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Topic: Interordi RPG - Project Theta

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RisingDragon
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Posted on July 1, 2015 at 5:16:17 [Post link]
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"Your Mishdar will have to fast for a bit then," Rua retorted as he came to a halt just past the entrance to the catacomb, his own voice, normal, loud within the confines of the chamber. He brought his blade up to bear, as if unmindful that the lich's blade almost dwarfed his own. With the feral potion running through his veins, he felt suicidally confident in his capabilities, and a large sword, enchanted or not, didn't scare him. "I don't know why you're calling Mepple a thief, but it doesn't matter. You and I... we have our own business to attend to, Charon-Ur."

===The Lodge===


Atalanta seemed to freeze when she and John were addressed by the stranger. The woman's cheerful demeanor and casual statement threw her off entirely. This was Ginther, the renowned hero of the Beta? The bounty hunter floundered for a moment before grasping her hand and giving it a firm shake. "Sa--ah, Atalanta," she introduced herself, catching herself mid-slip before she could offer her real name. "Um... no offense, but I was expecting a guy, with a name like yours."

It was a decidedly masculine game, she reasoned to herself. But she could hardly hold that against Ginther. She might have been at the islands when Stamaria tried to take them, but she had never met him--her, she quickly corrected herself--during her brief stint there. Hell, with how normal the woman looked, Atalanta could've passed her on one of the pathways without a second look and never realized she had stepped passed one of the greatest players in the game.


"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


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Posted on July 1, 2015 at 6:51:29 [Post link]
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"Mishdar does not fast. When the blood of the altar runs dry, he will consume this continent once again. But mortals have no appreciation for items of eternal consequence, even in these last days. So it must be. Defend yourself, heathen!" The lich moved its off hand to the sword hilt, now wielding it properly. For a moment, the skeletal frame seemed tense, as if waiting for something, but a second later it leaped into action. Charging Rua at a speed not dissimilar to what the swordsman had displayed outside, Charon-Ur raised his blade in attack.

---

"Don't beat'yer self up too bad for that one, Atalanta," Ginther said cheerfully, rocking back in the chair idly. "I always played with a guy's avatar, before the Theta patch. Got no respect in a woman's body, before people knew my name. Now, though, seeing my proper face in the mirror helps keep me sane. 'Sides, my real face probably has a big ol' target on it, since the patch."

She paused, eyeing the other woman a little more closely. "What about you? You stuck? I don't mean to be rude, but if respawning's off the menu for you, you might be running a pretty big risk, being up here. Not many folks have the gear for it."

RisingDragon
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Posted on July 2, 2015 at 6:23:54 [Post link]
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Well, this is a surprise, Rua noted as he lunged forward, blade flashing upwards to parry the lich's attack. Who would have thought that a lich would meet him in combat with his own specialization? The thought didn't comfort him in the slightest.

Their swords rang loud in the chamber of the dead, and even with his boosted strength, Rua's arms almost shook against Charon-Ur's blow. If nothing else, liches were powerful beyond just the scope of their magic. Snarling, he shifted and threw his weight into his blade, shoving the lich's sword away from him and attacked. Soon, the chamber echoed with the sounds of clashing steel.

===The Lodge===


Atalanta grimaced. "I had the gear for it, actually, but most of it's gone the way of my ship," she explained halfheartedly to Ginther, shrugging and looking off to the side momentarily. "But yeah, I'm stuck. Sounds like we both are. Even still, though, I can't leave."

She settled back into her chair, hooking an arm over the back of it and making a looping, "what can you do?" gesture with her hand. "Something big's going on here and I'm already too deep in it."

After a moment, she spoke again, embarrassed. "Also, no ship to leave with."


"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 July 3, 2015 at 21:15:45 [Post link]
Quote

Charon-Ur persisted. With no flesh to tire, he met blow after blow with equal strength, pushing the offensive when possible, and taking steps back when necessary. For their part, they appeared an even match, but the lich knew that time was on his side. Eventually exhaustion would set in, his opponent's blade would slow, and his blood would fill the altar. There was the other one, though--the Thief. No doubt he had returned to succeed where he had failed before, which meant Charon-Ur's time was not limitless.

With a snarl, the undead made a wide strike, stepping back as he did to increase the distance between them. Taking one hand off his blade, he thrust it toward the wall, curling a bony fist as he summoned the dead from their resting places. At once they began to groan, ancient bones creaking as they stirred, and a sickly blue light appeared from within their torsos. He placed his hand back on the blade, adopting a defensive stance while he further increased the distance between them. The swordsman would easily be able to strike down these shamblers, weak though they were. It was the light within them though, that would prove his enemy's undoing: a living bomb, unstoppable once triggered, and evident in all of them. With only that sword to kill them, Charon-Ur suspected his enemy would have little hope.

---

"I can port you out, if things get ugly," Ginther replied, with a shrug of her own shoulders. "But given that you've come this far, sounds like you've made your peace with it. You might think you're deep in it, though, but I bet you don't know the half of it. I've been out here for a month hunting that stupid dreadlord, and it's bad. He's got one of the Relics, only he needs it charged from somewhere in the Maelstrom. I'd have left weeks ago for Valtheran, though, if it weren't for him." She gave a glaring look at John, though it wasn't all malice. "Did you hear? The Leviathan got loose from the Sea Temple again. But I'm Y-Corp's errand girl now, for some reason."

She shifted in her chair, now, turning to face John. "Speaking of which, where on earth have you been? Just felt like dropping off the planet for a while? You owe me some answers. And a damn apology, I should add."

John watched her closely, making up his mind while he did it. This person was familiar enough with him she'd hardly said two words to him so far, as if it weren't even necessary. If she was going to help them--or them, her--he doubted he could hide such a glaring problem for very long. Better to get it out of the way.

Without cutting too many corners, he recounted the entirety of the last month to Ginther, starting from when he was found and going all the way to exiting IORA's lair. For her part, she sat in silence the whole way through, though her facial expressions showed her emotions pretty well. By the time he had finished, she wore a grim frown, the rogue smile gone from her face.

"I've heard of this happening," she said, at last. "Only with people like you, who had the set on before the patch landed, though anything seems possible now. Some of them went nuts, when they found out they were in some sort of alternate reality. Glad you haven't totally lost it, then. You really, really shouldn't be up here, though. You die here and you'll die there, and this is one of the most dangerous places in the game." Ginther turned to Atalanta, "You know that, right? There's a lot more up here than just some golems."

RisingDragon
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Posted on July 5, 2015 at 2:28:34 [Post link]
Quote

Rua narrowly avoided the blow, the fabric of his shirt and coat parting along the tip of the lich's sword, and he dropped backwards to regroup. He was just about to lunge forward to renew their duel when he saw it. The outstretched hand, its fingers ending in bone, in the classic stance of spellcasting.

Rua stepped back once more, bringing his sword up in one hand to defend. What was he doing? What trick did the lich--he froze, unnaturally still, as he heard the creak of bone and the scratchy rustling of long-dead bound flesh scraping against as it shifted. One by one, the undead slipped from their spaces in the catacombs, shambling forward to attack. "Really, Charon-Ur? This is the best you can do?" he taunted. Bringing the sword up to bear, Rua leaped.

He launched from the floor far harder than was necessary to attack. His head almost skimmed the ceiling as he reached the peak of his jump, and he shouted. "NOW!"

Flames erupted from the darkness of the entryway. Billowing out into the chamber, they sped hungrily at the nearest of the corpses. The bandaging ignited, and the dead, dry flesh underneath cracked and popped as the rising temperature consumed the corpse. The fire spread upon impact with the body, igniting other bodies nearby. Up above, Rua used the transformed Relayia's attack as the opening for a follow up assault. He smashed the ceiling has hard as he could with his free hand, and sent him hurtling down at the lich, his worn sword flashing down in an overhead strike.

As he was about to connect with Charon-Ur's counterstroke, the magic he had been unaware of activated. A foul, eldritch light of blue and green burst from the incinerating bodies, blasting apart flesh and fire alike. The magic and the flames spread out in a chain reaction, for the deaths of each body quickly resulted in the deaths of the reanimated corpses nearby, further triggering the deathblasts of magic and annihilating the floor beneath them, leaving the two combatants to plunge into the chambers deeper below.

===The Lodge===


"Yeah, I'm aware. There's no place in Ymaggion that's more dangerous than beyond the Great Wall," Atalanta told Ginther with a nod. "But I'm not really the type to just hide and wait for things to blow over. After today I think things are going to get really bad. Did you hear what happened in Minervum today?"

Edited by RisingDragon on July 5, 2015 at 23:00:21


"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


Status: Inactive
Posts: 0
Posted on July 6, 2015 at 4:35:51 [Post link]
Quote

Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



Larent read the message blithely, looking at his clipboard and checking off several small, nondescript boxes. Aleina clearly had thought of something, and Elle'n apparently didn't trust her.

Such. Troublesome. Annoyances.

"It's all about trust." He murmured, half to himself, causing one of the guards with them to look at him oddly as their group turned to head back towards the offices. "Of course, ma'am." He replied easily. "Of course, if we tarry too long, it might make us late for our next meeting." He cautioned, curious to see what Aleina was planning.

With that, the guards shrugged, starting to lead them back towards the offices.

____


Tsuminar


Coastal City of Novaya Heian




Syn gave a growl. He jumped. He actually Jumped. She heard Lace give a half-surprised grunt next to her. Had their mystery meal ticket just leapt to his death? But for everything in the universe, she'd bet the man wasn't suicidal. She snapped up her pistol, hating herself for firing on the run like she was about to. Such a sloppy tactic, but it would have to do.

A pair of cracks and the first two shots of hers went wide, whizzing well over the heads of the guards ahead of her. Causing them to half-turn from where they'd been standing in shock. Unsure of exactly what had just happened.

The sight before them would have been in itself shocking. A slender woman hurtling towards them, pistol outstretched in one of her hands, a deadset look in her eyes.

But here training told the difference in stark words. Her first two shots may have missed, just as theirs had. But the next three bullets that sprang from her pistol found their marks in the chests of three of the guards.

The fourth raised his rifle. But a softer sound from somewhere behind Syn echoed, and the man's head jerked back as though slapped. Syn may have kept running. But Lace had stopped and taken up a shooter's stance, her smaller weapon sounding off like a gentle summer breeze.

And then Syn was through the still falling bodies, racing for the ledge, hearing the tell-tale sound of Lace's boots behind her. She came up just shot of the edge, slamming into the ledge forcefully, looking down. Knowing that she may have just damned them. They'd just put down four guards. If there wasn't a way off the . . . cliff.

What greeted her and Lace's eventual gaze was their quarry. Seeming to hover in midair. "Magic?" Lace huffed from next to Syn.

"Hell no." Grunted Syn, keen eyes taking in the man's stance. He wasn't floating. He was standing on something.

A moment later it seemed almost that insanity had taken a hold of Syn as the slender woman holstered her weapon and clambered up onto the guard-rail. Taking a moment to calculate the space between the railing and where he was floating.

"Follow me down." With that. She hurled herself downwards, a mixture of a pounce and a dead-weight fall directly onto the man. She only hoped the ship or structure he was standing on was big enough that she hadn't just knocked them off. And that hopefully Lace would give chase.

____


Cher Plek


The Jungle




The Airship faltered midstride. It's lower cargo compartments venting flame and wreckage, the balloon hissing from a dozen different punctures as it listed badly to the side.

The captain's last thought, before their vessel plummeted to the tree-canopy below. Was of "Damned Korin."

____


Cher Plek


Warlord's Compound



The Call went out. Sergeant Jenner glanced up from his seat in the chow-hall. The Dauntless had gone down. The operatives had been cut down by a Korin ambush and the Battery had been moved to the new airship route. Immediately he stood, grabbing up his dusty gear and jogging for the exit. Surely they'd send a rescue unit. The Warlord never left Stamarian's within the Korin's grasp. Not even the dead ones.

Ribitta
Rampant


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Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on July 8, 2015 at 1:23:01 [Post link]
Quote

"What?" the lich hissed as fire bellowed throughout the chamber, and a thing like fear disrupted his calm as all of the corpses were consumed at once. "No!" The explosion rocked the foundation of the temple itself, and the undead creature had time enough only to put up a partial shield against the flames. Beneath him, the floor groaned and shattered, sending both combatants spiraling down into the darkness.

Charon-Ur's body thudded into the ground, the chain armor drawing sparks across the stone as they illuminated the otherwise completely dark room for only a moment. With a snarl, the lich clambered to his feet, casting off his bent and broken face mask to reveal a hollowed out skull with dim lights where the eyes belonged. Stretching his hands out on either side, he ignited twin flames in his hands, ready to turn them into fireballs the moment he spotted his enemy.

---

"Yeah I heard," Ginther replied, the slight change in topic doing nothing to lighten the atmosphere for her. "Had a friend who went to Oracle's disaster of an event. I've been playing this game long as anyone, and I'll tell you--it's getting harder and harder to sift through the mystical crap and what actually matters. It was all in the name of immersion, and then people started dying. Now what, we've got a half-baked prophesy and bunch of loons running around with their heads cut off? What's that you've got?"

John had, after some more consideration, pulled out the thing that Shemram had given them. Maybe she could make some sense of it. Without explanation, he slid it across the table and nodded.

Giving him a weighing look, Ginther picked up the scroll for herself, reading it and quickly wrinkling her nose in disgust. "Well, that's you two all right. You're easy of course," she said, nodding at John. "I mean, relatively speaking. But what're the odds that you'd pick the handle of 'Atalanta' and this scroll randomly happens to reference all the Greek origins of the name--inside this game? Someone's having a field day, screwing around with us."

---

In a heartbeat, Aleina had made up her mind and was back in character. Well, truthfully she had made up her mind from the moment she had heard about how valuable this facility was. A chance to strike at the heart of Stamaria? Elle'n paid well enough and seemed to despise the Stamarians in her own way, but that was about as much as could be said on the matter.

"Wait for me at the transport while I take a final tour," she said, her tone all command now as any hint of a suggestion left. "I don't want to spend the whole ride doing the paperwork. That's why I bring you to these."

---

The rogue watched in astonishment as the girl from earlier came cascading over the edge only moments behind him. It shocked him so much, he couldn't even get out of the way in time as she came crashing into him, causing him to bite off a curse loudly. If she was down here, the guards would be right behind her, and that was about to be the end of that. One hand pinned under her, he used the free one to bang wildly on the metal beneath them.

"Uncloak, dammit, and let me inside!" he hollered, no longer hoping her could get away from this nearly so cleanly. A moment later, a ship appeared underneath them, about forty feet in length with them sitting somewhere near the rear. A hatch opened up automatically. Without much of his suaveness from earlier--if he had had any--he barked at his newfound companion, "Get in or go take a swim. Go!" He would be right behind her.

RisingDragon
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Posted on July 8, 2015 at 8:12:49 [Post link]
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With a grunt, Rua hit the stone floor the deeper chambers, his vision going red as his life bar and hit points took a sharp decline from the blast wave and the fall. Not giving it any more mind than he had to, the feral swordsman shoved himself off the ground, dipping and skipping away as rubble collapsed around him.

Ducking away into an alcove, Rua took the moment to catch his breath. He had spotted Charon-Ur in the fall, but now the game had changed. He'd have to play it carefully from here on out. Sweeping his gaze around, he smiled grimly as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. Now it was time for a game of cat and mouse. But which of them would be the cat?

Only one way to find out. With a grunt the swordsman pushed off the wall, letting his heightened strength carry him deeper into the temple, his footsteps reverberating through this twisted mausoleum.

===Cher Plek, Contested Airspace===


The Warlord wasn't the only one to move into action when the Dauntless was shot out of the sky. Within the hour, another airship had appeared in the distance. The Wolfram's arrowhead profile was a familiar sight to both Stamarian military and Korin guerrilla alike. Now it hung menacingly in the sky, the runes running along the length of the twin tapered spires carried beneath it alight with powerful energy, waiting to be tapped and unleashed.

The White Devil sat on the command chair of the airship, a frown etched on his face. They had come here to begin tapping into the black market's information brokers, to send trusted ones on leads for the Arcanum Relics, and others to find information on sightings of Kasra, only to receive the distress calls about the attack.

"We shouldn't go much farther unless we want to wind up like the Dauntless, sir," said the helmsman. "The Korin are getting pretty damn daring, if they're ambushing the shipping lanes like this."

"We don't have time to play around with them," the Devil replied. "Two--no, three Paragon are all that's needed for this operation. We'll have them hunt down the battery and destroy it."

"Should we look for survivors?"

"General Becker will be handling that. You can keep a low-level scry open for it, but it's a lower priority," he commanded. "Ready the Sphere team."

Minutes later, a clearing underneath the ship came alight with a complex runic circle emanating a crimson light. A duplicate of it swept upwards, particles of magic spreading and swirling between the two as they condensed into three humanoid figures.

When the light cleared, three players dashed into the forest--one, a tall man clad in white armor, a blonde ponytail streaming behind him, and a massive partisan in hand, its crystalline blade gleaming in the sunlight. To his right, another man, his armor a menacing black hidden within a torn cloak the color of blood. Claw-like shields were on either side of him, attached to the armored limbs of an Extension. To the white warrior's left, a young girl, shorter than both, clad in a white uniform highlighted in light plates of green. Her blue-silver hair cut short, and a mischievious smile on her face, she kept up with her teammates easily, a long katar with a blade lined in a poisonous green was held at her side.

They flitted into the foliage, and disappeared, stalking the fanatics of Korinus.

===The Lodge===


Atalanta luckily managed to keep a straight face and not broadcast her surprised realization. That's what that old man must've been talking about, she thought. She was familiar with her namesake's legend, but usually when talk of virginity came up around her, she thought otherwise. But no one here could know that she...Well, no matter.

"It is a little creepy. I don't care much for having some in-game prophet linking me up to some fanciful story for the game's best gear," she replied to Ginther. "Whatever's going on, we should get to the bottom of it quickly. There's at least six prophecies, judging by those two, and one of them involves us. There's got to be more to this, and I kinda doubt we'll like it when we find out what it is."

You better find me something useful, Victor, she hoped.


"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


Status: Inactive
Posts: 0
Posted on July 12, 2015 at 8:20:28 [Post link]
Quote

Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



Larent grimaced internally. She was going to make this difficult. But then--wasn't that the entire point of this exercise? He took a breath, letting the cool, entirely silly persona of arrogant strutting adjutant fall over him. "--Are you. . .planning on being late. Again?" He asked pointedly, his voice whining just a bit. "I really think we've seen all we can see." His last few words were carried over the mic built into his pen to the two other operatives in the building.

Less than ten seconds later. The lights across the entire compound fizzled out.

Larent ensured he didn't move until "after" the lights had gone out. Some of the guards had freakish good vision, even in the dark. And he needed his reactions to be pitiful and without suspicion. He threw up his arms over his head, clipboard clattering to the side as he shrieked in fear. "Oh Gods! What now?"

Across the facility, emergency lighting sparked into action. Lighting the corridors with dim glows as the guards drew their weapons. "Protect the Inspector!" He howled. "She can't be harmed or it's my---err. . your heads!"

In the orange glow, the guards almost as one rolled their eyes at Larent and his pathetic howl of fear. Though their stances were wary. "Probably just a power outage. Ma'am." One of them muttered. "But we should get you to a secure area. Just to be safe."

____


Tsuminar


Coastal City of Novaya Heian




There was a clatter a few seconds after Syn hit the man and the ship below. Indicating Lace had also taken the fateful plunge. Syn heard the man's words and made a dash for the open hatch. Trusting Lace would have her back. They had after all, just killed four guards, and then tackled the man the guards were chasing. She doubted very much either party was much in the mood for pleasantries.

But the ship was a way away from the city. And just maybe a ticket to a proper set of equipment. It was worth the risk.

With a pinched grimace she practically fell down the hatchway. Senses as alert as she could make them for what happened next.

____


Cher Plek


Warlord's Compound




In the central communications building for the Warlord's compound. The man himself stood, still as a statue. Ears ringing and blood boiling as he reread the broadcast the net had just delivered. The Paragon--

The comms officers glanced to him, eyes worried and full of shared pain. They knew the rage burning in his heart. They all felt it. Not as strongly . . .but still.

He closed his eyes. Madness would not do. The Wolfram was a formidable airship. And technically affiliated with their own nation. He couldn't just order it's destruction.

His dusty, dirty hands tightened, caressing the sides of his trousers, close-trimmed nails still finding it in their power to dig into his skin and draw miniscule trickles of blood.

Lives were what mattered. Stamarian lives. His Legionnaires live. Thirty thousand legionnaires spread across the compound and the outer defenses. Not enough time to gather more to the cause. To let more know about the evil lurking in the hearts of the interlopers. The invaders. Patience was--key. It had to be. Vengeance and retribution clamored for a place in his mind. But he could not. . . Would. Not. Let them control his actions.

"Inform the Wolfram." He finally said. Words each a bullet of ice. "That their assistance is---" . . .his stomach roiled. "Welcome."

His eyes opened, cool blue gazing across the brightly lit communications center. His voice returned to something like it's clipped, more normal tone. "A hunter-killer convoy, if you please. Ms. Ives. And the ranking officers to my briefing room."

The young woman a few feet away, dressed in dusty camo. Nodded simply, her voice soft as she replied. "By your will. Warlord."

Moments later, he'd spun and stalked out of the room. Leaving a worried, dreadful silence behind.

____


Valtheran


Game-World Research Station 6



"Damnit!!"

The words jerked Nim awake. His head banging into the lamp attached to his desk. He glanced around in a panic, it had been his wife's voice .. where was--

Gill was sitting at the desk next to him. Staring furiously at a readout. But she was alive. . .and that was all that mattered.

"Wh--what's the matter?" He croaked, wiping a bit of drool from his mouth with an errant sleeve. Rubbing his sore head with the other hand.

"I can't--I can't rework his code." Gill growled, tapping a pen against her desk with a violent, machine-gun beat. "We coded him so hackers couldn't just lower his resistances to zilch and pop him for good loot. Any major reworks of his code require a server shutdown."

It took her husband a moment to comprehend. Eyes still bleary, exhausted. "Server shutdown would kill the thetas. Sever the connection."

Gill nodded, pen getting louder. "It's. . . some guild just moved into his area. Though I don't think he's paying much attention to his "area" anymore. I can't do anything besides message them and tell them to get the hell out of dodge."

His hands automatically went to the keyboard. Starting to type the message. "Why couldn't he have been like the stupid Water Dragon? Her glitch was weird. But ultimately passive. I don't think she's going to go on a player murder spree over her newfound love of all things Opera."

His wife shook her head, rolling over to his desk and reviewing what he was typing. "I'm still trying to figure out what made him snap anyways. I narrowed it down to the rescue quest. But there aren't any quest logs from the last runtime. And it hasn't triggered again since the Theta patch."

Nim stifled a yawn, handing the keyboard over to his wife. Realizing she had to correct several typos of his. He sighed. "Rookie mistake."

"Typos are the bane of all those who pick up a pen or touch a keyboard." Gill said softly, kissing his shoulder before she hit the Send key.

A few moments later. The White Devil would receive a pm from an anonymous sender.

"Hey, I heard you guys were off in Cher Plek on a quest. But the Warlord and his guys are glitching out something fierce. Steer clear of him, word is he's got a thing against players. Please, stay safe."

Edited by Ajax on July 12, 2015 at 9:21:05

Ribitta
Rampant


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Posts: 1737
Stream: An evil wizard did it.
Posted on July 13, 2015 at 21:24:26 [Post link]
Quote

Charon-Ur knew these walls better than anyone, and he knew that an opening was just around the corner. Turning left, then right, and then right again, he emerged into a broader area, with room on all sides to fight. With a sneer he had no facial muscles to show, he shot flame from his hands across the room, leaving them to hover in place and illuminate the area. He had no intention of attempting to sneak up on his enemy. It was his domain, after all.

---

"Well, whatever's going on, I doubt we're going to be the ones to get to the bottom of it," Ginther replied evenly. "Listen, though. The reason I haven't just gone up into the Maelstrom is because it's too dangerous to go alone. I mean, before the Theta patch I'd probably have risked it, but now I've got a whole lot more on the line, you know? Between the three of us, we should be fine if we play it safe, but there's another issue. I'm guessing you've lost your admin PIN since losing your mind? That makes things harder. We'll actually have to kill Dryn, rather than just lock him down like we initially planned."

Ginther paused, checking a menu only visible to her for a moment before shaking her head with disgust at something. "Oh, right, another thing. This is just a guess, but I'm going to think that you've got about a billion messages from Y-Corp looking for you, most of them from the first week or so. Don't reply to any of them. Don't ask for them to re-PIN you, don't try and get caught up. After about a week, they realized that the Thetas were being hunted, and they realized whoever was hunting them didn't necessarily know their locations. The breach is internal, and it's compromised them, which is why they haven't just put them all in a box by now. You're on your own, from here on out. Well, except for us two.

"So here's my plan. I'll cut a path through the waste, up to the edge of the Maelstrom. Follow me out your own pace, but it's going to better if I'm playing the borders. Fair?"

John, taking it all in, nodded once and looked at Atalanta. "Fine by me. And you?"

---

Aleina's face split into a broad grin as the lights went out. She had no idea who or what had caused it, but it was good enough for her. Unbeknownst to Larent or anyone else in this building, really, she wore a suit underneath her civilian looking clothing. For operations like this, it didn't help much, but in the darkness it made her deadly and unpredictable.

"Have a good night, boys," she whispered, and then promptly vanished, leaping from one shadow to the next as she sprinted away from her current company, toward the middle of the building.

---

Shouts came from the railing, and the rogue wasted no time in ducking into his hole, the metal pinging over his head as the hatch shut behind him. Without much grace, he landed in the narrow corridor at the aft end of his craft. "Go!" he shouted down the hallway, and the thing lurched at once, rocketing away from the edges of the coastal city.

Stepping back from the two women in front of him, he couldn't help but shake his head and offer a half-exhausted laugh, "You really are persistent, aren't you. Didn't realize there were two of you, though."

---

Not far above the tree-line, Maia turned her head to watch the Stamarian airship take flight. Her sister was on-board, she knew it. Even in this game she was resourceful and hard to put a finger on, and Maia had no intention of endangering her by coming close just yet. Besides, she wasn't sure if either of them were ready for that, right this second. Her suit would let her fly short distances, and once the airship was pushing cruising altitude, she would latch on and piggyback for the flight.

It was to her horror, then, when the Korin air battery opened fire. Helplessly, she watched the ship get torn to shreds, smoking filling the air and obscuring her from seeing as much as she'd have liked. With a curse, she changed directions at once, making a beeline for the projected crash site.

Ajax
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Posted on July 14, 2015 at 4:55:14 [Post link]
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Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



As the emergency lighting bathed the hallways in alternating patterns of orange and yellow lights. Larent noticed the distinct lack of his partner. Unfortunately, so did the guards.

One of them hissed, "The hell did she go? This had better not be another test." The man glared at Larent's murky, momentarily lit form.

Larent turned his annoyance into fuel for the performance. Shutting down the urge to bite the man's head off with a verbal salvo. "She's a new transfer from Cher Plek." He explained, his voice still breathy from his tirade a moment before. "Bit--jumpy. With the dark."

The guards growled under their breath. "Hell--we'd better find her."

Larent sniffed imperiously in reply, his mind racing. What was her plan? Just how stupid did she have to be? And Elle'n to send someone so risky . . .and .. yes. And he, himself. For even attempting to work with Elle'n? Psychotic queen bees needed to be put down. If his mentor found out he'd made such a rookie mistake--

But no. Find Aleina. Get her out alive, if possible. He pointed dramatically down the hall, back towards the offices they'd passed through on their way deeper into the building. "That way leads out. We should search there. You two--" He pointed to two of the guards. "Check back at the computer core, don't want her to freeze to death. And you, come with me. Do you have a flashlight? oh good."

With that, he started off at a brisk jog. Eyes glinting dangerously every time the lights flickered over his face. Why in the world had he been so stupid?

____


Tsuminar


Coastal City of Novaya Heian



Syn glared dangerously at their dubious host. Her bloody fingers, still bruised from the fall, clutched her gun. Though for the moment she left it unraised. "Then you're not very observant. She was with us most of the travels through that market. Now. There was a deal. It involved guns." She said simply, tone clipped.

"What my lovely partner means to say . . ." Lace interjected, smiling sweetly to the man. "Is we held up our end of the bargain. You're alive and out of the market." Her eyes flitted around the narrow hallway. Gunfights in small spaces were more than messy. But Syn was not one to back down. Not without a damn good reason. Time to see if he'd pay up or if everything would go down. Perhaps literally.

____


Kemei


The Roost



Situated atop the Great Heights, in one of the smaller mountain ranges that sparingly graced the dry land with their presence. A small fortress was built, overseeing a land of mostly dirt. Tiny villages and towns dotting the far distance, some of them heat mirages. Some of them real.

From this small, dingy fortress. A scream echoed out. A female voice, dusty and tired of screaming. But scream still she did, for all the good it would do her. "Somebody help! I'm trapped!" She shrieked from a worn tower jutting up higher still from the fortress atop the mountain.

A careful observer might note the slender, beautiful face pressed against the bars of the miniscule window that was the single defining feature of the tower atop the fortress atop the mountain in this great, dusty land. The soulful green eyes, shining like emeralds. The scuffed, dirty cheeks and mussed, tangled hair.

"My Parents will reward he or she that sets me free and returns me to their protection!" She screamed. Her voice caught by the wind and dragged away. "Please . . . the Barons have imprisoned me against my will!"

Down below, in the depths of the castle, sitting atop a wooden throne and honestly just trying to enjoy his meal. Baron Var Toren, the Third. Rolled his eyes. "Will someone please shut the wench up?" He growled, pointing a half-eaten chicken leg at one of his guards, bedecked in the expected dark and foreboding armor. "She is ruining. My. Supper."

Somehow. The Baron's mind said he'd been in this exact position thousands of times before. But no--that couldn't be right. They had only just managed to capture the girl and move her here a scant few weeks ago. Obviously. This was the first time he'd had such a prized princess imprisoned in his humble castle.



Edited by Ajax on July 14, 2015 at 6:01:10

Ribitta
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Posted on July 16, 2015 at 21:09:30 [Post link]
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Almost gleefully, Aleina skipped down the halls, leaping from one shadow to the next as she bounced around the orange emergency lights. Elle'n was going to be so pissed, but that didn't matter. They were both wanted by Stamaria, and that really couldn't get a whole lot worse than it was already. As she ran, she reached underneath her waistband and activated a button on her hip, which primed the suit. Similarly, she tapped a button underneath her watch, which primed her jumping device. Before anyone knew what had happened, she would be long gone, and this place would be a shell of a building.

Turning sharply, she stepped into a service closet that she had spotted during their tour, conveniently uninteresting and sharing a wall adjacent to the server room. Stepping inside, she shut the door behind her promptly and turned the light on. Only, someone was in the room with her. Elle'n?

"Aw come on--"

A gunshot rang out, and Aleina slumped to the floor, bullet in her head as everything went black.

---

"Well," the rogue said, a little sheepishly, "I was a kinda preoccupied, wasn't I? Put the gun down, girl. I've got sentries on this ship, and you won't get anything out of me if we're both dead." With a sigh, he nodded toward them, wanting to get by. "The name's Gigri, by the way. Now--do you mind?"

---

A girl, maybe seventeen at best, raised her eyes warily to the top of the fortress, where another woman was crying out in anguish. It smelled funny, to her, but she wasn't the type for rescues, anyway. She'd had enough trouble trying to keep her own self out of the wrong hands as it was. Did that make what she was about to do incredibly stupid? Maybe. It didn't change the fact that she didn't have much of a choice.

Short for her age, the girl was dark-skinned and maybe pretty, depending on who you asked. Her hair was cut short, barely making it past the nape of her neck, but it matched her dark eyes well. With a broad nose and full lips, she could have easily been anyone from southern Kemei. But she wasn't just anyone, she was Lajag.

Wearing a scarf wrapped around her face to fight against the wind of the Heights, she was dressed for traveling in shades of brown and black. The layers were bulky and cumbersome at times, but it did a good deal to block the cold at night, and that was about all that needed to be said. It was pretty poor protection, beyond that, but she'd gotten by so far.

Approaching the fortress, she picked a path that obscured her from the watchmen until she was within a stone's throw of the walls. No sense in giving them the chance to fill her with arrows before she had a chance to say anything. Stepping out into the middle of the path, though, she called out loudly to them. "Oi! Anyone there? I need to talk with your Baron."

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-Kemei, the Roost-

Words were shouted closer to the fortress, and naturally, the group heard it. The group had a soundproof charm cast upon them, so nobody else can hear them speak, but of course they can pick up outside sounds.

"Lord Sin, it seems we have more down the way. Should we approach?"

One of Sin's acolytes asked.. curious if it were to ruin their meeting with the Baron.

"No. It would be rude to cut in. Let her take her turn."

A Shadowy voice rose from within a masked figure. The trenchcoat and chains were enough to reek a most eerie, deathly presence coming from him, never mind the Dark aura emanating from within, blanketing their company in a stealthy shroud.

"Doesn't mean we can't watch what's going to happen..."

"Right away sir."

Sin's Acolyte cast forth a nightmarish eye, invisible to those who don't know their art of power. It followed Lajag, as the group then gazed into a small floating tear in space among them, showing what the eye may see.

Edited by Zane Truesdale on July 19, 2015 at 22:53:08


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Posted on July 18, 2015 at 6:47:23 [Post link]
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As the flames issued forth from Charon-Ur's skeletal hands, the reverberating steps grew louder, and Rua exploded out of the darkness, slipping underneath the conjured flame as it took flight. His grin was savage as he swung his sword out at the lich in a half-moon arc as he darted past him and at another tunnel.

===The Lodge===


Atalanta almost didn't hear Ginther's proposed plan, or John's acceptance of it. Her mind had come to a halt at the news that the Beta test heroine had reveal. Hunted? They were being hunted? Picked off one by one?

The Lodge was kept nice and warm, but that didn't stop her from shivering within her combat suit. "What the hell?" she finally managed to croak out. She was staring at her plate in shock, seeing nothing. "Someone's hunting down Thetas? Why the hell would they be hunting us?"

God, suddenly so many things made sense. The lack of support from Y-Corp. The lack of safety implementations. The lack of confinement. If none of them were safe, then...

Oh, Jenny...

===Cher Plek, Contested Airspace===


"Just got a message from the Warlord, sir. They welcome the aid we're giving them."

The White Devil acknowledged the message with a wordless nod. He could see in the bridge of the Wolfram that the Celestial Sphere team had made contact with the enemy on the progress screens, the three of them methodically cutting through the Korin guerrilla forces one by one. They couldn't move further without risking the airship until it was clear, but even with knowing that he was a commander in this world, simply waiting could be trying on him.

It was then that he received a private message from an unknown source. Frowning, he opened it up and read silently. The contents, unsigned, only made his eyes narrow in suspicion. The General and his men were glitched, and was against players? Grimacing, he closed it and filed the message into the back of his mind. There was nothing to prove it--must be someone trying to prank him, or worse yet, a Korin-aligned player daring enough to try and mislead him. If any of it proved true, he could follow up on it with a Y-Corp rep later that night.


"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 July 19, 2015 at 21:17:17 [Post link]
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With a snarl, Charon-Ur evaded the swordman's attack, stepping away from it as he raised an inferno to block the tunnel. "Running?" he hissed, "you come into my domain, insult Mishdar, and then you flee? What cowardice you mortals have. It is your greatest weakness. Now die!" With a scream, he pulled his hands together and formed a lance of black fire, hurling it straight for Rua.

---

Ginther looked at Atalanta with a mixture of empathy and even pity. She supposed it was true--being stuck was bad enough, knowing your life was at risk was even worse, but finding out that it was all intentional was the sort of thing to snuff hope right out of a person.

"Why are we stuck here in the first place, even?" she asked in return. "Just a bug? They'd been testing the equipment for over a year. Before the public patch, people had already used it successfully and logged out. Whoever sabotaged this did it with purpose. I'd put money on them being behind those stupid prophesies too. Maybe they're actually a way out, like they seem to suggest, but maybe they're just another tool to draw the desperate ones beyond safety. Can't trust anything these days."

---

Even from a distance, Maia could see the Wolfram draw near, and she cursed under her breath. If her sister had survived the crash--and she had to believe that that was the case--DuValle and his Paragon cronies could change that in an instant. Hastily, she sent a message to the ship via a Stamarian channel.

"Hail, Wolfram. This is the Iron Angel, requesting permission to engage the perimeter. I'm pursuing a criminal I believe was stowed on the airship. Please advise."

Ajax
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Posted on July 20, 2015 at 4:33:55 [Post link]
Quote

Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



In the revolving, on-and-off lit hallways of the facility. The sound of the gunshot, muffled as it was. Was still unmistakable.

The guard to Larent's side uttered a choked curse, immediately going on alert.

Larent, however. Was faster still. He spun, slamming the clipboard bodily into the man's windpipe, earning a squawk of surprise as he cut off the man's ability to call for help. Another few seconds of blurred, vicious movements occured between the two. The guard surprisingly able to keep his guard up, even while choking to breath.

But with a final, vicious slap of the clipboard, the man spun and slammed bodily into the wall. Giving Larent enough time to step up behind him, get a firm grip, and snap his neck with a crack.

And then, he was off at a dead run, angling through the hallways as he tried to pin down exactly where the gunshot had come from. Either Aleina had snuck in a gun, or otherwise procured one. Or someone had shot at Aleina. Or, he corrected himself with a grimace. "Shot" Aleina.

Round a corner, through an office and up ahead was the path that led back to the server room. A perfect target, if one were looking to hurt Stamaria. He slid to a halt, pausing and listening for any signs of Aleina or the guards.

____


Tsuminar


Coastal City of Novaya Heian



Syn gave a snarl, intending to push forward into the man and slam him into the machinery behind him, gun already positioned to be pressed up into his jaw.

Behind her, Lace gave an exasperated sigh. "Bloody--Syn. He's-" But too late. The move was carried out.

____


Kemei


The Roost



Apart from the girl screaming up in the tower above. Silence reigned over the castle nestled into the rock. A surprised, terribly awkward silence before a voice finally called out.

"Who're you? And . ..uh. . . why do you need to talk to the Baron?"

An armored helmet poked out from behind a battlement, peering down at the girl. Clearly baffled how she'd gotten so close.

Edited by Ajax on July 20, 2015 at 5:34:19

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Posted on July 21, 2015 at 7:12:53 [Post link]
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Rua swore as the wall of flame sprang up between him and the exit, and spun about to face against the lich--only to curse again as the black flames burst forth from his hands. With a cry, Rua swung his sword, trying to deflect them.

The explosion was deafening. Rua found himself hurtling backwards through the air, his clothing trailing streamers of stygian fire. His HP took an even larger hit as the blast forced him through the flame wall, singing him further. He hit the ground in a roll, wind knocked out him, and came to a stop a couple yards away within the tunnel.

He didn't have time to waste, though. He pushed himself up and went for a healing potion, noting the heavy hit to his health he took putting him nervously low on health. He glanced at his sword and noticed the blackened metal--it wouldn't be much good to him for long, and it was his only weapon. "Dammit," he growled, tossing away the vial after he drank it, then bellowed back at Charon-Ur. "Is that the best you got!?"

===The Lodge===


Atalanta hung her head in barely-concealed frustration. This was a sick joke. What kind of sick bastard would do this to thousands of people? Infecting people's computers with viruses was one thing. Griefing them online was one thing. Whoever concocted this scheme must've known what kind of line they were crossing when they did this.

"Do we have any idea who's hunting us?" she asked quietly. "Any clue at all that we can watch out for?"

===Cher Plek, Contested Airspace===


"We're receiving another message. Looks like a bounty hunter, sir."

"We're certainly popular today, aren't we?" the White Devil remarked. "What's the hunter after?"

"Bounty, sir. She claims that a criminal may have stowed away on the Dauntless and is asking for permission to search for them among the survivors," the communications officer informed him.

"Do we have a verification on the bounty hunter?"

"Yes sir. Bringing it up now."

The screen that materialized brought with it a listing of information on the one Iron Angel. Unveiled identity and status as a player were visible to the White Devil, as was the bounty she was after. Curious, he noted, that she would be pursuing that bounty in particular. Frowning in contemplation, he questioned further. "What of the search for survivors?"

"The scan magic has picked up a few survivors from the Dauntless. More than we expected, given the caliber of the weaponry used on it."

After a moment, he nodded. Down below in the jungle warzone, Maia finally received a response. "Permission to search granted. Stay clear of Paragon battle operations."


"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 July 25, 2015 at 16:46:02 [Post link]
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The lich straightened himself, watching his opponent carefully and laughing at his taunt. "Not even remotely, child. This is but a fraction of what Mishdar has awarded me for my service. Now witnes--what?" A tremendous crash echoed through the chamber, and the ground shook. Between them and another far-off entrance, wall after wall disintegrated as a hurtling object cut straight through the labyrinth. A moment later, an enormous creature with a man sitting on top smashed through a final wall, and the torchlight lit it up.

Standing to the side of Rua and Charon-Ur was a massive toad, the front of its head covered from top to bottom in a huge carapace hide that formed a shield, not unlike a snowplow. Its hide was a speckled green color, but running along its neck were gills that bellowed fire, and the man on top laughed raucously at his entrance. Orup, his potion now faded and his normal body restored, pointed enthusiastically at the lich, and the battle toad fired a salvo of green, mucus-like substances.

The first one struck the lich, sending him straight into the wall with the force of a cannon where it glued him into the stone for the time being. Reaching into his bag, Orup pulled out what appeared to be a gold locket, a faint blood-gem glinting in the center, and he hurtled it into the slimy adhesive that held their enemy at bay.

"That's it, my boy. Finish it now!" he cried out.

---

Ginther shook her head at the question. "I don't know, and I honestly don't want to. My name's enough of a target already; I don't need another reason for some crazy people to come and wack me while I sleep. For all we know, it could be some crazy NPC that reversed itself into the mainframe, or it could be some sick programmer who wanted to play god. But like I said--I don't want to know. No point in guessing around."

---

Maia grunted at the response. Stay clear of the Paragon? You didn't have to tell her twice. They were just as likely to kill a friend as they were an enemy, most of the time. Set them on a battlefield and everything died. It was barbaric, brutal, and efficient, and it was the heart of Stamaria. Trying not to think about it too much, she lowered her altitude and moved in for a final approach.

---

Pulling Aleina's body out of the way, Elle'n reached under the dead woman's waistband and deactivated the bomb on her suit. This was what happened when she trusted someone else, even for a minute. Aleina had a long history of sabotaging Stamaria at every turn, which was what made her such a dangerous ally. If you didn't use her correctly, she'd explode. Literally.

With the body sufficiently away from the door, she laid the watch down near the wall and pressed it with her foot, causing a portal to explode out of it in a moment and fill up the wall. Now, all she needed to do was wait for Larent, if he was planning on keeping up. Otherwise, she would leave without him in about thirty seconds.

---

Gigri grabbed at the wall for support as the woman was suddenly too close for comfort, jamming a weapon against his jaw obnoxiously. "Easy now, lass," he said slowly, trying not to talk too quickly and risk her pulling the trigger. "This isn't the first time I've had a gun in my face today, remember? I don't like to be handled, so back off." As he finished, he nodded down below his own belt, where his off-hand had a weapon of its own, pointed straight at her stomach.

---

The young woman bowed elaborately, sweeping her hands out. From what she knew about northern Kemei, they were completely and utterly baffled by those in the south. All she had to do was put up a little bit of flare.

"I am the great and wise Seer named Lajag, from the far south," she said ominously. "And I have come to bring a message to your Baron. Someone seeks his life."

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Posted on July 26, 2015 at 1:11:41 [Post link]
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Rua's sword was brought up to bear, to defend against Charon-Ur's next salvo, knowing it was gonna be painful, when suddenly the wall, the whole side of the tunnel collapsed into chaos. He yelled in surprise as stone and mortar came crashing down around them, and he threw himself aside as the giant amphibian exploded into the room beside him.

The flame wall extinguished as the room was decimated and the spell disrupted. Rua could only stare in shock at the beast beside, and the alchemist astride it. But when Orup threw the phylactery and gave him the command to attack, Rua shook himself back to his senses and leaped after the jeweled necklace. He drove every ounce of his enhanced strength into his sword, ramming the point into the phylactery moments before it struck the slime pinning its owner to the wall. The weight of his attack, against the monster it belonged to, quickly shattered the crystal and split the vessel in two.

A baleful light exploded out of the phylactery, expanding and swallowing up Charon-Ur in seconds. Eldritch fire and corrosive mist seemed to sweep out in a storm, lashing out across the damaged sword. The weapon shuddered in Rua's grip, and the blade began to melt and fracture, finally breaking apart into fragments. The sudden loss shifted Rua's weight forward, and he slammed what was left of his sword further into the broken phylactery and the lich, driving it down to the hilt.

===The Lodge===


"Yeah... I understand that," Atalanta finally said, slumping in her seat momentarily. After a moment, she shook the thoughts from her head. She could worry about that later, worry about seeing Jenny again later. For now, they had a task at hand.

"So what can we expect to run into out there, anyway?" the bounty hunter asked of Ginther, sitting up straight in her chair. "Golems I can handle, but I'm sure there's worse lurking out there in the drifts."


"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 July 26, 2015 at 18:17:28 [Post link]
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-Kemei-

One of Sin's acolyte's looked up in question at the woman's words. "She can't possibly be talking about us... we covered our tracks too well."

"We're not here to kill him anyway... unless he doesn't comply with us. Who knows, this world is slightly familiar with me... I'm not exactly the GOOD messiah in their eyes. I wouldn't be surprised if they picked up traces from before to try to counter what I can do. It's possible someone is on to us."

Sin's sinister voice echoed within their soundproof area.


Nightmares are dreams that need re-coding.

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Posted on July 27, 2015 at 4:15:49 [Post link]
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Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



There. A feint sound from the door just down the hall. Energy, a touch of magic. He moved to the door swiftly, pressing himself against the wall and feeling the cool metal with his hand, testing it's latch and weight. Finally, he opened it and glanced inside. His eyes taking in the dim surroundings. The body, the portal. The figure.

He let not a sound escape his lips as he gazed squarely at Aleina. His eyes betraying a vague sense of annoyance. But little more.

____


Tsuminar


Over the Ocean



Syn growled gutturally. "It's pointed to punch through your spinal column by way of your throat." She corrected with a growl, pressing up closer to him. Her sinewy stomach pushing against his own weapon as though a lover. The violent woman's tone edged on a hard business style, as though conducting a meeting she'd rehearsed a hundred times before. "Stomach wound I'll survive. Headshot you won't and my triggerfinger is steady." her voice dropped lower, eyes staring daggers into his, looking for any sign he'd pull the trigger first. "Payment was promised for services rendered. Pay. up. Or die."

Behind her. Lace sighed, turning her back and scanning the cramped corridors. He'd have help coming, soon. They needed to get on better footing in this metal box or things would go distinctly pear-shaped for she and her companion. "She's survived plenty of gutshots, dude. And she hates this game. Seriously, give us the gun and we'll get out of your hair." She chimed in, drawing her own weapon and standing guard.

____


Kemei

The Roost




The response to the news that someone sought their leader's life was perhaps not quite the expected one. "Bloody hell .. . really? Who?" The voice questioned, honestly perplexed. The man's tone dropping from what one would expect of a fearsome guard to that of a more average, less inclined-to-bludgeon sort of man.

A moment later he cleared his throat. Setting a gruff edge to his tone once more. "Er-- I mean. That is to be expected! For my baron is a fearsome badas---Baron! Yes. That's right. Fearsome. Barony." The voice trailed off again as an armored gauntlet, presumably belonging to someone else behind the stony, decrepit wall pulled the man back.

Whispers followed and then the armored helmet poked back out. "Right! No--magicky stuff. Just--stay there. We need to let him know you've come."

The helmet disappeared for several seconds only to return, a full torso poking out with the rest of him as he leveled a crossbow on her. The business end of a wicked looking bolt pointing at her. "No. Funny business." The man commanded in a reasonably dangerous tone.

Meanwhile, another guard was running through the run-down hallways to the central keep. "Var!" the soldier called out. "Some crazy super-powered Seer is here. She wants to talk--says someone wants you dead. . .We--uh. We should probably show her in, yeah?"

Var looked up, food halfway to his mouth, his languid brown eyes confused. "She can't be here about the girl, we only just sent the raven's out and no one else knows we have her. . .ah hell." He stood up, his form unfolding from the throne to reveal a lanky, muscled frame. "Show--no. No, Make her stew for five minutes. Then show her into the grand hall. I've got to get ready. Make sure the black-guard are there!" He spun on his heels and ran down another passageway as his man returned to the walls.

Just get to the hall, receive her. Give her the spiel . .. get her out of the castle. Showtime boyos . . . He thought frantically as he pushed deeper into the keep.

Edited by Ajax on October 7, 2015 at 2:54:15

Ribitta
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Posted on August 9, 2015 at 1:13:38 [Post link]
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Orup slid from his mount as Charon-Ur screamed his last, the fat man hitting the ground with a resounding thump. It was with no small amount of satisfaction that he watched the horrible creature froth and fray until he was nothing but a burn mark in the wall and a pile of ash on the floor. Too bad about Rua's sword, though they would probably be okay to get out of here, with the ringleader dead.

"Good work, m'boy," Orup replied, patting his monstrous toad comfortingly. "Serves the bastard right. Isn't that right, Bess?" he asked the toad, which snorted a handful of fire out of the slits behind its mouth. "Once we get onto the surface, she can get us out of this camp faster than anything will, but I think we should get moving as soon as we can."

---

Ginther's expression darkened at that question, exchanging her gaze from the man to the woman. "It's colder up there, and more hollow. Up to this point, the waste is... Well, waste-like, but it's an ecosystem on its own. Past a certain point, though, the cold kills anything normal. More Golems you will find, yes, and far nastier than before; these ones are smarter and faster and likely magical. There are dreamwalkers too, which will pull you into another reality altogether if you let them."

The young woman paused, rubbing the back of her neck in thought. "The worst enemy up there, though, will be other players. Don't trust anyone, even some poor little girl who claims to be a Theta stuck out here on a bad teleport. In the waste, nothing and no one keeps track of PKs, and there's only a handful of reasons to be up here in the first place. Just keep an eye out--that's a lot of the reason I'm going first. The only person out there with a target bigger than me is Aurinar Stamarin, and maybe the White Devil on a good day."

---

Elle'n raised her weapon to point at Larent now, though it was almost a formality given how disastrous this thing had gone. "Did your people finish it?" she asked. If they needed more time, they would have to make more time, but hopefully they were in the clear.

---

Gigri rolled his eyes at the pair of them. These were the worst sort of people--so entitled, thinking the world turned on a dime to serve them. If they pulled the trigger, they'd be dead in seconds anyway, so who cared that his weapon was only at her stomach? Whatever. They were beginning to get on his nerves, though, the way they thought they actually had some leverage.

"Promise is a very definite word, don't you think? Blow my brains out and it won't do you much good, seeing as I don't have them on my ship," he said tartly, hoping they wouldn't kill him on the spot for admitting as much. "But better news for you: I'm on the trail of something more interesting. Something that might actually get you out of this game, hm?"

---

She'd come this far, to wait a little bit longer wasn't a huge deal for Lajag. Silently, she stood by, expecting to be taken beyond the walls shortly.

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Posted on August 9, 2015 at 1:50:24 [Post link]
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Rua staggered back from Charon-Ur's remains, clutching the ruined sword in hand. Breathing heavily, he first gazed upon the ash and ember, then at the weapon in his hand. Only half a foot of the blade remained, the end melted into harmless slag. A line of bloody red and silver, the remains of the phylactery, had leaked into what was left. He sighed with regret--he had been particularly fond of this sword, but there was no saving it. Still, it'd make for a nice trophy.

He glanced over to his partner, taking in the monstrous sight of the beast he had been astride. The toad--Bess?--stared back, clearly unimpressed with the feral swordsman, if it's flame-bellowing snort was any indication. Rua snorted back in response, and looked up at Mepple. "No wonder you looked so uncomfortable when I made that frog remark," he said. Before either of them could respond, the sound of talons scrambling across rocks could be heard, causing Rua to look up.

The transformed Relayia was climbing down to them, keeping one wary eye on Bess. She was now as large as a pony, but still tiny in comparison to the giant toad. Clutched in the creature's mouth was the discarded sword of Charon-Ur, dutifully being brought to her master as the spoils of war.

Once she was close enough, the transformed dragonet pushed off the wall and landed in front of Rua with a heavy thud, her impact kicking up plenty of dust and shrapnel, as well as blasting away the ashes left behind by the lich's death. Rua patted her on the head and took the weapon from her mouth, grunting at the weight.

"Well, this is no good to me as a replacement," he said, lifting it up. He noted the runes etched all up the blackened blade of the claymore. "Still, I could sell it for some decent cash. I know you want to leave soon, Mepple, but we just slew a lich. He's gotta have some treasure lying about in here, so we might as well take what we can before we get the hell out of here."

===The Lodge===


"I'll keep it in mind," Atalanta responded, taking note of the remark about a little girl. She had had a bad encounter like that before--couldn't trust anyone's appearance in this game, unless you knew they were a Theta that took up Y-Corp's offer to revert their appearance to that of their real life features. "If we do run into the White Devil, though, I think we'll leave that to you. I don't want to get on his bad side."


"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?"
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Ribitta
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Posted on August 9, 2015 at 2:59:17 [Post link]
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Orup frowned at that and shook his head. He really was ready to leave this place, Rua had gotten that much right, but he understood the swordsman's point of view. Besides, he had already gotten what he needed from down there when he'd gotten the phylactery. "Fine, fine," he said, waving his hands dismissively. "Let's just make it quick. Be careful what you touch, though. You're just as likely to pick up a curse as a fortune in a place like this. Listen, though, Bess can't fit in the tunnels that take you to the bottom, and I'm not leaving her again. I'll go with you as far as I can and wait for you there."

---

"Everyone's on the bad side of the White Devil," Ginther replied sourly. "But I doubt you'll run into him out there. This sort of environment doesn't cater well to celebrities." With a sigh, she tried not to get caught away in her disdain. "Anyway, I'm leaving as soon as I can. Is there anything else you need from me? That you want to know?" she asked, giving John a pointed look.

He didn't seem to have anything else to say though, simply folding his hands and looking at Atalanta instead.

Ajax
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Posted on August 9, 2015 at 5:10:06 [Post link]
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Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



Larent smiled simply, "Maybe. Next time. Could you try not to screw up the plan so much by giving me a passionate idiot to work with?" With that, he pulled away from the door, retreating back up the hallway he'd come down. Slipping back into the whiny, arrogant personality of the adjutant as he prepared to talk his way out of the situation that was sure to arise.

____


Tsuminar


Over the Ocean




"God . .. if you're a twelve-year old screwing with me." Syn muttered with the edge of a threat hanging in her tone as she pulled away from him. "The minute you get over something like a landmass, we're getting off."

Behind her, Lace rolled her eyes. Lowering her weapon but not quite holstering it.

____


Kemei

The Roost



After a few minutes, the guard finally waved Lajag forward, a small iron door in the worn down wall opening. Another pair of armored guards in somewhat grubby armor awaited her there, nodding solemnly and leading her down a dark, looming hallway deeper into the fortress.

Torches set into sconces on the wall lit the hallway only sparingly, the worn stones of the walls drinking in the light as though a living entity. Finally they entered a cavernous grand hall, pillars of wrought iron pushing the ceiling upwards ever higher, torches and gathered soldiers in gleaming black plate mail were spaced menacingly around the room between the pillars. Braziers of hot coals were raked carefully by women in revealing garb.

At the center of the hall, seated on a massive iron throne, a beautiful woman sitting to one side, a burly dog to the other. The lanky form of Baron Var Toren leaned forward, resting his chin in his hand with a thoughtful gaze as the woman practically clung to his feet.

He cut an impressive figure, in the flickering orange glow. Easily topping out six feet, brown hair with bare touches of refined grey and a slender, neatly trimmed goatee. His clothing was silk of a sable hue, clinging to his form and trying it's very best to scream "Evil" to the world.

"Tell me." He spoke in a commanding voice, brown eyes piercing as he gazed thoughtfully to the woman. "You step into my castle claiming to know of someone who wants me dead."

He absentmindedly reached into a bowl sitting next to his throne, removing a ripe, red strawberry and feeding it to the sensuous beauty at his feet. She took it gratefully, though her eyes were curious, sneaking glances to the woman.

"So who?" He rumbled. "Would want the great robber Baron Var Toren dead?"

RisingDragon
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Posted on August 9, 2015 at 5:16:17 [Post link]
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Rua nodded. "Shouldn't take very long."

True to his title, Charon-Ur had plenty of wealth, most of which they couldn't take with them--Rua wasn't even sure what exactly some of the large magical apparatuses were, let alone figure out how he'd get them out of there, or even sell them. With what little time they had, Rua forced himself to ignore them, and only grab what looked of value. Mana-charged gemstones and small devices were swept into a bag, and chests of gold were quickly divided up between them and stowed away. Rua came across what looked like an apothecary of rare ingredients and such, and pointed it out to Mepple to pick through while he finished up appraising and looting what he could of this final treasure chamber.

He noticed it then, mounted within its scabbard on a plaque in the center of the back wall. The sword felt like a perfect size and make for the swordsman, more than enough to replace the blade he had ruined against Charon-Ur. The scabbard was sparsely decorated with a patterned band of gold thread, made of a sturdy leather, with the top fringed in white fur. The wavy gold crossbar gleamed gold in the firelight, and its coiled hilt ended in a pommel shaped like a dragon's head. He reached out to it, then froze, remembering Mepple's warning.

Grimacing, he shook his head. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, he thought as he finished his hand's trip and grasped the weapon by the hilt, squeezing his eyes shut as he did so. After several moments of blindness, Rua peeked one eye open, glancing again at the sword. Nothing. No pain, no magic, nothing attacking him... nothing.

He breathed a sigh of relief and lifted the weapon from its plaque, testing its weight--the weapon was well balanced, and a bit heavier than what he was used to, but nothing he couldn't adjust for.

"I think that's everything I can take," he said, turning back to Mepple. "Find anything unique in that stuff?"

===The Lodge===


Atalanta glanced back at John, then shrugged as she turned back to Ginther. "I think that's all we need to know for now," she told the other woman. "Judging from the looks of this place I doubt I'll find anywhere I can buy new hardware from."

Edited by RisingDragon on August 8, 2015 at 22:21:56


"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 August 10, 2015 at 5:27:06 [Post link]
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Orup shook his head in response, "Not today, boy. I've played with these sorts of relics in the past, and I prefer to make my own way. Now, if you don't mind, can we get going?"

---

Ginther was halfway through getting out of her chair when Atalanta made the comment, causing her to pause. "Not at the Lodge, no, but there is a place. There's one more haven, between here and the Maelstrom, that protects players. It's a small village at the foot of Mount Tenamon, where the Mydaeni tower sits. Yes, it actually exists. There are guards there to protect players, and I'll be stopping there on the way north. Go see the tech vendor and tell him I sent you."

Now she stood all the way up, retreating across the room for a moment to pick up her bag she'd set down before joining them. "Good luck out there. I'll leave you markers, so just follow my path."

With one final look directed specifically at John, the young woman departed, headed out the door and back into the cold.

---

Elle'n rolled her eyes as the man turned away from her and left. If he'd had an ounce of patience, she would have told him about Aleina and how to control her, but he had jumped the gun on this entire mission. People were impossibly disappointing, but he was the best she had right now, and that was that. Grabbing Aleina's corpse by the neck, she dragged it through the portal and closed it behind her, leaving the Stamarian compound.

A few moments later, she composed a PM to her partner. He could be mad at her all he wanted, but if he was still in this game, she wasn't ready to give up so easily.

"If you're still alive by tomorrow, meet me at tube-transport station in West Central. We have work to do."

---

Gigri didn't hesitate to put a step of distance between them, once the weapons were lowered, and he put his own away a moment later. Rubbing his neck uncomfortably, he eyed the two women searchingly. They were an odd bunch, even for this game, and he wasn't sure what to do about it. He certainly didn't need them, but it wasn't that simple.

"Well, that would be your fault for jumping on my ship uninvited, then," he said flatly. "We're on course for Valtheran right now, and I don't expect us to stop until we get there. Twelve-hour flight. Those weapons of yours are there and, yes, I will uphold my end of the bargain."

Gently, he edged his way past them in the cramped hallway. "Now, come and meet my crew. You're certainly not going to stand in the service hallway for half a day."

---

Lajag wrinkled her nose more and more the further she went into the fortress. Something was off, here, and she couldn't put her finger on it, yet, but she would find out what it was. Before long, she was standing in the presence of this baron, and that was enough to convince her he was not the one she was looking for. The girl, maybe? Things were so cloudy, lately.

"An assassin," she replied smoothly. "From Allondell. I have foreseen an attempt on your life. If you would permit it, great baron, a tour of your fortress will allow me to identify the weakness in your defenses. For a reward, I will see it stopped."

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Posted on August 10, 2015 at 17:11:27 [Post link]
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Rua nodded quickly and broke out into a trot as he stuffed his loot bag into his inventory. "Yeah, we've overstayed our welcome. Is there a route that Bess can take out of this temple?" Rua asked over his shoulder. Hell, he wasn't even sure how Charon-Ur got her into the temple.

===The Lodge===


"Thanks," Atalanta said as Ginther departed, watching as she swept back out into the frigid wastes. She stayed that way for a moment, then sighed and let her head collapse onto the table. "Hunted. Christ."

Damn him. Victor always knew just the right tip to sweep her into something huge and troublesome. Her ship went down, the men's journey to find her resulted in their hometown wiped out, John found out he had an entire life he failed to remember because he was a player, someone was running amok with an Arcanum Relic, and now Thetas' lives were in danger from some unseen predator. This day couldn't get worse if they tried.

"How're you taking this?" she asked her companion, not moving her head from where it rested. She wasn't the only one who had their world yanked out from under them.


"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.

Ajax
Lil' metool


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Posted on August 11, 2015 at 4:37:39 [Post link]
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Tsuminar

Tsuminar Proper



It was the day after the rather frustrating venture into the hub. He'd managed to weasel his way out of the situation, though the lack of the body had been extremely frustrating. The current theory the intelligence community had settled on was Aleina's nonexistent intelligence officer had been mentally disturbed, killed a guard in a fit of rage, and then managed to sneak out of the facility.

On the one hand, his adjutant persona was now in a dead-end job from the fall-out. But on the other hand, the mission had been a success. The information tap was in place. As was the shunt switch. Though to his knowledge, Elle'n didn't know about the second part.

With a clip-clop of leather boots on checkered floor-tiles he descended the last few steps into the tube-transport station, blending into the crowd with a practiced ease. Just one more grey drone going about his job.

____


Great Ocean



Lace smirked, "hell, Gigri. We've stood in tighter spaces for longer. I remember this one time where Syn and I were locked in a box the size of a coffin for eighteen hours." She shivered slightly, smiling wickedly. "But sure, let's meet your crew. The shaven psycho in front of you is Syn. I'm Lace."

Syn merely glowered, replacing the magazine in her pistol with a fresh one in a swift, sharp gesture before she finally holstered it.

____


Kemei

The Roost



Var had to stifle the sense of wary panic. Why was someone from Allondell coming to kill him? He frantically tried to figure out who they possibly could have taken in the last year that had impacted another continent?

Stars above, he'd never even seen Allondell.

He could feel the woman's hand on his leg tighten instinctively, she was worried. The tension in the room had risen with the sorceress' words. Several of the men and women gazing worriedly to each other.

His voice caught in his throat for the barest of seconds as the rest of her words sunk in. She was a gold-digger, a lot like them, probably. But it was all theatre, wasn't it? He couldn't let her see the rest of the castle. The curtain's couldn't come crashing down. "That--won't be necessary. Our fortress is secure!" He said, forcing his vocal cords to respond with a gruff, arrogant response. "Even during the great wars when the dragons came for all, the Roost stood defiant."

Technically true, he mused as he hoped his bravado was enough to keep the woman from pressing her luck with looking at the rest of the castle. A battalion of dragons had come for the Roost, two decades previous in the waning days of the war. Nevermind that ninety percent of the men and women in the castle had been turned to ash in the battle .. the Roost had "survived."

Please just go away. He silently urged the woman. She wasn't here for their latest prize. Or maybe she was. Damnable fool that he was, he hadn't pressed her. Hell, maybe she was the assassin?

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Posted on August 11, 2015 at 19:57:52 [Post link]
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-Kemei, the Roost-

The invisible eye moved about, following Lajag into the fortress, scanning and listening, feeding more and more information to Sin's party outside.

"The Baron is weary of her... perhaps we won't even have to make our meeting. If he gets skeptical enough he'll try to detain the girl... and the girl seems skilled. I doubt she'll let him. If things get chaotic enough, we could use the eye's displacement technique. We'll bring the Baron to us." Sin's acolyte explained this with a positive attitude.

Sin, proud of the man's intelligence, would be smiling under his mask. "I like that, even if there weren't any commotion, their kind wouldn't know what to do if the Baron just suddenly vanished."

Edited by Zane Truesdale on August 11, 2015 at 15:58:10


Nightmares are dreams that need re-coding.

 

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