then, something in her eyes changed, and Miss Purprille forced an arm to pass through the forcefield, pulling Miyavi into a hug. “Whatever.” she whispered once more before pushing Miyavi back inside her protection. “Just doing my–”

******


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It was as if the ground below Miyavi’s feet had decided to become a rocking chair. A very, very unstable rocking chair with a lot of bumps everywhere on its legs. Maybe it was more like a wooden car with busted wheels than a rocking chair – the point was, the ground was shaking like crazy, and Miyavi started to think that running on it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

No joke, it’s not a good idea. Any debris fall at the wrong time and you’re dead.

Miyavi almost chuckled in her rush. Plasma, we’ve been over the fact that with the kind of training I’ve received from your original self, there is little chance than any of these debris… Miyavi stopped her mad rush and casually leaped on the side. A giant chunk of rock fell on the spot she was standing over a second ago. …Can hope to ever surprise me. she completed in her mind. “In short,” Miyavi continued, out loud, “They don’t stand a ghost…!”

Now you better stop right th–

“…Of a CHANCE!” with that said, Miyavi let out a childish laughter, unconcerned by the idea that she certainly appeared like a mad witch to anyone who’d see her laughing alone during an earthquake that tore apart Lemuria.

Actually, the earthquake stopped three seconds ago.

Miyavi stopped laughing to scan the area. Several buildings had been destroyed, while others, only partially. Cracks were visible everywhere on the street, but none of that mattered – the prized object was still nowhere to be found.

I will never understand why you’d risk your life to add a worthless toy to your already large collection, Mimi.

If your original form didn’t either, Plasma, I didn’t expect you of all people to understand either. Miyavi replied.

…You know, you could always just call me by my actual name, I’m the same person.

A tender smile grew on Miyavi’s face as she resumed her chase. “Only when it matters, Miss Purprille.” she whispered. “Only when it matters.” Scanning the area once more, she finally noticed an abandoned wooden spinning top next to a huge rock – the one she had attempted to get before the earthquake made it roll away from her. Without wasting anymore time, she ran to the toy’s location, snatched it within her hands and shoved it inside her purple coat’s pocket. “Victory smiles for Mimi once more!” she shouted before turning on her heels and marching back from where she came, a bright smile enlightening her face from cheek to cheek. “Ooooh I can’t wait to see what things I can do with this thing! What d’you think I should name it?”

I did NOT blow myself and give you everything I had for you to use me in such a manner.

“…Blooie.” Miyavi whispered. Blooie the spinning top. And then I can paint it in blue with its handle in a shade of purple.”

…That’s… Hmm. That’s not bad, actually.

“You’re biased ‘cause you like purple.”

You should be happy about that, it was one of my more harmless quirks, which I successfully passed on to you.

“…D’you like purple so much ‘cause it’s in your name?”

The better question is: why are you talking to me with your voice instead of your mind and, while we’re at it, why aren’t you trying to make sure people are safe after an EARTHQUAKE just hit the town?

…Are you sure you’re stable, Plasma? Because you just went from calm to impatient in like a second.

…I was… Very volatile to begin with, emotion-wise.

That answers that. As for the people, eh, I’m pretty sure they’ll be fine. I don’t need to meddle in every disaster that happens, now, do I? That’s not the job I signed for!

Well, no, Mimi. You’re right, you only signed in the jobs which might allow you to show off your effectiveness in any situation in which people might see you. Which will give good publicity to the ÄWC. And, therefore, to you. Which might imply a raise and more freedom in the long run. Just a friendly sugge-

“OI, OI, OI! ARE ANY PEOPLE HERE IN NEED OF SAVING?!” Miyavi shouted as she began running through the streets once again, her favorite black boots stomping hard on the crackled ground. “MIYAVI OF THE ÄRMONI WORKS COMPANY HERE!” A distant snicker resounded in her mind. I’ll get back at you for this, Plasma! You’re not gonna puppet master me for long!

I’ll keep puppet mastering you as long as the cyan eyes I gave you keep shinning forward, Mimi.

See? Miyavi replied, as a single tear sneaked away from her cyan glare. From puppet master to loving mother. You’re still totally unstable. Now shut up and lemme go help random people.

Whatever.

Love you too!
Last edited by TinkerTwaggy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"Is there a limit to how much living I can live with my life? How will I know if I've gone too far?
And why did I spend my life savings on sunglasses for a whale?
I shall find the answer... to these questions."





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Lumi says...



Lemuria, How Deep She Sleeps
Reel II
March Twentieth, 1912

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"YEA, be the world ending, all ye sons'o'war!"

Anberlin helped a nurse lift Brayel onto a cot beneath a wire-and-tin structure built in a plaza between the Judiciary strand and the docks. It was all she could do to not cover her ears from the sound of rain roaring on the roof, ten thousand young buck dogs barking after prey together.

"Say it be: none are worthy to be saved! None worthy of God's grace and mercy! Yet we cling to the light! We shy from the dark paths before us for they lead only to death and hell!"

Brayel opened his eyes and took in a long, lingering gander of Anberlin's face. "What the hell did you promise Shylock to win my freedom?"

Thunderbolts and roiling earth as she swallowed a knot in her throat. Brayel had ever been her confidant in this new life, and yet...such simple phrasing as Information seemed as though it would drive him away, much less Cooperation or God forbid dedication of service. She shook her head. "Merely that we would put our noses where they belonged."

He scoffed, though it hurt to do so. "In the ground, then?"

"Lo, ye sinners! Make way for the LORD of hosts for the hour is at hand! Behold he comes!"

Annoyed beyond her limit, Anberlin jerked her head to the side to glare at the man outside in the rain. His red hair, red beard, and full tuxedo seemed fresh from a church house in the religious district. Preparing her voice to shout him down, she was suddenly--and literally--shocked as the man was struck down by red lightning before her, leaving nothing--absolutely nothing--of the man's body or belongings.

The remaining patients and volunteers peered at her in shock and awe...and fear. Whispers of dark magic, elemental magic, wrathful elements destroying the city. She quickly returned to Brayel's side as the chirurgeon began work on his wounds (nevermind asking her for any damage) and knelt beside him. "In all your days, have you ever seen an elementalist call down red lightning? or summon an earthquake to topple city blocks? or rain this intense and chaotic?"

"Not one--DAMMIT--time...why?"

Anberlin slowly nodded. "Perhaps our noses do belong in the dirt."

From the corner of her eye, she saw a strong red crackle of static. As she turned, the fountain at the center of the plaza blew into millions of shards; Anberlin fetched her daggers and threw them on opposing ends of the shelter's support beams, creating a shield as the marble plummeted against the mauve light wall. Her daggers returned to her, and her shield wrapped around her as she jogged into the plaza, Brayel following after with a soft limp to stay in her shield.

At their feet, the rising floodwater took on the red static and slowed them, filling their muscles with an otherworldly low shock. Reaching a pedestal for a now-destroyed statue of a founding matron of Lemuria, the two took a breather, looking about for their assailant. Brayel called for Anberlin over the rain, but the deafening pour left him drowned out in silence.

Instead, Anberlin opened her mind to him. I'm pondering, if you'd like to think to me.

It's been a while. Your thoughts are usually so secluded.

This is serious, though, and I need this information (for Decker.)

I heard that, you know. Dammit, boss, we can't get dirty now.

Hold up. What was that?

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A flash of red flew by them, slamming into the fountain's remains, spreading a wave of red static over the two of them. A being emerged from the water, inhuman. Sixteen bladed tentacles made its torso, and atop its shoulders rested a head with a singular red eye, opened at the center for a thousand-fanged maw that spewed blood and static. It had no legs, but moved by slapping the water in a cycle and twisting its body in a slurry of blades and spikes.

And in that slurry, it rushed Anberlin, who renewed her shield immediately. It cracked and cracked before shattering around her, when she returned the psychic shards into a series of projectiles into the eye of the beast. In a roar of anguish, a bladed tentacle struck her down bluntly, nearly sending her into the rushing water.

Brayel drew its attention perfectly, however, as he loaded his rifle with a shrapnel grenade and landed a direct hit inside the monstrosity's maw. It began swimming to Brayel, but was suddenly stopped as Anberlin held it back with a psychic noose, tightening around its 'neck.' DO IT! thought Brayel, and Anberlin released blades along the length of the noose, slicing the beast's entire head off. The body began to slam to and fro without order or reason as the head melted away into nothingness.

Anberlin rose to celebrate victory with her partner, assuming the same would come of the Void Monster's body, but as her back was turned, holding her bleeding forehead, she suddenly heard screams coming from the triage shelter. Eyes wide, she jerked around to see the slaughter.

To see Brayel running to the shelter.

To see another in purple prepare to launch a grenade.

To see a young woman in a nurse's coat entering the plaza, picking up Brayel's fur.

God, no...
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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Sheyren says...



Welturna Darmanoa
~Welt'tuhrna Doikrmah'nawoa~


"You've always been skilled, I'll give you that," Welturna said drily, inspecting the suit of armor. Its design was breathtaking, and the white metal with gold border was a nice aesthetic. One that matched her sword and shield, she noticed with a glance at the two tools. Spinning the dummy around, she looked over the back, acknowledging it had the clips for a cape to hang from the back. There was also a conventient strap for the blade and shield to be carried without extra work, and the cape would flow past it perfectly.

"That's gotta be the first complement I've heard from you in a year," said the dirty smith, wiping a smudge of grease from his forehead with a hand holding his smithing hammer. He glanced at the hammer with surprise, as though he'd forgotten it was even there, and gently lowered it onto his workbench.

"Oh, shut it, CreAnn. I've praised you whenever you deserve it, and if you keep up this quality of work, you'll be getting praised more and more frequently."

A shrug. "Why do you need this armor, anyway? It's not like you serve on the front lines anymore, anyway, right?"

"No, you're right. I left the military behind once I came to Lemuria. But, old habits die hard, and without armor, I feel naked," Welturna casually explained.

"Won't the people be a little confused when they see you walking around in a suit of armor? Their first instinct would be to assume you're a soldier, but that specific style isn't exactly Lemurian," CreAnn commented in a way which seemed ignorant, at least to Welturna.

Welturna sighed, shaking her head. "Do you see this?" She pointed to a cross with a circle around it. The circle was smaller than the cross, meaning the points of the cross stuck out farther than the border of the circle. "It's an Ikthia' del Vee-amta'hh."

"A what?"

"Lemme simplify. It's the national symbol of Fah'tiu, found on every flag and major capital building."

CreAnn raised an eyebrow. "What's the Fah'tiun translate to?"

"Let's see..." Welturna muttered, lost in thought. Finally, she seemed to decided on the answer. "'A circled cross'. We aren't great with names."

"Oh, I see. Anywaaaays, I'll have this armor delivered straight to you, should get there tomorrow."

"Alright, thanks," said Welturna, already heading for the door of the smith shop. Turning around, she waved. "I'll likely be back." With that, she made her departure, exiting the building and strolling the streets casually. The sun was high in the sky, and particularly warm weather filled Welturna with energy. Spring was nearing, and with it came the return of nature's life. The skies were cloudless, and the mating calls of lonely birds looking to mingle were carried on the breeze.

Welturna smiled, enjoying the piece. That was, of course, until the same breeze carrying bird chirps brought to her ears the sounds of screaming.
"I give you permission to use 'Sheyster. Sheyfia. Shey Boss. Don Shey.' as a signature quote. XD"
-BrumalHunter


If you somehow didn't already know, I used to be Sheytato.





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TheSilverFox says...



Brayel Marcelo
March 20th, 1912

As he lay on the broken cobblestones, Brayel decided, in his half-conscious state, that this would be the last time he would kick a grenade.

He was lying in a steadily growing pool of what he suspected to be his own blood. Whatever pain he could feel congregated around his chest and his legs, stabbing in an array of tiny pinpricks that, if he were not on the verge of passing out, would've been more like knives. His vision was blurred by the rain; in the place of reality, bright spots glittered across a black (or purple? or red? colors were hard to distinguish) sky. Eardrums rattled in consternation, drowning out most all sounds (which, loud as they were, was impressive). Thoughts skittered across his mind, and he vaguely realized they weren't his own. Beyond that they were angry, shouting, and mildly despairing, he wasn't sure what they were.

A tentacle flashed over the edge of his vision. Distant, rapid screams reached his frail ears; many of them abruptly ended. From the corner of his vision, he could now see a strange lady walking to, and then kneeling beside him. Thanks to the lights in his eyes, she took on the visage of a beautiful angel, her mahogany hair drenched in the rain as she pulled out a stave. Only her horrified, confused expression betrayed her as anything less than divine, and Brayel could barely see it. Her other hand grabbed some of the fur by his stomach, lifting it up for the fox to see.

"F-f-f...," whispered Brayel, as he observed the bloody mess that was his own fur. Someone else now ran up to him, while the angel ducked under a sharp tentacle. He recognized Anberlin as she abruptly stopped beside him, face frozen in horror. She said something to the angel, who responded in a reassuring way, patting Brayel's knee and causing it to twich erratically. And then, in one fluid motion, and after one last glance, Anberlin picked up Brayel's gun from the ground, aimed it towards whatever that creature was, and ran off once again. A shot rang out.

Brayel couldn't help but think that she missed, though he heard the grotesque screams of some abomination in the distance. She wasn't much of a shot. If it were Sophia, however, she could...

she could...

she could...





January 25th, 1912

"This is it," said Brayel, pointing past the driver of the car to a tall and narrow house, squeezed in-between many similar ones. Nodding, the driver slammed their foot on the break, slowing the car down from an impressive 15 miles per hour (the cab drivers being best known for their fahrvergnügen, of course).

Brayel, leaning forward, smacked against the back of the driver's seat. Scowling, he coughed and kicked open the passenger door, squeezing himself out. He threw a dime onto the back seat of the cab, slammed the door shut, and went to the back of the car. "Lemuria," he grumbled, opening the trunk and yanking out bags and suitcases. "Always a charm."

The weather was partly cloudy and cold, and the pale Sun gave little heed to Brayel as he trudged his way up the brick path leading to his Lemurian home, the car speeding off behind him. Dressed in a monochrome jacket, shirt, and pants, his boots stomped on the light layer of snow, revealing the suffocated grass beneath. Distracted as he was in yanking his bags, two at a time, up the creaky steps leading to the front porch, Brayel didn't notice the man standing in front of the adjacent house until he heard the words, "What do you think of this?"

With a deep sigh, Brayel placed the bags in his hands on the step in front of him. Taking care to use his most calm, conversational expression, he slowly turned around to see a disheveled, wild-eyed hobo walking towards him. The hobo carried a bird cage, within which was a mockingbird resting on a perch, singing strangely.

"It's a bird," Brayel monotoned. "Not for eating."

"This here is a mockingbird," said the hobo, shaking the cage and upsetting the mockingbird, pretending as though he had received an entirely different answer. The hobo's squinting and frown said all that Brayel needed to know, however. "Do you like them? They're said to be symbols of happiness, and they're great mimics."

"It's a...bird," Brayel repeated, emphasizing the last word. "They're all the same to me. I don't really care." He was suddenly aware of a ringing noise coming from inside the house.

The hobo laughed in a cold way. "Then it will be just like you," he said, face immediately hardening, his gaze piercing in the same way that the headlights of a train cut through fog. "A liar." He set the cage down and ran off, vanishing before Brayel had time to react.

After a few seconds, the fox sighed. He looked around cautiously, half-expecting to see someone hiding among the trashcans beside the property, or maybe a totally unsuspicious lady walking across the street. Lemuria, too, was known for its sense of Schadenfreude, and strange pranks were, on the whole, more amusing than dead bodies. Seeing absolutely no one and nothing out of the ordinary, he shrugged and walked down the steps, bending to reach the bird cage. Picking it up gently, he observed the jumpy specimen inside. It cocked his head at him, silencing itself as it watched him in return. The effect was eerie.

That ringing noise persisted. Opening the door, Brayel hung the ring attached to the cage on a coat rack, dragging in the rest of his items in short order. He felt it odd that anyone would be calling him, but surmised it was Anberlin, who had received his message and knew that today was the day of his arrival. Even if he had shown up late, he guessed she would have been calling every five minutes regardless of whether he responded or not, considering the urgency of her original request; it was thus a reasonable guess. He closed the door behind him, shook himself (the wet fur smell, thanks to his layers, wasn't nearly as bad as he had feared), stamped his boots on the once-green welcome mat, and took off his boots and jacket. Brayel wrapped his arms around himself momentarily; the home, having been left alone for some months, was completely chilly.

Whistling a discordant tune, he walked down the narrow hallway towards the living room, now carrying the bird cage. Setting it on a chair positioned in front of an empty, unlight fireplace, Brayel watched the mockingbird descend from its perch and hop across the few newspaper clipping scattered across the bottom of the cage. He could see his name in the paper, highlighting one or two noteworthy cases of his - both great successes on his part, even if the populace of Lemuria wouldn't much agree - as he picked up the rotary dial phone and said, "Hello?"

******

There was a knock at the door.

"Come on in," said Brayel loudly, before returning to shove a lid over the large wooden box lying on the floor.

The lock turned and the door opened slowly, creaking as it did so. "Where are you?" asked Anberlin, voice muffled slightly by the walls.

"Over here," replied Brayel. He succeeded in sticking the lid into place, and was hammering a few nails in when the familiar figure of his former boss came into view at the room's entrance

Anberlin watched him hammer a nail into place. "Giving someone a gift?" she said in a tone that was almost bemused, while she leaned against the door frame. "I thought you took care of everything upstairs."

"I've written a message as well," said Brayel, standing up and bowing respectfully to Anberlin, following this by resuming his task. "Mom will know what to do with it when it comes to her. And no, it would've been silly of me to get rid of all the devices when I left from here. I guessed I might come back."

"You guessed correctly, though not in the way either of us planned. Is something amiss with your family?" commented Anberlin, eyebrow raised.

He knew that he hadn't the nerve or ability to say no. Brayel pounded in the final nail. On his knees, looking down at the box, he bowed his head. "You'd better have a good reason for bringing me back to his cesspit," he said quietly, ignoring the chittering of the mockingbird. "I've been trying to keep my family hidden for as long as possible, but I think I've been in this business too long, and I've slipped up too many times. My father's in the hospital. Something about a grenade."

Anberlin stepped out of the way as the fox lifted himself up, grabbed the back of the box, and began to push it through the room, causing the floorboards to squeak in an agonizingly annoying way. "Depending on how this goes," she said, walking down the hallway to follow Brayel, "this may be your last time."

"Relieving," said Brayel, opening the door and revealing the cold wide world of Lemuria. "And then let Him review me and cast me down to Hell, because none are wothy to be saved."






March 20th, 1912

"Hey, I'm from the Ärmoni Works Company, and I'm here to shoot evil in the face! Or face-like parts!"

A wave of nausea swept over Brayel as the giver of oblivion pushed him from its grasp. Not the least for being stuck in the corner of a damaged, rain-soaked building covered in a huge number of shredded bodies.

"I didn't think that would work," said the lady sitting beside him on a makeshift bench, wrapping gauze bandages around his midsection. Her voice was tinged in a frantic tone, particularly as she observed the pools of blood and organs lying all around them. "I mean, it didn't, not entirely. But, if I could heal animals without problem, I guess it would be a little hard to heal animal...people Is that how you say it?"

Brayel, dizzy, his senses returning to him, turned his head mildly and saw the angel, looking a lot less angelic than she did earlier. She was covered in blood and things that didn't necessarily deserve identification, but disregarded any expression of disgust in favor of overwhelming anxiety. "Who are you?" he said quietly, his throat sore.

"Ah, ah, I didn't think you would be awake!" said the nurse in alarm, emptying the roll of gauze, the last pieces of which she wrapped around his right leg, before stretching her arms out to push his hands back down. "Stay right where you are, or you might tear something!"

Shaking his head momentarily, trying to shake away the spots in his eyes, the fox caught side of the ruined courtyard, with its smashed statue and decimated buildings. In all of the rain and noise, he couldn't quite tell if there were one or two of those creatures. He swore he could see Anberlin running around, having long ago abandoned his gun and resorting to her psychic attacks. She was accompanied by some eager...whatever-that-was, with fists that were also shooting bullets (as far as he could tell), sprinting around the monster/s and proving sprightly and effective. There was also someone wielding a sword and shield, dressed in a brilliant suit of white and gold armor whose gleam was hardly diminished by the torrent. The three of them were completely unsynchronized, but fighting hard and surviving (somehow). Somebody, off in the distance, was shouting something about a gas line.

"What happened?" asked Brayel, squinting into the storm. He winced as his nerves worked to regain themselves, swiftly accounting for the damage in his body. The pain disoriented him and made him nauseous. "What's broken?"

"Umm...," said the nurse, following his eyes. "You might've broken a few ribs, have shrapnel stuck everywhere from your knees to your chest, were bleeding a lot - I stopped that, by the way, but your clothes are ruined - and will probably hurt for a while. You know, if we live that long. These creatures killed just about everyone here and they're pretty determined to not die, even if those people are trying as hard as they can to kill the things."

There was a resounding, fiery explosion, and a few horrendous, deep, unearthly shrieks, shooting pure fear into Brayel's heart. If he had human skin, instead of fur, he would've had goosebumps.

"I'm Raegan, by the way," said the nurse.

"Hello, Raegan," said Brayel. "Excuse me for a second." As the screams diminished, along with the rain, he looked at the bodies, and then at Raegan, and then vomited onto the floor.
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
a persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma per ciò che giammai di questo fondo
non tornò vivo alcun, s'i' odo il vero,
senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

Inferno, Canto 27, l 61-66.





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AstralHunter says...



Day or night, the desert offered comfort to no man. Yet even the dry, frigid air brought relief to Sephtis as he stepped onto the sands. He glanced down at the staircase for a moment before averting his gaze.

Kneeling, he grabbed a handful of sand and allowed it to run through his fingers. Other deserts were rocky and contained only course sand, but the desert of Redwind was different. Its dunes were silky when placated - scathing only when enraged. The desert slept peacefully that night. Sephtis tried to find solace in it, tried to forget what had just happened.

He rose and leaned on his scythe for support, the chine pointed away from him, eyes turned towards the ground. He needed a mentor, not a servant. Once again, he was lost.

Exhaling heavily, he realised he was literally lost too, so he searched the night sky. Finding Polaris during a full moon proved challenging, but not impossible. Upon finding it, he allowed himself one last glance at the staircase beside him before orienting himself and heading towards the village of Shanjirt.

When he and Meirion had first arrived there, they had been met by a couple of guards, with only a few others stationed elsewhere in the village. Once the outskirts came into view, however, he spotted three engaged in merry conversation. His instincts as an enforcer kicked in and he crouched low to the ground. He slowly manoeuvred in an arc to his left and spotted two more. Either more guards had materialised overnight, or desert raiders had occupied the settlement.

Damn the moonlight! If it had been darker, he could have crept within metres of the guards before they would have noticed him, but with the night so brightly illuminated, there was simply no way. Fortunately, one of the pair of guards left for whatever reason. The other guard turned to say something. Sephtis grabbed the opportunity and dashed forwards, ducking behind a wall before the man turned back.

Unfortunately, that decision left him in full view of any other guards in the nearby streets. He pulled the urn from inside his robes and quietly tipped Meirion's ashes onto the sand. The dust began to congregate and rise, but Sephtis quickly smashed it.

Leaning forwards, he whispered, "I need a diversion. If you can understand my instructions, then travel along the road to my right and attract as much attention as you can. But only once you're a reasonable distance away from me. Stall for as long as possible. Go."

To his satisfaction, the pile of ash did as instructed. Sephtis still prayed nobody would look his way or notice the ashes before they were far enough away. He was in luck - the raiders were looking out for threats from the living, not the dead. Once the pile reached the well-lit centre of a street, it stopped and began to congragate again. A humanoid figure slowly formed.

"We have a revenant!" a raider finally called.

Sephtis slipped around the corner before anyone could spot him too. The guards on duty looked inwards, not outwards, leaving him free to slit the nearest one's throat with his scythe, almost decapitating the man.

"That thing?" one called. "It hardly even qualifies as a dust fiend. Just poke it with a stick. It'll dissipate on its own."

"I am most certainly more than a mere ball of fluff!" Meirion's familiar voice responded. "You treat the dead with as much contempt as you treat the living. I can feel the souls of the slain still lingering here."

While Meirion did as commanded, Sephtis moved the body out of sight and moved into more favourable cover. His presence would eventually be discovered through the guard's death, but he simply needed to hide for a short while. He slipped inside a building, minding the pools of blood and fresh corpses. Sneaking closer to the window, he very carefully peered outside. One of the raiders was making for Meirion.

"If you do not release the traumatised souls from their bodies, they could potentially reclaim control and exact thei-"

"Ah, shut up, you wretch," a raider said, slicing through Meirion with his scimitar. The ashen servant collapsed into a pile once more, provoking much laughter from the raider's comrades. "See, I told you it was a joke."

He'd have to get closer to summon Meirion again. It would be too risky, so he... apparently didn't have to? To Sephtis' great surprise, Meirion formed again on his own, faster than the first time.

"You impudent fool! Did you really think you could banish one such as I so easily?"

The previous desert raider halted his return to the others and turned around, annoyed. "The spirit is bothersome. Fetch the shaman."

"Though I may have fallen to ash, it is you who will scatter like dust in a sandstorm."

"You unholy freaks don't know how to stay dead," the raider grumbled, approaching Meirion again with raised sword. A grave error.

"And you idiotic bandits don't know how to stay alive," Meirion countered, stepping forward and flinging ash glowing red with heat into the man's face. He screamed in agony, but Meirion closed the distance and directed a stream of ash into the man's mouth. The screams abruptly ceased.

"The damned thing can attack!" one of the other raiders called.

Meirion moved his hand and shaped some of the ashes around him into his old scythe. "You defiled this village. Witness the wrath of its scorned ancestors!"

Recognising the moment for what it was, Septhis moved back to the first three guards he had spotted. They remained at their post, though their backs were turned. While the first two fell in silence, the last one managed to cry out in warning for a second before being dispatched himself.

"There are others!"

Sephtis decided to use that to his advantage - let them think he was more than just one. Drawing some of the last victim's vitality into his chine, as he had done with Meirion's skeletons, he snuck to his right and launched the spectral blade into the first raider he encountered. The raider accompanying him notified the others of Sephtis' presence, but he was still surprised enough to be felled after only two parries.

Adding the numbers in his mind, Sephtis calculated seven raiders had fallen already. Considering how most of those had been on the edge of the perimeter, at least double the slain number remained. He no longer had surprise on his side, so he'd have to move with great care.

His best bet was on the rooftops, so he used a windowsill as a foothold and pulled himself onto the flat stone roof. He snuck closer to the village centre, to where Meirion had moved the battle. To Sephtis' surprise, it was as if his mentor had simply taken on a different incarnation, for he still fought with all the skill and finesse he had displayed less than an hour ago. Some of the raiders occupied him, while others frantically searched the area for the so-called "others". Who appeared to be the leader of the raiders watched from the side, simply watching the scene unfold. Beside him were other raiders and a woman dressed in simple robes. Sephtis recognised her as the village shaman.

"How close do you need to get to banish the spirit?" the leader asked.

"Use your eyes, you murderous boor: that is no ordinary minion. The regular procedure will not have any effect."

"Then it seems we have kept you alive for no reason."

Sephtis turned his gaze towards the corpse closest to the group. He willed it to spasm, just enough to attract the group's attention.

"Boss, that corpse just moved!"

The leader approached the corpse and drove his blade through its skull. He turned back to the shaman and said, "Your life has been extended by hours. Do not attempt anything and we may yet allow you to survive past morning." He looked back at the corpse, then at Meirion, still battling his raiders. "Find the necromancer controlling that devil and kill him!"

A quick count of the fallen added five more to the death tally - still too many remained for Sephtis to risk attacking them all. If it came down to a war of attrition, he might win, but the shaman certainly wouldn't survive. Enough lives had been lost already; if even one could be saved, he had to try.

"Did you derive schadenfreude from slaughtering so many?" Meirion called at nobody in particular. "If death brings you such pleasure, I can send you down the road to hell - you're bound to experience fahvergnügen during the journey!"

Rolling his eyes at the uninspired taunt, Sephtis moved to the back of the building and called, "You can do better than that!" before going prone and returning to the front. The raiders reacted as predicted and moved around to ambush the seemingly foolish necromancer. The leader regrettably didn't follow, but Sephtis didn't have much of a choice left. He rose and leapt off the roof.

"I shall not stand being humiliated like this by a common dog," the leader stated, drawing his scimitar. "Allow me to put you out of your misery, you rabid fil-" His jeer was interrupted by a stream of ash to the face. He cursed and barely blocked Sephtis' scythe, but he collapsed after a pot shattered against the back of his head.

"That was anti-climactic," Meirion commented, beheading the last of the raiders willing to engage him.

Sephtis didn't have time to respond, as the pot had been thrown by the shaman, who fled from the raiders guarding her. He lunged forward and threw himself at the ground, twisting just before he landed to slice the legs of the pursuers. He rolled onto his side and into a crouching position, ready to fend off any attackers. Seeing their leader dead or unconscious, however, the remaining raiders fled, even though they still far outnumbered the resistance of three.

"Halt, cravens!" Meirion called, chasing after them.

"As I recall, he was alive when you two left here," the shaman noted, slitting the throats of the bandit leader and the two legless fallen with a shard from the smashed pot, afterwards scanning the surroundings for any last threats.

"He was also mad, obsessed, and mistaken. He did not take well to the knowledge that his lifetime of efforts had been in vain."

The tanned woman gave him a shrewd look. "How did he become your servant? I would not presume you possess the knowledge to perform a spell with such ancient origins. The energy he gives off... it is dire."

"It was his suggestion, not mine. He didn't fancy being feed for the hyenas."

She pursed her lips. "You saved me and avenged the fallen, so I have no reason to distrust you. But perhaps you should call your former mentor off. Even scum sometimes deserve mercy."

"Like they showed your people mercy?" Meirion sneered, striding back into view. "They sewed the death, and I reaped it."

"Did you kill all of them?" Sephtis asked, shaking his head in disappointment and disgust. "They routed. They might have surrendered if given no other choice."

"You two are naive if you think they would lay down their weapons. They would feign surrender simply to bide their time before their next strike. Their kind knows only violence and greed. You," he pointed at the shaman, "would be better suited to tend to the dead and prepare them for the sojourn that awaits them in the afterlife. And you," he turned his gaze to Sephtis, "must seek out the dying and ease them into oblivion."

"I am the sole survivor," the shaman declared. "The only life that remains here is what you see before you."

The ashen man scoffed. "The raiders fell like wheat before my scythe because the imbeciles fled as a single group. They lacked comprehension of the grander scheme." Seeing the three corpses at the shaman's feet, he added, "Though for someone who preaches mercy, you seem unabashed at dispensing justice."

"They posed immediate threats, and the world is better off for the discontinuation of that jackal's existence." She looked at Sephtis apologetically. "No offence."

"Wrong canine, so none taken." Turning to Meirion, Sephtis enquired, "What grand scheme are we missing?" His mentor was indeed dead, but whatever of his consciousness remained in his dust could still be of use.

"We think of lives as those of individuals. Those who need saving now have bones of stone and veins of gravel. We are the blood that runs through them."

"You mean the cities? Then we must depart for Redwind in the morning."

"Review your conscience, Sephtis. Would you rather save a neutral stranger or a friend with a grudge?"

The shaman adjusted her robes. "I shall leave you to your dead master's ramblings now. Take whatever you need from the village, for it is no longer needed." She bowed. "May the sands shift in your favour."

"My thanks. But where will you go?"

"Does it matter?" Meirion interjected, leaving the shamam free to release the fallen. "Rather ask where you must go."

"You believe I shouldn't go to Redwind," Sephtis responded, drawing a line in the sand with his scythe. "Then where?"

Shaking his head, Meirion replied, "The whispers are still audible to me, even at this distance. The bells toll, they say. The bell tolls. But for whom do the bells toll? And where does the bell toll?"

"Do they... say anything else?" Sephtis didn't feel comfortable with a maintained connection with the Tome of Whispers, but he couldn't just ignore what he didn't like.

"Hmm... a good question. They just went quiet." Meirion strained to listen. "The aurous one listens but wishes not to hear," he echoed. "It seeks to remain ignorant."

Sephtis kicked the sand. "They said that already. What else?"

"The aurous one enquires but wishes not to hear. It seeks to remain unbound."

"Anything else?" The wolf rubbed his temples.

"...Nothing. They went quiet again."

He bared his fangs. "Then we are wasting our-"

"Wait! Wait. They... Oh my."

Sephtis exhaled through his nose. "What?"

"The heart of the world tips the scale. The heart of gold tips the scale."

"Is that all?"

"Yes. They're repeating it over and over. The heart of the world tips the scale. The heart of gold tips the scale. The heart of the world tips the scale. The heart of gold tips the scale. The heart of the world tips the scale..."

"...The heart of gold tips the scale..." Sephtis murmured, his eyes growing wide as realisation dawned. "By the gods... Meirion, we can't wait until dawn."

"Why not?" Meirion demaned, irked at his lack of understanding.

"You mentioned the individuals that need saving have bones of stone and veins of gravel. Cities. That's what you meant."

"Yes, you came to that conclusion already. Redwind is being consumed by the void. Lemuria could be next. You must warn your friends, even if you hold little love for them at present." He frowned. "But if you understand this, why the sudden realisation? What else did the whispers say?"

"The scales mentioned refer to those used by the gods to measure our souls. If the heart of the world tips the scales, then-"

"Then the world will be consumed by the void, not just one city," Meirion finished.

"Yes. But the heart of gold is also mentioned to tip the scales. I am the aurous one."

"So you are destined to die?" his mentor asked, confused.

Sephtis shook his head. "My heart lies not with me."

"Oh..." Meirion looked to the east. "It lies in Lemuria. She is next."
But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
- Paul the Apostle

Spring has returned! Winter is over, and BrumalHunter is no more!





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Lumi says...



Anberlin Calloway, 1909

"There's an oddity to the feeling that is paramount to you understanding my position on murder," Anberlin said before taking a healthy sip of tea from her cup, before placing it on the saucer before her with a light chime. Brayel and Sephtis sat across from her, each with a decorative scone. Brayel's was heaped with whipped cream and beset by tea sweetened by syrup. Sephtis had a dry scone with blackberries accompanied by black coffee.

"You'll be kind enough to tell us of the feeling, won't you?"

Anberlin nodded, but thought about it: how to explain the mind of someone who felt minds and heard them? Who communicated and delved into the cavities of impartial, passive, incommunicable ideas? "Pick your berries up, Sephtis, would you? And just hold them in your hand?"

He exhaled beneath his nasal breath. "And here one would think the human would have the table manners." He growled. "They feel as though roaches readying flight upon soiling my palm. I'm unsure if the roachberries are worse, or the humans thinking I'm indecent."

"And so they will continue thinking. Now close your eyes." She took her hand and gently spread the berries around in his palm. "You feel each one of them, yes? They're unique and identified as a single berry each, is that correct?"

"Yes. I can feel their individual podules of texture." Brayel looked at this curiously.

"These textures are minds speaking in the unheard world of the living. Their textures are mostly pleasant, aren't they, Sephtis?"

"Yes, ma'am."

With two fingers, she smashed two into his palm and smeared them off.

"What the hell, An--"

"That is murder to me, and it will never change. The feeling of senses being robbed of you without alert, the remnant memory of what it was, and the forgetfulness that wipes their existence away."


Anberlin Calloway, 1912

"Ma'am, none of the other survivors will speak for the dead. Ma'am? We know what you're capable of..."

Anberlin turned away from the medic and stepped towards the three congregated around Brayel before hearing the engineer cough out a laugh. "That battle was sloppy! That mesmer of yours shoulda been ten steps ahead of any being incapable of forming its own face--or at least that's what my internal editor says. I half agree because crafting faces is hard, in my experience, as I've never crafted one."

"Nor have I," said the younger girl, who had a white ivy of healing around Brayel's leg.

Anberlin walked away from the three of them--why ruin a good thing for Brayel? The end of the world was the end of the world, and it seemed her job was to direct the placement of slaughtered bodies.

"Beneath the ruined fountain," she hollered to the medic. He came within earshot. "As now it's taking in water, the smell of rotting flesh will not permeate the waterways, but rather take it beneath the city." She shook her head. "Do you have enough men?"

The medic nodded. "Several of our staff members are skilled, like you and your comrades."

"I will clear rubble for you so you will have less--" her vision ambled to the side as a swell of pain overtook her senses. Anberlin reached out for something to support her and caught Brayel by the elbow.

"I didn't forget about this aftermath," he grunted into her ear, lifting up her arm over his shoulders. "Are you positive all is well with you?"

It was not, to be brief, but she could not say that as the others behind Brayel approached her, supporting her. The healer placed sprigs of healing herbs in her hair. The petit, pale woman walked ahead. "You--" she pointed to Anberlin, "--need to rest while you have the chance. There's no telling when those accursed monsters will return."

"If they return."

The rain broke; all looked to the sky as the cloud above them parted in a dome and unleashed a herald of crimson lightning on the buildings around them, crushing them, pulverizing them, turning them to dust immediately to be swept away by the new rain.

Anberlin had dropped to her knees and closed her eyes at the first clap of thunder-before-lightning--but as she opened her eyes, there was safety in the newer, wider clearing. The statues, just an hour ago destroyed by the same lightning, had been replaced by figures of unimaginable detail; but of unintelligible design. The fountain was a font of fire, piled atop with bodies killed both by the Void Monstrocities and the disasters; and all about the clearing stood the stillest, calmest cyan water that shone with the glory of a thousand angels.

Anberlin and the others had been saved by a psychic bubble surrounding them, and as she let it down, a small clap came from by one of the statues.

"I can't believe it, but I somehow knew
you would survive this godsforsaken calamity."


Anberlin stood and walked forward,
smiling once she reached the cyan waters.

"It seems I didn't have much choice
if fate wanted you to be involved
somehow."

The woman in black
pointed to the burning pyre.

"I think it's time we get some answers."

The two women sat across from one another in the cyan waters and motioned for the others to join by the pyre. "Everyone, this is Lysandre. Please do not introduce yourselves as I am quite interested in moving into this before night falls too rapidly on us."

Lysandre nodded. "If everyone would also keep their hands to themselves, that'd be wonderful. Sharing energies is for the monks. The only energy I need is the one who felt them all die..."

Anberlin addressed her with certainty, cupping her hands before her. With a whisper, she created a central sphere of fuchsia energy. "I willingly loan myself for the candor of the universe."

Lysandre closed her eyes, taking the orb. "I willingly accept unto myself for the candor of the universe." She sighed heavily. "And now is where shit gets cool!"

Spoiler! :

Anberlin Learned "Benefit of Death"
---A finishing move that reduces Anberlin's HP by 10% to peek into the future caused due to the target's death.

Raegan Learned "Water of Life"
---A healing spell that envelops a friendly target in a ring of cyan tide, healing wounds over time. If the target takes too much damage, the ring will heal for its full amount at once.

Brayel Learned "Weak Memory"
---Brayel has an expansive memory of targets' weak spots and how to hit them, giving him a passive higher critical hit rate.

Miyavi Learned "Blurryface"
---A hallucinogenic gas added to rounds without custom ammo creates copies of Miyavi for a short while, or until attacked successfully. Copies increase with experience.

Welturna Learned Cruel Lightning
---As a riposte to an attack, or a counter to taking magic damage, Welturna may summon red, burning lightning through her sword for bonus ELECTRIC and DARK damage to her next six sword attacks.
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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TheSilverFox says...



The Faces of the Dead


Brayel Marcelo
March 20th, 1912

As Brayel heard Lysandre's last comment, he began to pray to whatever deity he felt would be most likely to answer.

His chest still hurt, though the healer applied white ivy and a few other odds and ends. If he pressed his hand on it (no matter how many times she suggested he didn't) from where he stood beside the water, he would see the blood matting his fur. It discomforted him; he hadn't been hurt this much since the time a man had tried to lob a grenade at him from the back of a truck. He'd deflected it with a book, but a tad too late. That was when he realized his mind was straying, and he corrected himself - best not lose any focus when dealing with the dead.

Everyone hushed as the sphere of energy began to rise towards the pyre, shifting into the color of blood. The healer pushed him towards the cyan water, gesturing for him to sit in it (as everyone else had). He wasn't particularly eager to get his clothes wet - though they were already ruined - but he complied, moving ever slowly as the battered joints in his legs popped uncomfortably. Lysandre chanted, voice gradually deepening as the sphere slowly swallowed the pyre and the bodies upon it.

He could feel the water lapped at his legs, the energy within them seeping into him. His aches lessened, his chest heaved slightly to expel shrapnel (he wasn't happy about this, as it did knock the air out of him), and his muscles relaxed. The smell was still awful, of course, but just a footnote in the waves of decay and death. Besides, there were more important things to focus on, like Anberlin clutching her head and beginning to shout in pain, and Lysandre looking less and less comfortable.

Due to her psychic influence, if Brayel couldn't hear Anberlin speaking, he could usually hear what she was thinking. His thoughts scattered before the one powerful, infinite yell, the much stronger echo of the real one. Everyone around him clutched their own heads or hearts, swaying in the water. Gritting his teeth and straining to think (it was amazing that he could even act, the way that she overloaded his senses), Brayel slowly moved his head towards the funeral pyre. The flames grew brighter, cutting through the red sphere, whose cracks widened and started to manifest what he was sincerely hoping were not faces.

"Okay, this shit's not cool!" Lysandre said at last, gasping out the words. "I hope everybody's ready for a fight, because the dead are getting a little pissed off right now!"

Anberlin reared her head back, shouted one final time, and collapsed backwards into the water.

The pyre exploded in a wall of flame. Lysandre rushed to cover Anberlin as shards of bone and building flew everywhere, impaling and flinging aside hapless bystanders. Brayel pulled the remnants of his shirt over his head and ducked, sliding rear-first along the cyan water. It immediately soothed any damage from whatever pieces of sharpnel struck him, though he still felt as though he were being crushed on all sides. At the least, he was fortunate to be close enough to the pyre, since most of the debris shot upward. Brayel pulled himself to a stop, grabbing the ground beneath the water as hard he could, just before reaching the edge of the pond, and didn't take the shirt from off his head until the ringing in his ears quieted some.

Of course, when he looked to where the pyre had once been, he decided that had been a bad idea. The abomination that wriggled and trembled also towered into the sky. Were it not suspended on a small pillar that was already beginning to crack under the strain, it would have swallowed half of the square. As for the creature itself, it appeared to made of a slightly transparent, light-blue material, upon which was superimposed thousands of screaming, oversized faces, pushing out to form innumerable massive limbs. The thing was so hideous that Brayel temporarily believed - or wanted to believe - that he was hallucinating. He knew he wasn't, of course, since that never was the case.

Lysandre was the first to act. Whirling around, she conjured a giant, red-colored fist out of the spiritual energy that flooded the place, slamming it into the side of the creature. It screamed and fell back, smashing the few buildings left standing behind it. She charged after it, dodging the pieces of the pillar that exploded forwards while shouting, "Give us answers!"

Brayel ran forward, though his pained body tried to stop him, picking up the rifle from where it lay on the ground and firing a quick few shots at the creature. He was startled at his accuracy, as well as how his mind worked on overdrive to highlight the places where he felt he could do the most damage - the newly formed limbs. It screamed, but Brayel doubted that he could do anything more than harass what was already dead. As most everyone else charged, he decided to do something he was better at in this case. Stopping before Anberlin and setting his rifle aside, he helped pull her head out of the water.

In a few stressful seconds, she came back to her senses, gasping and coughing and spitting out water. "What do we have to kill now?" Anberlin asked, propping herself up on her arms. They shook, and Brayel reached to catch -

You give me one good reason why I don't shoot you here and now.

Blinking, Brayel froze. That most certainly wasn't Anberlin's voice; it had the familiar edge of someone he hadn't seen in a long time. The image of a long hallway, a locked door, and someone with an oversized shotgun aimed for him played out in his head, each vanishing in a blink. He looked up, but it was merely the blood red, thunderous sky.

Anberlin gasped and fell back into the water again. Brayel quickly yanked her back up, and they stared into each other's eyes with the same expression of surprise. She had seen something; perhaps not the same thing, but something.

Brayel doubted it was good.
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
a persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma per ciò che giammai di questo fondo
non tornò vivo alcun, s'i' odo il vero,
senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

Inferno, Canto 27, l 61-66.





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TinkerTwaggy says...



Spoiler! :
A fair warning: the, uh, following writing piece is basically 18+. Not that it's any shocking, considering that this is Aether - and also Miyavi's messed up upbringing - but y'know. Just a warning. Enjoy!



Miyavi – Harmony of a rogue doll


Image





Heat.

It had slowly began to beat alongside Miyavi’s heart until its hammering echo spread across her entire body, letting it tremble with a mixture of fun… and excitement.
The heat had grown with Miyavi’s running, fighting, defending, everything that made war so fantastic. She had, of course, been shouted at and ordered around – and that, too, contributed heavily in the heat’s steady growth. It all reminded her of her early training sessions with Miss Purprille.
And then, most of all, the heat had grown with the pain.

Come on, Mimi. Plasma encouraged Miyavi as she stood with the others in the fountain, staring at the abomination that had appeared to further support the idea of end of the world. We’ve got a job to do. Now’s not the time to get distracted.

...Right. Um… One sec. As the others rushed forward to confront whatever there was to confront, Miyavi calmly removed her boots and placed them next to her feet: they appeared as a thick mass of muscular, bony prehensile feet equipped with claws. She adjusted the strap of her shoulder bag then took a deep breath. Finally, she ran alongside her “partners.” “I’ll be cleaning the town for anything that’s hostile!” Miyavi shouted. “Catch y’all on the flip side, and don't get close!” gazing up, Miyavi noticed that some packs of flesh abandoned the monstrosity’s limbs only to fall everywhere in the city. And as she suspected as she ran towards them, many reformed into grotesque parodies of humanoid shapes.

Incoming.

Heard it. Miyavi stopped her race just as a puddle of flesh fell in front of her and began to reform. She put both arms in front of her, bent her knees and began skidding in place, adopting her favorite boxing stance. The puddle of flesh in front of her grew and reached her height before finally reforming itself as a humanoid being with a wrinkly beige skin filled with thick, pulsating blue veins placed all over its naked, deformed body. A single, over-sized eye appeared on the network of veins, right on the creature’s torso.

I don’t think I need to tell you what to aim for.

Miyavi allowed a brief smirk to appear on her face. With a short hop, she moved right in front of her opponent, preparing a quick jab to destroy the eye. However, said eye moved along the vein line, hiding by the flesh zombie’s back, just as said zombie extended its arms to catch Miyavi into a nasty hug.

The creature is intelligent enough to hide its weak point, and potentially use it to lure us into melee combat.

Which means I can play mind games with it. Let’s call it “Fleyo”. Miyavi ducked under the Fleyo’s arms and countered with an uppercut. As she did so, she pressed the trigger of her gun gauntlets with her index finger, and a sudden detonation blew up a chunk of the Fleyo’s eyeless face, just as warm blood splattered itself on Miyavi’s facial fur. A flash of memory suddenly assaulted her mind.


After casting her spell, Miss Purprille violently stabbed Miyavi’s belly with her knife,


Ignoring the flash, Miyavi moved behind her opponent with another short leap, but the eye was already moving back to the Fleyo’s torso. Its head was also starting to regenerate. Miyavi simply pointed her gun gauntlet at her opponent’s back and fired: the shot went right through it, hitting the eye along the way. The Fleyo fell on the ground, unable to move.

...Not that I like that name, but the Basic Fleyo’s abilities include: light healing factor, luring tactics, exposed weakness.

And potentially good physical strength, if it thought it could actually trap me in its arms for good. Miyavi turned back, resuming her scouting patrol. She met two other Fleyos along the way: with a quick feint to the side, she punched the eye of the first one she met before it could properly hide, and used a bullet to hit the head. Then she turned back, pointing both of her arms at it as she fired three more bullets, hitting the eye with the third one, while the two others hit its belly as it collapsed on the ground.

Head.

Miyavi squashed the Fleyo’s head under her muscular feet, making sure it wouldn’t get up, unconcerned by the blood that splashed her paw pads.


to the latter’s utmost glee. She let out a joyful sigh as Miss Purprille turned the blade over and over


Miyavi frowned. Once again, an old, dear memory had appeared in her mind the second she had completed her task.

Screams, Mimi. Focus on the screams.

Without wasting more time, Miyavi turned away from the Fleyo and kept on running. She had used five bullets from her gun gauntlets – three for her right hand, two for her left hand – and had a total of twelve bullets for each.

Don’t worry too much about your bullet consumption, Mimi. You’ve got enough belts in your coat to compensate.

And also my favorite thingy thing to assemble should I need to go full “Mass Destruction.”

Only use the Fireburst Pod after you’ve made sure you– DUCK!

Heard it. Miyavi performed an impressive jump and moved her left leg forward: she gripped the side of a building’s wall, pouring the needed strength in her muscles to keep herself on it as she jerked her head on the side, noticing that a large mace-like structure had fallen where she stood a second ago. It was attached to a thick, whip-like substance, of the same color of a Fleyo’s skin. The sound it made upon lifting itself off the ground was of a crackling bone, one that Miyavi was very familiar with.


before she finally moved it up, tearing through the flesh as it moved. Miyavi linked her hand


Visual support for correct analysis.

On it. Miyavi jumped from her spot to land on the ground once more. She performed a light skid, bent her knees to save her momentum and dashed forward, pursuing the mace-like bone that flew back to its owner. And surely enough, it was another Fleyo: of the same body type of the previous one, but its head was covered with large, tentacle-like shapes covered with dark blue veins, and all ending with a mace-like bone structure at the end. It was as if the outgrowths acted as movable hair for the Fleyo to use against its foes. And soon enough, three of them moved away from the ground, directly themselves at the running Miyavi with great speed.

Extensive flesh manipulation system for mid-to-long distance attacks. Eye is nowhere to be found.

And close combat as its potential weakness. Eye is potentially hidden inside the hair. We’ll call this one F-Type 2: Macewhip. Miyavi focused her eyes on the main body, while her peripheral vision and ears informed her of incoming side assaults. She jumped over a ground-grazing sweep, briefly put herself on all fours to dodge a tentacle aiming for her head, then side-stepped to avoid another.

Counting?

Five left. More if any is hidden behind.

Dangerous surprise. Go for a split-second creative finish.

I adore your dramatic long names. Miyavi witnessed three more tentacles slowly raising behind the Macewhip before extending themselves towards her, moving to her like an unstoppable, head-seeking wave. Miyavi placed both of her feet on the ground and jumped over it, unconcerned by the smashing sound that occurred behind her. She had already moved both arms in front and aimed. Then she fired, and both bullets hit the tentacle on the left, ripping off a lengthy chunk from the main body. As she landed, Miyavi took the abandoned chunk with both arms, rushed once more and swung her arms above her head and back down, allowing the tentacle she held to follow the motion and swing down towards the Macewhip. The bony end of her improvised weapon fell down on the Macewhip’s head, squashing its body in place with a dreadful crack. Miyavi dropped her weapon and ran again, stopping before the Macewhip’s puddle of a body, pointing her right arm at it.

Just in case, save your bullets.

Seconds later, an eye hiding somewhere within what used to be a head attempted to move towards one of the motionless tentacles. Miyavi knelt down and punched it, destroying it in the process. She rose, gazing at her bloodied hand.


with Miss Purprille’s free hand and let out a scream, unable to tell for how long. Then,


Miyavi ghoulishly licked her hand as a rising heat grew in her stomach.
...Salty. The blood was salty like her own.


Miss Purprille handed the blade to her mouth, allowing Miyavi to lick the blood off of it. A new


MIYAVI!

Miyavi jerked her head on the right – her body followed the movement and she opened her palms, just in time to receive within them the weight of a Macewhip’s mace-like structure. Planting her claws on the ground, Miyavi absorbed the shock, then rapidly dropped the bone before gripping the tentacle’s skin and, using all her strength, pulled it towards her. The result was immediate: the distant Macewhip almost flew over the ground before skidding on it, leaving a red trail behind its body. Miyavi leaped towards the foe, blocked its torso with her knees and repeatedly punched its hidden head with her fists, her eyes gradually widening as drops of blood splattered on her face and neck.


scream passed the limit of Miyavi’s lips as Miss Purprille shoved her hands in the wounded skin


Miyavi let out a predatory scream, a sudden smile painting itself on her lips, and tears of nostalgia decorating her face. Why was the heat so wonderful? Why was the heat so hurtful?


and parted it open. Miyavi suddenly jerked her hands forward, grabbed Miss Purprille face and propelled it towards hers, squashing her lips against hers as the pain kept on spreading.


MIYAVI! GET A GRIP!

Opening her mouth wide, Miyavi let her fangs shine briefly before sinking them into the creature’s torso. She ripped off a chunk of its blood-soaked flesh.


“Do that again and I’ll cut off your arms next,” Miss Purprille warned, caressing Miyavi's cheek with her hand as she ended the contact by moving away.


Miyavi plunged her claws on the Fleyo’s belly next, using of her strength to open its stomach, laughing in anticipation. There was so much to taste. So much to remember.


Plasma Emergency Program: Reminder.


Miyavi blinked, and her growing smile disappeared instantly. Her entire body froze and she took a deep breath as she recited:

“One: Arms are the providers of survival.
Two: Weather of battle is justice for all.
Three: Come close to watch your foes fall.
Four: Rules of Ärmoni Works stand tall.”


Plasma Emergency Program: Heartbeat.

Miyavi rose from the ground and turned back, walking in the direction the Macewhip had come from. Each of her steps was rhythmical, following the set musical piece that existed only in her head. A musical piece she had heard and sung time and time again, in every form, with and without lyrics, and had used it in any and all situations. It was her saving grace. It was her harmony.

“Divine Ärma, we a-a-a-adore her
Divine Ärma, we a-a-a-adore her
Be it time, be it space: you rule over!”


Through the filter that was her ears, Miyavi heard the muffled sound of a scream. A human scream.

Onward, Mimi. Plasma ordered in a softer tone. You have a job to do.

“Wondrous Ärma, we wo-o-o-orship her
Wondrous Ärma, we wo-o-o-orship her
Every night, every day: wishing glory!”


A door. There was a door on the building locked within a narrow street, and two more Macewhips next to it – accompanied by one Fleyo. The last one turned towards the approaching Miyavi, though by then she had already changed her right gun gauntlet’s magazine to a red one – containing her explosive shells.

“Master – Master: please! Keep us by your side!
In your palm, sleeps a sea of stars
And to you, we all promise: for you, we’ll be there!
Chasing for your dream!”


Aim away from the door, and finish them from up close if you must. Whoever is inside needs to stay alive.
Placing her arm in front of her, Miyavi planted her feet firmly on the ground as she fired three bullets towards her enemies. They detonated, trapping them in a wild ball of fire: seconds later, only burnt skin remained on the ground, just in time for Miyavi to approach the door. It’s once fancy wood had been heavily damage, from both the explosion, and probably the Fleyos banging against it.

“We beg of you, O dear Ärma,
We beg of you, O dear Ärma,
Bless our work, be at ease: be our glory!”


These creatures seem to actively search for humanoid beings. Since most of them died or ran away, You don’t need to worry about cleaning all of it. Finish your duty and move towards the outer city's train station. Hopefully, it should still be working, and others would try to escape there, too.

Miyavi kicked the door, planting her claws deep in its wood. She shook it violently for several seconds, then kicked it again. Slowly, it fell down, and she walked inside, still singing.

“Weapons, business: that is Ärma!
Warfare, tactics: that is Ärma!
Bless our work, be at ease: be our glory!”


A desperate scream resounded in the place. Though it was too dark for Miyavi to clearly see yet, her ears and eyes were sharp enough to inform her that a small figure rushed at her as she finished her verse, hands locked around a rusty combat knife. Miyavi knelt before the figure and promptly stopped the assault with her bare hand.


Miyavi extended her arms for Miss Purprille to cut, then grabbed her neck with her tail and kissed her again, unconcerned by the blood dripping from her chin.


Miyavi blushed and let out a longing sigh. She moved her free hand towards the boy’s cheek, caressing it with her thumb, printing the blood of her enemies on the soft skin. Though she looked into his eyes for a moment, it was not him that she saw.

“What do we all wish?
Your infinite wisdom!
Please show us the way, O beloved Ärma!
We shall sing, through time and through space – united and blessed!
By your divine grace!”


Miyavi giggled. “...And there we have it.” she whispered. “Fully harmonized.”


Are you okay, Mimi? Is your memory still… hurting?

I’m okay. It wasn’t hurting, Miss Purprille, just… invading. I’m happy it’s still there, though. Smiling cheerfully, Miyavi blinked, realizing that she’d bee looking at the boy the entire time. He had soft, pale white skin, but it all seemed embed within natural light brown armor plates that surrounded his upper torso, forearms and lower legs – though on the latter case, he somehow managed to wear blue pants over the natural armor. There was a segmented shell behind his back large enough to look like a backpack, and sharp, boomerang-shaped horns came out of the boy’s curly brown hair, making the rough shape of a “V”. His green eyes stared back at her, with a mixture of horror, and something else she couldn’t identify. That something seemed to amplify as Miyavi slowly moved her hand from the cheek up to the left horn, examining it with care and curiosity.

“...Stag beetle.” were Miyavi’s first words towards the boy. “I didn’t seem many of those in Lemuria. First question, boy: What’s your name?”

“...Remedy.” the boy whispered softly. Remedy Vaggner.”

“I’ll shorten it to Vey. Just Vey when I’m in good mood.”

Remedy seemed taken aback. “O...okay.”

“Tell me, Vey: why did you attack me with a rusty knife when you have these?” Miyavi continued, poking the horn’s edge.

“They’re not… They’re not as sharp as they look.” Remedy revealed. “Or… At least not yet.”

Wasting time.

Gaining trust. “Not yet, mm? How many years until they become sharp as blades?”

“I’m… I’m fourteen, if that’s your question.”

Miyavi’s smile grew larger as she poked the boy’s flat nose with her hand. “That’s not my question, Vey.”

“U-um… Another… Ten… years.”

Miyavi flashed a sharp-toothed grin. “Fun!” she exclaimed. “Now, follow me on this one, Vey.” taking a much more serious expression, Miyavi delicately took Remedy’s face within her bloodied hands and approached it from her own. “Answer with yes or no. Are your parents here?”

Instantly, Remedy’s face seemed to sadden. “They’re at the c–”

“Shh. I said: yes or no. You’ll get to tell me details later, I promise.”

“...No.”

“That’s fine. My name is Miyavi. Miyavi Valdios Purprille. I’m from the Ärmoni Works Company. Call me Mimi. Repeat after me: Mimi.”

“Mimi.”

“Very good, Vey. Now, listen. I know you’re not a baby, or a complete idiot. I’m going to give you sixty seconds to grab whatever you need, if possible a better weapon, to get out of here. Because you’re coming with me. Everything is going to get worse, and if you stay here, you will die. Plain and simple. I don’t want that, and neither do you. So, start packing up – I have allies, but we need to reach them."

“Um… How do we get passed these… Things outside?” Remedy asked. “They… They can’t be beaten, right?”

Miyavi’s smile appeared once more. “The blood all over my face and hands begs to differ. These aren’t tattoos, you know. Now stop asking stupid questions and start packing. You have sixty seconds. Make ‘em count.” Miyavi rose up and let Remedy do his thing, while she turned back, closed her eyes and listened. Doesn’t seem to have any visitors so far. she thought.

Not close, but they could be anywhere, and that thing spawning them could just keep spawning more. We have to move towards the train.

What about the others?

They know the city, too, and we have no efficient way to communicate with them. Even if we did, using a Fireburst Pod to clear the way and destroy eventual pursuers is a top priority.

Right. Less trouble, more survival changes for me and Vey.

“...Mimi? I’m done.”

Miyavi turned back: she noticed that Remedy had placed a long dagger above his back, its black handle decorated with three golden spikes on one side and one on the other, which made it look like a bird’s foot. A tiny version of that same dagger could be seen planted on the back of the mechanical doll Remedy kept in his left hand, which looked like a robotic warrior wearing a skintight dark blue suit covered by red and gold boots, and an armor plate covering his torso featuring the same color pattern. Atop his head were a pair of serrated V-shaped horns, colored in glittering black.

“You may now explain exactly why this toy is going to be useful against the mindless killers we may or may not battle against in the following minutes.” Miyavi said in a calming tone.

“His name is Vizum, the jumper.” Remedy began with surprising confidence. “I made him myself, and he’s not just a toy. He can fight against actual people. I can remotely control him by channeling my Aether directly into him – that’s what the daggers are for. The wings on his back are part of his jet-propulsion system – which doesn’t use much of my Aether to work, unless I’m wounded – which is useful for him to fly around and protect me, or back you up. He can also use a variety of Aether-powered blades to cut down real people, and some of them are long-distance boomerangs, which I can also control remotely.” Remedy stopped, taking a deep inspiration. He had talked in a fast-paced yet rational and calm fashion, and clearly trained himself to do so. Miyavi couldn’t help but nod, and let another of her smile appear on her face. “Right, so now we’ve got a super fighting robot. Neat. So all you gotta do is watch your Aether consumption?”

“Vizum has his own Aether reserve. Should I be too drained to recharge him, he can use one of his special blades to absorb it from enemies after he’s cut them. He can detect Aether sources with his horns, so, he’ll know.”

“You’re the best, Vey. One last thing. When I tell you to climb on my bag, tell Vizum to come back immediately and do it. Got that? Don’t hesitate.”

“Yes, Mimi.”

“Good. Let’s go.” Miyavi burst opened the door and dashed in the narrow street, scanning the area. With a gesture from the hand, she urged the running Remedy to stop and give a short look in front of them. As they pressed their bodies against the nearby wall to avoid being seen, they noticed a little gathering of many Fleyos, acting as a slow procession for a much bigger creature.

It was a giant, monster with veins that covered its body in blue. Said body was a wiggling mass of flesh, bodies and muscles mashed up together to make that signature land-based squid-like form. Several eyes slowly moved through its thick veins, looking in all directions as the eight tentacle-like arms moved around its body, four of them used to stick themselves on the ground and drag the body along the paved road. Strangely, at the tip of each of them was placed a brown cork, with a brownish liquid sipping out of it.

F-Boss Type 1: Ventooz.

Where do you even get these names?

Time and imagination, Plasma. Lots and lots of it. “Fleyo Boss type one: Ventooz.” Miyavi whispered for Remedy to hear. “I need to take care of it, but with you around and it being surrounded with friends, I probably shouldn’t go close range.”

Remedy nodded. “Because then I’d be left alone, and you might get too wounded?”

“Yup! No worries, you’re not a burden, or anything. Just the bigger priority. Now grab Vizum, hold him tight and climb on my back. We’re going up.”

Remedy briefly smiled and did as he was asked, passing his hands around Miyavi’s neck, and his feet around her torso. Even in this position, she nimby bent her knees, focused her muscles and breathing, and jumped on the nearby wall, planting her foot on it. Then, she jumped off the wall and planted her other foot onto the next, and repeated the operation until she reached the top of the building, landing on its roof with easy. Remedy let go of her neck and let himself reach the ground – he was a bit shaken, but too focused to gaze at Miyavi’s feet with awe to care.

Fireburst Pod. The enemies down there are still in range, and should clear the path.

I’ll add in a warning shot for the others. Then, no matter what, Vey and I are running outside the city. We need to reach that train. Miyavi pulled out several mechanical items from her back and knelt as she assembled then. In less than thirty seconds, the rough shape of a cylindrical canister could already be recognized.

“How… How did you do that?” Remedy couldn’t help but ask, amazed.

“I’m used to assembling that thing, is all.” Miyavi replied as she continued her work. “It’s kind of my favorite weapon, so, it helps.”

“N-No, I mean… The… The wall jumping.”

“Oh, that.” Miyavi giggled. “I am a manufactured chimera of the Ärmoni Works Company.” Miyavi simply replied as the signature orange light of the canister’s ring let out its signature glow around the structure. “Few things are impossible for us, and especially for me.”

“Why especially for you?”

Miyavi fumbled in her back and placed golden spheres all around the Fireburst Pod’s top area, then rose from the ground and turned around, pressing the “Engage” button with the tip of her tail as she joyfully grinning at Remedy. “Because Miyavi is my name, and Purprille is my heritage. The world is ending, and it’s about high time I raise my pedestal to watch it burn and beg for my help.”

A first shot flew in the air, letting a trail of white smoke follow it. The sky was illuminated with a bright light, which disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
Miyavi and Remedy shared a gaze for a moment of eternity, trapped in a bubble of silence. The silence itself was easily broken by the noise of flying fireworks, as the Fireburst Pod fired its bombs in the air, spreading them around the building over a large radius – except for one, programmed to fall just below the building, detonating as it hit the unsuspecting Fleyos below, instantly incinerating them. Then, as Remedy remembered to breathe, Miyavi moved towards him and crouched, delicately placing her hands on Remedy’s cheeks. “Wanna help me build my pedestal, Vey?” she whispered only for his ears to hear, eyes glittering with glee. “All you have to do is to survive. In exchange, I’ll give you myself to keep.”

It was as if Remedy’s heart and soul had stopped existing, completely absorbed by the mere existence of the smiling Miyavi in front of him, a rainbow of colors passing on her eyes as the smoke trails fell on the ground, and the explosions occurred all around them. Remedy could only stare, unable to escape her resolve, her confidence, her world of fun and excitement.

All explosions have been confirmed. Should be good enough distractions for the Fleyos, and for us to move. Considering the radius, none of our comrades should have been hit – unless they followed us.

Right. To the train, then! Miyavi tapped on Remedy’s cheeks with her hands and rose again. “Feel free to give me your answer whenever you’re ready, Vey. For now, we’ve got a train we need to catch. Coming?”

Remedy slowly nodded, then Miyavi turned around and allowed him to once again place his hands around her neck, and legs around her torso – for extra safety, she wrapped her tail around her torso and his back, making sure that he wouldn’t fall during the trip. Miyavi quickly disassembled her Fireburst Pod, placed it back inside her back and leaped from her building to another, running from roof to roof towards her next destination, towards the next step leading her to the resolution of her resolve.

“I am yours,” she said, “in every way, and forever.”
Last edited by TinkerTwaggy on Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Is there a limit to how much living I can live with my life? How will I know if I've gone too far?
And why did I spend my life savings on sunglasses for a whale?
I shall find the answer... to these questions."








We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
— T.S. Eliot