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Topic: Interordi RPG - Project Theta

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Ribitta
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Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on May 25, 2015 at 6:17:46 [Post link]
Quote

Orup led the way through the decline, taking paths where he could find them but generally carving his way toward a specific location. After a short while they arrived at an outcrop that sufficed to be a small lookout. From there, they could see over the outer wall and into part of the village. Specifically, he could see the courtyard they used for sacrifices, and come evening he would be able to see if Bess was out there or not. The heavyset alchemist grimaced distastefully.

"You can rest behind the treeline. I'll cook back there and keep an eye on this until it's time, hm?" Already his mind was alight with possibilities for potions that could win this one for them. Truth be told, he hadn't felt this creative since leaving the guild. Seemed vengeance could spur a person on, when it was needed.

---

As they walked down the tunnel, John fumbled with the mechanics of his armor without much grace. After a time, though, he managed to get the hang of it, drawing from a mixture of muscle memory, intuition, and pure trial and error. A half hour later and he could navigate the thing with a certain level of ease, and he began to read through the seemingly endless number of messages he had somehow received over the last month.

All of them were from people he didn't know, though sometimes the messages ended with a signature that gave him a good guess. Hundreds of the messages appeared to be automatic or otherwise impersonal, sent out to many people at once several times a day containing statistics, only some of which he could guess the use. It didn't take too long for him to begin to put some of the pieces together, though. Whoever he had been before he had lost his memories, it had been someone of relative importance. A caretaker, maybe? The vast majority of these messages related to the world as a whole, assuming he had some sort of responsibility for it.

Most of the messages he didn't feel particularly inclined to share with his companion. It wasn't so much that he didn't trust her, but rather that it didn't seem appropriate. These messages were all that he really had of himself, in a way, but he couldn't explain it further than that. Of the hundreds he read, though, he did find one that might be relevant to both of them the same.

"I was supposed to meet someone, I think. After I arrived here," he said, breaking their long-held silence all but suddenly. "At a place called 'The Lodge' apparently beyond the Great Wall. Is it even possible anything could exist this far north?" He had always assumed Thimbelatch, and the other villages like it, were the furthest thing civilization could push to this wasteland. But... if this place wasn't even real, if it were just a game like she said it was, then what was civilization after all? If things like this IORA existed, capable of building and breaking on a whim, what else might be out there?

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Posted on May 26, 2015 at 1:40:58 [Post link]
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"I'll do just that," Rua agreed, then shook his head. "Well, lemme get a look at the place before I take my break. Might help a bit if I sleep on it."

Rua moved to the vantage point and crouched down so he wouldn't be seen all that well, and then after a moment set his body all the way down against it, propped up slightly on his left arm, while his right hand fanned his eyes from the sun peeking through the canopy. Relayia sensed the alert nature of his prone stance, and made a low chirp as she dropped from the air onto his back, staring off in the same distance as him.

He gave himself a good ten minutes to study the courtyard within the temple walls, and the possibilities for entry, escape, and combat it might have. He wasn't comfortable with what he found--a little too enclosed for his tastes; it could provide an excellent killzone for Charon-Ur if he appeared and went on a rampage.

No more confident than when he arrived, Rua turned away from the outcropping and went to the treeline that Mepple specified, his mind twisting and turning on what to do here. EP's suggestion swam back to the surface--to just bypass the area and continue on--but he knew it really wasn't an option now that he came this far.

Settling down against a tree, Rua leaned back and closed his eyes, and, not quite asleep, began to drift.

===Wasteland Tunnel===


"The Lodge... could be possible, I suppose. Combat players will sometimes set up waystations out beyond the Wall, so it might be a player-owned location," Atalanta suggested, glancing over at John when he finally spoke again. "Players are probably the only ones tough enough to maintain such a place beyond the Wall. Do you have any coordinates for this Lodge?"


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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Ribitta
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Posted on May 26, 2015 at 5:17:31 [Post link]
Quote

Before the swordsman had hardly laid his head to rest, Orup began to move. He had picked this spot for a reason, because it was here he had made his retreat the last time. Between a fallen tree and a large stone, he rescued a bundle he had left behind containing firewood and, more importantly, ingredients. Going to Rogueport, he hadn't wanted to risk bringing these herbs on his person into the notorious den for thieves. They were rare and powerful, and the moment Bess had been taken, he knew what he was going to use them for.

A quick glance at his in-game time-piece told him he would have just enough to get this ball rolling. He had thought about brewing the batch before he even left, but violent potions tended to grow colder the longer they sat; maybe not less powerful, so to speak, but definitely less explosive. He had no intention of sending Charon-Ur to his grave with any reservations.

He would need four potions, he reckoned. One for Rua, one for himself, one for the boy's pet, and one for Bess, when they found her. He had to believe she was still alive. Wasting no time, the alchemist set up four different fires, each with their own small pot settled above the flames. For any of his long lost students, he would have scolded them for trying even one of these brews without giving it their utmost attention, but he could do it. He had purpose, and that gave him adrenaline. Charon-Ur would wish he and his phylactery had long since rotted.

---

"Hold on," John said, going back to the message. There had been numbers in the message he had given no second thought to--just another piece of information he might understand later. When he tapped those words on his display, a small map appeared in the corner of his vision. Recalling how he had shown the previous message, he maneuvered the image to the center of his vision, and the stones in his shoulder plates glowed warmly again, letting both of them see it.

A small arrow represented him, apparently, as it moved across the map at a steady pace, and a yellow dot appeared to be some distance in front of them. By the speed he was moving, he would guess they might be on top of it in fifteen minutes or so. Up to this point, they had seen no real exits, but come to think of it... The air seemed a little less stale, here, and the walls a little less uniform. He moved the image away, and it disappeared from the air but still remained on his own private display. He was beginning to get used to this thing.

"Guess we'll find out sooner rather than later," he mused, wondering which was stranger: the fact that he could make a map that followed him appear from thin air, or the fact that some man or woman might make a home this deep into the wasteland?

Ajax
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Posted on May 26, 2015 at 5:52:34 [Post link]
Quote

Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



Larent pushed forward, though somehow managing to seem like he was always trailing Aleina. "We'll be inspecting the outer grounds. If only briefly." He gave a disdainful sniff, matching Aleina's gaze. "And then the interior. Parking garage security. Obviously."

The two men looked to each other, then shrugged. Clearly feeling they had no choice but to cooperate. "-any--questions we can ans--"

"We. Will ask the questions." Larent rounded on the man speaking, closing the distance between the two, a weasel-like look glinting in his eyes as he stared at the taller man. "And the Intelligence officer will ask whatever so she pleases."

He glanced over to Aleina. And here, if she looked into his eyes, she might capture the barest glance of the man she'd been speaking with twenty minutes prior. Eyes glinting with curiosity as to how she'd play her part. "Don't rush her." He chided of the two men. "She likes to get a lay of the land before she tears you both a new airway for gross incompetence."

____


Tsuminar


Coastal City of Novaya Heian



Syn slowed up for a moment, seeming to admire a ceramic fish that looked as though a painter mad with the color red had decided to throw up on it. Or did this game really have fish that looked like a red hot mess of fire-red and emergency orange?

But the pause gave her enough time to take in the guards more clearly, and to notice the red hair trailing a bit behind both she and her new client. A brief moment of eye contact and she directed Lace's eyesight to the man. After that, she started up again, mentally preparing herself for the next step.

With a breath she pushed forward, putting as much of a "huffy" look on her face as she could. Without even slowing, she walked up to the nearest of the guards next to the entrance, grabbed him by the neck, and kissed him. Dragging him into a deep, violent kiss. Heaven above, she could smell the stench of him. Cheap beer and the smell of fish. This game really was good at the sensory thing.

Without stopping, she pushed him against the wall, and then slapped him hard cross the face. Exchanging his pleasantly surprised, though very confused expression for that of pain and even deeper confusion. "You. Cad." She said in as high-pitched a voice as she could manage, trying to sound as "girly-girl" as a muscled, sinewy woman with a buzz-cut could sound. "You didn't even call? Did you get scared?"

The man stared bug-eyed at her. Clearly thinking she was crazy. His partner's hand halfway to the weapon at his side, but a bemused smile now taking over his features at his fellow's apparent lady trouble.

Everyone in the nearby vicinity had stopped, eyes locked on Syn and her hellishly bad impression of a overtly feminine tone. "Was a baby too much for you to handle?" She hissed, making sure her voice carried around the small tableau she'd just started.

"I--um. What?" The guard finally asked. "Lady . . .I've never seen you before in my life."

Here she gave her best impression of derision. Channeling her hatred for her ex-husband into the look. "Men." She sniffed imperiously. Hoping that her melodramatic distraction had given the man a chance to walk out unhindered. If not-it would be time to improvise. Again.

____


Cher Plek


Stamarian Compound




The thunder of the airship's rotors grew louder as Jenner bolted through the walled compound's gate. Wind buffeting him and giving him yet another layer of dirt. It would take him a week's worth of shower rations to get the crud out of his hair.

He flagged down one of the head-phone wearing guidance crew. Shouting so as to be heard over the roar of the engines. With hand gestures aplenty, he pointed to Terrel, then to the airship. "Civilian. She needs to get on that boat." He roared over the windstream.

The man stared blankly at him. Giving Jenner the distinct urge to smack him on the back of the head. "This. Girl." He tried again. "On that ship. Yes? Lower the ramp."

The man finally seemed to understand, speaking a few words into his mic. A moment later, the ramp to the cargo section of the airship, suspended under the rigid structure of the balloon. Started to lower.

Jenner turned, pointing to the ramp. "That's your ticket out." He bellowed so as to be heard. "Just find a seat on board. and it'll get you out of the warzone."

Ribitta
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Posted on May 26, 2015 at 6:36:43 [Post link]
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Aleina made eye contact with the other men for only an instant at a time, her lip curling into a cruel sneer immediately thereafter. Part of her wanted... Well, it was a subordinate part.

"Pop-quiz, meat-sack. Call it a story problem," she said sharply, directing her gaze to one of the grunts. "Due to your lack of brains, a Korin dog brings this whole place to the ground. What amount of net setback have you created for the Empire? Come on now, think quickly. Can't protect something if you don't know what it's worth." Maybe they could give her a better clue to what was inside.

---

The man flitted his way through the crowd, casually passing through as he narrowly avoided a guard. Almost there. Ahead of him, that girl had the guard pushed up against the wall, and it was all he needed. Shrugging the collar of his jacket up a little higher, he turned his head down slightly and slipped through the exit, resisting the urge to chuckle all the while. With a little bit of help, it was too easy.

Smirking to himself, he felt the sun hit his face, the oppressive walls of the market now behind him as he made his way out onto a walk of sorts. He half turned to check on his lackey for a moment, but something caught his eye in that moment. Oh.

"You!" a guard not five feet in front of him bellowed, seemingly shocked to have actually spotted him in the crowd. He fumbled for something--a weapon or maybe a communicator--but the nearly escaped man was quicker.

Bounty going up, I guess. With a pang of regret, he reached inside his coat pocket and pulled out a hand-weapon. Tsuminarian in design, he fired a single shot of energy into the guard's head, and screams erupted around him. That'd be his cue to go.

---

"Right, thanks, mate!" Terrel bellowed back to him, wincing at how loud the thing was in her ears. For a moment, she forgot how dangerous he was to her, and she felt a legitimate sense of appreciation for his help. Oh well, couldn't hate them all, she supposed. Turning her back on the man, she mounted the ramp quickly, entering the aircraft in search of a seat.

RisingDragon
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Posted on May 27, 2015 at 2:59:00 [Post link]
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When Rua awoke--for he truly did pass from drifting to sleep--from Relayia's nipping at his nose, instinctively knowing it was time for him to awaken for their operation, the swordsman felt... not quite confident about their chances, but resolved nonetheless. Gently he pushed aside the dragonet's head and pulled himself to his feet, stretching and yawning. A quick glance upwards showed that it was very near evening, the clouds in the sky just beginning to get the golden hues of an incoming sunset.

He made his way over to where Mepple was still working, rolling his left arm in its socket as Relayia landed on his right shoulder. "You didn't wake me, so I'm guessing there's been no changes so far," he remarked as he approached. "How goes the brewing?"

===Wasteland Tunnel===


"I guess so," Atalanta agreed, looking up from the map to the path ahead of them. "Though it's kinda creepy that this tunnel takes us straight there."

She brought up her blaster and made sure it was armed. Wouldn't do to have the thing's safety on should they get ambushed at the exit, or find something hostile nesting in the mouth of this tunnel. "You want me to do the talking when we get there? Maybe explain your amnesia if there's someone waiting?"


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
ImageImage
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

Ribitta
Rampant


Status: Inactive
Posts: 1737
Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on May 27, 2015 at 6:08:24 [Post link]
Quote

"Good," Orup replied, a little distracted. The brews were nearly complete, and each one had taken on its own distinct color. Small though the pots were, each required quite a bit of attention, but they had turned out exactly as he had hoped. Reaching into his pack, he began pulling out bottles and filling them, managing to get two potions from each mixture. Satisfied, he handed Rua two different sets, one a crimson red with flecks of black in it, the other a sort of blue and orange.

"The red one's for you, and the other is for her," the alchemist gestured toward the dragonet. "Feed it to her and she'll turn into a fully formed drake, temporarily. Not one of the ones the size of a school-bus, mind you, more like the size of a horse. Besides the size, vitality, and increases in speed, it should also bolster her spell resistances so they can't pin her down. Should be useful."

He paused, considering the red and black one. It was perhaps his most daring. "Yours... yours is something new. Try not to lose your head when it takes you, because it will feel like something you've never been through before. Your hide will thicken up like a carapace, and it'll reflect any attack or spell thrown at it up to a point. On it's own, I'd say it'll last half an hour. With the more punishment you take, though, it could fade faster. Shouldn't matter too much, though, as it'll increase your strength and speed ten-fold; you could rip out Aurinar Stamarin's heart before he even realized what had happened, I daresay.

"A word of caution, though. With this in your veins, you'll feel invincible. Truthfully, you will be for a time, but Charon-Ur is a clever rascal. Don't lose sight of finding his weakness, or he'll catch on and then we'll be in trouble."

---

John shook his head, appreciating the offer but quickly dismissing it. "No, let's play it safe. As far as anyone else is concerned, I'm exactly who I always was. I don't know who or what could be living out here, but I'm sure the weak ones don't last long. If you can get them to gossip about whatever I'm supposed to be doing here then great, otherwise this is just a stop on the way." Besides, he doubted this person he was supposed to be meeting had stuck around all this time. For all he knew, it might be totally empty.

It was eerie that this path would lead them straight there. Was IORA that integrated to this place, or were they far from the first to make this journey. Neither made any sense to him, but that was hardly new, at this point.

RisingDragon
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Posted on May 28, 2015 at 3:41:28 [Post link]
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He accepted the two bottles gingerly, as if they might explode. Looking between the two of them carefully, Rua wondered which one could be more frightening. The fact that one could turn a dragonet into a proper dragon? Or that the other would turn him into something monstrous for a short time... something that Mepple quite literally just came up with on the spot? "... we'll save these as a last resort then," he remarked, tucking the red and black potion away into a slot on his belt. "Did you make some up for yourself as well?"

===Wasteland Tunnel===


"Alright then, the ball's in your court," Atalanta remarked with a nod. "Though, just a little bit of advice? Whatever we find might not be friendly, so I suggest you take some time to figure out if that fancy armor of yours has any special combat abilities to it, and familiarize yourself with them. I caught a glimpse of that magic sword of yours, but there might be more to it."


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

Ribitta
Rampant


Status: Inactive
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Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on May 28, 2015 at 21:00:05 [Post link]
Quote

Orup pulled out a loaf of bread from his pack, unwrapping quickly and dipping it into one of the brews. In an instant, the bread absorbed almost all of the liquid, and he wrapped it back up satisfied. "What? Oh, yes of course," he said, filling the last two vials from the remaining cauldron. "And now's no time for reservations, my boy. Hold back and you'll find a sacrificial dagger in your spine before you realize what's happened." He pocketed his two servings, brushing his hands clean idly and kicking some dirt over the fires.

"I've been thinking... Once we're inside, you should keep ol' Charon busy, and I'll go looking for that phylactery. I've got a good nose for that sort of thing. With that potion, you should be able to keep him pinned for long enough, I suspect." It'd give him a chance to find Bess as well and see what this lich was hiding down there. Rua might have his eyes on a further goal, but for the alchemist... This was his mission.

---

"I'm not counting on anything north of the wall to be friendly," John replied in a matter-of-fact tone. He'd made it this long without anything but simple steel, but he doubted that would be enough for much longer. Whatever was at this place, though, what he had would have to be enough for now.

The tunnel was rising more steeply now, and the sides had gradually turned into that almost-normal rock face from before. Within a few minutes they were cresting the exit, and the frigid air of the north struck them sharply once again. It felt less like home than the last time, only a few short hours ago.

In front of them, the wasteland stretched over dead plains and craggy rocks, their tunnel exiting from a cliff face--one of many. For the most part, it all looked the same: a frozen, decrepit landscape that had been scarred and shattered by something or someone. Looking at it now, understanding how intentionally it had been made, it all felt unnaturally fitting.

About a quarter mile away, resting with back against another similarly crafted cliff, was a building. It was three stories tall and made from wood that looked like it might collapse at any moment, but even still many of the windows put off a merry glow. John couldn't help but imagine that, if not for the moaning wind, he might be able to hear cheers and laughter. Even if a little unstable looking, at least it looked more inviting than ominous.

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Posted on May 30, 2015 at 21:24:51 [Post link]
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"That'll be for the best," Rua agreed, nodding to the alchemist. "I was going to rely on you for it anyway. Even with your potions I'm not sure you're capable of fighting a mage in that body. Lemme know if you need some extra firepower in destroying that phylactery, because we can use that potion I have stored away."

Assuming the blast didn't also cause the temple to collapse around their heads, but mages typically did some sort of reinforcement for their lairs, either as precautions or shows of power and skill. Still, maybe they could get lucky and destroy both Charon-Ur and his phylactery together and save themselves the trouble of slaying the lich after the phylactery was destroyed. "Let's take one last look at what we're heading into," Rua suggested, making his way back to the overhang and crouching down to observe the temple grounds. "Best not to rush in unprepared."

===The Wasteland===


This far out from the civilization that was Thimbelatch, the frozen north looked just as miserable as it had on the mountain upon which Atalanta had crashed. This place was no tundra, like in the rest of Kouchi--this place was just a dead, frozen husk of a land. Except for, of course, the building off in the distance, its windows emanating a warm, welcoming light through the frost-covered material.

"... I was expecting a sturdier building," she remarked as she took it in. She glanced aside within her helmet, examining the circle in the upper left corner. "Let's get a move on. Threat detector's not picking anything up."


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
ImageImage
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

Ribitta
Rampant


Status: Inactive
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Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on June 1, 2015 at 21:40:50 [Post link]
Quote

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that," Orup said softly in regards to the potion, though he let Rua finish his thought before nodding and speaking up more fully, "Aye, sounds wise. They've been playing their sacrifice game for the better part of half an hour at this point, so I suspect they'll be wrapping up soon. When they get to the end of the ceremony, Charon-Ur should show himself to incinerate the remains and finish the consecration to whatever it is they worship. Should give you a good chance to get a look at him."

---

Since meeting her, John had already become accustomed to the notion he couldn't ask questions on everything that went over his head, only what she had just said piqued his attention. Maybe it was one of the things broken up until finding IORA's chamber, but it sounded like it could be useful.

"Threat detector? What does that entail?" he probed even as he continued the walk toward the shanty structure. Atalanta had proven herself capable before, but who knew what restrictions she had been running under then?

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Posted on June 2, 2015 at 18:06:56 [Post link]
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"Yeah, looks like they'll be done soon... I think," Rua said, squinting to try and get a better look in the failing light. The courtyard had filled with people covered in dark green robes that left their arms and midriffs bare, with long sashes extending from their wrists to their collars. Their hoods were up, obscuring their faces--not that he could see them at this distance--but he could make out the faint glow of some sort of runic magic circle emanating beneath them.

They surrounded a native beast that he couldn't recognize from this far away, mounted on a bloodstained altar. A similar runic circle was emanating beneath this, much brighter and, if he wasn't mistaken, linked to the smaller ones beneath the acolytes. "They're not a fan of just stabbing something and cutting out its heart, are they?" Rua remarked. He was about to get up, seeing enough, when he suddenly froze.

The air seemed to thicken in some indescribable manner, along with a tingle felt in the back of his neck. "What the...?" he muttered. Something was coming, rising out of the depths of the temple.

===The Wasteland===


"Ah, it's just a little something that detects nearby lifeforms that I'm unaware of," Atalanta explained to her companion as they trudged through the ice and snow towards the Lodge. "Generally just points me in the direction they're approaching, it's not too detailed. It's not registering you as a threat, which... might be IORA's doing, I think... but it's not detecting anything else around us."


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
ImageImage
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

Ribitta
Rampant


Status: Inactive
Posts: 1737
Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on June 2, 2015 at 23:48:13 [Post link]
Quote

From somewhere in the temple, a slow drum beat began--one which Orup was all too familiar with. The acolytes fell to their knees, some of them sobbing loudly for no apparent reason, and the alchemist felt a chill go down his spine. Ruddy bastard, that lich. Orup felt conflicting emotions of intense fear and hatred battling to make him flee or fight. Ultimately, his anger grounded him, and he continued to watch morosely.

Charon-Ur was tall, as witnessed even from this distance by how he towered over those around him. An ornamental white robe, tattered at the edges, trailed behind him fluidly, but it hardly hid who he was. Striding across the courtyard in his light, chain-link armor, he appeared both warrior and prince at once over his imaginary kingdom. Those things were all side-notes, though, to his actual figure. Ivory-white bone extended from his sleeves, his hands no more than skeletal remnants of a creature once among the living. If not for the metal mask that covered his face, locking out any image of it except a pale, blue glow that emanated from where his eyes belonged, Orup suspected his head would appear no more than skull.

The lich stopped in the courtyard, some of the acolytes fondly reaching out to touch the tails of his robe, though he pulled them away reproachfully. Walking up to the creature agonizing on the runes, he laid out a hand and touched it. At once, the creature screamed as no living thing ever ought to scream, apparently feeling the pain of death all the more severely even as it continued to creep toward it no quicker. The alchemist winced, wondering if it was his imagination or not that the sun suddenly seemed a little bit dimmer.

After several seconds of the scream, though, the being finally fell silent, and the drums stopped, an anxious quiet filling the air. Charon-Ur turned its back on the altar and looked out across the wall, and Orup was all but certain the monster looked directly at both of them. Before the alchemist could do anything to avoid the lich's stare, though, he was blinded by a sudden blast of light as an enormous gout of flame consumed the altar. Rising all the way to the heavens and sending a heat wave they could feel even from their now spoiled perch, it filled Orup's vision in the seconds that it stood. When it finally dissipated, the cultists were leaving the altar, and Charon-Ur was nowhere to be seen.

---

John grunted, a touch uncomfortable at the thought. IORA might have tampered with her equipment? He didn't know the first thing about any of this technology, but he knew that for some reason he couldn't bring himself to trust that machine. The tension over it had eased slightly, since they were beyond the tunnel, but he didn't like the idea that it might still have an influence in their business. Even still, hopefully Atalanta's equipment could spare them from being ambushed by another golem.

Ahead of them, the Lodge loomed in short order, not far now, and it appeared entrance would be made by a single door out the front. From here, the wind seemed quieter and John thought he could hear voices coming from the building, inviting him toward it, though he couldn't exactly say why. Even still, the whole thing looked entirely unstable at first glance, yet the wind did not appear to sway it in the slightest.

He glanced to his companion, "Ready?" he asked simply. Hopefully this threat detector of hers, if it still worked, gave them an all-clear.

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Posted on June 3, 2015 at 4:44:34 [Post link]
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Rua froze up all over again as he got his first good look at Charon-Ur, distant as the glimpse of the creature was. This... this thing, this undead vessel radiated a kind of twisted majesty with his movement and presence, regal in his vileness as he lorded over the acolytes and slew their offering upon the altar. Yes, this could only be the lich that Orup Mepple sought and EP warned against, the so-called Prince of the Godhead. Once more he wondered if he should follow his mysterious benefactor's advice, and then there was the cold chill that raced through him as without a doubt the lich turned his gaze onto him.

He knows.

The thought shuddered through him. Charon-Ur had to know they were there, had to know that they were targeting him. Half a dozen half-formed plans just went out the bloody window--and then there was nothing but flame. With a cry that he strangled in his throat the swordsman fell back as fire and ash speared into the air, and was gone.

He first noticed that he was sweating from the aura of heat that had blasted around them to their very perch. Only from that, he told himself. He thought once more of EP's advice and discarded it. He was officially too deep into it now. Charon-Ur had to know that they were coming for him, and he wouldn't let them escape. Could he?

"He knows," he finally found his voice and declared to the alchemist. "That thing knows why we're here."

===The Lodge===


As they approached, Atalanta made sure to keep an eye on the threat detector, waiting for it to change like she knew it would. And sure enough, as they approached the Lodge, the sectioned circle within lighted up at the twelve o'clock mark, a muted red that grew brighter overlaid on the orange as they grew closer. A second section next to it also lit up as they stepped almost next to the building, causing her to frown. There were definitely people inside, and there was more than one. Hopefully they weren't hostile--despite the name, it was just a detection system, and listed everyone she didn't specifically filter as a possible threat.

Atalanta hefted her blaster up and nodded her affirmative to John when he spoke, replying as quiet as her helmet would let her. "Careful going in," she said. "There's someone in there. More than one, actually, but no way to tell if they'll be hostile."


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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Ribitta
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Posted on June 4, 2015 at 16:21:01 [Post link]
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The alchemist scrubbed his forehead for sweat, trying not to think of his hand trembling slightly. Cold fear rolled around inside his stomach, but he forced himself to his feet all the same. He hadn't come all this way to be cowed again by that monster; he'd been scared off the first time, and he wasn't keen on making the same mistake twice. No, now that Charon-Ur knew they were coming, Orup didn't suppose it would make a drop of difference when they came knocking.

"Well," he began, surprised his voice did not sound as shaken as he felt. "Better get down there before he sets up any more defenses." Pulling out one of the vials he had intended for himself, he uncorked the stopper without a second thought and downed the contents, feeling the power rush through him.

With a groan, the heavyset man shuddered, the voluminous amounts of fat on his frame quivering and then... shifting. One could not say it necessarily disappeared, for he appeared as large as ever, but it seemed to spread out more evenly as it changed from fat to muscle. Even as the transformation occurred, he pulled the large cloak from his pack that he had worn when he first encountered Rua. Draping it over his pack and his shoulders, he suddenly seemed the towering character he had been on first arrival, face shrouded by the heavy cowl. From beneath the folds of the cloak, though, a dark smoke gently issued, covering his hands.

He turned to Rua, fear forgotten, and spoke--his voice now hollow, "Drink."

---

With a nod, John pushed through the door of the Lodge, ready to raise an attack at a moment's notice. Pleasant warmth hit him, though, and the sounds of soft voices eased the tension in his shoulders. He opened the door the rest of the way and took in his new surroundings.

It was a tavern of sorts, a long bar framing the left well with a burly man behind it, and tables filled the other portion of the room, some of them occupied. Every man and woman turned in their chairs at the newcomers, eyeing them up and down for little more than a moment before returning to their conversation or drinks.

Who were these people?

No one confronted them immediately, though, so he moved to one of the tables, eyes still scanning the room for potential threats. He eased into one of the chairs, and it sounded as if the conversation had returned back to the low buzz of before. Already he could feel the warmth of the building's fire reheating him and, for the first time since leaving Thimbelatch that morning, he relaxed slightly.

"Ever seen anything like this?" he asked Atalanta, curiously. There was no way a place like this could exist naturally. Where did the firewood come from? Or the food? In some ways, it stretched his imagination even more than IORA had, because it looked ordinary at first glance, and yet it could not be.

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Posted on June 6, 2015 at 18:47:51 [Post link]
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Rua nodded wordlessly and fished out the red and black potion, popped the cork out of it, and after a moment's hesitation, downed the contents all at once. He had expected it to taste bitter, or perhaps disgusting. What he got was a blander concoction, neither gross nor appealing in its flavor or texture.

But then his throat seemed to constrict, and burn as if he downed a shot of whiskey. He tensed all over, almost as if his muscles were all seizing up at once. His heartbeat quickened, his breathing became heavier. He grimaced and hunched over, almost clutching his sides as the potion very rapidly took effect on him.

Unlike Mepple's transformation, Rua's transformation didn't seem to add any muscle mass. He grew neither taller nor bulkier. Nevertheless he felt his muscles grow denser, almost coiling around each other, leaving grooves in his skin beneath his clothes. The leather of his gauntlets creaked in protest as he reflexively clenched his hands into fist, crushing the vial into powder. Within moments, the tremors wracking his body seemed to pass. Slowly, Rua pulled himself together and rose back up to face the alchemist.

His hair was disheveled by the transformation, giving him a wilder look. He couldn't see it himself, but his eyes had become rimmed in crimson, as if the blood had leaked to the surface of his skin. Veins around the side of his face had taken a similar hue, as if something poisonous had run into them, as had the veins around his neck, disappearing beneath the collar of his tunic.

Despite it, he felt great. Stronger, healthier. His vision was sharper, despite being almost hazy around the edges. Even his sense of smell seemed to be more vibrant--side effect of the potion, maybe? He did say it was something new.

"This is going to be fun," he said. Flexing and clenching his hands again as he looked at them, Rua grinned. The sight did nothing to ease Relayia or Mepple.

===The Lodge===


"I've seen plenty of taverns before," Atalanta quipped as she sat down in a seat next to John. She reached up to her neck and unclasped the connections to her helmet, pulling it off and setting it down on the table before her. "But that's probably not what you mean, huh?"

In part, the reactions of everyone else in the Lodge seemed to set her at ease. They were hardly ordinary-looking for this area--a man in green armor that was far too detailed to be standard craftmanship, and a woman in an armored gray suit and a shredded cloak concealing it, carrying a heavy blaster? And all they got were some curious, weighing looks before everyone went back to what they had been doing. They'd seen this kind of thing before, or perhaps odder. Definitely the reactions of skilled players, and who else could they be this far north, where the monsters and beasts were at their worst?


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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Posted on June 9, 2015 at 4:07:40 [Post link]
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The alchemist nodded at the swordsman, mind now fixed on a singular purpose. He hadn't felt this much power since he had had full access to resources in the guild. Without wasting another moment, Orup descended the hill, breaking into a run as he charged toward the walls. As he neared them, a pair of acolytes emerged from the front gate. Good.

For their part, they seemed unsure how to respond, but both reached into their cloaks for the cudgels he knew they carried. Raising his hands wordlessly, Orup released some of the smoke trapped inside his cloak and sent it straight to the mouths of the acolytes. With a strangled cry, they fell to the ground after only a few moments, and the smoke returned.

"Entrance to the temple is straight ahead, on the other side of those buildings. If he's waiting for us, I don't see too much of a reason to get creative," Orup said, pointing to where the path split around the structures of the village, inevitably winding up the slight hill toward the base of the temple.

---

John almost smiled at that, pulling the cowl down and leaning back in his chair. Almost. A barrel-chested man came out from behind the bar, folding a pair of heavy arms across one another as he moved beside their table.

"Food?"

John looked up, wondering if the man thought it was even remotely odd they managed to find this location. Instinct overruled reason, for a moment. Rather than ask what it would cost, what they were serving, or some other rational question, he just nodded instead, saying the first thing that came to his mind.

"Room, too."

"Hrmph." The bartender--or maybe it was the owner--walked away, seemingly satisfied. John had no idea if food would arrive or not, but it was good enough for now. Turning his eyes to his companion, he tried not to stare around the room too obviously.

"Your source. Victor? You can contact him from anywhere?" he asked, trying to wrap his head around the concept. Even with all the flashing images, machines that spoke, and weapons that made energy from thin air... The simplest things still seemed the most impossible.

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Posted on June 9, 2015 at 18:11:02 [Post link]
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Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



The two guards stiffened, their minds racing. Larent paced next to Aleina. Staying in her shadow, eyes glinting with small-minded, predatory glee at the other's misfortune. "Quicker. Gentlemen."

Finally, one of them hazarded. "Seven percent net set-back. Twenty-five percent set-back in Tsuminar itself. Intelligence comms traffic would have to be rerouted through the three substations. None of them can handle the load like this one. Some operations could be compromised." The man glanced to Aleina, eyes daring to hop that maybe he'd answered satisfactorily.

____


Tsuminar

Coastal City of Novaya Heian




Screams from outside, and suddenly the almost comic tableau within the market took on a lethal edge. The guard Syn had been haranguing pushed her away roughly, drawing his weapon. All around the other guards spun, shoving their way out of the entrance.

Rather than fight, Syn let herself be hurled backwards by the others, their attention was focused on their prey, now. Who, if the gods had any sense of humor, was also the man she was trying to keep alive. If only to get to his guns.

A shadow behind her and a whispered "It's me," stayed her hand from a violent reaction. Lace had slid up behind her, the other woman's smile goofily in place as she watched the guards pour out. There must be at least ten of them. "Follow, see if we can slow them up without getting into a fisticuffs fight. Yeah?"

Syn grunted, catching her breath and dodging out the door after the guards. It didn't sound like they were shooting yet. Which at least meant her prize wasn't dead yet. Maybe this day could still end in a vaguely happy way.

____


Cher Plek


Stamarian Compound




A figure in headgear gestured towards Terrel, then towards a seat next to a pile of boxes netted down. "Right aboard. Miss." He bellowed, the ramp closing and entrapping the rumble of the engines with it. Causing a near-deafening roar. He shoved an oversized set of ear-muffs to her. Tapping the mic hanging from their bulk to mark it out to her. Once she placed the headset over her ears. The roar of the turbines would fade to a gentle murmur in the background, and his voice would be far easier to hear. "Strap yourself in. We're passing over the jungle in a minute. Could be bumpy."

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Posted on June 10, 2015 at 22:31:13 [Post link]
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Rua nodded and took off, launching himself past the collapsed acolytes and to the barred entrance. It was strange--even his perception of the world around him had been altered by the potion, likely so he could keep up with his newfound reflexes and strength. The trip to the door, like his trip down the hill, was effortless, yet in a manner more alien than when he was running with the stamina potion coursing through him. Here, he was tense as a spring, waiting for the pressure to let off and let him launch.

He skid to a halt in front of the door, his hand already swinging. His strike smashed against the heavy wooden doors with a resounding crash, the wood straining and buckling against it. I barely felt that, part of him wondered in amazement as he looked down wonderingly at his hands again. They clenched once more into a fist, and he struck the door.

The crash was louder, along with the tortured splintering cracks of wood giving way. No doubt he had caught the attention of the other acolytes beyond--he could hear their startled, demanding cries beyond. With a feral smile, Rua reared back his fist and struck one last time.

The doors were torn right off their hinges, breaking apart into shrapnel where he stood. The collapse was loud even to him as he stood up from the dust, with Mepple coming up behind him.

===The Lodge===


"Ah, yeah. Let me send a message to him now," Atalanta said, pulling her glance away from the man who had approached them for orders. She pushed her chair back with a foot and leaned into her seat, opening up her game menu and bringing up her private messaging system. She started typing away on the holographic keyboard that appeared beneath her hands.

Victor

I made it up here, and things aren't pretty. Thimbelatch was destroyed by the time I got there, with only a few survivors. Whoever attacked it might have one of those Arcanum Relics, so I'm giving chase. I need info and I need it quick. Find out anything you can about creatures called Dreadlords. I've never heard of such a thing and neither has anyone else around here, but a Dreadlord named Dryn is now on my sights.

I also want to know about what happened in Minervum today, that thing with Oracle you mentioned. Whatever that was about seems to be connected with the incident going on up here. Whatever this mess is about is a hell of a lot more complicated than we thought. Way more than the crap you usually send me into.

- Sarah

P.S. I'm thinking about turning you into a Daruma doll for giving me that piece of junk ship. It blew up and crashed before I even got to Thimbelatch.


She finished up the message and sent it, causing the window to wink out, followed shortly by the rest of the interface. Here's to hoping her little threat expedited the process...


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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Ribitta
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Posted on June 11, 2015 at 6:42:12 [Post link]
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As the gate fell in only a few blows, the acolytes were already moving up to the wall. Snarling, Orup released more smoke, this time letting it solidify and slice through robes and flesh along, tearing them limb from limb quite literally. In only a few moments, the first wave had been completely repelled by the pair of them, leaving lines of corpses on all sides. For his part, the alchemist hadn't felt this good in months.

---

While she sent her message, John did his best to peer around the tavern without looking like a complete foreigner. Were all these people other... players? Or were they purely members of this world? He had been thinking about that and assumed there must be a distinction. Shemram and all the members of Thimbelatch had believed this world to be the only true one. Why wouldn't they? But then there was Atalanta, and these other people too.

The same man came back before long, dropping off a pair of plates each with a rack of lamb piled on a heap of other pieces of food. How could they even find this sort of thing, so far north? He shook his head and decided he needed to stop thinking about things like that.

Even as Atalanta finished her message, though, John waited patiently. From experience, he could vouch for people not responding to those immediately...

---

Aleina sniffed dismissively, though in truth the answer wasn't half-bad. So that was the damage, if they could just shred the entire facility? Maybe she would have to find a way to go out with a bang. Idly, she wondered if Shepard was pretending to be his true Stamarian self here, or a fictional creation as well. Not that it mattered much to her.

"Take us to the databanks," she said, finally. "And it had better be a model representation of the rest of this facility. I don't plan on spending all day catching your mistakes."

---

The rogue ducked back into the crowd--well, it was more of a mob at this, with all the screaming and running. Worked for him just as well. Novaya Heian... He remembered the good 'ol days when he didn't have a bounty on his head, and he could just carouse the shops and have a good time. No more. Now he couldn't even use a legal hangar anymore, but the new cloaking module made that a non-issue.

The coast of Novaya Heian could be pretty towering, at certain points, part of the city built along the cliffs. Those cliffs had been tunneled into to make hangars for ships and the like, and the residents got to enjoy a spectacular view of the great ocean. Raising his watch to his wrist, he pressed one of the buttons, using its other function as a communicator.

"Raise the ship, just like we talked about. I'll be there in two minutes!" If someone did manage to follow him through the crowd, they wouldn't be following for much longer.

---

Bumpy. Bumpy was just fine, so long as they were on their way out of this jungle. Part of her wanted to go back and find Rua and get her ring, but that ship had long since sailed. Time to settle in on another one and take care of some things. Grabbing a seat and strapping herself in, Terrel hoped the trip would be short at least.

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Posted on June 12, 2015 at 20:12:55 [Post link]
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Rua lunged forward as the smoke dissipated and revealed survivors, his arms outstretched in a threatening manner. His first strike, a hammerblow to the heart, crumpled the nearest acolyte's chest as he was slammed into the ground. He spun about, leg sweeping through the air so hard that he became momentarily airborne, catching another rushing acolyte at the neck and snapping it. So caught up in the power and the bloodlust, he barely noticed a third acolyte rushing up behind him, far speedier than the rest of her brethren.

She was barely a slip of a girl, shorter and thinner than the others beneath her robes. A jagged kris clutched tightly in her hand, she threw herself at Rua with suicidal desperation. He was twisting about as he sensed her approach, and time seemed to slow down for him as the dagger moved closer and closer to him. She was fast.

He was faster.

The feral swordsman's right hand slammed into the girl's forearm with crushing force, disarming her instantly and maiming her limb. She barely got out a scream of pain when Rua's left fist snapped around and hit her soundly in the torso with all of his strength. She was lifted into the air and hurled across the entire courtyard, over the sacrificial altar and into the walls of the temple itself. The impact killed her instantly, before Rua could even realize just how easily he had slain her.

He drew a couple ragged breaths, his mind finally catching up with his ferocious instincts. "Yours... yours is something new. Try not to lose your head when it takes you, because it will feel like something you've never been through before, Mepple's words echoed in his head. The alchemist hadn't been kidding--this was a rush like he'd never experienced before.

But now wasn't the time to be holding back. His hand snatched his sword and ripped it from its scabbard--now it was time to see what he could really do.

===The Lodge===


"Well, that should do it," Atalanta said, looking up to her provided dish as she closed down her menus. She picked up a knife and fork and pulled her plate a little closer to her, and began to cut into her lamb. "All we do now is wait, or see if we can find out what you needed to be here for. Might take a bit before Victor gets back to me, since he'll have to find out all that I've asked him for."


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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Ribitta
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Posted on June 13, 2015 at 6:13:56 [Post link]
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From the corner of his eye, Orup could tell Rua was doing very well with the potion. Between the two of them, the acolytes fell like swatted insects. Some of them were faster than others, but for the most part they were just fodder. Rounding the corner, Orup spotted a more formidable foe, though the potion kept him from feeling fear at the sight.

An acolyte, bigger than most and with scars crisscrossing his face and exposed chest, held two chains in his hands. At the end of those chains were a pair of massive beasts, appearing to be some sort of hybrid between a wolf and a bear, both salivating and snarling loudly in their direction. They looked out of the ordinary here, like something that should never have been found in this jungle. Orup didn't have so much as a guess to their origins, but when they roared it was like looking into the mouth of hell itself.

The handler released the chains, and the beasts charged.

---

John took the sword off his back, propping it against the table and removing the bulky gauntlets before attempting to eat the food in front of him. Was it even real? He had to remind himself not to think about that too much. A few more minutes passed in silence, though that was turning into the norm for the two of them, and he didn't mind that at all. Unbeknownst to him, though, Victor was already working on a message of his own, which would arrive before long.

Christ, Sarah--I told you that thing was on its last legs. Maybe time to invest in your own ship? Anyway, I was just about to message you. Glad to hear you're still alive, at least. I'll see what I can dig up about the Dreadlords--not exactly my area of expertise, but I already found out something that might be related.

About a week before the whole Theta thing hit the fan, word has it that Hades froze over, in a manner of speaking. Some big overthrow in their pantheon of evil, or something. Anyway, didn't get a lot of attention because not many players can make it down there anyway, and the Theta thing took the spotlight only a week later. Y-Corp was on it, of course, but they weren't the only ones. Sarah, Valtheran got involved and they sent Ginther up there. You know--the Beta tester that killed Kuro? If the Stamarians have the White Devil, and the Korin have the Four Gods, Valtheran has this guy.

Whatever the hell is going on, it's big. Maybe too big for you. I know you're not one to back down from a fight, but play it safe, would you? Last time anyone saw Ginther was when Stamaria started trying to take islands in Oceania. You remember how that went. If this has something to do with those relics, who knows what might be moving in the background.

Oracle's thing with the Arcanum Relics was a crapshoot for decent information, though he did reveal some cryptic prophesy that seems somewhere between ridiculous and creepy. I've attached a copy to this message. Mostly, I think he just got a bunch of Thetas on wild goose hunts or maybe just killed.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. A quick search on Dreadlords and Dryn didn't give me anything, but I guess that's not surprising. I'll dig deeper, though, and let you know when I find something. Try not to get yourself killed in the mean-time, okay?

- Victor

Ajax
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Posted on June 13, 2015 at 6:53:40 [Post link]
Quote

Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



The two men looked between one another, sharing an awkward glance before finally nodding. "Right this way." One of them ducked his head politely before they turned, heading towards the main complex.

As they moved, Larent kept up his persona of excessive arrogance with a certain amount of glee. Following behind Aleina, sniffing imperiously as he took note of different outward appearances of the facility. Jotting unintelligible notes down on his clipboard.

Once inside the facility, they'd find it to be of the utterly boring and drab sort. Here evil may lurk. But it did so masked by pocket protector and forms filled out in triplicate.

Say what you wanted about Stamaria's arrogance. But if you left out their well-trained military, it was their bureaucracy that won them most of their current battles. Efficiency the watchword of the intelligence community. Expedient and to the point. The facility's drab grey walls and hallways hid databanks of powerful computers, crunching numbers as analysts looked through sections for noticeable patterns that would benefit their field operatives.

The two guards led them through a pair of check-points until they hit a metal detector. This one staffed by a hulk of muscle that glowered at the four-some. "Ident?" He rumbled. Paying no attention to the fact that they'd made it this far into the facility without apparent challenge.

____


Tsuminar


Coastal City of Novaya Heian




Syn and Lace made it out of the relatively bustling market into a madhouse of activity. Screams, people running in all directions. The guards were glancing around frantically. Until one of them gave a shout, running off with three of his compatriots. Was that a brown-haired head moving off towards the cliffs?

"Think he rabbited?" Lace called out, standing next to her, scanning the area. She too had taken note of the guards running after something. Though--no. That wasn't right, Syn realized. They hadn't seen the man, but if he was wanted, the quickest way out would be the cliffs.

"Damn right he did." Syn growled. "He's got JA guns. I'd like a crack at the MA-27." Her eyes glinted hungrily. Showing something like emotion.

"You and that gun--honestly, I think you love it more than me." Lace kissed Syn on the cheek, smirking. "Dealing in guns he couldn't sell in the market. Got a ship? or Inland?"

Syn took off at a jog, heading after the guards and the brown-haired head she'd seen moving towards the cliffs. "Ship, I'll bet. Think I saw him go this way. Keep up, yeah? We could use those guns."

With a laugh, the other woman sped up, keeping pace as they made their way for the cliffs as well. Keeping the guards always in their field of vision.

____

Cher Plek


Stamarian Airship I.M.S. Dauntless



The Stamarian airship pushed onwards, rising in height as it cleared the exclusion zone and set its sights for the nearest friendly aerodrome. The Captain, a grim-looking man with salt-and-pepper grey hair, stood at the prow and gazed outwards with hawkish eyes. They hadn't heard back from the commando teams yet. But he had precious cargo and the Empire did not bow before Korin dogs or petty terrorists.

"Steady as she goes, helm." He murmured softly, turning and walking back to check the communications net. Even terrorist dogs got things right every once in a while. If the anti-air battery wasn't disabled . . . his proud airship could falter in a moment. And that just wouldn't do.

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Posted on June 13, 2015 at 7:47:48 [Post link]
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The first of the gargantuan beasts quickly tore up the courtyard in its rush at Mepple, and its monstrous jaws opened up wide, only to clamp down on the pliant flesh of a dead acolyte as Rua hurled its body at it. The beast paused and started to shake violently on instinct, ripping into the corpse and giving Rua all the time he needed to slam into the other creature's side before it could reach the alchemist.

Despite the size difference between them, Rua's tackle sent the wolf-bear thing careening into ground, where it snarled and thrashed as Rua pushed off and jumped out of range of its claws and fangs. The first beast realized that what it grasped was dead and threw it away, turning towards the newcomer to snarl--only to roar in pain as Rua's sword swiped across its face, blinding it in one eye. Staggering back, its counterpart growled and lunged at the swordsman.

Rua slammed into it with equal force. The beast reared and slashed as it tried to maul him, while Rua's potion-borne strength held it back and let him stab into its softer belly with his sword repeatedly, himself howling wordlessly in challenge.

===The Lodge===


Atalanta blinked when she got the notification that she had a reply. Really? That was quick, even for Victor. He usually just gathers all of his information and sends it at once... setting aside her dining utensils, she opened up the private message and started reading. She ended up rolling her eyes at the preamble.

This was how they were like, she and Victor. He'd give her the information and some junk she needed to get her started, give her a warning. She'd blow him off or say he was being stupid with his worry. His gear would blow up in her face and she'd yell at him for it, and he in turn would get exasperated and call her out on it. And then it'd start all over again.

Her own exasperation quickly faded, though, as she perused the rest of its contents. Soon enough her expression developed into a concerned frown, and then her eyes widened when she pieced some of it together. "Hey, John," she said, grabbing him by the pauldron of his armor and tugging on it to get his attention. "You better look at this."

She pointed to the passage mentioning Hades. "Your devlog mentioned Hades, and something happened there a week before the Theta patch was distributed," she told him. "You gotta go through your messages again, start looking into this! If even Valtheran got involved... if the situation in Hades was enough to warrant sending Ginther in to check it out... jesus, this is bigger than we thought. Way bigger."


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

Ribitta
Rampant


Status: Inactive
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Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on June 17, 2015 at 21:01:12 [Post link]
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The alchemist's smoke, in turn, transformed into a million fangs, whistling through their air and tearing through the pelts of the beasts in a bloody display. If Rua had left them with any life, it was gone now, and Orup directed a singular lance of smoke straight into the handler's heart, killing him at once. Returning all his parts to him once more, he turned to face his companion, waiting for the roar to subside. "No more distractions, now. Charon-Ur is stalling with these, trying to tire us out or wait for our powers to subside. Ignore the rest."

---

John read the message twice before sitting back in his chair again fully. It definitely perturbed him, but maybe in a different way than it did for her. He was used to being in the dark, since leaving Thimbelatch, and yet it seemed even more unsettling when he did know something.

"I recognize two names from that. Ginther was the one I was supposed to meet here, and that--" he pointed at the thing he knew now was an attachment in a message, titled The Sixth Prophesy of Kasdim-Ur, "--that's the same name on the parchment Shemram gave me."

---

Aleina avoided looking at the man as she handed him her coin, instead turning her head to eye Larent. "How are we doing on time?" she asked simply, wondering how much longer they would have to wait on his other men, approximately. Being in this place felt like crawling into a nuclear reactor. Which would come first, keeling over or blowing up? The sooner they could begin their exit route, the better.

---

"Oy, we'll be in position in thirty seconds, right where you asked," the voice from the rogue's watch said. Thirty seconds... That might be just about perfect. Or it could be ten seconds too late, and he could be dead. Guess they would have to find out.

Only a few moments later, the man on the run broke through the crowd to a lookout point that most people were avoiding now, caught up in the hysteria. Looking over the railing, there was nothing but a sheer drop for several hundred feet that headed straight into craggy rocks and white, frothy water. Glancing at his watch, he used it for the time now, noting he had about fifteen seconds left to wait. Hopefully the guards wouldn't be too trigger-happy, if they caught up.

---

Terrel had strapped herself into one of the jump-seats, but the moment the airship launched itself upward, she felt her stomach lurch uncomfortably. Just how safe was this thing, after all? And what had someone said about the Korin, earlier? Figuring there couldn't be much hurt, she called out to one of the men nearby to her.

"Hey, uh, do you guys have those air-chutey-things? I'm, uh, kind of really terrified of flying and heights," she said, doing her best to look as unnerved as she could possibly manage. Not too difficult, given the circumstances.

RisingDragon
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Posted on June 18, 2015 at 17:59:01 [Post link]
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"You got it!" Rua said, crouching down before springing forward. The amplified strength of his legs launched him up high, clearing half of the temple steps in one go. One more leap brought him to the top of the temple, where Charon-Ur had entered, and his fist came crashing down on the heavy doors barring the entrance.

The doorway exploded into splintered shrapnel, the remains nearly ripped from their hinges as they slammed against the walls. Rua brought his sword up to bear. "Ready or not, Charon-Ur, here I come," he growled and plunged deeper into the sanctum of the lich.

===The Lodge===


Atalanta gave John a measuring look as he sat back, then turned back to her message and nodded. "Yeah. I noticed that too. Whatever it is, it can't mean anything good, if one of those prophecies is about us," she said. She twitched her fingers, and opened up the attached prophecy. "Let's take a look at it now."

The prophecy materialized before them.

"Time passed will bring a change,
Where the minds of men fill the bodies of machines.
It comes like a wind, sudden and swift,
When true mortality fills their eyes.

It is in these days that men must fight,
For their gods have forgotten them.
Travel to the seven corners of the world,
Within them lie the Arcanum Relics.

What one tool has created,
Another must undo."


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

Ribitta
Rampant


Status: Inactive
Posts: 1737
Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on June 22, 2015 at 5:03:53 [Post link]
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Right behind the swordsman, Orup hurried into the temple as well. Torches lit on all sides, the walls echoed their footsteps in conspicuous announcement to their presence, but for a time the lich was nowhere to be seen. The downward slope leveled out, though, and the passage split multiple ways: two stretched to the left and the right, and another plumbed deeper. From the right, a cold laugh pulsed down the halls, the likes of which would chill a man's blood, normally.

"He wants us to come. No doubt to pull us away from the phylactery. Keep him at bay and I'll find it. And don't forget about the dragonet's potion. Got it?"

The true prize, he suspected, was much deeper.

---

John read the prophesy a couple of times before shaking his head, resigning himself to ignorance. "Unless you can make something out of it, I can't see this helping either of us do anything besides lose our minds." Which was more insane: the idea they were stuck in some sort of game, or that someone had prophesied his existence? Just another impossible question, useless to try and figure out.

"We can stay the night here. If this Ginther shows up, fine. If not then let's just keep going north. Once we find the trail, I have a feeling this Dryn fellow isn't going to be too hard to pin down." In truth, if he'd been up here for a month, it could fit with the muttering in Thimbelatch of the monsters growing more aggressive while a darkness covered the land. Follow the smell and you'd find death, after a while.

RisingDragon
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Posted on June 25, 2015 at 20:00:11 [Post link]
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"Got it," Rua said with a nod as Relayia alighted on his shoulder. He started forward, sword in hand. "Let's get on with it--wouldn't do to keep that old corpse waiting on us."

The feral swordsman proceeded down the central corridor, unmindful of the flickering shadows cast by the torches. He could feel a rising chill despite the muggy humidity of the rainforest outside. He knew--Charon-Ur would be waiting for him. "Good luck, Mepple!" he called back, then picked up the pace and disappeared into the darkness.

===The Lodge===


"The real hard part will be putting Dryn down once we find him," Atalanta replied, grimacing. "If he has one of those Relics at his disposal, things aren't going to turn out pretty for the two of us. Maybe if we can get Ginther to help us out..."

She shook her head. "Well, best not pin our hopes on a man who might not even show up."


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
ImageImage
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

Ajax
Lil' metool


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Posted on June 30, 2015 at 6:45:46 [Post link]
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Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



Larent flipped his ident coin lazily to the guard, causing the big man to fumble for it and send a hateful glare at the arrogant, and much shorter intelligence officer. He made a show of looking at his clipboard, then looked back up to Aleina and smiled. "Oh, we've seen about enough, I think. You've a meeting with the Intelligence byproduct subcommittee in thirty minutes. We shouldn't spend more than ten to fifteen more in here."

They were ushered through to a centralized room several dozen degrees colder than the rest of the facility, a thrumming super-computer sitting squat and blocky in the center. A few technicians in heavy coats standing around it, taking measurements.

Larent took a breath as the cold hit him. He'd known the super-computer was kept in a so-called "ice box". But had never personally been in one. He glanced around primly, nodding to Aleina. "Any last minute questions, ma'am? Or should we write up their report and be off?"

____


Tsuminar


Coastal City of Novaya Heian



A sharp crack of gunfire exploded into being amidst the cliff-side structures of the city. Causing several birds to go flying. The Guards up ahead of Syn and Lace had caught sight of something, and they weren't picky about their trigger discipline. The gunfire crackled and popped as the men raised their rifles, firing towards a figure in the distance.

Syn wanted to throttle them. Well. Of course she did, in that they were likely hostile and standing between her and gun she knew almost as well as a lover. But more so, at the moment. Because they absolutely sucked at aiming. They were advancing almost at a dead run, and still attempting to fire.

She growled under her breath. "These game nerds are amateurs."

To her right, Lace cackled. "Oh, those are just the AI. But we should probably add our voices to their song. You may not like spraying and praying. But it works at least ten percent of the time."

Syn nodded, but knew that it would take them another--good fifteen seconds before they could catch up enough to help the man. On the other hand, the guards hadn't thought about stopping and aiming, and so most of their shots were far and wide from his solitary form.

Maybe their meal ticket to better guns wouldn't get plugged full of holes. Maybe.

____


Cher Plek


Stamarian Airship I.M.S. Dauntless



One of the men glanced blankly at Terrel for a moment. Then cracked a smile. His swarthy skin glistening, even in the relative cool space of the cargo bay. "'Ee can do that, bossgirl." He called out, hurling something like a lumpy back-pack towards her. "Though don't'chu worry. We have the best captain in the fleet with us. Those Korin dogs won't get a hold of--"

There was a rumble that rippled along the airship's form. Violent enough to send the man stumbling for a hand-hold bolted to the wall. "Us." He finished, his voice showing a tinge of nervousness. Had it been turbulence? Or something else?

The thrum of the engines increased in pitch and tone. The sickening feeling of a sharp turn filling the cargo bay as the airship lurched to the side, banking violently. "You put it on like a back-pack." The man said, his voice now considerably less at ease. "If you have to jump, push away from the airship. Wait ten seconds, and pull the cord on the strap next to you." Seconds later he'd turned and run for his station as a voice called out over the scratchy intercom. "All hands, brace for maneuvers."

Ribitta
Rampant


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Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on July 1, 2015 at 4:50:35 [Post link]
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While Orup descended into the depths of the temple, Rua would find that his hallway led him shortly to a large, open room. Flanking the walls, shrunken corpses in burial wrappings lay in sunken coves in the stone. Standing near the center, Charon-Ur was waiting for Rua, the torches on all sides causing his light armor to shimmer dimly. In one hand he held a sword easily, though the handle and blade length marked it a two-handed longsword. Even from a distance, his eyes glowed faintly.

"You butcher my children and bring back the Thief. When will the lawlessness end?" he called out, voice hollow but deep. "I take no pleasure in killings beyond the altar. Mishdar must be satiated, but this is foolishness."

---

Before John could reply, a stranger was at the side of their table pulling up a chair. Facing the back toward them, the newcomer straddled the chair, propping her elbows up on the back and cradling her chin in her hands. She had short-cut, fiery red hair and a youthful, heart-shaped face that was full of freckles.

"Y'see," she said to Atalanta, "when you say it like that, it makes it seem like my fault, even though he's the one who's late. D'you know how much it costs me to hang out up here for the better part of a month? But anyway, where are my manners." She extended a hand toward Atalanta, "The name's Ginther."

---

Aleina considered her options, for a minute. Things had gone as smooth as she could have hoped for so far, and she couldn't help but think about what else could be done with it. Elle'n had offered her a pretty sizable sum for the job, but she hated Stamaria enough maybe to override that.

"Let's do another pass. I want to go by the offices again." Those were close to the center of the floor, which was what she wanted. Not a moment later, though, Elle'n sent a PM to Larent.

"You fool, Shepard. You were supposed to wait for my mark before starting this mission. Get Aleina out of there now. Kill her, if that's what it takes. I don't own her, and you can't trust her."

---

The rogue ducked instinctively as weapons fired over his head, checking his watch nervously. Five seconds. Come on... The guards were getting closer, and--was that the girl from the market? Too bad for her, she was about to be disappointed unless she really had a stomach for heights. Two seconds. He mounted the railing, flinching as more shots went overhead.

"We're here. Go!" the voice from his watch called out.

Without a second thought, he hurtled himself over the railing toward the frothy water, hundreds of feet below. He seriously doubted anyone would have the nerve to follow him, which meant he was all but home free.

---

Terrel swore loudly as the ship shuddered, grabbing the parachute and bracing herself against the hull. Between bounces, she managed to get the pack on, and it couldn't have come sooner. A moment later, an explosive round struck the side of the airship, and she watched in horror as metal tore away into a gaping hole in the side of the Dauntless. Just her luck, wasn't it? Another round sent another hole, several meters across, and supports, seats, and cargo alike began to fly out.

Well, what else was there to it? The next shot might as well land right next to her seat. Cursing again, she let go of her support and let the air suck her outside the ship, sending her straight into the airspace of the jungle.

 

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