Floating Castle RP

It's a castle....and it's floating! :O

Moderator: Floating Castle Mods

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Scarab on Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:53 pm

Quest 30: Topsy Turvy

To say that Storm and Drive was ”a little bit messed up” right now was kind of like saying that the entire crew of Phantom Thieves Anonymous had “a little bit of a problem with kleptomania”. The word understatement didn’t even come close.

Then again, that didn’t differentiate them from the rest of the city right now. The evening was pressing on into dusk, shadows deepening within the alleyways that most Guild members were using to get around. Tamar silently thanked Likovya for showing him these routes. Without them he’d probably have ran into the anti-factionists a dozen times.

The scary thing was, a part of him was kind of hoping for that. Right now anything, even a fight, would be better than the feeling twisting in his stomach; the kind of watery horror he used to experience all the time as a child. But getting into scraps with the anti-guild armies wouldn’t help Storm and Drive; nor would it find Eliziya. And that was the important thing right now. Well one of the important things, one of many, because things could never happen to them one at a time could it?

“Zi, where did you go? You’re scaring the heck out of us.”

So here he was, out on the edge of dusk, looking for a missing guildmember, in a guild he wasn’t even one hundred percent sure he was in anymore, because hell if he had any idea what else to do. That was when he rounded a corner, stepping out into a wide open square.

Tamar bit down on his bottom lip. “Oh...kay. What’s the castle throwing at us this time?”

This place hadn’t been here the last time Tamar took that particular road. Or... wait, perhaps it had, and he’d just been too busy running for his life to notice? He recognized the rest of this place well enough: he was in one of the small plazas that separated the city from the Old Slums. You could tell that once over, this had been the centre of Town. Then time, and decay set in, and people abandoned the old for the new, forgetting all about those who stayed behind. There was a fountain in the centre of the square, coated with dry algae.

The place seemed... lost. Sad, almost. So maybe it was a strange kind of pity that drew Tamar into the deserted courtyard. As if the old buildings gave a damn about being alone.

The place seemed to have been set up for a market day... and then deserted. As if something had swept through the town and wiped everyone away, leaving behind the remnants of their wares. Every stall was coated in cobweb and tattered awnings, the carts filled with rotten smells. It was like a kind of rundown purgatory. Tamar approached the fountain. To his surprise there was water, but there was nothing living here, and Tamar shuddered, one hand going instinctively to Echo’s hilt.

It was in that partially-liquid blackness that he saw the murky reflection of the building. It was a simple, tall structure, much like the other buildings surrounding the square, and with...

...Light. There was light, coming from the upstairs window.

“Rather strange isn’t it?” the voice of the guild leader of Heroes Unlimited rang out behind Tamar. Salvantas looked at the boy for a moment before putting on a soft smile. “No worry friend I am not here to hurt you or anything like that, just exploring the area and looking for some people who have gone missing as of late, might I assume that you’re here for the same reason?”

Tamar let out a sharp breatth. “S-Salvantas. It’s you. Please don’t sneak up on people like that when there’s a war on.”

Salvantas smirked a bit. “Sorry friend, I am used to moving quietly, and it is a hard trait to unlearn. Now then was my assumption correct that you are here to find the ten people that have gone missing in this area, or are you on a mission for your guild?”

Tamar frowned. Ten people missing? So perhaps Eliziya vanishing wasn’t a one off occurrence. “Sort of both I guess. I didn’t know there were that many. But we can’t find our Healer, and... Well, we were here once. When I met her, we went through the slums to reach the church...” he trailed off, embarrassed for some reason he couldn't parse. Probably to do with the smirk on Salvantas’ face. It was the kind of shrewd look that told you he knew exactly what you were about. “But I must have gotten turned around. You traced some missing people here?”

Salvantas’ expression became all business as he looked toward the old building. “Yes, there is nowhere else that they could have gone, I would have found them by now if they were anywhere else.”

“So you figured they had to be here?” Tamar paused. If it weren’t for that strange light, he would have thought this place to be completely abandoned. “It seems unlikely they’d all come this far.”

“Normally I would agree with you, but the building with the light in it?” he pointed toward it. “It wasn’t there yesterday, and I find when buildings with lights coming out of them start randomly appear from nowhere it can’t exactly be innocent,” Salvantas looked at it, frowning. “Personally, I am not looking forward to going in if I am right.”

“Oh... okay, yeah, that is suspicious.” Something seemed to shift, casting shadows beyond the light source. Could she be in there? Could they all?. “You’re not going in alone, are you?”

“Well I was planning to, I have one agent nearby for back up, but if you wish to join me in entering whatever nightmare this building holds, I wouldn’t turn you away,” Salvantas looked to him. “I won’t force you to join me, this probably is going to be dangerous. If I had to guess, we are entering an unknown building possibly full of enemies or monsters and evil magic,” he laughed a bit. “You know no pressure.”

“Right. So, ten people missing and a weird building that sort of doesn’t look like a real building. Do you think this doesn't look like an actual[/]i building? I think it doesn’t...” Tamar rambled. Something just felt [i]off about this place. Now that he looked closely, the bricks seemed as if they had been carved into flat stone. The light in the window didn’t flicker, the way candles would. It was more like a painting of a building.

But then, this was Salvantas, one of the few remaining allies Storm and Drive had. Anji would be all for it, and Hector probably wouldn’t mind. “If they’re in there we can’t exactly leave them.”

“No we cannot. Good. Okay then, first of I am not sure I actually know your name. I believe introductions are important, seeing as you already know me, and if you could give me a quick list of any skills or weapons you have to make us more effective if things break into a fight, that would be helpful as well.”

Tamar had to think for a moment. “Um, I know how to fall? Also, this,” he pulled Echo from his belt, letting a thin stream of fire race up the blade. Tamar smiled. “If I focus hard enough I can kind of make it look like it’s got a face.”

“A magic blade and training in the art of combat, I have to say you aren’t exactly the last person I would choose to enter into this place with, but one last thing, you have forgotten to give me your name” Salvantas turned toward the building and let out a short breath.

One of these days, he’d remember that part of the introduction process. “Oh right. It’s Tamar. Storm and Drive.”

“I see, one of Anji’s Guild, well then Tamar, let us enter into the mouth of hell and pull away its victims.” He walked toward the building and grabbed the door handle. “As soon as I open the door, enter with your weapon drawn, I will be right behind you.”

Tamar shuddered. “I read a book that started with those words once. It didn’t have a happy ending.” Still, he stepped forward, Echo at his side. He could see the way the handle seemed to mould itself to Salvantas’s hand. As if somebody had just painted him into a canvas where he hadn’t been before.

The door opened with surprising ease, and beyond was the dim shape of a lit room. Tamar entered, cautious, wondering where Salvantas found the nerve to look so unshaken when everything about this place screamed ‘wrong’. He took a breath, lighting up Echo before stepping deeper into the building, Salvantas behind him.

The light went out, along with the fire from Echo.

Tamar wasn't sure why he was surprised. He froze up in the darkness, feeling Salvantas do the same. “Savantas?” Tamar said, trying not to sound as disturbed as he felt. Even the darkness around them felt fake: too black and painted on.

“Ah, just as I predicted,’ Salvantas said, calmly. “If you wouldn't mind?”

It took a moment for Tamar to work out that he meant light the sword again. Tamar fumbled for the mental pattern, and Echo flickered like a dying match before finally blazing back to life. Both of them winced as the room immediately lit up with a light far brighter than the sword. A fire which didn’t come from Echo, but which seemed to have been perfectly timed to make it look as if it did.

They had no time to react to this. The instant the light returned, vertigo hit. He saw Salvantas stumble, reaching out to grasp the doorframe, only to realise the door had vanished. Tamar gasped,as the blood rushed straight to his head.

“Salvantas, are... are we upside down?”

“We seem to be.” Salvantas sounded oddly calm about this.

“...We’re not falling.”

“So I noticed, friend. It’s alright. Take a deep breath, you’ll get used to it.”

Tamar risked opening his eyes to reveal a scene straight out of those bad dreams where you could never run fast enough. There was a staircase over his head, hanging upside down. Or rather, hanging the right way up. They were upside down, surrounded by yet more staircases. The whole room was nothing but stairways, doors, and occasional carved stone benches. The light was almost painfully bright, but Tamar couldn't see where it was coming from. There were no torches, and the windows couldn’t be real, seeing as the street outside was in twilight, while here dust mites danced in a midday sun.

“O-okay. This is several different shades of not right. Where the Saints are we?”

“Good question. Perhaps our missing people asked the same one,” Salvantas drew a coin from his pocket and experimentally threw it. It fell up clattering on the rooftop (or floor) over their heads, as if drawn by a magnet. Tamar gulped. This had not been on the agenda for today. Run in’s with anti factionists? Searching for a missing guild member? Hector showing a complete lack of concern for pretty much anything (as if anything could worry him)? Sure, those he was prepared for. Standing on a ceiling, staring into an abyss of staircases, all blatantly defying the laws of physics? Not so much. “This is going to give us so much nausea.”

“Oh, don’t worry, it’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better,” a small girl’s voice rang out from around the building, almost as if the strange gravity of the place was carrying the sound across every inch of it. Her voice was light with laughter, like a child. “But don’t worry, we can play doctor if you want, you be the hurt patient and we will be the ones to put you down so you won’t suffer anymore, tee hee.”

Tamar flinched. He wasn’t sure what unnerved him more. The fact that there was a creepy voice echoing from nowhere, that it sounded like a small child, or that they had actually said ‘tee hee’. As if people really laughed[/] that way. He looked at the man besides him. “Were any of those missing people [i]children?”

Salvantas raised a finger to his lips to quiet the boy and closed his eyes, listening for the source of the voice. Tamar took that to mean ‘no.’

“Sis, you shouldn't joke around so much, they’re dangerous. We should take care of them...” another child's voice played through the building. However this one was in stark contrast to the girl’s, whose voice sounding like a child in the middle of play. His voice sounded more appropriate for a funeral. “Lets just kill them and leave, alright?”

Salvantas looked at Tamar and whispered. “Well I believe I know what happened to the missing people.”

“Do you know who it is?” Tamar whispered back.

“No actually, but when you enter into a weird place full of staircases and hear an unnaturally creepy child’s voice echoing out of nowhere, you tend to put things together,” Salvantas pulled a dagger out. “Show yourselves!” he called.

“See, sister? Now you’ve done it,” the boy’s voice sounded upset. Just listening to him made one feel more depressed.

“Oh foo to you! I am having fun, and fun is all that matters. If you don’t get any joy out of life how are you supposed to say you are really alive?” the girl’s voice rang with the same playful tone, never dropping or rising, even as she reprimanded the boy. It was the kind of wild happiness you only got from things that were broken. Tamar risked taking a step forward, relieved that some of the vertigo had lessened even though they were still basically hanging upside down from a ceiling.

“T-that’s a good question,” he yelled. “How do you know?”

There was a pause, almost like surprise, before the girl laughed again hysterically, seeming thrilled by this response. Salvantas gave Tamar a slight frown but said nothing, hand still gripping his dagger tightly. Tamar had no idea how he could just stand there looking so unmoved.

“Simple simple simple, even my brother could explain it, dullard that he is!” the sound of someone slapping another person on the back rang out through the building. “To prove one is alive they must leave behind proof! Some do this by writing, orrrr by making art. “

“We do it by serving our master, that is how we prove we are alive,” the boy’s voice called out in the same sad tone.

“And who might that be, child?” Salvantas asked, catching on.

The girl clapped again. “Master Cloth, lord of the Dark Carnival and the most amazing person who has ever lived. He is the King of the Underground, master of all he observes.”

“Most everything,” the boy’s voice added in depressed agreement. “It was he who created this wonder before you. He seeks to give joy to a world which doesn’t have enough of it.”

“He also has very strange taste in names,” Tamar murmured, looking at Salvantas. “So... what do we do?”

“That depends on how you answer my next question” Salvantas sighed. “If a monster looks like a child, and acts like a child, but is willing to kill you, could you fight against it... without holding back?”

“I don’t kill people, Sal,” Tamar said firmly, remembering Hector’s warning. But at the same time, there was another face flickering his memory, slightly older and laughing as she set fire to somebody’s skin. “Liked to burn street rats for fun,” Anjali’s words repeated in his head. “But we can still stop them.”

“And why would you want to do that?” the boy sounded confused and upset. “Stop us? But my sister only wants to play. We do as our master bids us.”

“Yeah? And what does he bid?” Tamar asked. “There are people missing. Did they come here?” he took another step forward, seeing Salvantas open his mouth to protest, but the world dropped away before the words formed. Tamar stumbled forward and landed... on the ceiling. Echo skidded from his grasp, coming to rest besides the coin Salvantas had thrown. He found himself looking down at Salvantas, still stood on the staircase below or above, or... Oh Saints damn it, it probably didn’t matter.

The girl seemed an endless wellspring of mirth, her voice echoing. “Oh, this is fun! I didn’t think anyone would find us, but look! They have, brother! And they’ve come to take our toys!”

“They aren’t our toys, sister; they’re Master Cloth's.” The boy sounded confused.

“Tsk! I know that! Jeeze, you get so worked up about everything, where on earth is your sense of fun? Oh... that’s right. We’re not on earth anymore are we? We’re floating.” She laughed again. “Well, anyway this is MUCH more fun than sitting in the basement listening to our new friends yammer on! And these brave people have come all this way, so I’m sure they won’t be adverse to a game.”

That did not sound like a good thing. Tamar reached for Echo.

“Do we play hide and seek, sister?" the boy asked. "If so I think that we should be IT, and we can only tag them when they are dead, that way it gives them more of a chance. We are an awful lot faster than they are.”

“That sounds fair brother, but we should split up! I call the cute one,” the girl giggled and sounds of someone moving could be heard.

“Then I will take the other,” the brother said. “Both of you play fair now. It wouldn't be right otherwise.”

Tamar swallowed. Well, it wasn’t the first time he’d been asked to play along to the whims of a creepy insane person, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. “What happens if we win?”

The girl laughed mockingly. “Silly, you aren’t going to win, so it doesn’t matter.”

“Oh. But... just supposing?”

There was a sigh, the closest thing to frustration the girl had expressed so far. “Oh very well, I suppose, if you win, theeen... ah! I know! You get to meet Master Cloth! That sounds like a good prize, hm? But I wouldn't get your hopes up.” Then her laughter faded.

“No, you can’t just enter a building and fight a few thugs, rescue a few people, have an easy time about it, no it has to be magical staircases and creepy evil children,” Salvantas threw his hands in the air. “Tamar, don’t get yourself killed,” he raised his arm to face level and cut himself, releasing the demon inside of him.

Tamar saw the slash of the dagger and a flicker of something. Something changing, as a few, tiny drops of blood rose upwards to splash against the ceiling. But before he could even begin to figure out what Salvantas was doing, the lights burned out, Salvantas vanished in the sudden darkness, and gravity seemed to reassert itself.

*

When the lights returned Tamar was fairly sure he wasn’t in the same place he had been before. Not that it was easy to tell. He had landed on his back, at the bottom of a staircase, and scrambled to his feet, knowing that this place, however whimsical it might seem, was no game at all. Salvantas was nowhere to be seen.

He toyed with the idea of yelling before realising this would be pointless. Instead, he stepped forwards into the mind-twisting vertigo, onto the staircase. The world lurched and Tamar staggered, trying to hold his balance before moving forward.

“Okay, just try and forget you might be upside down. The only way you need to look is forwards.”

A shadow shifted on the stairway behind him and Tamar turned to face it -too sharply. He almost lost his balance.

“Difficult, isn’t it? Let me help. I’m over here,” the boy said gently, and this time his voice seemed to come from a specific location. Tamar turned in the direction the voice came from, sending a burst of fire racing down the blade for good measure.

He saw the boy, sitting on what appeared to be an upside down ledge overhead. He looked as young as he sounded: perhaps a year or two behind Tamar. His dark hair was trailing into his face, and he wore the kind of outfit you usually only saw in galas. A formal tunic and cape, all navy silk and golden buckles. A white theatre mask with it’s mouth twisted into a frown covered the left side of his face, and his uncovered cheek was stained with tear tracks, running from a black eye. When he stood, he dragged two objects behind him: shortswords; Tamar tensed again.

“You’re not very good at games, are you?” the boy said. “Haven’t you ever played this before?”

“No.” Tamar answered, honestly, holding Echo out as a counterbalance, still not knowing if he could trust the ground beneath his feet.

“I see. how sad. Everyone should spare the time for games, watch.” The boy jumped, twisting in the air. There was no staircase beneath him, and Tamar expected him to fall for hundreds of feet. But the boy didn’t fall. He hung for a moment, then moved sidewards instead of down. Turning in the air, he came to a stop on a staircase, at a ninety degree angle.

“See?” the boy said. He walked down the staircase towards Tamar, but the only way to reach him would be to jump. “You’re supposed to be running away you know,” the boy murmured. “I’m the one who’s It.”

One of his swords flew straight at Tamar and he threw out Echo to block. Sparks lit the blade as the two swords connected, before the masked boy’s weapon went flying. It landed on the far left wall, sticking to it like a magnet.

“The boy sighed, then jumped, and gravity shifted again, allowing him to land on the wall besides his sword and reclaim it.

“Where’s Salvantas?” Tamar snapped. He was trying to fight his growing anger, knowing it would only get him killed. What if Eliziya had been one of the people trapped here?

“He’s playing with my sister, of course. I wish people would listen to the rules. Those others... they didn’t play fair. How silly is that? You start a game and you don’t even play it properly!”

“So you played with the other people who came here, too?”

“We always do. It’s just like my sister told you. Without our task we would be nothing. I would be nothing.” He looked at Tamar through eyes that were suddenly bright with tears. “Don’t you understand that? Isn’t that why we’re all here, Tamar?”

“I don’t.”

“You came because you were looking for someone. But everyone is looking for something or someone, and they usually never find it. It’s always outside of their reach,” as if to demonstrate he tossed one of his thin, lethal looking swords through the air. It spun past inches in front of Tamar’s face and fell back to the boy.“Master Cloth says so, and that’s the sad truth of it. You came looking for something which won’t be here. I’m sorry.”

He was trying to distract him, Tamar decided. “We came for the people,” he snapped. “The people you or... or whoever this Master Cloth of yours is took away."

“Master Cloth didn’t take anyone, Tamar. They came here...” The boy tilted his head on one side, examining Tamar thoughtfully. “I like your name. Did you make it up? Or steal it?”

Tamar flinched. “What about you? What’s your name?”

“Can’t you tell? I’m wearing it, Tamar. It’s a mask, just like yours,” the boy’s voice was cracking, as if he were about to cry. “This is boring. You have to run away from me, not towards me. Now run!”

The sword flew out again, closer this time, and Tamar blocked it, just in time for the boy to throw the other. Because of his angle, the swords fell back to him so he could throw them again and... yeah Tamar was pretty sure that wasn’t the standard method of using a Lamadian shortsword. But then again, in usual circumstances, gravity went down, not sideways. He needed to level the playing field, get them both operating to the same rules.

Putting his faith in physics, Tamar jumped, the world jerked, and he was standing on the roof again. Or rather, on an upside down staircase, out of reach of his attacker’s swords. There was less vertigo this time, his body shifting quickly to its new orientation.

“See? You understand now.” The boy said, sounding briefly less depressed. And then he jumped too, joining Tamar upside down on the staircase. Level playing field Tamar thought . Then the boy ran for him, swords down, prepared to strike double-handed.

*

Blank stood in place, waiting for the first move to be made by the enemy. In battle against unknown foes it wasn’t about gaining the advantage right away, it was about learning everything your opposite could throw at you. That was a lesson beat into him through years of training.

“Tag!” the voice of the girl rang out across the room as a blur flew toward the stairway Blank stood on. Blank saw it coming and jumped off of the stairway, landing on another one a few feet away, getting on top of it and getting back into a fighting stance, observing his enemy.

The girl he faced was dressed in a noblewoman's clothes, dyed a light shade of blue and without a spot of dust to mar the fabric. In her hands she held a club easily twice her size, with metal spikes, ready to impale the anyone unlucky enough to be caught on them. On her face she wore a half mask that had a smile etched into it. The mask of comedy, a common theatre prop. “You know if you move around, I can’t make you dead very easily,” the girl huffed. “But I guess if the game ended that quickly it wouldn’t be any fun either. Oh well.”

Blank threw the dagger in his hand at the girl’s head. If it Salvantas were in control right now there might have been a moment of hesitation, but with Blank it was almost instant. A single flick of the wrist with all his strength.

The girl looked at it and the dagger froze in mid-air. The areas around it seemed to shimmer for a moment, as if the air was bending itself to form a solid object, all in order to stop the dagger’s path. “Nope nope nope, things like that don’t work on me. You can’t hit the beautiful girl Comedy” the girl laughed and suddenly the dagger fell upward, or down, it was impossible to tell in this madhouse.

“Knives are useless, then. Now switching to secondary attack method,” Blank reached into the coat and slid on a pair of gloves with metal claws attached to the ends. Once they were secure he shrugged off his trench coat and let it fall aside.

“You know your voice isn’t very fun, maybe if I hit you a few times it will be better. Like a music box,” the girl grinned and hopped into the air, spinning around and landing on the steps above Blank, her massive club in front of her. “Stay still. I’m going to tag you now!”

“I doubt it,” Blank waited for her to make her next attack, a downward swing, and jumped over, aiming a kick at her face.

She looked up at him, took a deep breath and then released it, sending a massive burst of wind from her mouth. The force of the air hit Blank and sent him falling down the stairs and through an open door, which let out onto another staircase. These stairs were upside down, giving the illusion that he was falling up rather than down. “Tee hee, you fall funny, mister Salvantas.”

Blank stood up, wincing and grabbing a hold of his arm. Dislocated, perfect. “I hate children so much,” the man said in what could have been a bitter tone. He relocated his shoulder and rolled it before looking toward the girl. “Well are you done?”

She stepped off of the staircase and walked through the air toward him. “Yes. You are no fun, you don’t even play properly” she snapped and Blank was suddenly pushed to his knees by the air all around him. The girl spun so she was hanging upside down and smiled, raising her club into the air. “You are going bye bye now” she grinned wickedly and got ready for the final swing. “Tee. Hee.”


*

Hector had said something once about there being no shame in a strategic retreat. Tamar was hanging onto that fact as he ran from one corridor to the next, trying to keep ahead of the boy in the mask.

Every now and then the boy would appear again, whisper a quiet “tag” and throw a few strikes. Then he would vanish as soon as Tamar tried to react. They’d clash swords briefly on one staircase, and then he’d be gone. The boy was clearly much more familiar with this space though, fighting as easily as if the laws of physics were entirely at his command. Very rarely did he get close enough for Tamar to actually land a hit.

The staircases may have seemed completely adverse to logic but slowly, Tamar was beginning to work them out. He jolted to a stop at the end of a corridor, and gawked,at the sight of himself standing at the very end of the same corridor.

“There you are.” A sword flew at Tamar’s head and he blocked it barely in time, the boy skidding away from him across the smooth stone landing.

”So much for playing fair,” Tamar hissed, blocking one thrown sword and rolling out of the way of the other.

“It’s not fun, you know,” The boy said, and once again his voice seemed to hover on the brink of tears.

“W-what?”

“Killing all these people,” the boy said, shaking his head sadly, before leaping down from the roof, landing in front of him. “I’m really very sorry I have to do it. I’m sorry. I’m not very good with this game myself, but you see my sister loves it so...”

Tamar ignored him, choosing instead to turn and run to the edge of the current staircase.

“See?” the boy yelled after him, sounding closer to happy than he had been throughout the whole fight (which put him just to the left of being outright melancholic). “That’s the right way to-hey!”

He cut off, sounding distressed as Tamar (after taking a very deep breath) gripped the edge of the walkway and rolled off it. He ended up standing on the underside of the same path. Then he moved again, not giving the boy the chance to catch up with him, leaping to a nearby wall and back again. He ended up with his sword pressed right into the masked boy’s back. “Drop the swords,” Tamar snapped, trying to sound as composed and threatening as he could.

The boy sniffed loudly, but did as Tamar asked, letting the two short swords slip from his fingers and clatter on the ground. “That was a cruel trick. At least mine were fair.”

“Y-you call this fair?” Tamar gasped.

“Of course. You just don’t know the rules. Now what are you going to do to me?”

Tamar hesitated. Because really, what was he going to do? He couldn’t just kill the boy. Cruel or not, he was a only a child. Salvantas’s question echoed in his mind, and Tamar knew that his answer to it was “no.” But still... “Eliziya. She could be one of them.”

“Those people you kidnapped. Y-you’re going to take us to them,” he said.

“Oh,” the boy said. “Oh, I’m sorry, but you don’t really want that. I don’t think you’re going to like what you see if I do.”

*

Comedy abruptly paused for a moment, looking at Blank before letting out a sigh. “Looks like my dumb brother’s gotten himself into a mess again,” she sighed, reaching nto her dress and pulling out a amulet with a black crystal in the middle of it. “Time to add more players.”

There was no time to protest. The girl chanted out a few words and the entire building seemed to shift and change. When the changes finally finished they found themselves together in a large dark room. Blank looked over to Tamar, who had his sword to the boy’s back.

“Well, looks like you’re doing a bit better then me,” Blank said without the slightest bit of sarcasm in his voice.

Tamar jumped, seeming not to have noticed the change until it happened. Still at least they seemed to be back on solid ground now. “Sister?” the masked boy whispered. “I-I don’t think I like the way this is going.”

She smirked, sending a gust of wind at Tamar and her brother, sending them tumbling back. The boy scrambled to reclaim his short swords, clinging to them as child might clutch a favoured toy. “You big dumb dummy!” she snapped. “You were suppose to tag him not get tagged yourself, this is sooooo embarrassing!” she huffed. “But fine, let’s play a new game,” she smiled and the amulet flashed again. “I think it is only fair that you get what you came for, so you two can play with our new friends, while I teach my dummy of a brother a lesson.”

As she finished speaking the room began to shift once more, and when this shifting had finished ten new figures stood around the room. They were dressed in bright clothing, all oranges, pinks and yellows. Their faces were painted white as chalk with lips the brightest shade of red. The beings let out moans and looked toward the girl, as if awaiting something. “Well? Get them, you big dummies!” the creatures let out a louder moan and began to break off to attack the two adventures.

“Oh you have got to be kidding,” Tamar gulped. It looked like something out of a circus performance, except that Tamar had never seen anything less funny in his entire life. He pushed what magic he could still feel out through Echo, praying it would hold. “Salvantas! What are they?”

Blank pushed himself up. “I would say they are the ten people we came looking for. Albeit dressed as clowns.”

Well ,that made a disturbing kind of sense. It also made things infinitely more complicated. “Is this some kind of possession? Mental control?” he’d read about those things, but once again books appeared to have let him down in the accurate-portrayal department.

Blank grabbed one of the beings by the throat. The man looked to be about twenty, probably an adventurer guessing by the amount of muscle on them. But Blank, uncaring, drove his foot into the man's knee and shattered it, sending him to the ground. The man gasped out in pain and began laughing. “Mind control. Disable them however you can.”

“I have a sword that catches fire Salvantas, it’s not exactly a non-lethal weapon!”

Still the masked hostages didn’t seem to care whether the sword caught fire or not. Tamar dodged away from one: a girl, clearly malnourished underneath the paint and clothing. She was probably some poor homeless woman nobody had even reported. Tamar winced as he thumped the hilt of his sword into the back of her head, before taking out the second by ramming his sword into their shoulder, sending them spasming away. Clearly they could still feel pain.

He looked around frantically; none of the painted faces looked anything like Eliziya, but that didn’t reassure him. They’d been taking people away, turning them into this, all for some stupid, sick game. Anger sparked in Tamar’s chest, flickering into the sword, fuelling it. Just like the Veil... these guys would fit right in.” He could just see out of the corner of his eyes as Salvantas took down one masked attacker after another: a stab to the nerves at the back of their neck, the cracking of a shattered bone. There was something harsh about him now. Harsher than the man Tamar had met on the street. Something crueller.

Still, be damned if he didn't get the job done.

Comedy looked at her brother and slapped him. “Now, you are going to go finish your game and win, or I am going to pull your ears and make your face look funny!” She picked up her brother as easily as if he were a doll, and threw him at Tamar.

Blank watched as the boy was thrown like a projectile and sighed. “I’ll handle the rest of these controlled people. You finish your fight, you are more suited for single combat anyway.” He delivered a series of brutal kicks to the gut of another clown. “But hurry it up!”

“Got it,” Tamar said, with only a trace of nervousness. If nothing else, the boy was good at following orders.

“You really don’t understand,” the masked boy sighed. “Now my sister is angry with me. It makes me sad to think I’ve let her down.”

Tamar blocked as the swords swung in, feeling more confident now that gravity wasn’t changing every twenty seconds. He searched desperately for somewhere he could land a strike that would stop this boy without actually killing him. It was easier with bigger targets. The boy’s face was wet with angry tears as he struck again and again, seeming tireless. Tamar wondered if the tears ever stopped. If he even knew how to smile... There was hardly anything about his face that suggested sanity. ”Ligament ,then. Tamar resolved, remembering Hector use a similar maneuver once before. Take out his legs, stop him fighting back without killing him... Yes, that ought work, but he’d have to be careful.

Tamar staggered, noticing too late that one of the hostages had crawled away from Salvantas and wrapped a hand around Tamar’s ankle. He kicked them away, and brought his sword up, aiming for the Masked boy’s leg. There was a brief surge of triumph as his strike hit, slicing through satin and flesh. The boy cried out, and moved, his second sword coming forward, at which point, Tamar remembered that the second sword existed.

The boy staggered and fell, and Tamar momentarily wondered what that sharp, jagged pressure in the middle of his chest was.

Tragedy fell down and let out a massive cry and blood pooled around his slashed leg. His crying sounded like that of a normal child this time, not the unnatural always sad crying of before. “Si...sister it hurts” he cried out as pain overtook him.

“Brother!” she shrieked, running over and falling to her knees by his side, grabbing his shoulders, all her delight and triumph gone. “You big dummy get up, get up right now!” she shook him. “Get up get up get up you aren’t allowed to sleep when we are playing games...” her voice slipped and she began to sound more like a scared kid than the maniac she had been before. “You aren't allowed, you aren’t allowed to do this again!” she hugged him. “Not like mommy and daddy, you aren’t allowed to leave me alone again, I don’t want to be alone!”

Blank took down the last clown and turned toward the apparently concluded battle. His persona switched as Salvantas took over once more. Tamar... Tamar has a sword in his stomach. This was bad on more levels then one. He ran over to him, ignoring the girl and the boy on the ground. “Tamar...” he stopped in front of him. “Shit.”

Tamar’s first mind numbing thought when the girl screamed was that he’d struck wrong somehow, taken out something more important than he should've. But... no. No he was sure he’d gotten it right. He was sure of it. Don’t say I’ve killed him, don’t...

That was when the pain hit. Or rather something beyond pain: the thing your brain defaults to when the nerves are too far gone to warn you anymore. He was on his knees before he was consciously aware of falling, Echo falling next to him with a dull, ehcoing rattle, the fire burning out. Light from the dying flame caught on the sword hilt coming out of his chest, the blade pushed through to the other side. The pressure had turned to a dull sucking sensation. He could hear the blood rushing in his ears, opened his mouth to talk and choked on what he knew, terrifyingly, was blood. Far too much of it, more than he had ever seen.

Salvantas went down next to him. “Don’t talk, don’t move, you are only going to make it worse, I am going to knock you out, okay? When you wake up I will have gotten you to the church, I promise,” he hit a pressure point on the neck and that was all it took. Tamar slumped, but the blood didn't stop, didn't seem to even slow.

Comedy stood, her dress soaked in her brother’s blood, her half-covered face was white with fury now, her revealed eye bright with tears even while still giving that haunting grin. “Don’t worry, we are going to make you all better,” she beamed at her brother and poked his nose childishly, before tapping the amulet she still held. With a flicker of light, the building vanished, leaving the group in the middle of the courtyard, with the other masked and painted hostages scattered around them, unmoving. The sky was dark. She picked up her brother and looked at Salvantas, scowling. “You are mean, Mister!” she flicked her finger and sent Salvantas flying into the air and then hurtling down to the ground. Hard. She ran off into the alleyway, heading toward what Salvantas knew, even now, was an entrance to the underground.

Salvantas tried to push himself up, to fight against the darkness blurring his vision. But that fight didn’t end well for him, and with one final attempt he entered into a painful sleep.
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
User avatar
Scarab
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:35 pm
Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Pixelmage on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:10 pm

Updated Rewards:
viewtopic.php?f=49&t=1081&start=25#p48860
viewtopic.php?f=49&t=1081&start=25#p49381

Turn Rewards:
  • Scarab ~ Improved Balance.
  • Lordxana0 ~ Drama Mask.
  • Guyshane ~ Falchion.
  • RussetDivinity ~ Bottle of Painkillers.

Welp. Things seriously took a turn to worse here. Are the heroes going to lose this one guys? Just when Legias is almost back on her feet again? At least no one is going to be utterly insane and go do stupid things now... Oh, wait.

Quest 33: What's this? What's that? What are you?
Marcus is going to attempt something. Something remarkably suicidal. Wish him luck!
Your goal: Try not to die. Emphasis on the try. >:D
Quest Takers: Marcus (Guyshane) and ????? (Pixelmage).

Quest 34: Almost definitely freaky.
You look into the mirror, and you don't see yourself. Who are you and what did you do to me? How did this happen? Why is the sky blue? No one knows why, but you were victims of a body swap. As far as you can tell, it didn't affect anyone else.
Quest Goal: Find a way to go back to being yourself!
Quest Takers: Kurt (Sicon112) and Pan (IslaKariese).

Quest 35: Kindergarten.
Since when there's a school in the city? Or schoolchildren for that matter? You two are the teachers, and let me tell you, these kids are pretty bratty. You know what to expect, or... I hope you know. For your own sanity. XD
Quest Goal: Babysit!
Quest Takers: Likovya (RussetDivinity) and Jenny (JackAlsworth).

Quest 36: What they say about curiosity.
Marcus disappeared, Lori is out trying to find information. For some reason that information lies in the roots of a certain kind of tree in the second floor? Don't ask me, she's the scholar around here. And speaking of reasons, she does have a certain way of dragging people into doing things. Good luck Darren! You're it this time!
Quest Goal: Find the roots? Or whatever is it that Lori's looking for.
Quest Takers: Darren (Blurred_9L) and Lori (eli_gone_crazy).

GM Notes:
  • On quest 33 ~ More events that are not quite quests, but being meshed into the normal flow of the posts so that they don't demand a new format. And so that you guys know to expect stuff, instead of us just surprise bombing a Civil War out of thin air. Note-wise, this one starts out a while before the other quests in this turn, and in a sense, it does have some influence over the other quests. Not directly, of course. Just by association.
  • On quest 34 ~ Well, "typical" Freaky Friday scenario. I won't elaborate as to the mechanics behind it, as that should leave enough for you to work with. XD You can probably blame quite a few people for the fact that this quest exists, because really, it wasn't suggested only once or twice (although without specifying the characters)!
  • On quest 35 ~ I'll just call a clause to keep violence to the minimum of the minimum because kids. I know there's a war going on and whatnot, but we need to draw a line there. So, wackiness at will, but... I know you guys and trust you all to mind that kind of content, but as a GM I can't not-mention this. Looking forward to how the two are going to react! :D
  • On quest 36 ~ This marks our first attempt at including a NPC in the rotation. Experimentation as we go! I think that we didn't have a single turn where we didn't get something "on an experimental run" in this game so far. Well, let's see how it goes, hopefully this means more good news!

Deadline for this turn is Sunday, August 18th, 23:59 EST.

Play smart, good luck and have fun!
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Pixelmage
 
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:08 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Guyshane on Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:35 pm

Lori rubbed her temples. “Your idiot, misinformed, malcontent of a guildmember went out there to get what?” She sat behind her desk in the library, which was just as well since she would have likely retreated to that exact spot had she heard Julius’ message anywhere else. Marcus had, supposedly, gone to recover the fragments of a gemstone responsible for a temporal trap. “Valerian. What are you thinking bringing a temporal key into a LIBRARY?”

“And you aren’t interested in it at all? Regardless of our ideas, you really won’t try to study it?” Julius protested. “It’s harmless while broken, and you can shatter it far more easily than anyone else could. In the worst possible case, it doesn’t work and you keep some fragments to study on a more appropriate occasion.”

“You know nothing of worst case scenarios.”

It was going to be a long, drawn out process. Convincing the Sage to attempt to use an unknown artifact with only a couple of hours of warning. Julius only hoped he’d be able to carry out his part of the plan. “Listen... I have been under the effect, that should be worth something...” Marcus couldn’t possibly arrive soon enough.

-----

“Well are you going to let me back in or not?” Marcus yelled up at the guard
“Not until Lori approves it, she said something about what you were bringing back no being allowed in.”
Marcus scowled at the man. “I had to go, dodge Anti-guild patrols, enter a damaged temple that I was worried would collapse on me. I’m not going to be stopped by a petty functionary.”
“Yes well this ‘petty functionary’ is the one who controls the gate.”
“I will find a way to poison your food if you don’t let me in, just watch.”

“Let him in...” Julius sighed behind the sentry. “The Loremaster will see him...”

“Dammit Tavi! Don’t sneak up on people like that! You look like hell, by the way.” The guardsman started to open the gates and turned to face Marcus again. “You can go in now... And be careful about those poison talks, there are a bunch of nerds inside. They’d never stop asking you how you make that stuff.”

Marcus nodded and walked inside the gate as it opened. He headed straight for Lori’s office, when he arrived he politely knocked on the door and waited.

"Hello, idiot. I've been expecting you to come waltzing in like a-" Lori paused in her barely begun diatribe as she saw the medic outside. "Oh, its you. Where are they, and are you as daft as you appear?"

Marcus held up a cloth bag. “They’re in here, and I may be daft but I take offense to you calling me an idiot, if my life had been different i might have been working here as one of your Loreknights.” Marcus folded his arms. “Now can you do it or not?”

"There are always answers, even for idiots and fools." Lori sniffed, gingerly plucking the bag out of Marcus' hands. "And the Loreknights are always accepting members. Though honestly I don't know what I’d do with you. I have my hands full enough with that idiot Tavi." She examined the shards laying over her desk for a moment. “I believe the answer is yes, I can restore this. You should not be here, however.”

“For the restoration or just in general?” Marcus asked.

"Do you have a degree from the school of magic located in Lamada? Are you trained to handle volatile materials such as the one you so casually placed in a handkerchief? Are you well-versed in the seven tongues? No?"

“Are you going to give me a straight answer or just talk me to death?”

Lori shook her head in apparent exasperation. “Right now I mean the restoration. Although you seem intent in staying... I won’t be responsible for you if this causes unexpected effects. I haven't seen something like this outside of museum cases. Tavi would you be a dear and fetch me the 7th edition of the metallurgist's guide? And Marcus, I'll need some tea."

Marcus rolled his eyes. “Where are the tea leaves?”

“She doesn’t need the tea, Marcus. Nor the book.” Julius said from the back of the room.

“Yes Julius I realize but since shes about to send me to a different era, I thought I’d humor her just a little, just this once.”

Lori didn’t reply to the comment immediately, focused on drawing each fragment closer to the others in a misshapen cluster. Her right hand moved in a series of signs while her left hovered over the crystals. Slowly, the edges began to weld together, the ridges and spines became less evident, after a dozen minutes, the jade colored sphere sat quietly in the desk. Only then she turned directly to Marcus. “Send you to another era? What in the blazes made you think I’d use this gem’s power to send anyone anywhere?”

“Fine then, I won't get you your damn tea then.” Marcus continued before Lori could get rolling on another one of her lectures. “Look we need a healer for Anji, really there isn't another way to get a healer besides going to another time where they had one skilled enough to heal her, we certainly just can’t sit around waiting for one”

“One, Anji is... perfectly safe living for eternity as an oversized paperweight. As of now, she’s actually doing more good that at any point prior-”

“Stop.” Julius interjected. “All of us know she can wait as she is now. Provided we can keep her safe and find her a healer at some point. Can you really say that she won’t be found and crushed by Kavros, or Luca or a stray piece of armor? We need you to release the seal, are you certain you will be here tomorrow or the day after?”

“You would do well to remember your place, Valerian.” Lori said stiffly.

“I know you mean well. And I know I owe you more than I can repay. But I won’t stand you acting like this.”

Marcus cut in. “How about I just make this simple for you Lori, You want me gone. This can be used to send me into another time period. I really fail to see why you aren't on board to get rid of me for an indefinite amount of time so I stop bothering you.”

“I don’t like this at all. I’m so close....” Lori trailed off, fingers twitching, lost in thought. “Take it, and it should react to you. When it does, I assume that I’ll be able to direct it.”

Marcus gingerly picked up the gemstone off the table. When he held it the stone seemed to hum. Marcus stared at it. “I’ve had some really crazy ideas in the past, this takes it to a whole new level.” he said.

Before anyone could reply, he was no longer there. Julius’ eyes widened and Lori all but fell into her chair again.

“What just-” Julius began to ask, but was interrupted.

“I didn’t have time to study it, I don’t have that answer. Wasn’t you who said the gem would still be here while it’s effect was in place?” Lori began to flip the pages of her personal notebook.

“Shouldn’t we do something?” Julius slammed his hands on the table.

“And do what? Do you have a second temporal key in one of your pockets? Listen, go back to the main aisles and start to research. That’s all you can do. According to your own theory, he will be fine once he smashes the gemstone, so, until he does so, you try to learn what you can about these kinds of artifacts.”

“Just that?” Julius complained.

“You take no risks, he manages; both of you live. You do something stupid, he manages; you die for nothing. He can’t afford to wait, either you live or both of you die. So, unless you find a way to safely rescue him, you are going to stay here and read. Now stop distracting me, otherwise you only hamper the chances of anyone surviving!”

----------

Marcus woke up on the ground. Okay what the hell happened? I remember some loud noises- Where am I Marcus looked around and saw a rocky area with little in the way of plant life. Well I’m somewhere I haven't seen before. So I guess thats someth- Where’s the gem. Marcus began to look around before spotting the gem not far off. The warrior breathed a sigh of relief and carefully moved the gem to his bag. Once he had just started to relax he heard a roar.

A horribly familiar roar.

Marcus turned and saw the behemoth from before. It was the only one close enough to see him, but from the looks of things not the only one present.

Dammit.

Marcus immediately began sprinting as the behemoth chased after him. It was going to run him down in no time without Binky to help him. “Look” he yelled as he ran. “I didn’t mean anything by what I said about you to your son! It was more of a ‘heat of the moment thing’.”

He just barely dodged out of the way as the beast tried to gore him. Marcus put his back against a rock formation as the monster wheeled around and charged him again. Marcus waited until the behemoth was a dozen feet away and rolled to the side, letting it smash right into the formation.

The soldier immediately began running, not expecting the thing to stay down. True to his prediction the thing got up, only a little worse for wear and charged after him.

Shit! What am I gonna do to get rid of this thing?

Just then Marcus spotted a man wandering around the wasteland. He waved his arms wildly at the stranger. “Go! We need to get out of here! Run!”

“Run?” The man smiled. He was dressed like a young noble, with very light armor and well cut cloth. More importantly, he held no weapons on him, or any sort of supply. “Why would we run?”

“Maybe because the last time I fought one of these things it was heavily wounded and I don’t think we managed to kill it anyway.” Marcus called out in desperation.

“But aren’t they adorable?” He pointed at the, now quiet behemoth, and began to walk towards it. “They tend to get a little hungry from time to time, there’s not enough food on this floor, sadly.”

ADORABLE?!? Marcus walked up to the man shaking his head as he did. “No, no, no. Cats are adorable. Dogs are adorable. Cows are....” Marcus paused. “Well never mind cows. The point is- wait a minute. On this floor? What floor am I on? What's the date?”

“Oh, the date is the same. I just stopped you down here before you got into any trouble. We probably wouldn't be able to chat as well if you had gone all the way up there...” At this point, the young man was actually petting the behemoth. “But yes, adorable. I agree about cats and dogs too, but they’re so fragile, it’s sad. Oh, right, floor... I think... Well, the way you count it this would be the twentieth? Yeah, that sounds about right.”

Marcus’ eyes widened. “Twenty, This is floor Twenty. What are thing like further up? And who in seven hells are you?”

“I suppose... You can call me Shard. And you’d love to know, wouldn’t you, Marcus Oracon?” The man, Shard, flashed a vicious smile..

Marcus immediately settled into a more solid stance and began circling for a better position. “Seems like you know a fair bit about me. Let me see if I can guess, you’ve been watching me, no wait watching all of us since we got to the castle and no doubt you know why I was using the gem.”

“To find a healer, or so you said... I wonder though, where did you think you’d end up using it.” He began to stretch, slowly and deliberately, ignoring the resting behemoth and Marcus himself, who was perfectly ready to attack him. “You could say I’m... Willing to negotiate.”

“I’m sure you are, I wonder what the price will be though. I think I heard a story like this when I was a kid. A demon comes to a desperate man offering him a solution, only when the monster comes to collect that cost was worse than the thing the man had feared so much.”

“I always found those stories so fascinating! Don’t you ever wonder about how it must feel to mediate such deals?” Shard was gleeful. “In a way, what I propose is similar, though sadly not as romantic... You return the gem to me, and then you run for your life. If you manage to return to your safe haven, then I’ll have a look at what you would have me do.”

Marcus snorted and glared at Shard. “You aren’t really offering me anything, hand you a gem of unknown power which if the hum is any indication might be tied to me, for a suicide run past seventeen floors of unknown monsters, to arrive at three floors which aren’t safe unless you’re an Anti-guild member. You haven't even given me one reason to believe you’ll even keep your side of the bargain if I do this.”

Shard stretched out his palm, showing the jade colored gem sitting on it for a brief moment, before tossing it back to Marcus. “I can tell you many things... But it would not be any fun, you see... When you can do things so easily, it’s far more interesting to watch others struggle. Besides, your lack of understanding is spectacular! You don’t have to undertake a suicide run for all the floors below, no, I would much rather have the games be winnable. If you reach this floor’s outpost, you can safely and directly head below to your city.” He turned serious for one last remark. “I already have that gemstone one way or another, I’d just prefer to make it... Enjoyable.”

Marcus slowly nodded. “You’re right you do-” A thought occurred to him. “but only because someone moved it from the temple. Otherwise you would have had it long before we found it.”

Shard grinned along. “More proof that I can be beaten, no? But either way, your attempts at gaining time aren’t very likely to help you right now. You already accepted my terms, didn’t you?”

“You mean I don’t have any choice but to accept them, you spider.” Marcus returned. He threw the gem back to Shard. “I’m warning you now though, You can mess with me but you mess with any of Storm and Drive or anyone else I care about and I will end you. Doesn’t matter how powerful you are, I will find a way.”

Shard laughed. “I’m sure you’ll look for a way. You most certainly will think about it no matter what I do too. But yes, for now only this little guy here is nearby, and he won’t go after you until I leave, so I’d suggest you enjoy your head start and find that outpost! Believe me, I’m actually cheering for you!”

Marcus wanted to keep sparring with this new player but he didn’t have time. Without another word the warrior turned and ran as fast as he possibly could. How long do I have until he goes? The behemoth’s roar sounded again. I really, really hate this guy. For the second time in about 15 minutes Marcus had a monster chasing him, without a way to defend himself.

Okay so the last time I fought one of these things we had to trap it in a cave and we needed magic to do it, so that solution isn’t a good one, great I need a new solution. Oh solutions are so much easier to come up with when I’m not running for dear life. Marcus saw another rock formation coming up on his right. Marcus grinned as a plan formed in his mind. He immediately ran for the formation and got ready to dodge. The behemoth ran around the formation.

Well isn’t that wonderful. The thing is learning.

The behemoth stalked around the formation to get in range of Marcus. The fighter drew his mace, leaving the falchion where it was. The behemoth swung a claw at Marcus. While he was able to avoid the brunt of the blow his mace was knocked out of reach. Marcus drew his falchion as the monster looked hungrily at him. The warrior drove the blade forward as the monster chomped forward. The blade stabbed upward to the hilt into the roof of the thing’s mouth killing it but not without cost.

Marcus looked down at several long scratches and a chunk of tooth that was sticking out of his arms. Marcus looked around to make sure there weren’t any threats around before retrieving his mace and settling down to take care of his wounds. First Marcus grabbed a hold of the tooth and pulled it out, crying out as he did so as the wound began to bleed freely. Next he pulled off what remained of his sleeves and applied a small amount of salve to each wound before making bandages out of his removed sleeves. Once everything was cleaned and tied he tested his arms to check for functionality.

Left arm is a bit stiff, both of them are a bit weaker. Gonna have to be even more careful. With that Marcus began walking.

-----

Marcus had managed to get off the ‘Plateau of Death’ as he had termed it, finding a path that led down into a valley. Now he was confronted with another problem: a river. Sure its shallow enough to ford but if I do that I’m sure something is will try to kill and eat me, not necessarily in that order As he was debating a spear landed not five feet away from him. Marcus looked in the direction the spear was thrown and saw a raiding party approaching.

Then he noticed they were all corpses. Deciding the stream was a risk that he would just have to take Marcus ran for it running up another path pursued by the dead men.

----

Marcus had lost the raiding party, however he found himself wandering through a barren wasteland. Its been a while since I had any water, Doesn't really seem like I’m getting anywhere. Marcus heard hoofbeats off in the distance. Looking off to the horizon he saw a dust cloud that was getting bigger. I just cannot catch a break today.

The warrior stood his ground as the riders approached. Once they had circled up around Marcus they dismounted. One of the raiders wielding a spear motioned for the soldier to march.

Marcus stared in disbelief. “You want me...to come with you?”
The zombie gestured.
“To hell with you, you bag of bones. I’m not going with you.

The corpse prepared his spear for combat but too late as Marcus swung upward smashing his opponent’s skull with a mace blow. But Marcus wasn't done yet, there were four others he had to take down. He took out the legs of one before destroying it’s skull. The fighter turned to face the other three. The next was defeated when Marcus deflected its axe into one of their dead mounts which reared and dragged the enemy off, the zombie refusing to relinquish its weapon.

Only two more remained but they were being much more careful now that most of their companions had been defeated. This is really tiring. Need to end this fast. Another undead swordsman approached with measured steps. It stabbed forward repeatedly, forcing Marcus to retreat. Then when it thrust forward again Marcus knocked the weapon up and out of the way of his final blow. However as the swordsman went down the other undead stuck a knife in the big man’s shoulder. Marcus yelled out and backhanded the enemy before pulling out the dagger and stabbing it into its owner’s skull

Marcus put away his weapons and tended to his latest wound. At least they’re all in my arms and not my legs, if my legs had been hit it would make this so much harder. Marcus noticed that one of the spectral steeds was still there.

Marcus looked at it evenly. “I already have a horse.”
The mount shook its mane.
Well I suppose beggars can't be choosers. “Fine.”

Marcus climbed onto the horse, a difficult feat with multiple arm wounds but he eventually managed. Then he rode off in the direction he had been traveling.

--------
Okay that must be the outpost. Now where’s the catch?

Marcus had been riding for several hours now, it was starting to get dark and the lack of water was really starting to wear on him. He had spotted a tower in the distance, which was good because all signs indicated that staying here overnight would be a horrible idea.

As he got closer he saw the catch. The area around the tower was full of adolescent behemoths. They were about the size of large cows and the horns hadn’t come in yet but there was no mistaking what they were. And they all looked very hungry.

The horse whined and tried to turn away from the area. Marcus jerked the reins.

“Stop complaining, you’re already dead you dumb thing.”

Well, really only one thing to do. Marcus immediately dug in his heels and urged the steed forward towards the tower. This strategy had the advantage of surprise and thus they blew past the first several monsters. The disadvantage was that all of them were now chasing him and he had to dodge all of the oncoming beasts. There were several close calls. Marcus accumulated even more slashes across his body and lost his boot to a behemoth bite. He was almost at the door when one of the things leaped and knocked him off the horse, which was brought down by the beasts. Marcus rolled across the ground. Dammit, I can’t die here.. Then his back slammed up against stone. Son of a- wait a minute Marcus scrambled for the door, monsters nipping at his heels. He managed to get inside just before a monster would have bitten down on his hamstring.

Marcus turned to look at the pack. “I made it, you damn geckos.” Then Marcus lost sight of them as he was moved to somewhere else.

-----

Marcus limped into town. Is this the third floor or something? I really hope so, wouldn’t put it past Shard to cheat and lie. Hell he did that just to get the damn gemstone.

A slow clap sounded behind him. “See? I knew you would manage it.” Shard smiled, sitting on the floor near a well. “Although you might want to take that dial again and head back to your... First Floor? That’s what you call it, right? You can be confusing sometimes... At any rate, you survived well enough. I am satisfied.”

“Oh well that is a relief.” Marcus replied. “I’m so glad you’re pleased. Excuse me for not jumping for joy but my ankle is hurt.” Shard bowed and disappeared before his very eyes. “I really hate that guy.”

Marcus went to take a step forward before falling to his knees. No time for that. Marcus got to his feet and limped toward the library.
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby JackAlsworth on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:11 pm

The next time Likovya needed a place to stay, she would specify that she didn’t mean surrounded by children. She still wasn’t sure why she of all people had been roped into taking care of a bunch of little boys and girls, or why whoever was really in charge hadn’t been able to find someone more nurturing. It had been about five minutes, and she had already had to put two girls in the “time out” corner for trying to touch her knives and nearly been spit up on by a two-year-old boy who had eaten too many unripe berries earlier that morning.

At least most of them were managing to take care of themselves with a few wooden toys she had been given to amuse them with. All she needed to do was take care of the littlest and mediate disputes, though her version of mediating usually involved sending the children to opposite sides of the room and telling them to stop crying. And it wasn’t as though she was alone. Someone else had been sent to watch the children, and she seemed reasonably more competent.

“All right, calm down,” the other “teacher” was saying gently to a small girl sniffling in a corner. “Now, what’s the matter?”

“M-my dolly,” the girl sobbed. “I-it’s b-broken.”

“I already put Ronny in the time out corner for that,” Likovya called, bouncing a boy on her hip. He could almost walk, and she was looking for an open spot of floor to set him down before he decided the hilts of her knives were pretty toys. “Does she want me to put him on the roof, instead?”

The other woman smiled; she probably assumed Likovya was joking. “Ronny wasn’t very nice to your dolly, was he?” she asked the girl, who shook her head tearfully. “It's okay, though - look!” She pulled out a short length of rope, and after several quick motions presented the girl with her doll, good as new save for a slightly lolling head. The girl’s eyes widened; she grinned, hugged the teacher’s arm, and tottered off to play with her friends.

Likovya looked away from the doll and nudged a boy aside so she could set down the little one. Of course the other “teacher” had magic. She could never escape from it, not here. “You still have to apologize, Ronny,” she said to the boy, when he started to move away from his corner. “You don’t move a step until Mia accepts that apology.” Grumbling, the boy crossed his arms and faced the corner once more.

The little boy took a few tottering steps, stumbled, and resumed crawling. Likovya stepped carefully over him and looked about the room. So far, everything was mostly under control.

“How did you do that?” she asked, gesturing to the doll. “I don’t think I’ve seen fixing magic before.”

The other woman blinked, then chuckled lightly. “It’s not magic. I learned some knotwork at the forge in town. I can show you, if you want - although I don't think I’ve used that one outside the blacksmith before now.”

“Well, it sure looked like magic.” Likovya couldn’t help being relieved. “I’m Likovya, by the way. I don’t think we’ve met.”
“Jenny. Pleased to meet you.” Jenny sighed and leaned against the wall. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had to do anything like this.”

“I’ve never had to do anything like this. The only children I’m used to are in audiences.” She liked those children, sitting in front of her and staring rapt at her performance. It was easy to keep them pleased; all she had to do was throw knives at things and sometimes tell stories.

“Audiences?” Jenny’s expression turned quizzical. “What did you do before you came here? If... you don't mind talking about it, that is.”

“Don’t mind a bit,” Likovya said brightly, nudging away a small child who had attached himself to her leg. “I was part of a circus. Best damn knifethrower in Master Weston’s Phantasmagoric Collection. They had me act, too, sometimes.” Most of her shows had actually been acting and knifethrowing, when she would take on a persona and tell a story as she hurled point objects across the stage.

“That sounds wondrous. I would have loved to see you perform.” A sudden cry interrupted their conversation. Jenny gave Likovya an exasperated glance and went to go deal with the new problem.

Likovya was again amazed at how interested everyone was that she came from a circus. In some countries she had traveled through, performers were considered the lowest of the low, even if going to the performances was high class. She started to walk off through the mass of children when the little boy grabbed her leg again.

“What do you want?” she asked, looking down at him. He was small and wiry, with wide dark eyes.

“Were you really in the circus, Miss Knife Lady?” he asked, clutching the leg of her pants.

“Why do you want to know?” He had the same look as several children did when they saw her on stage, a deep, hungry look to know where this girl with all the blades had come from. A smile quirked at the edge of her lips. “Where do you think I’m from?”
He shook his head and mumbled that he didn’t know. “Will you tell me?”

She was tempted to shake him off and tell him that she was just a runaway circus brat, but the call to perform was too strong. She grinned, flashed one of her wrist knives into her hand and back, and said, “Wait just a moment. I have a story for you.” The boy’s grip slackened enough for her to step away and approach Jenny. “Have you got a hat I can borrow?” she whispered. “Or a handkerchief or a jacket. Something you don’t mind me stabbing.”

Jenny looked confused, but obligingly handed over her vest. “Would this work?”

“Perfect.” Likovya wadded up the vest and set it on a shelf that would be roughly head-height for a slightly older child than those they were watching. Some of the other children had seen her, and they watched curiously as she returned to the boy and lounged against the wall. “What’s your name?”

“Tephan,” he said.

“Well, Tephan, I will tell you a tale of my homeland.” She looked up into the distance as she began to speak. “I come from a land of proud people, who were very independent and refused to bow to anyone. This didn’t mean that they were free from attack. Some years ago, they were conquered by a great invading army. The people were wholly subjugated and forced to live as servants, if they were lucky. Even worse, they had to bow to a hat that had been worn by the general who conquered them.”

She nodded to the vest. None of the children pointed out that it wasn’t really a hat. With only a few sentences, she had them.

“At first, the people refused. Why should they, the greatest in all the lands, bow to a measly bit of cloth? A few executions later, they gave in. You see, no people can stand seeing themselves be killed, and so their spirits were broken, and they bowed as they walked past the hat, and they didn’t dare look their reflections in the eye out of shame. This would have continued forever were it not for one man.

“Lezviye was a fine knife-thrower who could pin an apple in a tree across the village square. He alone was proud enough to refrain from bowing, and he taught his daughter, a clever girl called Liko, that she ought not bow either. This was noticed quickly by the general, who demanded that Lezviye be brought to him at once. He was impressed by the knife-thrower’s pride and the rumors of his skill and set a challenge: if he could throw a knife at a hat placed on Liko’s head, the general would grant Lezviye as much land as he wished.

“The knife-thrower was horrified at the thought of hurting his daughter, but he trusted his skill and knew it was the only way to save his people. So, the next day, he brought his little girl out to the town square, a hat on her head, and stood her in the village square beneath the apple tree. She was not afraid, for she trusted her father and knew about the trick he was about to play.”

Likovya shifted, standing up straighter. She smiled at the children as though sharing an intimate secret.

“You see, Liko had long, beautiful, dark hair, and Lezviye had pinned it up in two braids on top of her head. The hat rested on these, and even though the blade would pierce the hat, it would do no harm to his daughter.”

Her wrist knife flashed into her hand again, and she walked slowly through the mass of children until she stood opposite the vest.
“With the whole village watching, Lezviye threw the knife directly at the hat.” The knife left Likovya’s hand and went flying across the room. Someone gasped. “It pierced the fabric,” she said triumphantly, as her knife landed in the vest, almost driving through to the wall, “and all the people cried out in joy.

“The general was aghast that Lezviye had won, but he was a man of honor and told Lezviye that he could have as much land as he pleased for his own. With a little smile, he told the general that he wanted the whole country, and that all the troops must be out by nightfall. They had no choice but to comply, and Lezviye was crowned king of that little country, which he ruled well for the rest of his life.”

With the children still silent, Likovya cross the room, dug her knife out of the vest, and handed the fabric back to Jenny. Putting her knife away, she said, “Sorry about the tears. I did warn you about the stabbing bit.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” said Jenny, grinning as she put the vest back on. “It’s seen much worse.”

There was a knock at the door. Jenny went to answer it, and had a quick, hushed conversation with a breathless older boy. When he left, her expression was an odd combination of nervous and resolute.

She went over to Likovya. “I need to step out for a few minutes. Can you handle all right by yourself?”

“If I have to,” she said, looking around at the children. “Are you sure you won’t need any help?”

“I should be fine. Thank you, though.” Jenny took a deep breath and left briskly.

“Right, then.” Likovya turned back to the children. What did people normally do with little boys and girls?

“Do another story!” cried a child from the back of the classroom.

“A princess story!” a little girl chimed in.

Some of the boys tried to shout over her, but Likovya raised her voice. “All right. I’ll tell you the story of Princess Liko and how she found a husband.” It wasn’t exactly a children’s story, but it was one of her favorites, and not just because she liked the dress they would put her in for part of this act. “I’m sure you know that, since Lezviye was king, Liko became the princess. Well, once any princess reaches a certain age, she finds that there are suitors everywhere she looks, especially if she’s pretty, and Liko was beautiful.

“Her braids had been ruined by the knife, but when her father cut them off, she found that she liked having short hair. It was still dark and lovely, and she had the prettiest dark eyes west of the Gora Mountains. Her figure was slender and sharp, and though most women didn’t think she had the proper hips for birthing sons, princes and noblemen from throughout the different lands found her enticing. So many came to ask for her hand that her father was forced to organize a contest to determine who the best would be. Considering his own skill, he chose a knife-throwing contest. The best knife-thrower would win his daughter and the crown.”

* * * *

“You sure he’ll be there?” one of the gruff-looking men asked.

“If that guild-loving traitor scum is anywhere he’s corruptin’ the young’uns,” said his companion. “And you’re sure we’re going the right way?”

“Course I’m sure,” said the third man, “the sign said this way, di’n’ it? Look, here’s another!”

Sure enough, the street forked ahead, and a large sign hung from a wall in front of them:

SCOOL
Keep Right


“It’s gotta be around ‘ere somewhere,” said the first man, turning right. “C’mon, boys, let’s give ‘im the justice he deserves!”
Jenny watched them from the nearby shadows. As soon as they were out of sight, she grabbed the sign and took off toward the next one.

* * * *

“Liko, however, did not wish to marry. She was as high-spirited and proud as any of her people, and most importantly, she did not want a husband who might be inferior to her. You see, Liko was just as good as her father at throwing knives, and some whispered that she was better, because she was younger and would have a sharper eye and surer hand. Because of this, Liko refused to attend the contest and instead locked herself up in her room.

“On the day of the contest, dozens of men appeared. Some had never wielded a knife before, and one nearly cut his finger off trying to throw. In the end, three men were declared the finalists: Prince Kisod, of the Marches; Prince Scath, of the highlands; and Prince Cien, of the forests. Before announcing the final round, King Lezviye asked if there were any final challengers for the princess’s hand.

“‘I am!’ cried a voice, and a dark-clad figure strode forward with three knives at her waist. At first, no one recognized the princess, for she had cast off her royal clothes and dressed in the garb of a wandering performer. ‘I demand the right to fight for my own hand.’”

* * * *

“Why do I get the feelin’ we’re more lost now than when we started?” the lead thug snarled. “It’s almost like you’re leadin’ us around in circles!”

“I’m just followin’ the signs!” his friend whined. “‘S not my fault if they lead us wrong!”

“It is your fault if you don’t get back to leadin’ us right!”

“Hey,” said the third, not particularly listening to the bickering behind him, “there’s another one, right down this alley.”

It was a bit cramped, but all three of them managed to make it. They peered at the sign:

LOOK UP

“What the...” said the leader, reflexively glancing skyward.

A large amount of thick, black liquid poured onto his face. He yelped and stumbled backward, knocking over one of his accomplices. This had the unfortunate side effect of giving him a double dose of pouring; a second later, an almost identical yelp from his other friend told him that they had all been hit.

He spat out as much of the stuff as he could before he spoke next. “Is this... pitch? What in the four hells could’ve possibly - ”

Something else landed on his head. He pulled it off; bundles of straw were now showering down on them. The three of them had been reduced to sputtering messes in just a few moments.

A burst of laughter erupted from the rooftops above them. "You should've seen the looks on your faces!"

Against his better judgement, the lead thug looked up again. Jenny stood above them, clutching her sides and trying not to fall.
“I went through a lot of trouble to set up this gatherin’, but, oh, you folks made it worth every minute!”

She climbed down carefully and knelt next to the fallen thugs.

“Listen close, now. I want you to crawl back to whatever hole you hide in and tell your friends - the school is off-limits. I know I can’t stop you from fightin’ in the streets, but you won’t touch a hair on those kids’ heads. Clear?”

As far as they could, they nodded.

“Glad we could come to an understandin’. See you ‘round!” She gave them her brightest smile and ran off, leaving the three men collapsed in a heap on the dusty road.

* * * *

“Liko’s father assented, but even as she positioned herself to throw her first knife, she knew that she would be married someday, because the kings of other lands would insist that she be wed to their sons. So, as she drew her first knife...” Likovya pulled a knife from her belt and paused. The children leaned forward, waiting. “...she turned on the spot and threw, not at the target, but at Prince Kisod. It pierced his throat, and before his body had fallen, she drew another knife.”

As she narrated, Likovya threw one of her knives at the wall, where it stuck. She drew another from her belt, relishing the gasps of the children and the cheer from the oldest boy.

“This one killed Prince Scath.”

Another knife in the wall, and another round of gasps.

“The third was for Prince Cien,” she said, and her last belt knife went into the wall, and it quivered beside the other two. “Liko bowed to her father, apologized for the deaths, and ran as fast as she could away from the kingdom to find another castle to conquer.”

Normally, the story ended with Liko refusing to be a princess any longer, but Likovya had added that last bit specially for this audience. Again, there was silence, except for a whispering that started with a little girl and spread throughout the room. She smiled, plucked her knives from the wall, and examined the blades. They were still good, and she tucked them into the sheaths hanging from her belt.

A little boy looked up at her, awed. “Miss Knife Lady, are you really a princess?”

She grinned and winked. “What do you think?”

Someone was clapping. She turned and saw Jenny standing in the doorway, flushed with exertion but smiling widely. The children picked up the applause; one or two even cheered. Likovya knew her cue and bowed, spreading her arms to her sides.

“All right, everyone,” said Jenny after the ovation died down, “let’s thank our princess.”

“Thank you, Miss Knife Lady,” chorused the children. Jenny stifled a laugh.

“You are very welcome, all of you,” Likovya said, bowing again. Some of the children stared at her with wide eyes, and she wondered whether they would spread the story that there was a princess on the castle. To tell the truth, she wasn’t sure she would mind.
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JackAlsworth
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:40 pm
Location: Western Washington State

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Blurred_9L on Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:33 pm

Quest 36: What they say about curiousity

Lori was frantically searching for a set of papers she had left on her desk. As much as she enjoyed having Nova around to help her with things, the girl had no sense of organization. “Stuffing papers into piles... how silly, If I wanted them in a pile I would put them in a pile!” Her grumbling was suddenly interrupted by a stray thought that blossomed into a full blown idea. “Of course!”

Why would I come to a place like this anyway thought Darren as he saw the library appear in the distance. His eyes darted to the side, trying to figure if the assassin he had met the other day was following him closely behind, still, even with the curse, he probably wasn’t good enough to tell. How troublesome he wanted to say, but he knew that if he were to learn of the assassins trump card he needed more info, and well, with the state of the city, he probably didn’t have many places in which he would be able to find out more.

He reached the entrance of the library, but a guard stood in his way. “State your business.” the bored man said half-heartedly. Seeing that Darren didn’t respond immediately to his query, the Loreknight straightened and put one hand on his sword. “I said, state your business, sir. How can the Loreknights aid you today?”

“Um...” Darren started, getting tense due to the guard suddenly moving his hand towards his weapon. “I’m looking for a book... about a certain book... is that reason enough?” he said, looking away from the man’s inquisitive glare.

“Well, this is a library, sir. it would be quite unfortunate if we ran out of books.” The guard added drily, stepping aside to allow Darren to pass.

“Thanks...” Darren replied before stepping inside. He wasn’t exactly sure where he needed to go first... or rather, at all, but he figured he would find something out anyway. Choosing a direction at random, he headed towards the bookshelves on the right, all the while eyeing his surroundings, just in case. Can’t be careful enough... He took one of the books from the shelves, opening it around the middle. It seemed to be some history book about a faraway kingdom. Unimpressed, Darren put it back where it was, feeling frustrated already. After all, Wendy was the one that always had the patience for this sort of stuff.

“You there!” A voice called out to Darren. He turned to see a woman in full armor barrelling towards him. The knight screeched to a halt in front of him and gave him a quick once over, nodding sagely at what appeared to be mental advice. “Yes, you look dumb enough. Can I borrow you and your.... brain, as it were?”

“Hey!” he frowned. “I’m not dumb... I’m just too clumsy for... stuff. Never mind.” he said, realizing what he was saying.

Lori grinned, pointing at a book Darren was holding, “It’s upside down, for a start. For another, you look like a thief. Only idiots would steal from a place offering their services for free, anyway. So, will you help me? I am sure we can reach an arrangement that is mutually beneficial.”

“I wasn’t trying to steal anything. I’m looking for a magic book, but not a normal one. Besides, what makes you think I would help somebody with your attitude?” said Darren, annoyed at the knight in front of him.

“What attitude?” Lori asked, befuzzled. “I just wanted to borrow you and yours while you were lost. And seeing as I’m the Librarian, after you help me get these herbs I may be more inclined to help a possible burglar to enter the Magic room.”

“Something tells you won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, right?” Darren sighed, feeling helpless in this situation, while a voice in his mind spoke: ”But isn’t this like the old times, anyway? Don’t you miss those?”. “Fine, I’ll help, but I’m no thief. At least not of books. What sort of herbs are you looking for?”

“There’s a special type of tree on the third floor. I need to retrieve enough blossoms for a set of experiments I’m doing involving injured statues and the methods of healing them. I do hope you aren’t squeamish, my last assistant had a phobia of gore. I couldn’t do any of the fun assignments with them around. Luckily, they seem to have found new life in my upcoming set of experiments, and that’s partially why I need you and your brawn.... Yes, Brawn fits.” Lori rattled off quickly, “Oh! I almost forgot! How do you feel about being fatally stabbed and turned into stone for a short period of time? I promise the risk of death is minimal.”

Darren hesitated at Lori’s words. She can’t be serious... His instincts told him to run, but he felt this was something he needed to do. “You... you don’t have many friends do you?” he muttered, his right hand moving to the hilt of his blade. “You’re not going to stab me right now, will you?”

“No of course not.”

Darren glared, suspicious of her. Being threatened to be stabbed by a librarian isn’t exactly something you see everyday.

“It would get blood all over the books and that’s just poor caretaking.” Lori said, smiling. “Now, are we going? Or should I leave you to... your clumsiness?”

“Yeah, books. Figures. Well, let’s go. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next surprise huh?.” he said, moving towards the entrance, having no idea of whatever could happen next. Perhaps this was some sort of hidden plan to make him suffer? He couldn’t be sure, but at least he wouldn’t be caught off guard if he could help it.

“Surprises only exist if you aren’t paying attention.” Lori sniffed, heading towards the grand library doors. She continued talking, seeming oblivious to Darren’s continuing existence on the castle. “Now, as you see, we will be granted safe passage to the Dimensional Elevator. Please do not irritate, rile, or otherwise instigate negative relations with the common populace.”

“W...Wait” he interrupted as they exited through the library doors, “we’re going out in plain sight? That doesn’t seem like a good idea, you know?” he questioned, feeling nervous. Was this something else that he would have to deal with? He hesitated for a moment, trying to decide if he should tell the other about his predicament. “I... keeping quiet might be hard if others recognize me”

“Are you some sort of celebrity?” Lori stopped walking, leaning down and peering curiously at Darren. “I’ve never had a celebrity for experiments before. This just keeps getting more and more interesting!”

“What?! N..No!” Darren stopped instantly, turning around to look at Lori. “You seem like a smart kind of lady, so why haven’t you figured it out?!” he yelled, trying his hardest to stop himself if the rage spell got the best of him. “I’m a guild member, you know? Darren, the one who gave explosives to the goblins... I also stormed into the anti-guild’s headquarters a while ago and...” he hesitated if he should add this last part, “... I might have been hit by that weird spell too.” He lowered his head, ashamed.

“Is that all?” Lori said, laughing. “Darren, is it? Do you know who I am?”

“You’re a librarian right... or rather, their leader. That’s what you look like to me”. He stopped to think about what he just finished saying, ”Do librarians have leaders, anyway?” he wondered.

“The Loreknights do. They always have. My name is Lori, and I’m the guildmaster, to put it in your terms.” Lori said, her grin fading into a more serious smirk`. “I’m quite capable in a fight as well, if that’s your problem. Most of the idiots here know that by now, through fact or observation, so we will not be bothered on the first floor, nor will you instigate anything, regardless of what spell your idiocy has gotten you into. Have I made myself clear?”

“Yes...” he grumbled, still unsure about being completely out of trouble. Experience had taught him that even the most simple situation could be easily turned around into a mess. He had no need to remember any special case, for they all came one after the other ever since he arrived at the castle. He sighed, bothered by this. “Let’s go then, just... let’s be careful and not draw any attention, anyway.”

“I’m not the one under a rage spell.” Lori said stiffly warping through the doors.

“...I am.” he whispered slowly and as lowly as possible so that Lori couldn’t hear him. Still, he followed her through the open doors, perhaps, he still felt curiosity about going out on an adventure.

The third floor was beautiful. Though edges of fall weaved their way through the fields and arbors of the settlement. Farmers went about their business, harvesting crops for the winter, while blacksmiths began yet another day manufacturing swords and mending broken plows. Lori stepped out into the mid-afternoon light, wincing as a bit of sun finally broke past the ceiling above. “Right, now comes the difficult part.” She half-muttered, half-spoke, walking up to the nearest salesman. “You are aware of the whereabouts of the Prunus Serrulata located on this floor, correct?”

“Prenus Serra... what?” The salesman wondered aloud, raising an eyebrow at the librarian. “Is that some sort of food?” He looked around to the other nearby people, trying to see if anybody else had understood what the woman had said. His eyes met one by one the dumbfounded faces of the other townspeople until an exasperated passerby, who had heard the query from across the street whispered the answer to him. “Oh, that!” he said, struck with clarity. “I’m afraid the cherry blossom tree was cut a while ago. There were several weird deaths around him, so we called a monk to investigate the problem, you know, just in case the area was cursed...” he paused for a second, looking at the distance as if remembering something. “The monk said the tree had a ghost or something like that. T’was the reason of the deaths, so we had it cut.”

Lori’s eyes narrowed to slits. “Are you sure nothing remains of that tree?”

The merchant mumbled something unintelligible, then made for the door. Lori watched him go, eyes glittering with anger and something else that Darren was unsure of. Letting out a few choice words, Lori recomposed herself, standing stiffly in front of Darren. “It appears that my research will be put on hold for a bit longer, Darren. I will escort you back to the library, and I will aid you as best I can in your research. I’ll also see what I can do about that rage spell, if it bothers you.”

“I see... I guess that’s all, then?” he spoke softly, still looking at the door the salesman had gone through. “Though I don’t really get how a cherry blossom can heal an “injured” statue. Or rather, how it got injured in the first place.”

“Ah, now you are paying attention.” Lori half-smirked, turning back towards the gate. “Well, I suppose we should get going. I don’t know how the rage spell is affecting you, and I don’t need to calm you down and keep you from murdering countless civilians.”

“I haven’t killed anybody yet. Unlike those nutjobs in the first floor, I left before it got worse.” he said as he started to walk. “You’re not going to answer my question, right?”

“You had a question?” Lori asked obliviously, as she began walking down the city’s streets. “You ought to head to a library, they have these funny little objects called books that help you learn new and exciting things!”

“I know, I was there this morning, remember?” he replied slightly annoyed. “Before today, I had visited libraries twice...” he started, looking back at her as he lifted the hood on his cloak to conceal his face. “...both times I ended up in a fight to the death.” A dark expression formed on his face, but thankfully, the cloak prevented Lori from seeing it. “It’s not like it’s their fault or anything, just pointing out the weird pattern.” he mentioned shortly afterward, trying not to sound too gloomy.

“You’re heading to a Loreknight library. There will be no fighting.” Lori said simply, picking up her pace as they reached the gates of the enormous library. Turning to an aide, she said, “I would like the rare section of the library cleared for the remainder of the night, see to this.”

Walking over to the back of the room, Lori began rifling through different tomes. “So, how did you get that rage spell on you?”

“I guess I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Darren answered almost immediately without thinking. “I had a weird dream that day, I went out to clear my head and I saw everyone began to gather… so I followed from a safe distance. I didn’t expect the red-haired man to actually provoke this war.” he said, trying to hold back the sudden rage that filled him.

“Hm.. sounds like a seal gone wrong then. I don’t know why it’s lasted so long though... Most seals expire after a certain span of time...” Lori rattled off, oddly informative as she poured over a crumbling bit of parchment. After several long, silent minutes she spoke again, “I’m not really sure what to do with it. Not without doing more damn research.” Her face darkened as she slammed the book closed.

“Not sure what to do? So removing it is not possible, then. I guess I’ll manage…” he stared at the recently closed book, wondering if the answer to his problem could be found in it. He quickly dismissed the idea, if Lori, who probably was more intelligent than him, couldn’t figure it out right now, there was no way he would be able to find the answer to removing the rage spell. Dammit he thought as he realized he was depending once again on others. “Alright… so now what?”

“Well, there are a few options. I don’t like that spell, and I want to take it off of you before someone gets hurt.” Lori glared at Darren as he tried to defend himself. “You, unfortunately, have none of the skills required to tame the spell on your own. Left to fester, you will only become a danger to yourself and others. I do propose a temporary solution, however.” Lori stood, and began slotting the books back to their original places, “I suggest you approach my sister, Legias. She’s more capable with handling someone with your talents, and I suppose you two would make a better match, considering the circumstances with which we met. I would ask though, for a vial of blood, in order to complete some research into the nature of the spell itself. With luck, I would be able to find both the trigger and the cause.” With that, the Sage turned to meet Darren’s eyes for the first time, completely serious. “Is this amenable to you? Or would you rather I find another way?”

Darren met Lori’s gaze for a moment, his heartbeat speeding up to an alarming rate. His instincts told him to run… or attack, but he couldn’t do that to somebody who was only offering to help him, could he? He momentarily looked to his right, trying to think of something. “I… I guess it’s fine” he stuttered. “Yeah, that’s probably for the… the better right?” he seemed unsure, not that it was unexpected of him.

“An alternative would be staying here, though I don’t believe you would enjoy that. I do feel uncomfortable leaving you alone with this spell, but you have the choice to leave.”

“N...No.” he still hesitated. “You can help others if you find something, right? I’m… I’m not the only one who gets out of the hook, right?”

“Yes, most likely. The rage spell itself is easy to negate. You seem to have gotten some form of mutation of the spell, causing long-term effects. It’s possible that this happened to other as well, though I don’t know for certain.”

“Do it then…” he said, his voice lowering itself with every word spoken. ”Because if I stay, then they might start targeting everyone here, too” “I made up my mind.”

“Alright then,” Lori said as she procured the necessary tools. “Now, what is your favorite color?” She asked as the small vial began to fill.```

“It’s… green.”

“Yeah, I like that color too.” Lori said, sealing the vial and placing a bandage on Darren’s arm. “Though a close second is brown.” she rambled as she put the supplies away. “Now, I can have Nova come to escort you to either your quarters here, or the Guard barracks. Which do you prefer?”

“I’ll be fine on my own, thank you. Anyway...” he started, trying to regain the little composure he usually had. “...about that book, mind if I come back later?”

“What was the subject matter?” Lori asked inquisitively. “Oh, yes.. The prying thing. I only ask so I can set my assistant to finding similar books under certain search terms, in order to ease the process for yourself when you do decide to return.”

“Would you happen to know about the Lorekeeper?” he flatly asked, probably because he couldn’t wait to go back to a “safer” place. Ironically, the place he intended to go next would be anything but safe.

Lori’s face turned stormy. “You’re looking for that book? Are you mad?”

“I’m not looking for it, I already know where it is.” Darren’s face drew a serious expression. “And I’m not the only one who knows. I don’t plan on using it, if that’s your concern. I want to destroy it, but something tells me flames won’t be any good against soul eating books, right?”

Lori rubbed her temples, then said, “Do not try to go after that book right now. In your current state, I don’t know what it could do to you.”

Darren let out a laugh as he heard those words. “Well, I don’t want to go after the book, but I’ll have to if those guys make their move, you know? I still don’t know how they managed to follow me and the book all the way over here, when I’m not even sure how I got here in the first place!” Darren crossed his arms in defiance, before realizing what he had just said to the librarian. Shit, that’s no good. So much for not making my reputation any worse... he thought, berating himself instantly.

Lori’’s eyes narrowed. “I can’t stop you, but the Loreknights are meant for this sort of work. We know the land by it’s history, and I would rather not let the only thing standing between the castle and that book be you.” She paused for a moment, then added, “No offense.”

“What makes you think they’ll fare better than me?”

“They’ll have me.” Lori replied grimly. “You as well, if you get the proper training.”

“Who will train me? I can’t ask for help to my guildmates. The former guildleader is a wanted murderer and I don’t really want to involve the current one.” he felt annoyed by this, feeling his words come out with even more force that he had intended. “Besides, I’ve already made enough mistakes to involve anybody else. I’ll do it my way” He finally said, stubbornly.

Lori bit back her offer, and nodded. “As you please. The Loreknights are always open to those who seek learning. Please remember that if you are ever in need of any aid. I would feel like a terrible scientist if I didn’t offer you a place to stay for the night however.”

“A terrible scientist, huh? You just want another guinea pig, don’t you?” he half-joked, still annoyed at the librarian, perhaps, for no reason at all. “Thanks I guess. I’ll do my best, if that puts you at ease.” he calmly said, exiting the room.
Why should we do the right thing?
-Well... because it's the right thing to do, there's no other good reason.

Am I a bad guy trying to be good, or a good guy trying to convince himself that he's not the bad guy?
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:59 pm

Turn Rewards:
  • Guyshane ~ Behemoth Tooth (also Light Armour for Quest 28)
  • JackAlsworth ~ Skill: Advanced Knotwork
  • RussetDivinity ~ Reputation: Princess Knife Lady
  • Blurred_9L ~ Library Card (also Mask for Quest 28)

Thanks to the efforts of Marcus and others, Anji is now awake, and Darren has helped Lori on her way to discovering (and possibly undoing) the nature of the rage spell.

Quest 36: Stirring Up Trouble
Quest Description: A bunch of people from the anti-guild are hanging around suspiciously near one of the entrances to the Underground, apparently trying to sneak someone or something in or out of there.
Quest Goal: Stop them before they finish whatever trouble they're trying to stir up.
Quest Takers: Morionem (Victin) and Fern (Krika)

Quest 37: Seven Thin Cows
Quest Description: Members of the anti-guild have seized control of the fields on the third-floor, causing economic problems for the families who used to own the fields, and food problems for... just about everybody.
Goal: Return control of the fields to their owners.
Quest Takers: Giselle (Narrativedilettante) and Mirae (Tohrinha)

Quest 38: Aggressive Negotiations
Quest Description: The anti-guild faction is always looking for more members. Looking very... forcefully... for new members. As people who are not officially affiliated with guilds, they want to persuade you, pleasantly or otherwise, to join them. Emphasis on the otherwise.
Goal: Get them to take no for an answer.
Quest Takers: Likovya (RussetDivinity) and Pan (IslaKariese)

GM Notes:
  • On Quest 36: Keep in mind that it's in your interests to prevent things from escalating such that you end up IN the underground. That would be bad.
  • On Quest 37: There are a number of different fields with several different crops, belonging to a number of different owners-- a large chunk of Floor 3 is farmland-- and most of these fields have been seized.
  • On Quest 38: As seen back in Quest 21, they will stop at nothing to either get you on their side or neutralize the threat of you siding with the guilds-- and this time, they want you on the receiving end. Their resources are more limited than they were then, but they still should not be underestimated.

Deadline for this turn is Monday, September 1st, 23:59 EST.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby RussetDivinity on Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:50 pm

Quest 38: Aggressive Negotiations

Likovya was amazed that she was still bored. After all, going on a mission to an abandoned city and running around with a crazy person would normally cure anyone’s wish for adventure. But then, she had rather fuzzy memories of some of the city, and no one would bother suggesting that she was normal. Instead of staying in the aboveground city which was moderately safer, she decided to head off into the forest and wander for a few days, hunting and being glad there weren’t any bandits around here. There was a limited amount of space, but she could live with that if it meant not being attacked in the middle of the night.

Two days later, Likovya had determined the forest was not quite like other forests she had traveled through. She couldn’t find any butterfruit, and most of the berries she saw didn’t look terribly appetizing. There were plenty of rabbits, though, and enough birds’ nests to have some varied foods, if eggs counted as a variation. She also found a few dandelion greens to munch on when hunting proved too difficult.

Something rustled among the leaves. Likovya, still not quite used to a safe forest, set her food aside and sprang to her feet, pulling a knife. “Who’s there?” she called. “Show yourself!”

--

It had been a long day of work. Pan stood up straight and stretched hard, feeling the ache in her bones. Looking up at the black and gray landscape, she smiled at the sight of brown and green spreading more and more every day. It was still slight, and the smell of smoke was still there, but she was making a difference.

Giving a heavy sigh and picking up her staff, the shepherd made her way back to the untouched side of the forest before climbing a tree and making quick work along the path home.

Before she made it, however, the sight and smell of a working campfire caught her attention. Stopping and hiding herself in a tree nearby, Pan looked on as a woman was nearly finished eating what looked like a rabbit. She didn’t think much of the rabbit itself - hunting did nothing for her in regards to sport, but even she had an appetite for meat - but the fire still made her nervous. Pan settled in to watch and make sure that the campfire was put out properly before heading back home.

Lost as she was in her thoughts, however, Pan wasn’t nearly as secure as she thought she was, and her staff slipped against one of the branches, making a rather obvious noise and causing the woman to immediately stop and pull out a knife. “Who’s there?” Her voice echoed through the clearing. “Show yourself!”

Cringing in slight embarrassment, Pan had no reason not to oblige. She jumped from the tree and lifted her hands in surrender, setting her crook against a tree and stepping forward. “...Sorry,” she said, her voice apologetic. “I didn’t mean to bother you. I was just… passing by.” Pan winced at the slight lie, harmless though it was. I was watching to make sure you didn’t burn down any more of the forest didn’t sound nearly as friendly.

“Oh.” The woman put her knife away, looking a bit surprised. “You like walking through trees, then?”

Pan chuckled slightly. “Walking? Sometimes, I guess.” She lowered her hands to link them casually behind her head. “But I find it faster to use the branches. It’s my favorite way to travel, really.”

“That’s something I haven’t heard before.” The woman grinned. “If I’d known about that before I got here, I might not have met so many people.” She dropped to the ground again and took another bite of the rabbit. “I haven’t seen you around before. Do you go to the city at all?”

“Mm, occasionally. Not often. Barely at all, point of fact.” Pan shook her head. “I live here, in the forest. It’s been home for a long time. How about you? You a city dweller, or more of a country type?”

“More of an anywhere-I-can-stay-the-night type. I’ve been in the city lately, but I got bored, so I thought I’d look around here. It’s a lot quieter, especially after what’s been happening.” The woman wiped her fingers on the edge of her jacket, stamped out the fire, and said, “I’m Likovya, by the way. If you ever go to the city, you may not want to ask people whether they know me. I’ve got an… interesting reputation.”

“Probably not much more interesting than that of the ‘tree-hugger,’” Pan challenged with a grin, taking Likovya’s hand. “I’m Pan. So, what did you mean by what’s been happening? If you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit isolated out here...”

“Isolation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’ve been riots, and at least one of the guilds has had to go to a higher level of this place. I don’t know what’s been happening to the others, and I’m not sure everyone from that guild went up.” For a moment, Likovya looked worried, but the expression vanished in a second. “Anyway, it’s probably best you stayed out of it. There’ve been too many children involved already.”

Pan snorted inelegantly. “I’m sure there have been. Some of the worst things in the world involve children, especially when they shouldn’t.” She looked at Likovya seriously. “But I’m tellin’ you now, I’m no child.”

“I believe you.” Likovya smiled, but it wasn’t entirely mocking. “Even so, you’re best staying here. They can’t get to you… oh, by all the tiny demons of the early morning.” She drew her knife again. “You might want to head out, Pan.”

Picking up her staff, Pan settled herself in a semi-defensive stance. “Why’s that?”

“The girl likes playing hero, is why,” said a voice from among the trees. A man stepped into view, followed by a small group of others, all armed. “She’s had lots of fun making out we’re the villains and she’s a lone hero standing against us.”

“How did you find me out here?” Likovya asked. She drew another knife and turned so her back was against the tree.

“You’re not very good at hiding. Just took some asking to find out you weren’t around and what way you’d headed.” The man leaned against a tree as well, smirking. “You don’t need your knives this time. We just want to talk.”

“About what?” Likovya put away one of her knives but kept the other in a tight grip. “Pan, you should head out. Go home, wherever that is for you.”

“No,” the man said before Pan could respond. “The boy can stay. He might want to hear our proposition.”

“All I’m hearing is a lot of hot air with very little to back it up.” Pan had lowered herself completely into a fighting stance, soundly ignoring any of Likovya’s silent cues to run. Like I’d run when a jerk like this comes in here like he owns the very air we breathe. She hated guys like this.

“You want promises?” the man asked. “Fine. We can make promises. I’m offering you a chance to live, girl,” he said, turning to Likovya. “There are people in the city calling for your blood, but if you’re willing to join us, I can promise you protection from anyone who wants to hurt you. As for your little friend, we can give him a roof over his head and some decent cooked food. What do you say?”

“I already said that I’m pretty much against you, so you don’t have to ask again,” Likovya said. When the man looked confused, her mouth opened in a small o of realization. “Right. I may have killed the person I said that to. Anyway, I’ve thrown my lot in with the guilds, if you hadn’t noticed, so you can either leave or get stabbed, and I’m very good at stabbing.”

The man snarled. “Are you going to die with your friend, boy, or do you want to join us?”

Pan pretended to think about it, while making an effort to look as convincing as possible. “Well, I have no intention of dying anytime soon…” She paused as she let the words sink in before letting the other shoe drop. “However, ‘a roof over my head’? I have a thing against roofs. They just don’t do it for me.” She pulled a vaguely offended look. “And I’ll have you know, my cooking is plenty decent. Between my hunting skills and my herb garden, I can make a better meal than you, that’s for sure. Oh, and one other thing…”

The girl smiled as widely and sincerely as possible. “You’re kind of an asshole.”

The man looked very dangerous now, and his companions were toying with their weapons. “I was going to give you one last chance,” he said, “because you’re young and don’t understand what you’re doing. I think this girl’s gotten to your head, though.” He drew a jagged knife from his belt. “Focus on the girl. She’s the dangerous one.”

“Last chance,” Likovya said as the group started to move in. “Run.”

Pan’s look of offense was real this time, coupled with dark anger. “Now, I realize you don’t know me, and that I look young, but really - is ‘cowardly pushover’ what you get when you see me, ‘cause if it is then I need to work on my public image a bit more.” Without a word of warning, Pan spun her crook like a baton and reaffirmed her stance as she prepared to fight, her hands beginning to spark in her anger. “It’s been a while since my last fight. I feel like sticking around.”

“Suit yourself.” Likovya didn’t have much time to look worried, since she was quickly set upon by the man -- probably the leader of the group -- and two others, a man with a rough bludgeon and a woman with a flail. “I just hope you don’t mind dead people lying around.” She launched herself forward, darting from one assailant to the next, leaving gashes and coming away with scratches and what would be large bruises if she was lucky.

Pan herself couldn’t respond before the man in front of her lunged forward with a sword, and she met him easily with her staff. Her eyes flashed as she shifted her grip, and a wave of electricity sped through the crook and into his own weapon - leaving him crying out in pain and backing up immediately. She didn’t give him time to recover before leaping up and setting up a barrage of brutal strikes. Some of them were met with the blade, but many struck true, and each of them were punctuated with an electric shock.

As a final blow, Pan kicked the guy in the ribs and sent him flying into a woman running up to attack Likovya. She pumped her fist victoriously and with that, the shepherd girl darted into the fray with grin of exhilaration. It really had been a while.

---

Likovya hadn’t been able to keep an eye on Pan while she was fighting; it was all she could do to keep bludgeons and flails from breaking various bones. She wasn’t even sure she was succeeding on that count, as her left arm and shoulder ached horribly, and she was doing much worse with that arm than normal. When a man staggered against the woman and knocked her off-balance, however, she knew the forest girl (she was reasonably certain Pan was a girl) was holding her own.

The man with the knife was going after her more eagerly than the one with the club, and her jacket had been sliced open. It had been roughly sewn back together after she broke a window with it, but some of those stitches had been falling apart, and she wondered whether she would need a new jacket soon. If her current lifestyle kept up, it would be no better than scrap fabric with bloodstains.

“You really ought to back down,” she gasped. “Don’t you think I’m dangerous?”

The man sneered. “You haven’t managed to beat one of us yet. The most dangerous thing you’ve done is stay alive.”

“Well, let’s fix that.” She dodged the club, kicked the dazed woman, and stuck her knife into the man’s belly. “You won’t die yet,” she said, wrenching the blade out. “If you’re lucky, one of your friends will get you to a healer before your organs start bleeding too badly.”

“Prester!”

The man with the club had probably shouted, since the one who had knocked against the woman was unconscious on the ground. Likovya wasn’t sure if he had hit the flail or she had kicked him while fighting. She spun to face her next opponent, but not before the bludgeon hit her left shoulder again. With a yelp, she dropped one of her knives and staggered back. Her upper arm felt as though it was screaming, and she realized that she would have to wield only one knife. There wasn’t even time to get in a proper throwing position, since she had to continually dodge his attacks.

I guess I always knew I’d die in a forest, she thought. Well, after I left Master Weston’s, anyway. I just didn’t imagine one that was inside a castle. It was funny how life worked out.

But before it could become a self-fulfilling prophesy, the man’s next strike was hindered by a crook catching his arm, and the action pulled him to the side just enough so that his face came in contact with a lightning-charged fist. With a strangled scream of pain, he went down with a smouldering burn mark on his cheek.

Likovya blinked, but before she could respond, Pan’s voice said, “Here,” and a small hand was placed on her bad arm. There was a brief white glow, and then the hand and its owner vanished back into the battle.

Magic, she decided, was amazingly useful. She didn’t entirely trust it, but maybe in some cases (this had brought her count of good magic up to two) she would be fine with it. Her arm was as good as ever, and she plucked her knife from the ground, spinning it to make sure her hand would still work. Once she had caught it again, there was nothing to do but end it.

“Do you need a hand out there?” she called. If Pan needed help, she would rush in, but right now, her eyes were on the leader, who was propping himself up on a tree, one hand pressed against his wound.

“Nope,” the shepherd girl replied, slamming her staff into someone else. “I’m good. Just let me know if you need me, alright?”

“I should be fine.” With another kick for both the man and woman lying on the ground, Likovya walked up to Prester and set the tip of her knife against his throat. “In fact, I’ve got a very good idea.”

“So you’ve decided to kill me,” Prester said. His voice didn’t tremble, but he did glance apprehensively at her blade. “Go ahead and do it, then. Stop playing around.”

“I’m not playing,” Likovya said. “In fact, I’m more serious than you would believe. And I’m not going to kill you. I want you to do something for me. Get one of your friends to carry you back to town and tell all the anti-guilds -- tell everyone, if you have to -- that I will not tolerate this. Do you understand?”

“Won’t tolerate what?” he asked, and this time his voice did shake.

Good, she thought. I’m not playing the hero right unless the petty villain’s quivering in his boots. “This. Attacking people with incredibly superior numbers. Forcing people to run and hide just so they can stay alive. If you don’t like the guilds, I don’t care, but you don’t get to drag everyone else into your fight. Do you understand?”

“I -- I --”

“Do you understand?” A trickle of blood escaped his skin and ran down his neck. The man nodded. “Good. Pan and I will finish things up here. And if you don’t do as I ask, if I see any more of this --” She gestured to the forest. “-- happening, I will find you.”

“I understand.”

Likovya lowered her knife and walked to the man and woman on the ground. The man was starting to stir, and Likovya shook his shoulder. “Take Prester into town. Get some of the others to help if you need it. He’ll know what to do when you get there.” Before he could do more than start to sit up and clutch his head, Likovya turned to Pan. “If anyone tries to run, let them!” she called. “They’re doing me a favor.”

Pan looked over, lowering her staff after dealing another harsh blow to someone’s torso. With a nod, she stepped back, looking out across the clearing at the bodies littering the ground. Some of them, she knew were unconscious. Others, she knew, weren’t. Her lip curled at the thought, nausea threatening to overtake her if she thought too hard about it. Instead, she looked over to the warrior woman and then to the man still slumped fearfully at the base of the tree. “Does that mean things are settled, then?”

“I hope so.” Likovya put her knives away and watched Prester and the man limp off after the rest of them. “You did pretty well. Sorry I underestimated you.”

Pan only shrugged. “I know how I come off to people - small, scruffy, big green eyes full of wonder and childlike joy--” She made her eyes extra wide at this, making Likovya grin slightly, “I’m used to being underestimated. I don’t care much for it, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when I prove folks wrong,” she finished with a grin.

“Well, if it makes you feel any better, you remind me of one of the acts the circus used to do. They had a story about a boy who fought off pirates, and Master Weston never gave up on trying to set up some wires above the stage to make the tumblers fly around.” She looked around at the bodies lying on the grass. Some were moving, but others quite plainly weren’t. “Do you want some help clearing this up?” She couldn’t just leave it all for Pan to take care of, and it was the first time she had had to deal with the aftermath of a fight.

Pan’s stomach churned unpleasantly at the thought. Her face grew blank as her discomfort grew. “I think I might, yeah,” she murmured, turning back to the woman. “But first, do you have any other injuries? I only had time for the biggest one, and I don’t really see any others…”

“A few cuts here and there, and my arms will be lovely colors of purple by tomorrow, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.” She still had a bottle of painkillers tucked away, and had only taken one the night after the abandoned city so she could get to sleep without thinking about seaweed. “If you want to leave, I’ll clean up.” How, she wasn’t sure, but there had to be a handy ditch nearby, or some friendly carnivores she could lure.

Despite how appealing the notion was, Pan shook her head. “No, I’ll stay. I’ll help. I… can’t guarantee that my constitution’s the same as yours seems to be, but I’ll help.”

“Right. Um… do you have a preference for where they ought to go? I don’t have a shovel with me, but I could drag them places.” She really hoped Pan wouldn’t be sick over one of the bodies. It was bad enough some of their eyes were still open.

“Erm…” Thinking quickly about the lay of the land, Pan remembered-- “There’s a large hole that used to be a lake not too far from here. It hasn’t rained often enough to refill it, so it’s really just a large ditch. Though, how to get them there I have no clue. I wouldn’t want to drag them all there by hand. How… how many are there, anyway…?”

“Five?” Likovya grimaced. Five bodies would involve a lot of trips, even if some of them weren’t dead. “We could always try to find some wolves. Does this place have wolves?”

Pan blinked. “Um… yeah, it does. Why?”

“If we get the wolves to eat the bodies, then we don’t have to put them in the lake and the wolves get fed. Everyone wins, except the people who died.” Likovya nudged one of the bodies, trying to remember if wolves scavenged at all.

The shepherd would have appreciated some acknowledgement over how much effort she put into not gagging at that, but instead simply nodded. “I see.”

“Unless you’d rather drag the bodies around.” Even if Pan was older than she looked, Likovya still couldn’t help thinking of her as young, and young people were meant to be entertained, not made to deal with bunches of dead people. “Look, I’m just trying to find a solution where we can both walk away and pretend that some of this didn’t happen. I’m used to leaving and imagining that bodies just vanish once I’m far enough away, but I can’t do that now, because you’d be stuck with this mess, and I don’t care how old you say you are, I just can’t!” For whatever reason, she was feeling protective of people who looked like children, even if they had proved they could take care of themselves.

Pan, startled by the outburst, stared wide-eyed at Likovya before nodding solemnly. “I understand. I do.” She sighed heavily. “Scavengers will come on their own after a while. If you do want to leave and imagine the bodies just vanishing, you can, and they will. I’m not likely to come across them any time soon, with the way my days are going lately.”

“All right. Thank you.” The imagining wouldn’t work quite as well this time, but she could force it to. “I’m sorry I brought this to your forest. I didn’t know they’d come after me. I didn’t even know they were interested in finding me. Still… I’m sorry.” She didn’t know what else to say. “I don’t think they’ll be coming back, though.”

“It’s alright,” Pan reassured her. “I don’t know exactly what they were on about, but they probably would’ve found me eventually. The forest doesn’t make me invisible, or unheard of, no matter how well I get around.” After a second’s pause, the girl held out her hand to shake.

Likovya took the hand and shook it. She had been planning to stay in the forest for a while, until she could stroll into the city again like a traveler from far-off lands. Now that she knew what was waiting here, she didn’t know if she would want to stay or even return. “Good luck. If you do find yourself in town and need my help, my name should get more than a mention of the ‘crazy knife girl’.”

Pan chuckled. “Right.” Then she looked pensive. “You know, you’re welcome back anytime. I don’t have too many visitors who don’t attack or ignore me, so you’re definitely ace in my book,” she added with a cheeky grin.

“I may drop by someday,” Likovya said, and it wasn’t entirely a lie. “For now, I think I’ll head back to the city. Good-bye, Pan.”

Pan smiled and waved her goodbye as she hooked her staff on a tree and planted her feet on a branch. With a look back and a salute, the girl disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving the woman behind.
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby narrativedilettante on Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:23 am

Quest 37: Seven Thin Cows

Giselle walked cautiously through the still landscape. As a hunter, when the supply of food ran low she usually did pretty well for herself, but she couldn’t catch bread and sell it to the local pubs. And she missed strawberries. So, if something was going wrong with the farms up top, it would be best to figure out what it was.

Nothing looked immediately wrong. The area was sparsely populated, but that was what she’d expect for farm land above the first floor. The people who adventured this far from the start point were usually not the type who then settled down and started growing food.

It took a while to find the first farmhouse. The fields were well kept, if minimally staffed. She could see figures off in the distance, occasionally, presumably weeding or picking or whatnot… No reason the food supply should be in danger, then, unless the problem was a lack of workforce. Well, that would be easy enough to fix; just let people know that there was safe work available if they were comfortable going a short vertical distance.

So she approached the farmhouse and knocked on the door, expecting, perhaps, a polite greeting, at which point she would enquire as to the health of the farm, and offer whatever assistance she might provide in returning things to their previous, ample state.

The man who opened the door was angry, and holding a pitchfork. Giselle nearly laughed at the sight, but she was pretty good at keeping her emotional reactions in check. “Hello,” she began, but the man interrupted.

“Are you here to help take back the farm from all those Guild goons who wanted to keep the food to themselves?” Too late, Giselle saw the man’s wooden amulet and realized what was going on.

She needed to answer immediately, but her brain hadn’t processed this new information yet. Instead of saying “Of course!” she started out with “Um…” and a moment later, the man was holding her against the door frame with his pitchfork.

“Because if not, you are a Guild goon.” Glowered the angry pitchfork man.

“I’m sorry,” said Giselle, trying to talk her way around this, “I was just wondering what was going on out here and I thought I’d check it out, but it’s great that you’re out here fighting the good fight…”

Two more angry men appeared from inside the farmhouse. They didn’t seem convinced by her sudden insistence of solidarity, and neither did the one holding the pitchfork. “Don’t worry about it. Come inside.” Said one of them.

“You’ll be fighting the good fight soon enough,” said another.

~~~

Mirae unconsciously rubbed a hand along her arm. Ever since she had stepped onto the third floor, it had been full of pins and needles. Trying to ignore the tingling feeling, she continued walking. There was a nice open space along the edge of each field, presumably where the farmers could run wagons without disturbing the crops. Skirting the perimeter seemed the best option for now. Although she doubted the anti-guilds would have spread far up here, when there were so many of their chosen enemy below, it wouldn’t hurt to have a little caution. Better to go back to foraging than an all-out fight.

She noticed the group too late. By the time she had begun to think of ducking into the corn off to her right, the woman walking in front had spotted her.

“Hey!” The woman shouted after her. A couple of her companions broke into a run, splitting off to flank Mirae. Trotting up after them, the woman stared menacingly at her. Shifting her grip on the staff she carried, the woman continued, “Who are you?”

Surreptitiously, Mirae checked one of the hidden pockets in her cloak, making sure that the wooden pendant she carried wasn’t visible. “I . . . I’m from the city,” she began. The woman cut her off.

“Any of you recognize her?” The rest of the group stayed silent, one cautiously shaking his head. The woman pulled out a water-stained piece of parchment and consulted it, glancing up occasionally to glare into Mirae’s face. As she refolded it, Mirae caught a glimpse of the other side; it seemed to be a series of sketches and names. She thought she recognized the top one, but someone had drawn a heavy line through it, blotting out the details.

“She’s not on here,” the woman said. “I say we bring her in.”

The man on Mirae’s right spoke up. “If she is one ‘o them? Spyin’ on us? What if she knifes us in the back while we’re taking her in, hm?”

The woman laughed scornfully. “What, you’re afraid of a girl taking you by surprise? Listen, Alan, you’ve got three others of us, if you think you can’t handle her alone. It’s not far to the farmhouse; we can talk there. Besides,” she grinned, “the more people we bring in, the more we get to eat.” With that, she turned on her heel and set off, not waiting for the others. Alan moved behind Mirae and nudged her forward with the back of his axe. She frowned. Even if she did make a break for it, it sounded like they had some organization. She’d just run into another of them later on. Reluctantly, Mirae followed.

~~~

They didn’t seem prepared to deal with prisoners at the farmhouse. One of the men shoved Giselle into a closet, and then stood in front of it. They’d taken her arrows, but apparently didn’t see the need to confiscate her bow. As if shooting arrows at close range would be useful, anyway. Mostly they seemed to be trying to figure out what to do with her.

Well, she could figure out what to do with them, while they were at it. She still had her satchel… these people really weren’t set up to deal with infiltrators. If she’d just been smart enough to wear her counterfeit amulet up here, she wouldn’t be in this mess. But then, if she’d worn it and run into some people who were on her side, that could have gone badly, too.

There was only a faint crack of light in the closet, not enough to see anything useful. Giselle ran her hands along the walls. Wooden, sturdy enough, no obvious weak points. She pulled out her mapping crystal, but having a map of the farmhouse interior wouldn’t be much use if she couldn’t see it. Sighing, she put it away again, and considered her course of action.

The only obvious solution seemed to be forcing the door open and somehow getting past the angry man who was guarding her. Overpowering him, at close quarters without any equipment and with the initial challenge of forcing the door, seemed out of the question. Evading him seemed likewise improbable. She’d have to wait for the situation to change before she risked taking any steps toward freedom.

Just as she arrived at this conclusion, the closet door opened, and someone else was thrown inside. There was barely room for two people to stand side to side, so having a second body shoved into the limited space significantly increased Giselle’s level of discomfort. Then again, the situation had changed now, and required added evaluation.

The other person didn’t seem pleased with the situation either, a small annoyed sigh escaping as they straightened up. A female voice said quietly, “Lovely.”

Whoever it was seemed to notice Giselle at that moment, since the voice presently became louder. “I don’t suppose this is the bakery?” A bit of humor tinged the question. It sank to a murmur again. “It would be nice if I could see--” The voice cut off as a soft light began to fill the small room.

Facing Giselle was a short girl, mostly hidden by a dark traveling cloak. Cropped, light hair framed her face, which was caught in an expression of surprise. Giselle followed her gaze down towards the other girl’s hand, which, she now saw, was the source of the light, her fingers glowing yellow. The girl stared for a moment, taken aback, then shifted her eyes to meet Giselle’s. Her mouth quirked in a small smile. “Nice to meet you. I’m Mirae.”

“Well,” said Giselle, quietly, trying to straddle that line between being understandable to her new companion and inaudible to the guard outside, “that changes things. Likewise, Mirae. I’m Giselle.” With a subtle motion, she drew the parchment back out of her bag that had just been put away. “I don’t suppose you’d like to help me find a way out of here, would you?”

“I doubt I’m any more a guest than you.” Mirae’s voice faded to match her companion’s. “Have an idea in mind?”

“If I can see this clearly, we might be able to find a hidden passage. Or, just figure out the best route to take. Sorry, I didn’t explain that in the right order. This is a magic map. Right now it just shows us where we are.”

She held the parchment where the light from Mirae’s hand could reach it. “So there’s the closet, this is the door, and outside there is where the guard must be standing… It would be nice if we could see people, but it’s not that kind of magic map. I can’t tell much about the rooms on either side of us… their walls are too far out. But behind us…” Giselle put a finger on an empty square of ink. “I’m guessing that’s the grain cellar. If we could get through there, we could get out of the building without anyone noticing. Of course, we’d have to put a hole in the wall somehow, without drawing attention to ourselves. What do you think?”

Mirae moved her fingers over the drawing on the map, tracing lines in the air above the figures. “Some kind of cellar, probably. It could be showing just the entrance to one, so we’d be coming out on top of it. Like a trapdoor.” She turned to consider the back wall. “Unless you’re hiding a magic axe as well… I think I could get us through. I’m not sure how long we would have before they would notice, but at least it should be open on the other side. We could head into the fields.”

“You’d better take care of it. All I’ve got are some knives. And I getting out to the fields would definitely be better than being stuck in here. We’d have more options open to us. Just… be careful,” she concluded, imagining them tumbling headfirst into a cellar.

“Hm.” Her companion reached out both hands to touch the wall. Her eyes closed, and her head dropped slightly to one side, as the wood around her fingers darkened and began to smoulder. Little sparks of light jumped into the cupboard wall along Mirae’s outstretched arms. After a few minutes of this, the room had begun to smell distinctly of smoke, though it wasn’t enough to be seen.

Mirae opened her eyes. Glancing quickly towards the door, she backed up against it, then ran straight at the back wall. With a worrisomely-loud creak, it shifted, but held. She took a quick breath, then rammed it again. The wood splintered, letting sunlight shine in. Mirae wrapped a hand in her cloak and began pulling planks apart, black dust falling in from the other side, which was covered in charred wood.

Giselle whistled as quietly as she could. “Very nice work,” she said, and began to help clear the hole. It was difficult to see at first, while her eyes were adjusting to the new light level. “Let’s get out of here.”

Overall, it was one of the easier escapes Giselle had executed… although that was almost entirely thanks to her companion, who’d arrived with extraordinarily convenient timing. The two of them fled, first through a field of lettuce, and out to a field of grain, where they could be reasonably hidden for the time being.

“So… these guys don’t want to play fair with the crops.,” Giselle said. “Any idea what we could do about that?”

Mirae fingered a stalk of wheat as they moved past. “The farmers shouldn’t be on their side,” she said. “At the least, they’re not going to be happy about having to sell to just one person. They’d be families up here, not plantation workers. Perhaps we could start a rebellion?” She looked at Giselle, her expression uncertain.

A smile formed on Giselle’s lips. “A rebellion… I like that idea. A close-knit community against the forces of greed and oppression. Families fighting to stay together, to protect their livelihood. Yes! Let’s find one of these families… they’ll probably know all the other farmers too. I imagine it’s a very supportive community. It would have to be. And now it makes sense!” She slapped her forehead in a moment of revelation. “These anti-guild louts aren’t prepared for any real danger to strike here because they haven’t had to deal with any real resistance! You show up and tell a bunch of farmers what the deal is, and they agree, until somebody comes along and tells them that they don’t have to take that anymore. And that somebody… can be us!”

She’d been spending too much time around Seire lately. The melodrama was taking over her speech patterns. “Anyway. Let’s do it!”

Mirae was staring at her, mouth hanging open slightly. “I… wasn’t serious about… You realize the anti-guilders must have much better organization and weapons than anyone else up here? And however out-numbered they might be, it can’t be by much.” She was shaking her head as she spoke. “It’s not some ragtag army out of the storybooks,” she continued, seeming to say it to convince herself as much as Giselle. “They could fight off a wolf, maybe a few bandits, but…”

“They would have the element of surprise. No one would expect them to mount an organized defense… Hm… Wait, who says the rebellion has to be open? Let’s assume that the anti-guilders have the farmers firmly under their thumb. Or at least, let’s assume that they assume that. And then let’s suppose that something happens… something terrifying, an attack of some sort, but not in the open… in the cover of night, or otherwise untraceable… Let’s suppose that there’s no clear link to any farmers, and no one would believe the farmers were capable of mounting such an attack anyway… Maybe the anti-guilders would assume that there was something bigger out there that had it in for them.”

“Death.” Mirae gazed into the grass surrounding them. “We could give them a body. Without a knife wound or broken neck, so it’s eerie. It couldn’t have burns or any indication of someone assassinating them through magic, either, or they’d just assume it was a guild member attacking. Though…” Her eyes drifted out of focus, trying to remember. “I think I heard -- I ran into a priest before coming up. A rather talkative one, actually. He told me about people setting up farms here, but he also went off on tangents whenever he could; he must have told me about the happenings with half his neighbors,” she muttered. “But he also mentioned something about a tree and suicides and some curse or other that was righteously expelled with the just power of divinity…”

She glanced at Giselle, smiling a little guiltily. “I wasn’t paying too much attention. But we could do something like that. Make it look like they’re going mad and killing themselves. It’d be a bit easier than finding a body that has no marks on it.”

“A cursed tree… that’s mad. But if we could pull it off… Oh, that would be terrifying.” Despite the macabre obscenity of what they were planning, Giselle grinned. “We are going to have to find a body, though. Maybe we could dig up a fresh grave? I mean, I know that’s disgusting and terrible, but… I mean, we could kill one of this lot, but they’re all so misguided and pathetic, it doesn’t seem right, you know? Or, I guess we could ask around and see if anybody’s got a recent suicide victim we could borrow.”

“For all I know, he was mad. But it could be doable. It’d be… a bit impolite to go up and ask for a dead body, though, so we’ll have to wait for night,” Mirae responded, looking up to check the position of the sun. As she lowered her hand from where it had been blocking out the light, she continued, “The cemetery’d be by the road, and I’d rather not run into the anti-guilders again, particularly not in the middle of a trick.”

“Sounds sensible.” Giselle rubbed her hands together. Yes, definitely spending too much time with Seire. She’d have to do something to get this melodrama out of her system. “In the meantime, why don’t you show me where this tree is?”

~~~

Mirae looked over the figure in front of her, neatening its coat and brushing off bits of dirt. They’d been in luck; there had been a grave tucked into a corner of the burial site that was shallow and hastily covered. Possibly some sort of illness, so they’d have been keen to be rid of the body quickly. So there was some danger from contagion, but the haste of whoever it had been had at least made it all the easier to bring the body back up to the surface.

She straightened, brushing her hand off on her cloak, and turned to Giselle. “Well, we have a victim.”

“Hm.” Giselle looked closely at the dead man in front of her. “I’m a little concerned about the dirt residue on his skin. Although… maybe that would be mitigated if we leave him face down, as if he’s rolled a little bit?”

“That would probably work. Or if he ‘falls’ off of something, that could also help.”

“Sure, sure. There are all sorts of ways for a person to get dirty aside from being buried.” Together, they carried the body to the “cursed” tree. Giselle secretly worried that Mirae’s informant actually had been mad, and no one else would make the association and believe the curse was upon them. She didn’t express this, because that kind of second-guessing would throw the entire plan into disarray, and she didn’t want to have to come up with something else.

When the body was in place, Giselle wrote on a scrap of parchment, “It doesn’t want us here,” and placed that in the body’s hand. She also drew her counterfeit amulet out of her bag… again wishing she’d been wearing it earlier… and put it around his neck. “Now he’s definitely one of them. I mean, as far as they’ll be able to tell.” Looking over their handiwork, Giselle allowed herself a smug smile.

Mirae jerked her head at the sight of the amulet as if suppressing a shudder. “That should certainly fool them,” she said quietly. “Now to lead them to it.” She started back down the hill, trying to make an obvious trail. Much of the grass on the path they had come up had already been disturbed by them dragging the body, but she continued blundering around until she was brushing up against the edge of a field of young corn. Someone had lined the boundary with sunflowers, and Mirae carefully fell into a few until they were severely bent. Hopefully in the same way they would have been if a man had been frantically wandering in the middle of the night.

She rejoined Giselle by the body. “Even if they miss the dead body at first, whoever put in those flowers should notice them. I think at this point we should find somewhere to camp for the rest of the night.”

“Sounds good to me. What say you to the idea of finding a spot where we can observe the tree? I’d like to see for myself how these fools react to their comrade’s inauspicious demise.” Giselle looked around. The farmland was tragically flat, but some of the land behind the tree was wild enough and had enough scrubby cover that a pair of saboteurs could probably go undetected, if they were careful.

With a nod of agreement, Mirae followed Giselle down the slope, finding a hiding spot near to where her companion settled in. She breathed in a familiar scent, and looked more closely at the shrub she was in; it was one she had seen on occasion before, on her farms. With a shrug, she pulled her cloak closed and relaxed, watching a few streaks of lightning in the distance and waiting for the dawn.

~~~

Giselle was still asleep when she heard the scream. Farmers woke up early, she supposed. Blinking against the early sunlight, she glanced down to see a lone worker, shouting and waving his arms and keeping at a distance from the body he’d discovered. There were other people, off in the distance, coming towards the tree but with no idea, yet, of what they would find there. “It’s all about to pay off,” Giselle said to her companion.

Mirae raised her head, a grin spreading across her face. They watched as more people approached. She recognized one of the men from yesterday, the one who had been guarding the farmhouse when she arrived, who was the first to actually climb the hill. He turned over the body, his hand moving to something at the corpse’s neck. Mirae couldn’t make out his reaction from their distance, but she would hazard that he had found the wooden amulet.

The woman from yesterday had arrived on the scene and joined the angry man at what was left of the tree. The man had just straightened, pulling the amulet off of the body’s neck as he went, which he now brandished at his companion. They seemed to be getting into a heated argument, neither particularly squeamish about standing over a dead body, though she noted that the other guards had stayed farther down the slope. Mirae strained to make out what they were saying, catching snippets of “one of us”, “blasted”, “alone”. “Night”. “Tree”.

It was comical, the way the masses were avoiding the area, keeping a perimeter around the tree. Giselle could almost imagine a barrier between the audience and a stage, with two brave volunteers crossing the barrier to join in on the magic show. These volunteers just happened to be unaware that what they were doing was all part of an illusion, which really helped with the realism.

The man who’d found the body started shouting again, gesturing wildly. The man and woman in the center of it all held up their hands, as if calling for quiet and reason. It didn’t work. There were too many simultaneous shouts, but “leave” was definitely a frequent word. Some of the crowd broke off, running back in the direction they’d come, toward safer pastures and more familiar ground.

Those that stayed kept arguing, and it was hardly more coherent than before. The angry man in the center tried to say something about “duty,” but he was drowned out over complaints including words like “curse” and “next.” After several minutes, even these stalwarts retreated. The man and woman were the last to walk away, after an extended quiet conversation among themselves. They left the body where it lay.

There was a rustle beside her as Mirae stretched, breaking the quiet left in the crowd’s wake. She watched the figures disappear behind swaths of farm, then asked softly, “Think it’s too much to hope for that they’re all fleeing this floor?”

“No, I think we can hope for that.” Giselle stood upright for the first time since the previous night. “I mean, we shouldn’t assume that’s what they’re doing, but I’d say there’s a good chance.” She looked out to where the anti-guilders had retreated, and then back to the body. “We should probably bury that guy again. I mean, he did help us trick a whole group of people into leaving… hopefully. It seems like the least we can do.”

“Perhaps so. Maybe with a little more respect this time than he had before.” Mirae jumped to her feet. “A little reverse grave-plundering, then hunting down some bread. Finally,” she added with a small laugh.

“Yeeeaaahhh….” Said Giselle, remembering why she’d come up to this floor in the first place. “Bread would be good.” She looked from the body back to Mirae and, feeling proud of what they’d accomplished, put a hand on her companion’s shoulder. “That was nice work. Thank you. I could never have done this on my own.”

“Same. Maybe we’ll run into each other again. Sometime.” With that, Mirae took off up the hill.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after.
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:04 pm

Turn Rewards:
  • Narrativedilettante ~ Chameleon Cloak
  • Tohrinha ~ Bread Supply
  • RussetDivinity ~ Stolen Sword
  • IslaKariese ~ Stolen Sword

Floor 3 Boss Fight: Famous Last Stand
Quest Description: Their membership is dwindling, their resources are shrinking, and their leadership are dropping away, but the anti-guild faction hasn't all given up yet. Their last chance at winning the day is pushing on to the Fourth floor (which became mysteriously unlocked when a young man returned from a suicide mission to heal a friend who had been sealed in stone) and taking the advantages of that position to turn all guild members and sympathizers back.
Goal: Put an end to the anti-guild, once and for all.
Quest Takers:
  1. Hector Erastus (Adell) and Tamar (Scarab)
  2. Nova (eli_gone_crazy) and Ben (Qara-Xuan Zenith)
  3. Jenny (JackAlsworth), Likovya (RussetDivinity), and Mirae (Tohrinha)

Boss Fight Details: The three parts to this quest are totally distinct. Part one concerns Luca and Asha, wherever they're to be found. Hector already has a bone to pick with them; he and Tamar need to stop Luca from actualizing his goal, one way or another. Part two concerns Soren Kavros, who by this point has separated himself from the rest of the faction. Like with part one, he's looking for them and they're looking for him; it's up to Ben and Nova to put a stop to him. Part three is... everyone else, all the anti-faction up on the passage to floor four. If you want a hope of ever getting to higher floors of the Castle alive, you'd better hope that Jenny, Likovya, and Mirae break up the party, and fast.
Boss Fight Mechanics: The three parts of this quest are approximately simultaneous, and can be posted in any order. It is functionally impossible for players from one leg of it to have heard of the events of another leg until afterward.

GM Notes:
  • On Part One:...You know what to do. The rage spell has to wind down.
  • On Part Two: Kavros is a Shadow-- more dangerous than a normal human, and angry... and he's already gotten away with almost murdering one of you once. Don't let him get away again.
  • On Part Three: They've got all their eggs in one basket-- absolutely everyone still affiliated with the anti-faction is up there on floor four, facing you. There are three of you instead of two, but you're still vastly outnumbered. It's time to end this.

Deadline is Tuesday September 17th, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST

Note: Quest 36 (Krika and Victin) will be considered valid IF AND ONLY IF it is posted before any of the quest resolutions for this bossfight go up. Otherwise, as it is beyond deadline, it should be considered a failed quest and scrapped.

Second Note: A new Special Event thread will be opened for any relevant character reactions once boss fight resolution posts start to go up.

Play safe, good luck, and have fun!
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Krika on Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:28 pm

Stirring Up Trouble

It was hard to navigate by in this part of the city. The streets would frequently turn into themselves, the alleyways end abruptly and sometimes the shadows seemed to follow you, only to suddenly go away in the next instant. For someone not used to the Slums, that is. For one who lived there, they already knew it as the back of their hands. Unfortunately, this wasn’t Morionem’s case. For him, it was a labyrinth.

“Better than being lost at a forest. Way better.” The thought passed through his mind as if it had came from nowhere. His time at the forest wasn’t a pleasant one, and he was shocked to discover hell broke loose while he was away. For the swordsman himself, the situation wasn’t that bad: he got to know some new people, got a (non-paid) occupation and a new garb for himself. Well, they were used clothes but still they weren’t in a state as bad as his old ones, so these were certainly an improvement.

Yet, he didn’t like in any way the current situation of the town, and decided to make as much of it as he could. Morionem had decided to help the people, so while he was active in the reforestation group, he thought he should do something else, but for starters, he wanted to know more about the Anti-Guild and the Guilds. And that’s why he was there - the swordsman had heard a group of Anti-Guild warriors were going to reunite somewhere at this part of town. He didn’t know why, but decided it was worthy to investigate.

~~~~

Fern was not having a good day, not at all. His preference for information gathering involved spending a good week buried in books, not going out to spy on people - which he not only didn’t know how to do, but didn’t know enough about the situation here in the castle to accomplish proficiently. While he could handle walking into a bar and buying a drink (a drink that he had decided was a strong second reason not to go back to the bar), listening into some of the more private conversations in the bar was a lot harder, and something that he knew he couldn’t do very well. He had managed to pick up a couple of tidbits, however, that could lead to good information later down the line.

Happily, he had also managed to get away from most of the mob (which was the first reason for not going back).

Unfortunately, he hadn’t gotten away from all of them. He could hear their yells of “Down with the guilds!” and “Catch the librarian!” uncomfortably close behind him, and whenever he checked behind him, there was somebody close enough behind him to prevent any sudden series of direction changes from throwing them off his trail. He’d managed to pull the classic tricks of overturned barrels and upset carts to slow them down a little, but shaking them wasn’t going to be quite so easy. On the upside, it appeared as if his pursuers had been whittled down to three. On the downside, they all seemed to be both determined, and good runners.

He skidded around a corner, and slammed into a young man who was just turning the corner at the same time, but in the opposite direction. Momentum met, canceled, and both of them ended up on the ground. “Sorry, sorry, sorry!” Fern immediately began stuttering on reflex, as he scrambled to pull himself up. As good a job as he was doing, it was rudely interrupted by a boot to his ribs, sending him tumbling back to the ground. As he shifted into a sitting position, he was greeted to the sight of the three toughs that had persisted chasing him, two of them hefting decently sized clubs.

“We gotcha now, guild scum.” The lead one cracked a grin that revealed a couple of missing teeth, which both increased and slightly ruined the overall intimidation factor. “Yer naw gettin’ away now!”

~~~~

Morionem wasn’t sure what was happening right now, but he was certain he should try to defend the man who was being run after. Besides, judging by the way one of the attackers spoke like, they were soldiers of the Anti-Guild Faction, therefore managing to acquire some information from them would be quite useful. “Who are you and what do you think you are doing?” Morionem said, drawing his sword and shield.

“Ahhh… So the Guild bastard was actually runnin’ fer his little friend” He grimaced and looked over both of his companions. “Ah pick the swordsman, you two can get the librarian ‘ere.” The apparent leader darted towards Morionem, but was surprised by the person on the ground suddenly lobbing what appeared to be a small clay pot directly at him. With a growl, he slapped it out of the air to smash against the wall of the alley, where it was also the center for a sudden burst of flame, and an apparently animate creature made out of fire to burst out, and launch itself directly at one of two attackers in the back.

The man opened his mouth to speak, but was cut short by a sudden attack coming from Morionem. “You chose me, you pay for it.” He said as his blade tried to stab through his foe’s left shoulder, who dodged just in time with considerable speed, managing to reduce the damage to a small gash in his arm. “Wait, that didn’t even sound good, bummer.” This was followed by a right jab from the Anti-Guild warrior that would have hit Morionem hasn’t he raised his shield to protect himself from the incoming strike. Though even with the shield to protect him, the attack was strong enough to surprise Morionem and knock him off-balance for a split second, which he corrected by stepping back, facing his opponent.

There was not time for Morionem to strike again. The swordsman only saw the glint of metal in his enemy’s as he sprang forward, hitting Morionem’s shield while forcing him to step back. This led to an opening on his right side, which the Anti-Guild warrior took advantage off by slashing his forearm. On a normal person the wound would lead the person unable to use a sword or even a shield with the harmed arm, but Morionem simply let his curative magic flow into the cut, preventing pain and bleeding, at least for now. However, the wound still was there, so the swordsman would need to take care. Therefore, he attacked back right away, though his adversary had more than enough room to jump back. “So yer fightin’s better than ya look.” The Anti-Guild opponent visibly carried one knife in each hand right now, and the dark grin on his face was as sinister as his intentions toward the Guilds.

Meanwhile, the other two attackers were facing difficulties of their own. One of them was wildly swinging his club at the fire-bird that was fluttering around, constantly diving at his head. It was struck a couple of times, but it’s body seemed to not be able to be injured very effectively by the club (in fact, it seemed to leave scorch marks on the club). The man’s clothing was slightly on fire in several places, but no serious damage seemed to be happening to either party.

Fern was in a slightly more precarious position, having managed to produce a short walking staff from inside his cloak to wield as a weapon, but clearly showed very little skill with it. His opponent was slightly more proficient with the club he wielded, but still had very little ability with it. They had settled down into a rhythm with Fern mostly managing to barely block the strikes headed his way, while occasionally throwing an ineffectual jab with one end of his staff. As much of a stalemate as it appeared at first glance, the thug’s superior strength was slowly driving him backwards.

Though Fern wasn’t the only one in trouble. Morionem was also having problem with his own opponent - His enemy was dealing quick strikes with both his knives, to which the swordsman defended against with his shield, but whenever he tried to attack, the knifeman would dodge to the side, all of this while also forcing Morionem back. ”If this keeps going like this, I’ll get tired soon and he’ll overpower me. I can’t let this happen.” The swordsman then channeled an electrical current through the steel lining of his shield, and the next time his foe struck, he was surprised by a small lightning surge, arcing to his knives, which then channeled the power through his body. The Anti-Guild warrior jumped back, and stood still for a second trying to understand what just happened. This was the opening Morionem was looking for. It was time to strike.

His first action was to skip forward, and deliver a successful stab onto the abdomen of the knifeman. Together with the sword, Morionem gathered energy deep inside his soul, and let it flow through his body until it connected with his weapon and became electricity, covering the blade in a silvery aura of light. The enemy had no choice but to try and escape the charged sword after it hit him, and this resulted in a large gash in his body. Then, the man started circling Morionem, and gave a quick glance to his companions’ fight. Just as he noticed this, Morionem did the same, and concluded that the “librarian” wasn’t doing very well.

Though this gave the knifeman the chance to counterattack. From the right, two blades came downwards in synchrony, as two drops of water falling during the rain. The swordsman barely had the time to position his sword in other to derail one of the knives, nevertheless the other still hit him, very closely to where the other wound stood. It sparked Morionem’s fury, and for an instant he swung his blade in a long arc, focusing all of his energy into channeling electricity, to the point he cut short the flow of healing magic inside his arm. The attack didn’t hit, but it was enough to open a large space in-between both combatants.

One could clearly see the other, and they were roughly in the same condition. Morionem bled from the wounds in his right arm, and he felt a wave of pain running wild through it. This second wound was worse than the first, even as he restarted channeling curative magic, while the bleeding stopped, he could still feel some of the pain. Thankfully, the rest of his was in better condition, save for his brown hair which had gotten messy and his shield which had been dented multiple times by the knife strikes. The Anti-Guild warrior, also wasn’t in his best condition. His own wounds gushed blood that tainted his clothes with a dark, shadowy color, though he seemed to be ignoring the pain well. His teeth-missing grin had vanished, and a look of rage had formed on his face. And it was there, visibly on his neck, the Anti-Guild symbol, a carved wooden talisman. It seemed to possess a sinister will of its own, beating and emanating energy as an eerie heart that lusted for blood, though Morionem shrugged it off as being simply an impression of his.

”This isn’t going well. If it keeps going like this, I won’t be able to use my sword to attack anymore. But how can I reverse this situation?” Morionem glanced around, making sure to always keep an eye on his enemy to prevent another attack. His eyes once again noticed the other brawl that was happening simultaneously, and it didn’t look very well for the man he got in a fight for. “Well, he did seemed capable of conjuring fire magic or whatever he was doing before. If I can get to him, maybe we can turn the tides of our fights.” The swordsman started channeling magic through his sword, preparing for an attack. He could feel both fluxes of energy slowly passing by it, the one that healed his wounds and the one that would become electricity at the tip of his blade. He didn’t try to force them to go any faster, as he feared to disrupt either of them. The other foe also seemed on the verge of attacking, the facility Morionem could guard himself against the man’s twin knives being the only thing that held him back. He decided to wait for his enemy’s move, which was about to happen.

An electrical arc swung through the air, as a whip made out of pure light. The swordsman controlled it with his blade, and moved it in a way to force his enemy to jump to the left, where he could defend any strike with his shield. Just as his move work, Morionem leaped forwards, hoping to arrive at the other fight and aid the “librarian” in order to join forces against the thugs. Sadly, halfway through his path, the knifeman unexpectedly tackled him with enough strength to send him towards the wall, and then directly to the ground. Morionem got dirt in his mouth and his sword flew past his grasp, though he made sure to hold the shield tightly, and it proved worthy as his enemy came stab him.

“Yer dead now, kiddo.” The man lunged with both his knives forwards in order to strike his enemy down, but Morionem guarded himself against the attack. Then, his retaliation was shoving his shield on the Anti-Guild warrior’s face. This surprise lead to a flinch of the foe, and the swordsman took use of this opening to send a lightning towards him. It hit, but it wasn’t enough to make the man stop trying to stab him. Morionem kept shocking him and started attempting to kick he knifeman as he tried to overpower him. The stalemate went on for a few moments, until the warrior decided to move away from the range of the lightning.

Morionem stood up poorly, and once again both combatant’s gaze met. This time, not for long. The swordsman turned behind and called for as much power he could draw from himself at this moment as he could. This surge in energy, combined to the energy already on his arm, which he decided to sacrifice was converted in a powerful thunderbolt that he unleashed at the thug who was closest to the “librarian”. This surprise was enough for the man to let go his club and fall to his knees.

Fern gave a grateful nod to the swordsman, who smiled back and dove to get his sword, and took a moment to get his breath back, before he dodged around the fight and struck at the attacker who was still distracted by the fire-bird, though several bits of his clothing were now on fire. The thug noticed his approach, and after a moment of thought, turned and fled. He called the fire-bird back to hover around his head, and took a guarding stance, keeping an eye on the entrance to the alley, and on the two warriors. A moment later, with a nod from his head, the fire-bird swooped toward the knifeman, catching the attacker off guard.

Before the thug that was on the ground could stand up, Morionem struck him with yet another lightning attack. This one wasn’t as powerful as the first one, but he guessed it’d be enough to prevent the target from trying anything funny for now. He’d still keep an eye on him, though. “Hey, you.” He said, turning to the librarian. “Name’s Morionem. And you?” “I am Fern. Thank you for coming to my assistance.” “No worries. I want to know more about the Anti-Guild’s deal. By the way, did you tame the bird?” “It is a magical construct I created and bound to myself, so I suppose I could be said to have tamed it, though that is somewhat inaccurate.” “So… Summoning magic? I haven’t seen one in a good time.” “We are not exactly common, so that would not surprise me at all.”

While this exchanged this snippet of a conversation, the enemy who was left decided to strike. He ran towards both men, both knives in his hands becoming a silvery blur as he moved them in a complicated routine. Morionem prepared to defend the attack… But it never came. Not for him actually, but for his companion. Fern, seeing the man charging him, panicked, and dodged to the side, bringing up his staff to attempt to defend against the upcoming attack. The attack, however, never came. The man, continued his charge straight past Fern, and out of the alley, pivoting back into the streets.

As the man passed by, Morionem tried to attack with a thunderbolt made up with his leftover energy, but his target seemed unaffected by it. “This guy… He’s really, really resistant. That mustn't be normal. He… He actually doesn’t feel normal.” The swordsman focused, and tried to sense what this uneasy impression was. He could feel the threads of life wrapping around the man, but while he knew the man was probably human and alive, he could feel the man wasn’t made out of the same materials a person is made out of. Morionem couldn’t quite describe it - he had never seen such thing - and besides that, the man seemed to be missing something. And whatever such thing was, it seemed to have been replaced by a… A beacon of wrath, sending off pulses of energy through the man’s body. It… It was all Morionem could sense before the man got too far. This is very weird, and probably very wrong too.

After that, the swordsman walked towards the thug he knocked down himself, kneeled down, and put his sword on his neck, making sure he’d feel the cold touch of the metal. His own breathing was hard, but he tried to not make it too noise as he suspected the thug was still conscious, only pretending. Fern, meanwhile, took the time to bend over, and gasp for air, catching his breath after all the sudden exertion. “Thank you again, for coming to my assistance. I suppose you are favorable toward the Guilds?” He smirked and responded. “I can’t say I have decided yet, but actually they do seem better than the Anti-Guild. So far, I heard a bunch of misdeeds they have been doing, and I don’t like any of that crap. Burning the forest, blackmailing citizens through sheer force, that kind of crap.” Fern nodded slowly. “I...I was told to go and search for information on the Anti-Guild Army, though I do not know why I was asked to go, as that sort of subterfuge is not my strong suit. Also…” he looked at Morionem carefully for a moment, “...I think I might have overheard something important that the one wielding the knives mentioned. He was telling people to go to someplace called the Descent for training, though he did not specify where it was, or what training it might be.” He gave a wry grin. “I suspect that is why they pursued me so energetically.”

The swordsman wondered about these words for a second. “I also heard a group of Anti-Guild warriors were to reunite somewhere in this part of the city.” He stared at the man whose neck touched his sword. “And I think I know who can give us some information.” Fern blinked, looked down at the man pinned to the ground, and then back at Morionem. “Oh. If you are going to torture him…...I will step out. I...I do not think I would enjoy being around that.” In response, Morionem looked at his new friend, with a smirk on his face, and winked at him. He then glanced back at the thug. “So, I think you heard us. Where is this so called ‘Descent’?” The man kept still and silent. “You know you are still breathing, I can… Feel it. I totally can.” While he didn’t completely trust his own words, Morionem focused on his magic and tried to sense what was the current state of the man, concluding he was, in fact, breathing, and most probably conscious too. This reminded him of his arm’s wounds. Now that the fight had passed, he was tired and struggling to keep the curative flux preventing blood loss and (most of) the pain.

“I won’t say anything.” The thug claimed, bringing Morionem back to the real world. “But why, though?” The swordsman asked back. “Because… Because you’re filthy Guild hobnobbers!” “So… You want me to force you into talking, then?” The man silently and nervously thought for a second, and then replied. “I’m of no use for you dead.” “Oh, yes… But we have your friend over there. I can do more than just slicing him apart, you know.” A wave of static advanced through the blade, and the to the thug, followed by a tiny bit of refreshening energy, only enough to be felt, but with no apparent use. “And if the damage’s too bad, we always have healing magic.” At this point, the man got visibly nervous. “NO! I… I mean… No. Don’t do that. He… He has a family! Yes! He has! A wife, and children, and… Family!” “Then,” Morionem approached the Anti-Guild warrior even more, and spoke to his ear. “I suppose you should tell us where your friends are going to reunite.” Once again, there was silent for a second before the answer came. “It’s this big amount of rubble, that was once someone’s house or something. When it came down, after some time we realized it was a straight passage right to the Underground.” Fern, who had been wavering between leaving, and staying around for potential back-up, unslung his pack, and pulled out a rolled up piece of paper, unrolling it to reveal a decently detailed map of the city, and approached the man. “Can you point out about where this place is, in the city? I would think there are a lot of buildings that could fit that description, especially during all this conflict.” The man nodded frantically, and indicated a particular section of the map with a free arm, Morionem giving a meaningful slight increase of the pressure of his sword to head off any thoughts of funny business. “Thank you for that.”

The swordsman glanced over Fern and then whispered. “What do we do with them now? Should we leave them here or… ?” Fern frowned, and considered for a moment before whispering back. “We shouldn’t let him go, in case he warns others. Maybe we can drop him off at the constabulary for breaking the peace? Is that an option?” Morionem didn’t know what ‘constabulary’ was, so he just nodded back. “Where is it?” “I….I think it’s near the town square, or the main branch is, anyway.” “C’mon big guy.” Morionem stood up, and the thug gave a deep breath as the sword stopped pressing his neck. “Grab your friend and let’s move.” He started rising, when a blank look formed on his face. “Where are you going to take us to?” “Nowhere special. Don’t worry, you won’t be hurt nor anything. Probably.” He muttered to himself in his mind.

~~~~

Once they had gotten to the main square, finding the constabulary (or the guard-house, as Morionem apparently knew it by) had not been difficult. The guards had been more than happy to take custody of their prisoner, freeing them to start to hurry toward the “Descent” place. As they moved through the streets, Fern frowned, turning over information in his head.

“So you are a mage then, are you?” he inquired of his impromptu companion. “Yes. Lightning and healing focus… Foci, I mean. And you? Can you only summon your phoenix?” Fern wiggled his hand. “Technically I do have access to another Summon, and a more general knowledge and capability of ritual magic, but if you are speaking of things that are useful in battle….I am afraid that Nethys is my only magical aid at the moment.” He frowned. Healing magic is useful. Though information on where we are going would be better…. “What do you know about this Underground that the Descent connects to? Or information in general, I suppose. It would be helpful to have as much of it as possible prior to attempting… whatever we are going to attempt. Which would be useful to know as well.”

Morionem thought for a second, trying to recall as much information as he could. “The Underground seems to be this place where everything is trying to kill you. Well, I haven’t heard of the ground or air creating life and attacking people.” The swordsman paused for a second. “Yet. But you got what I meant. I haven’t been there in person so far though. About general information… I’ve heard the war started when a certain guild leader was revealed to be a criminal, and then everyone went crazy. Since then, said man disappeared, and the Anti-Guild just… They just…” Rage filled Morionem’s body, to the point he clenched his fists. “Calm down, Morionem. Calm down.” “Attacked everyone they thought were on their way. This included some common people, workers that had nothing to do with either the Guilds or anyone else. They forced people to work for them, to supply them with materials… They even burned the forest, damnit!” His teeth gritted in disgust, and he noticed his right hand held the wooden grip of his sword, while his left hand was clenched in a fist, and he could feel a dormant electric pulse flowing both of them. He gave a deep sigh, and cut short the magic that flowed through his arms, keeping only the curative force that prevented his wounds from hurting and bleeding.

Fern frowned. “I hadn’t really had the chance to look up what they were, what they wanted….I would have prior to heading out, but Lori was very insistent that I go find information, and not spend a week buried in books first.” He muttered something about ‘need proper baseworks’ before looking back up at Morionem. “Anything else you can think of that might be helpful going into this?” “Well…” The swordsman rolled his eyes, in disbelief of himself. “That man who escaped from us didn’t seem, I mean- didn’t feel like, you know, an actual man. It was… Strange, as if someone had dismantled him and then rebuilt, but with other materials.” Fern stared at him, some amount of disbelief evident on his face. “Really? That…that hardly seems likely. The magic required to do that to a person would be… tremendous.” He paused, and then gave a small shrug to himself. “Assuming that is accurate...what do you think the other materials were?” Morionem stared back, with a blank look on his face. “I can’t say for sure, but now that I think about it… It seemed to be superficially similar to a person, maybe something that is sort of part of a person, like a reflection, or a shadow or a memory. What do you say?” Fern glanced at Morionem, before shrugging. “Since I did not feel what you felt, and I have no evidence in either direction, I do not think I can really provide input. Maybe we will find more answers at this Descent.” He nodded back, before adding. “We probably will, but since you are the one with the map, can you tell me where are we?” Fern checked the map, looking around to get his bearings.

“It should be pretty close, I think. We’re almost there.”

~~~~

“No, I don’t have any weapons I can hand to you, nor will I hand my own weapons to you.” Joseph whispered annoyed to his colleague, but at this point it was almost as if he were yelling it out loud, because the group who was following them could hear it perfectly, and had mixed reactions of awkwardness and hilariousness. “You should have thought it out better.”

“But ‘e told us we’d be stronger, and pow’rful-er!” The man waved his hands in distress. "’Ow could I know I'd need more knives?!"

"I don't know… Common sense, logic, average intelligence. I can't just pick one." He said with a smug grin on his face. "Can you stop bothering me now?"

"But Ah can't jus’ let ‘em there! If Ah do that Ah’ll look like a coward!” His face sported a frown as he nervously tossed one of his beloved knives from hand to hand. Joseph sighed, and smacked the knife out of the at the apex of a toss.

“Isaac. Stop that. We’re going to go there, get this over with, and then we can fix your screw-up. Now shape up, and let’s get going!” He signaled to the rest of his group. “Let’s head out, people!” The half-dozen men (and one woman) present gave a vague roar of ascent, before following Joseph and Isaac as they moved out. Currently, only Isaac and himself were the only ones present who had received Soren’s gift, but soon more would join them.

Isaac grunted in frustration and anger before putting away his knife. The group followed carefully both gifted warriors step-by-step, the shadow of a possible enemy attack hovering over them - after all, Isaac left two people who suspect or knew about their plans escape alive. Some comments were exchanged by the chosen men, criticizing Isaac’s actions and his actual courage, irritating the man himself.

Finally, the tense journey was coming to an end, as they could see the Descent on the end of the street, the only brick house amongst many wooden ones, whose only floor to survive was the ground one (out of two), and even then it wasn’t intact. A large hole was open on the wall facing the street, allowing the group to see two silhouettes moving inside. Speeding up, Joseph realized that they were crouched in the room where knew the trap door that led down into the caverns was. Gesturing to his group, they all drew weapons, and approached the hole in the wall.

“‘Dat’s ‘em! ‘Dat’s the two I fought!” Isaac hissed in his ear, before a sharp gesture on Joseph’s part silenced him. Creeping forward, he flattened himself against the wall, close enough to hear what the two were saying.

“You sure you don’t need my help with this?” “Trust me, it will go a lot quicker if I simply do this by myself instead of redoing it to allow for for both of us to do perform it at once. In addition, we do not know if they will show up while I am doing this,” a comment which elicited a silent chuckle on Joseph’s part, “and you would be better suited than I to be a guard. Nethys will assist you to the best of his ability as well, so that should be helpful.” “ Alright….” After that, one of them went silent, while the other began a quiet chant. Joseph frowned as he felt a sudden prickling on his skin, of a kind that he’d begun feeling after receiving Soren’s gift. While he didn’t know what it meant, he was pretty sure it was a bad thing, especially as they seemed to be trying to do something to the Descent, which he was not going to allow to happen.

He turned, and gestured to the group that had by some miracle manage to not give away their presence yet. “Get them, boys! We’ve got Guild-lovers to kill!” he called, and was answered with a shout, as the ungifted drew weapons and ran through the hole toward the pair.

Turning abruptly, Morionem welcomed the incoming attackers by drawing his sword and shield and parrying with an enemy swordsman. ”There’s so many of them. Damnit!” An archer stood at the hole in the wall to provide ranged support (inside the relatively small enclosed space the house provided), but was raided by a fire-bird, preventing any arrow from being fired. Swooping around the archer a few times, it dived at the bow, somehow managing to temporarily attach itself onto one end, setting it on fire before taking off again. A moment later, the bow was rendered useless by the burning bowstring snapping, causing the archer to curse, and draw a small knife from his belt to uselessly swing at the fire-bird.

Meanwhile, Morionem was struggling against a sword-wielding duo, a man and a woman both whose weapon of choice were longswords. This provided them a large range, and they seemingly had enough experience together, because their fighting synchronized perfectly - while one held Morionem’s sword in a stalemate, the other dove to attack, causing him a lot of trouble. He managed back them away by channeling two arcs of electricity through their respective blades, and by doing this he realized how tired he already was, and he probably wouldn’t last long with this amount of people to fight against. “Are you going to be busy for long?” He asked as he tackled a hammer-wielding man who was about to swing it at his friend, but the warrior almost shrugged off the attack.

In response, Fern unhooked a small jar from his belt, and tossed it toward the entrance, where it shattered against the ground, and released a small cloud of smoke. “Avert your eyes!” he called in a convenient pause in his muttered chant, before sending a mental direction to Nethys. The fire-bird ceased bothering the former-archer, and dived into the melee, bouncing off of several of the Anti-Guild fighters, before swooping through the cloud, which proceeded to burn up in a bright, somewhat explosive manner. When Morionem looked back, he saw two of their opponents had been more-or-less knocked out of the fight, holding their hands against their presumably scorched eyes, while another was looking distinctly woozy on her feet. In the meantime, Nethys was continued to bounce around and off the others, keeping them partially off-guard.

Still, the shockwave of the explosion wasn’t enough to send Morionem backwards, but his friend, whom he decided to call Hammerman, did that instead. He was sent straight into the ground, but managed to roll to the side before his ribs were crushed to pieces by another attack. As the hammer was lifted for another strike, the swordsman panicked mildly as he noticed the floor was shattered by the bash, and crawled through his enemies legs just in time to evade the second attack. “That was close! Better give Hammerman some space or… Or just do this.” A shocking stab from Morionem’s sword was enough to take a surprised Hammerman down, even because his leg was the target of said attack.

He stood up and turned around. The Hammerman was down, and there also were two men laying on the ground and a stunned woman. A swordsman, a scared person wielding a small knife and a man who just stared at the fire-bird and seemingly tried to strangle it with his mind. The living flame flickered and waved a bit, somewhat more jerky in it’s movements, and seemed unable to get very close to one of the enemies before being jerked to the side. Fern stumbled for a moment in his chant, before steadying.

“I am almost done! Another moment longer!” he called in another conveniently timed pause in the chant, before speeding up the stream of words coming from his mouth. The swordsman came first, but parried with Morionem, trying to find an opening to strike. The now irritated fire-bird was unable to attack him, and turned its attention to the mage who tried to control it. All of this, and the warrior who was once an archer stood away, carefully watching the fights that went on and trying to decide what to do. In a moment of brilliance, he decided to try to approach Fern from behind, and then stab him before his ritual was complete. In return, Morionem spun and countered the rival swordsman with his shield, sending him backwards, and following the subsequent opening he ran to strike the archer, who was sent down with ease.

Fern bolted upright, and noticed just how close to being run through he had been, and blinked, thrown off for a moment, before shaking his head, and grabbing Morionem. “It is done, let us get moving!” Behind him, the ritual circle was glowing brightly, and starting to crackle ominously. He dived through a partially opened doorway, dragging a partially willing Morionem behind him, and skidded to a halt next to an overturned table, pulling both of them mostly behind it. The two opponents left, and the swordswoman, who had regained her sense, looked in a confused manner at the circle. “What’s that doi-”

The glowing circle flashed and vanished, and the entire house shuddered for a moment, before the floor and walls of the room cracked and collapsed, falling inward in a crash of rubble and dust. A couple of bricks fell on the two, but nothing particularly large, and in a couple of moments, the noise quieted down. Slowly getting to their feet, they beheld the result of their efforts.

Where the room had been was now a massive pile of rubble that was open to the air, the ceiling above it having collapsed as well. Fern sighed, feeling the magical exhaustion hit him, as the adrenaline started to drain. “Well…I think we pulled it off...”

“And that, my tenacious friends, is precisely why you are about to die.” From out of the dust cloud strode two figures. The one in the rear they both recognized as the strange man from the alley, while the one in front held himself with a similar bearing, and held a mace in one hand. “You have no idea just how much trouble you’ve caused. Thankfully, you don’t seem to be in any condition to fight, so this will be easy enough. Just lay still and I won’t make this much more painful than it needs to be….maybe.” The one in the back grabbed his shoulder. “Hey! Ah want’d to kill ‘em!” The first shook the hand off, and glared at him. “Isaac, you’ve screwed this up more than enough already by not getting rid of them the first time. Let someone competent clean up your mess, as usual.” The second one, Isaac, glared at the first, eyes filling with anger. “Ya don’t ‘ave the right t’ talk t’ me like that!” “Well, you already were incompetent before receiving the same gift of power Soren has, but after that you got even worse. Right now, you are an useless dual knife-wielding piece of shit. I am much stronger and well suited for this than you. In fact, I’m more suited to do anything than you, and everyone else. I could even take on Soren Kavros himself.” The first one grinned maliciously, and lifted his mace with both hands, as if to make his point.

“What’r ya sayin’?” Isaac asked back, eyes darting from the Guild scum to his so called ally, each knife pointing to a different target. “I’m saying exactly what I meant to. Before this,” He raised his mace and an ethereal shadow of power seemed to surround it. “Taking over the Anti-Guild was just an illusive dream. Now, it is a factual possibility.” His weapon came down just as Isaac attempted to attack him, whose eyes now seemed to glow with pure rage. “Trait’r scum! Even worse than Guild scum!”

Morionem put his arm over Fern’s shoulder as they quietly stepped away from the duo, whose battle quickly escalated to the point where both were ignoring. “Hey,” He whispered to the librarian, while breathing hard. “Could you... Take me... To the church? They have… Free healers and stuff...” Fern nodded, and supported Morionem as they quietly left the scene. Morionem’s eyes closed, and slowly more and more of his weight was being put on Fern’s shoulders, and not long after the Anti-Guild warriors vanished from their field of vision his legs stopped running too.

Fern took a moment to look around, feeling for Nethys through their bond. Feeling the Summon still embodied, he called the fire-bird to him before continuing onward, shaking his head as he did so.

“This will be difficult to explain…..”
Last edited by Krika on Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Krika
>Narra has tiny jerk people in her socks.
>We are affirming our collective jerkhood by committing genocide on them.
Guyshane
>I'm going to read the logs and pray that that sentence makes more sense in context
>No
>No it does not
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Krika
 
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:07 am
Location: Home. I don't want to be.

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:52 pm

Floor 3 Boss Fight ~ Famous Last Stand Part Two: War Is Dying

The two redheads looked as though they could be mother and daughter, or a pair of sisters, out for an afternoon picnic, if not for the sword strapped at Ben’s waist, and the hesitance that hung about every aspect of Nova.

“This is the temple where we all stayed for a while… you and your guild stayed on longer than I did,” Ben told her companion, retracing the steps the two of them, with two others, had taken what seemed like ages ago.

She’d heard someone had torched the place a while back, but it was still jarring to see how little of it was left. Still, it wasn’t too difficult to walk the layout of where the structure had stood not too long ago. “I think Anjali and Julius Valerian had discovered the place sometime before. No doubt something fascinating befell them there--” she grinned, inviting Nova to do the same-- “but I don’t think they ever shared details.” They walked on, tracing out the shape of the rubble that was all that remained of Storm and Drive’s erstwhile hideout.

Nova grinned distractedly, and asked, “Who was Julius Valerian again?”

“He was your lieutenant in your guild, and… the two of you were very good friends. He saved your life,” Ben told her; “you’ve probably each saved each other’s lives a time or two.” She shook her head, trying to shake off the guilt as easily. “I’d have introduced you to him… again… by now, but no one’s seen him lately. I think he needs some time before he’s ready to talk, same as you did.”

Ben walked silently for a bit, trying to push away her worries. They weren’t Nova’s worries, not now, and she didn’t want to burden the girl. “That was the room where you stayed, I think. Over there was your office.” Ben pointed out various sites of interest in the ruins, as though leading a guided tour.

Nova followed quietly behind, taking in the scenery around her with wide-eyed curiosity. She said nothing, instead letting Ben talk about Torvantine’s life. While Nova was interested in finding out who she was, and knew that Anjali had obligations and responsibilities to uphold, she couldn’t help but feel incredibly happy with Ben and Kevin. They never said anything, but Nova felt like they were happy having her there. Or at least, she hoped so. Frowning, she pulled her attention away from those bad thoughts, instead focusing on Ben’s lecture on the decrepit temple. “...And those used to be doors, but seeing as the door jambs were made of wood, they’re not much more than pretty floor decoration now.”

Catching the Guildleader’s questioning glance, Nova slumped to the ground, shaking her head slowly. “D’you know why Kevin’s not here?” she asked after a long moment.

“Well, I’ve been here before, which is more than he can say,” Ben offered, trying not to feel hurt that the girl preferred Kevin’s company to hers. It made sense, after all. “We figured I’d be better for showing you around. Meantime, Kevin’s looking into some other things for you.”

Nova sank her head into her knees, obscuring her face from Ben. Nova frowned, unable to remember how she arrived, alone, with the fierce Guildleader. Walls of white threatened to obscure the past few moments of conversation as well. Nova sank further down, sighing at her lack of progress. “Ben?”

“You want to take a break?” Ben asked. “We can have a picnic in the forest if you’d like.”

Nova didn’t say anything, instead standing and trudging slowly towards the knight. Upon reaching her, she asked, “Who are the anti-guild? And why did Kevin stop Mackle from explaining it to me?”

Ben’s brow creased in consternation. If anything, the girl’s memory was deteriorating, not improving. She tried to mask her impatience as she answered. “We’re calling them the anti-guild because it’s all that describes them-- a group of angry rioters who don’t like the guilds, for not much reason. I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing Kevin thought the way… Marcus?... was talking about them was… too extreme. Liable to upset you for no good cause.” She paused. “He doesn’t like to see you hurt.” It was a stupid thing to say, really; neither did she, after all. But Kevin was very… Kevin about it.

Nova nodded, then said, “Thank you for taking the time to show me this old temple. I know you’re busy with Guild Stuff that I don’t quite understand. I really appreciate the efforts you are making to get Anjali back.”

Ben gave a low chuckle. “Oh, trust me, I am very happy to do something other than ‘Guild Stuff’. If there are any other old ruins you want to check out, museums to visit… beds of coals to walk across barefoot… just say the word, and I’ll dump the paperwork on someone else so I can tag along with you.”’

Nova grinned sadly, then panicked as she pulled a knife out of her pocket. She nearly threw the knife on the ground in disgust and fear before a memory flashed brightly through the fog. Her breath slowed as she remembered that Ben had given her the weapon. Ben gave me this. It’s okay, Ben’s here.

“Ben? Why are we exploring these ruins?” Nova asked, trying to calm down her rapid breathing by distracting herself.

“Remember what I was telling you about this place?” Ben asked, feeling the beginnings of panic herself. “You lived here for a while. I did, too, but I left before you did.”

Nova’s panic calmed as Ben spoke, eyes lowering at the mention of her lost memories. “I don’t remember how I got here, Ben,” she confessed, stuttering all the while.

“You walked with me,” Ben reminded her. “We walked the whole way. It was something of a long and boring walk, but--” Ben broke off abruptly. There was a figure much closer than any had a right to be without her seeing or hearing an approach. “Nova,” she said, in a low voice which she fought to keep steady, “I want you to get behind me. Right now. And keep moving behind me until you’re behind some of the taller ruins.”

“But… What about you, Ben?” Nova began to panic once more.

“Now, Nova,” Ben repeated. “Please. Trust me.” The figure was moving faster than it should have been able to, which gave her a chance to confirm its identity. “Get the hell away from her,” she growled through clenched teeth.

A cultured voice rang through the air. “Why send the girl away, Sir Ben, when the party’s barely started? She didn’t even last very long the last time around; don’t cheat me of my fun now.”

Nova winced as the stranger’s voice shattering any stubbornness that remained, sprinting behind a crumbling pillar.

Ben’s hand had been on her sword, but she didn’t draw it until the younger girl was no longer between them. “Soren Kavros,” she called, quickly closing the distance between them with a few long strides of her own. “You have imprisoned and tortured dozens of innocent men and women, among them Mat Svenson and Andrei Marks, both under my protection at the time. You have murdered innocent men and women, among them Mat Svenson of the Severed Claws.” He swung the claymore he held at her, and she parried with her broadsword, continuing to speak, intoning the words as they fought. “You have caused grievous, near-fatal injuries during the attempted murders of both Anjali Torvantine and Julius Valerian, and you have evaded custody at least twice.” She blocked a strike a moment too slow, and he scored a line down her left forearm before the swordpoint skittered aside. She spared a thought to wish she’d brought body armour rather than a simple leather jerkin on this expedition, as she continued. “By law, you cannot go free, and by my authority, I cannot allow you to walk away again.” The words were for her own benefit; she didn’t know if Nova could make sense of them, and she doubted Kavros cared, and there was no other audience to be had. But she needed them, to cling to, to assure herself that what she intended to do was not murder, but justice. It’s not what they deserve to get, it’s what you deserve to give. Kavros deserved worse than death, but it would dirty her to give him more, cheapen her to give him less.

“Are you sure you want to pursue this madness, Sir Ben?” he sneered. “My lesser self should have been more than sufficient to handle your weakness.”

Ben panted; Kavros was better with a sword than he’d been with two knives, and she didn’t have the advantage of range that she’d had then, just a disadvantage of height. She didn’t bother to respond to his words, now that she had made her statement. She had nothing more to say to him.

“B-Ben?” Nova called out, softly. “Please don’t fight him, Ben. I don’t want to lose you too.”

“I’ll be with you shortly,” Ben called to the girl, cursing the man she fought for forcing her to kill him in front of her innocent companion.

“Yes,” Kavros mocked, eyes glittering, “You will, won’t you?”

Ben grunted; she didn’t want to keep the strike-and-block pattern up until she wore down, and let him keep on shooting his vile mouth off while she shilly-shallied. It wouldn’t feel so great to kill an unarmed man, but… it would feel worse to let this one live. She reminded herself that, right now, her sword was that of Justice, and lunged forward to lock their hilts, preparing for a disarm.

He took the opening eagerly.

She tensed her muscles to jerk up, flipping his sword away from his unsuspecting grip, but in that fraction of a second, he was already bearing down on her. That’s an impossible reaction time, she thought, trying to adjust to the new situation. Actually, physically impossible. It was too late to abort the attempt now; she would have to wrestle.

Well, I can wrestle. She’d never liked the art much, if only because it was the only one at which Charlie could always beat her handily-- who liked to be shown up by a younger sibling?-- but she could certainly hold her own against the wrestling champions of Memenet. Hell, she’d even taken Hector Erastus a moment longer than his usual time in an arm-wrestle, and the Jade Devil had the strength of two men.

Rather than try to throw him off her-- which was fighting gravity, and bound to fail-- Ben went for the two swords, hilts still locked, trapped between their bodies, throwing all her strength at dislodging them. A weapon no one holds is infinitely better than a weapon only your enemy holds. She’d been taught that one young. It worked; both swords went skittering away. Whereupon Kavros’ hands closed around her wrists like manacles.

Kavros did not have the strength of two men. His strength was not on the same scale.

Ben’s fingers twisted, seeking a soft bit of flesh to dig nails into, but his hands were held at a clever angle; she found no purchase. Her feet prepared to kick out at him only for him to kick them back down after one blow, somehow pinning both ankles to the ground with one leg, hard enough to bruise. Hard enough to carve the shape of Ben’s feet several inches into the forest floor. She fell under his weight with a soft thud.

What were you thinking? Ben asked herself bitterly. Yeah, you’re the best in a couple countries. So is Alex, and he’s better than you. So is Julius Valerian, numbskull. You thought you could waltz over and kill him after Valerian nearly died? Alex warned you not to get cocky, Ben.

Kavros twisted her right arm back along the dirt until he heard a sickening crack, accompanied by a blinding flash of white-hot pain across Ben’s vision. She bit down, shredding through her tongue rather than make a sound. Then she shoved her head, the only thing she could move at the moment, violently at his chest. Why the hell not? I’m going to have a headache either way.

“Now, now, Princess. You should be ashamed. One such as yourself… such lovely potential,” Kavros smiled sweetly at Ben and wrenched harder on her broken arm, savouring her grimace of pain. “I expected more out of someone with your… bloodlines.”

Ben bit at his shirt, doing her best to at least irritate his chest with her teeth. He couldn’t do much about her head without releasing one of her other limbs, after all. “Call me that again,” she spat, “and I’ll show you potential.”

Kavros chuckled lightly, pressing his foot down on Ben’s ankles. “Now, you listen to me, wench. I offer you a choice. In exchange for the girl, I will spare your miserable life. I may even allow you to keep the ability to walk. Refuse, and I’ll kill her in front of you. Slowly. Intimately.” Kavros paused to relish Ben’s combined shock and pain. “I’ll even ensure your survival. But you will be loyal to me.”

In answer, Ben headbutted him again. This time, he took his left hand off her mangled right and slammed her head roughly back into the dirt, stroking her lips with his thumb. Ben tried to drag her newly-freed right arm to attack, but she couldn’t quite summon motion. Only pain.

“Don’t exert yourself too much, honey, or you won’t have any energy for later,” he told her, mock-concerned.

Ben ran through her options again. Struggling with her feet only brought Kavros pushing back, and an uncomfortable grating feeling. She could still move the fingers of her left hand, though circulation was cutting off, but as she wiggled them, he caught the fourth and fifth fingers with one thick finger of his and pulled them back slowly, until the ligaments could hold no longer. She couldn’t hold back a short cry of surprise and pain as the fingers sent her whole arm, her whole left side, throbbing. Ben closed her eyes rather than show him her tears of impotence and fear.

“B-ben?!” Ben flicked her eyes open, glancing around as much as she dared to focus on the smaller girl.

Ben opened her mouth to reply (How the hell am I supposed to come up with something both honest and reassuring to tell her right now?), to tell Nova to run, but her lips brushed uncomfortably against Kavros’ fingers, which tightened, holding her mouth closed.

“Do come out to play,” the man responded. “I have so missed your company, Miss Torvantine. The little princess didn’t put up as much fight as I might have hoped.”

“W-what are you doing to B-ben?” Nova cried out, tears in her eyes. “Y-you can’t do that t-to Ben.”

“Her Highness and I are just… getting to know each other better,” the voice, still smooth, still cultured, answered. “Fear not, darling, you’ll get your turn.” His voice, so near to her, drew Ben to look up at him again, helpless, her eyes wide with terror and wild panic.

Looking between Ben’s panicked face and the other’s manic grin, Nova asked, “W-who are you?”

“Don’t you remember me?” he asked lazily. “Well, I suppose I might have knocked a few screws loose the last time we met. Your pathetic lover was crying his eyes out. And bleeding his sides out,” he added cruelly.

“L-lover?” Nova stuttered, struggling to place names to faces in the inky whiteness. It was unyielding as always. Tears began to fall as Nova begged, “P-please, whoever you are… D-don’t hurt B-ben.”

“You hear that, Princess?” Kavros mocked. “Little Miss Muffet likes you. She really likes you.” The foot that wasn’t occupied with Ben’s ankles slammed into her stomach, eliciting a moan. He chuckled as the sound bubbled out of Ben’s lungs and past his fingers, still clamped over her lips.

“S-stop h-hurting Ben.” Nova threatened, trying to look as large as possible. “S-stop or I, I’ll hurt you.” The constant stutters and slurs did nothing to increase her credibility.

“What will you do, sweet, bleed on me like you did last time? I don’t think I’m quite finished here yet. Get in line.”

Growling with frustration, tears leaking down her face, Nova weighed her options. If she left now, Ben would die, and there was no guarantee that she could get any help in time to stop this man from killing again. Of course, all of this would be much easier if she could remember how to get home. Kavros snarled hungrily at Ben, rousing Nova from her thoughts. “I, I told y-you to s-stop.” she said, attempting to appear brave as she sent a small stone hurtling toward the enormous shade.

The man ignored the projectile, leaning his head down so close that Ben would have been able to smell his breath, if she’d been alert enough to be smelling anything. “Make me,” he breathed into her face, only barely loud enough to reach Nova’s ears.

A few more tears of frustration escaped Nova’s eyes as Kavros whispered to Ben, “We’re all alone, now.”

Emerald beams pulsed into life, as Nova growled with a tension that sent the hairs on Ben’s arm on end. Hair like flame crackled and spun as Nova sprinted for the pair. She let out a strangled cry, voice raw with tension as she leapt at the man, blade drawn.

He raised the hand that had been holding Ben’s left wrist and batted at her in a deceptively forceful motion, as though swatting a fly. “I told you,” he said, his voice cold, “I hadn’t finished with the princess.”

Nova was sent flying, tumbling and rolling into one of the crumbling walls. The small woman had the breath knocked out of her, coughing and hacking as she scrambled to her feet, staggering as she shook the stars out of her mind and inclined her head to meet the man’s. Eyes blazing with emerald fire, she leapt toward the shadow, face twisting with fury as she landed a deep cut, scoring his right shoulder from blade to kidney. Kavros roared in pain and anger, back arched at an unnatural angle.

With a feral grin, Nova clambered over the man’s armor, giving him a moment to anticipate in terror before she tore his knee apart, scarlet and ermine glowing sickly in the dim forest light. Shouting in pain, Kavros slammed his fist into Ben’s face, as though daring the other girl to do something about it. Ben whimpered quietly, one pain mounting on top of others.

Kavros stroked her cheek with a finger. “You should learn to make that sound on demand. It’s quite… becoming.”

Ben tried to make a noise of anger, but it came out as another whimper. He chuckled silkily. “There’s a good girl.” Tears stung her eyes.

Nova paid the woman no attention, instead smiling sweetly at Kavros, who was grinning triumphantly at the fallen knight. She paced carefully around the wounded giant, who snarled his defiance as he returned his focus to Ben. He lifted his foot-- now his only good leg-- from her ankles, only to bring it down again, hard, pressing until both he and Nova could hear something crunch.

Nova tilted her head on an angle, grinning crookedly at the murderous shadow. Kavros glanced uneasily between the tiny scout and her single, crimson-soaked blade. With a slow, deliberate motion, Nova carefully licked the blade clean, shuddering with pleasure as the iron began to shine a clear, argent light in the afternoon sun.

Kavros growled under his breath. He leaned forward to whisper in the near-unconscious Ben’s ear, close enough that his lips were brushing against her skin, “I’ll return to you soon, darling. Try not to pine for me while I’m gone.” Then, with a final vicious twist of her already-broken fingers and a cruel smirk at the mewling noises the injured woman made, he rolled off her, crouching to face Nova because he could not stand.

Slowly turning to meet the shadow with dead eyes, Nova sprang forward once more, knife extended. Kavros was unarmed, but not cowed. The shade swung his hands, fingers extended like some macabre bear. Nova ducked and rolled, sprang and leapt, avoiding Kavros’ arms by the tiniest fraction, sparking scarlet ribbons as she danced. With a terrible roar, Kavros punched Nova, sending her into a bloody dance to the ground. Scrambling up, Nova hissed loudly at the man, holding her shoulder protectively. Kavros didn’t deign to reply, lunging forward as far as his injuries would allow, hand seeking purchase around Nova’s unprotected throat. With a growl, Nova rolled into the man’s good leg, rending ligament from bone as the knife made contact. Blood sprayed in spurts, coating hair of flame in crimson paint.

Kavros fell, silent screams permeating the meadow. Veins distended, bulging from his face as he strained under the agony. Nova smiled as settled herself down to straddle him, pressing down on his wounds as painfully as possible. His right arm reached out, fingers prepared to claw at her face, as his left shoved her off him. Nova frowned, grabbing his left arm and biting as hard as she could into the soft flesh.

He yelped. “Little gutter-rat,” he muttered, trying to shake her off his arm, right-hand fingers groping for eyes to gouge at. “I’ll teach you proper manners.”

Nova growled, kicking out as hard as she could into the man’s chest, knocking him off balance. Taking the momentary advantage, Nova cut deeply into the bend of Kavros’ left elbow, and leapt out of range. The clenched muscles in his left hand slowly relaxed as he lost control of them, and, desperate, he threw more force into his right arm’s attack, pitching himself forward to grab at the girl.

Nova didn’t dodge until the last second, allowing her enemy to faceplant painfully on the ground. A small bark of laughter escaped blood-stained lips as Kavros struggled to gain purchase with his right arm, hand trembling. The movement caught Nova’s eye. A soft, hesitant hand reached out to meet the trembling, rough one. Pressing herself closer to the wounded man, Nova’s free hand carefully caressed his face as the other sent a shard of stone through his palm, pinioning it in place.

Roughly turning the man onto his back, Nova leaned on the staked arm until she heard a satisfying pop and a yell of pain. Leaning over his face, frost green eyes met black; a blood-soaked hand stroked a face besieged by terror. “Open.” she told the shadow.

Kavros snarled, the sound coming from deep in his chest, lips clamped even tighter out of spite. With a scowl, Nova hit him across the jaw with her elbow, causing another wheeze from his tortured throat. “Open.” As his head snapped to the side, Nova grabbed his tongue, stretching it as far as she could. Nova couldn’t restrain a manic grin as Kavros regained consciousness. Blood splashed the temple’s ruined floor, a coughing gurgle following soon after. With a roar of effort, he pulled his right hand out of the ground, the sharp stone still piercing it through. He scraped the makeshift dagger along Nova’s arm as far as he could reach, drawing a shallow line of blood.

Nova snarled, stabbing down with the knife, making contact with a throat that would no longer make any noise. Kavros began to spasm, inhuman heart struggling to keep up with the severe wounds. Nova gazed sadly at the shadow, seemingly wishing that her toy had been more cooperative. Pulling the knife free, Nova stared disapprovingly into the shadow’s eyes as she ended his life.

The thing that had once been a man fell backward at last, a glare that was equal parts loathing and disbelief frozen forever on its face.

------

Ben could hear sounds of the struggle, but for all she hated herself for not bearing witness to what she was guilty for, she couldn’t summon the strength to raise her head. All she could do was wait, until the fighting subsided into silence… not silence. Sobs.

Nova was alive. That offered a few possibilities that Ben could think of, none of them good. Nova was hurt.

Ben’s mouth set in a hard line. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t let him touch Torvantine,, and by all that was holy, he wasn’t going to make a liar of her again.

Her left hand, the one that was less injured, scrabbled in the dust, dragging her body forward against the pain. Toward the weeping girl and the… and the… the dead man. Ben pulled up short beside Kavros’ bloody carcass.

A new wave of shame and guilt washed over her. Nova shouldn’t have had to do that. No one should have to do that, but particularly not this confused, naive girl who was just trying to discover who she was. Whom Ben had promised to protect.

Forcing herself to sit up, legs held straight across the ground, right arm lying limp and useless behind her at a worrisome angle, Ben wrapped her left around Nova, pulling her against her own chest.

Nova rocked by Kavros’ body, arms spasming as the girl merely repeated, “Not again, Not again, Not again...” The rocking was soothing, a balm to her fevered breathing. She felt the pressure of Ben’s arms, and panicked. Not again Not again Not again Not again.

“I’m so sorry, Nova,” Ben whispered. “I’m sorry.” Her tears fell on the girl’s head, mingling with Nova’s own. “I’m so, so sorry,” she kept repeating.
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eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Tohrinha on Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:40 pm

Likovya was fairly certain she should have been able to trust fear. After all, there hadn’t been any news that she’d heard of anti-guild members attacking people, at least not when they had a massive advantage. People even flinched when she caught their gaze, and she had to admit it was fun to walk through the town like she was powerful. She even wore a sword at her hip; not because she knew how to use it, but because it felt right. Heroism had shifted slightly to something else, and she couldn’t remember the exact name. All she knew was that she was feared and her name was quietly spreading.

Then she noticed fewer people flinching. At first she thought they were losing their fear of her and that she might have to send another message, but there was no one to send a message to. The anti-guild members were vanishing, and she had a frightening idea that she knew where they were going.

There were people on the upper floors.

As soon as she realized that, it was only a matter of making sure she had all her weapons before heading to the podium. While she hadn’t specified that they stay on this floor, she was fairly certain it had been implied that they didn’t involve the people who had moved up. If that implication hadn’t been there, it would have to become explicit, possibly painfully so. The people had gone to the upper floors to escape the fighting of the first -- at least, that was why she would have gone up -- and she refused to allow the anti-guild to drag them into it.

It wasn’t a terribly long journey from the slums to the podium, at least not compared to what she was used to, and she didn’t bother with stealth. After all, it wasn’t as though her life was in any danger.

---

If Jenny had to choose the single most enjoyable thing about her time in the castle so far, it would be jogging along the narrow roofs of the town. The sturdy buildings provided enough stability for her weight (most of the time), and the open air of the rooftops provided a welcome contrast to the thin, constricting alleyways. Nothing quite matched the exhilaration of the leap to the next building; if she was careful and quiet, she could navigate almost the entire city.

She rested on one of the taller buildings and surveyed the cityscape below her. She had always preferred the forest to civilization, but her current vantage point made her feel on top of the world. She could see everyone in the town going about their daily business, specks dotting the web of streets, oblivious to their watcher above.

One street in particular drew her attention. She saw a lone figure dressed in black, walking quickly and purposefully, and behind the figure was… oh. Hmm. Those two didn’t look very nice. Jenny peered at them; she couldn’t make out any details from this distance, but she felt sure that she recognized them.

She sighed. They just don’t quit, she thought wearily, as she stood and tried to figure out the quickest way to intercept the anti-guild goons.

---

Likovya turned down a sidestreet, trying to get used to the feel of a sword at her side. She had taken it from one of the anti-guild members who had attacked her in the forest because it looked impressive, but she wasn’t used to having such a long piece of metal near her body. It was a good thing she hadn’t taken a liking to the flail, as that would have been even more cumbersome. Swords couldn’t be too difficult to use, though. They looked like large knives, and she was good with knives.

Something was wrong, but she couldn’t think what. It had to be worry. She had heard that something was happening to one of the guilds, and as she knew only one guild well enough to actually worry about them, she assumed the worst. They’ll be all right. I’ve met two of them, and they’re survivors. A boy and someone who can’t be bothered to explain his plans, but they’re survivors anyway. I don’t need to be worried about them.

It didn’t help.

Fretting a bit more than she had been before, Likovya turned a corner. The streets were getting wider, and the houses started to look cleaner and actually habitable.

A sudden voice emerged from a nearby alley. “Over here, hurry!”

Likovya didn’t think before flinging herself to the side, pulling a knife just in case. The voice sounded familiar, but she couldn’t be too careful. When she saw who had called her, she lowered her weapon a little and asked, “What is it, Jenny?”

Jenny was breathing heavily. “You were… being followed… couldn’t think of… better way to… get your… attention.”

Likovya pressed herself against the wall and peered into the street. “What did they look like?” she asked. The anti-guild members wouldn’t dare to set a tail on her. But then, if they wanted to get her out of the way, what better way than to wait until she was distracted?

“Same people who… attacked the forge… they’re...” Jenny paused, looking past Likovya with a confused expression. “...walking right past us.”

A pair of men walked right past the alley, not even bothering to glance to the side. “Huh.” Likovya lowered her knife and put in in her belt. “Those are either the dumbest tails I’ve ever had or they don’t want to fight me in an alley. Thanks for the warning, though.”

Jenny peered out of the alley, watching the retreating figures. “That’s odd… that’s very odd. I wonder where they’re going?”

“Let’s find out.” Likovya started from the alley. The two didn’t have much of a headstart, and she could easily keep pace with them. “You don’t have to come if you’d rather not,” she said. “This may be my business.” It certainly was if the two were anti-guild members trying to leave the floor.

Jenny shook her head. “I’m going with you. Whenever the anti-guild people clump up, someone gets hurt. I’d like to prevent that, if I can.”

Likovya nodded and started out. To tell the truth, she was a little worried about bringing Jenny into this. She had intended for only the anti-guild members to be hurt, but since she didn’t know whether Jenny could fight or not (and she was rapidly learning that most people preferred not to fight), she might have to be a defender as well as an attacker. “Try not to get hurt yourself, all right?”

Jenny gave a half-smile. “I always do.”

The men took the path Likovya had been planning to take, heading toward the center of town. Likovya’s fingers danced over the hilts of her three belt knives, and her left hand rested by her sword. It made her feel secure.

The podium was still guarded, and she let out a breath of relief, which caught in her throat when she saw the two men stroll up to one of the city guards, have a short conversation, and then head up to the second floor. Dozens could have gone up already. “Come on,” she said, heading into the square. “We’ve got to get up there.”

---

Mirae had been lurking around the passage back to the second floor for days, trying to decide whether or not to take Chet back with her or leave him tied where he was, in a shielding copse near the path. She’d originally planned to just wait for the rest of the anti-guilders to evacuate. It wouldn’t do to smuggle food down for whomever in... her... guild she could find only for it to be confiscated, and her possibly killed, particularly if they found out where she was headed. And it just felt wrong to be going backwards, down instead of up.

She had assumed they were more refugees, at first. The passage had been quiet for a while, though there was enough traffic for her to keep her distance. A last pair of anti-guilders had disappeared through it about an hour ago, and she was waiting for nightfall before she followed. They were a small group, two women and a man leading a pair of horses, none of them looking particularly pleased to be there. Mirae thought they could be trying to avoid the trickles of anti-guilds, the way they slipped slowly out of the passage, moving carefully and looking paranoidly around.

Then one of the women spoke to the others, and they all hurriedly mounted. They kept their anxious look as they kicked the horses into a gallop, though, one pulling a scarf over her face as if to ward off a plague. As she did so, she knocked against a wooden symbol hanging on a cord around her neck, setting it swinging. Mirae took a step back at the sight.

So the anti-guilds were coming back. Though from the look of things, they were trying to leave the area as quickly as possible. Feeling a familiar sense of curiosity rising up, Mirae started walking back to the copse. She half-turned as she went, keeping the riders in sight, only facing forward fully again as she reached for Chet’s rope. There was something interesting going on, she decided. The food would have to wait.

Mirae jumped and caught at a low branch over her head, knocking loose pine needles onto her cloak, then swung awkwardly onto the back of her horse. She really needed to figure out a better way to mount. She walked Chet out to open ground, then broke into a gallop after the group.

Mirae rode as hard as she was comfortable pushing the horse, but he wasn’t built for speed. If she needed to cart an injured cow back from pasture, on the other hand.... She shook the memory from her head, trying to focus on the chase; that wasn’t her life at the moment. Even though she was a single rider on a tall horse, the others began to draw away from her. The anti-guilders disappeared behind a field of tall corn, and she was forced to slow, feeling Chet’s sides starting to shake beneath her heels. By the time she reached the corner, they were already shrinking into the distance.

She sighed in frustration and dismounted. Pausing only briefly to check her horse, she began leading him on foot, following the riders.

---

One of the guards had recognized Likovya, so she hadn’t been forced to think of an explanation for why she wanted to go to the second floor. Instead, she had been sent to the podium with a wink and a smile, along with a mutual promise that no one official would hear about this. She doubted Adam would have gotten past the fact that she had broken into his office.

When they reached the second floor, the anti-guild members were nowhere to be seen. Jenny suggested they go to the third, and Likovya decided she could go back to explore another time. They pushed on and emerged in a sunny field filled with wildflowers and butterflies. Likovya froze. “Isn’t this supposed to be dangerous? I heard the upper floors were supposed to be frightening.”

“We’re on the third of a hundred,” said Jenny, scanning the horizon. “I think it’s trying to make us feel safe.”

“Well, it won’t work.” It would take more than pretty colors to lure her into letting her guard down. “Are you any good at tracking? I need to find out where they went, fast.”

Jenny was already kneeling, making odd tracing motions on the ground with her finger. “Not a problem. Soft ground. They weren’t trying to conceal their steps. A drunken ox could track them.”

“Lead the way, then.”

The two ran down the trail, and Likovya kept a hand close by her knives in case they ran into any of the anti-guild members. She hoped they hadn’t already gone up to the fourth floor; so far as she knew, they would be the only ones there, and she had no intention of chasing them all the way up the castle. She admitted to herself that she might if she had to, but she wouldn’t enjoy it as much as ending it here.

A little way up the path, Jenny paused. “There’s been a lot of recent activity on this road,” she said slowly. “I think we’re following more than two people. And… horses? Where did they…” She looked at Likovya. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Don’t worry. Horses are useful in a fight, for both sides. Dead horses crush their riders, and live horses cause a panic.” She had learned this from experience, when a group of bandits on horses attacked her. She had also learned that ribs were painful to break when kicked by a horse. “I don’t suppose you’ve got anything to fight with?”

“Well…” Jenny absentmindedly rubbed the bow strapped to her back. “I’m a fair shot, but…” She stopped abruptly, staring up the road. “Who’s that?”

Likovya looked up and saw a girl leading a very large horse. “I don’t know. She can’t be with the anti-guilds unless they’re recruiting children…” Her voice trailed off as she remembered that they had made an offer to Pan. “Let’s see if she knows how to reach the next floor or if she’s seen anyone.”

They approached her cautiously; she didn’t seem to notice that she was being followed.

When they were reasonably close, Jenny said, “Excuse m- ”

The girl reacted. Spinning around so that her cloak took a minute to finish the followthrough, she dropped the horse’s reins and stepped back, pulling a pair of knives from her belt. Something flashed along their length that didn’t look quite right to be sunlight. “Walking?” The girl spoke quietly to herself, then raised her voice. “Who are you?”

“We’re from the first level,” Likovya said. “My name’s Likovya, and this is Jenny. A lot of people have been coming up here lately, and I want to stop them from getting to the next floor.” The girl didn’t react when she heard either of the names, and Likovya assumed she hadn’t been involved with the anti-guilds at all. “Do you know anything about this that could help us?”

The girl lowered her knives, though they kept shining. “Mirae. I think I’ve been following the same people you’ve been. Small, angry groups, unfriendly to guilds?”

“That’s them. Where are they going?” Maybe Mirae would know a shortcut to the fourth level, and Likovya and Jenny could cut off the anti-guilds. After that… well, she just hoped they were scared enough to not charge her all at once.

Mirae was shaking her head, though. “They’ve been running off to the same place, but I don’t know where that is. I haven’t properly explored here yet. I’ve just been following their path.”

“I suppose we’ll just have to look around for something likely,” Likovya said. “Mirae, you’ve been here the longest. Where haven’t you looked yet?”

“North. Which is also near directly where they’re headed,” she replied, with a small smile. “But I don’t know where they would be meeting. All I can see in that direction is more grass and some trees.”

“Are there any trees that are… different, somehow?” Likovya wasn’t sure how exactly to describe what the portal would be like.

“That one’s... larger than the others? And alone.” Mirae raised an arm to point -- she still hadn’t resheathed her knives -- at what looked like a dark splotch a little ways to the north.

“Let’s try there.” It was the first lead they had, and Likovya didn’t want to waste it on wondering whether it was genuine. “We’ll have to reach it fast, though. Mirae, can you ride that horse to scout ahead for us?” She reasoned that she wasn’t exactly bringing a child into the fight, since the girl would only be taking a look and and then leaving. “Do you need one of us to lift you?”

Mirae stared impassively at her for a few seconds, then turned away. She twisted a knife into the front of her saddle and used it to scramble onto the horse’s back. She nodded down to the other two, then started towards the tree.

Jenny stifled a laugh. “Well, she’s eager, at least.” They set off after her.

---

They approached the oddly shaped, solitary tree, keeping an eye out for any anti-guild sentry that might happen to wander past. A short while later, Mirae returned.

“It’s not far.” Mirae had caught them at the edge of a series of low hills; she’d emerged from behind one and cantered over when she saw them. Now she leaned slightly forward in her saddle to point a little to the right of the tree. “The anti-guild is grouped together over there. I think they were waiting for something, maybe guarding something, the way they were all clustered.”

The portal, Jenny thought. They’re making sure no one else comes in after them. “Did you see any way to get to the tree without being seen?” she said aloud.

“I didn’t run into any scouts,” Mirae replied. “They might be there, but they might also be a bit distracted.”

“If there are any, I can get rid of them easily enough,” Likovya said. A knife flashed into her hand and vanished. “Or I can just scare them, if you prefer.” Her gaze went from Jenny to Mirae.

“Scaring is good,” said Jenny quickly. Scaring is better than stabbing, she added privately.

“Then I’ll scare them. I’m getting pretty good at it, too.” She grinned, saluted the two with a knife, and headed toward the tree.

“Oh!” Mirae called after her. “And keep an eye out for the birds. They’re very friendly.”

Likovya laughed, but it didn’t sound cruel so much as amused. “I won’t slice any of their feathers,” she called back.

---

The third level was the most peaceful place Likovya had seen, and she was rather glad the anti-guilds had congregated on this area. She just didn’t trust it. It was too cheerful and pretty. Even the birds were acting strangely, flitting about her head and chirping like she was their best friend. “Go away,” she whispered, waving her free hand at them. She had promised not to hurt them, but they were annoying. “You’re giving me away.”

They would flit a few feet away before returning. After a few minutes, Likovya consigned herself to being surrounded by songbirds and walked toward the tree, grumbling. She was in a bad mood, and those anti-guilds were lucky she kept ending up with people who minded death. Of course, pain could be very scary. The only problem with that was getting her knife back. It usually worked out, but she didn’t want this to be the time it didn’t.

The scouts must have been distracted when Mirae went there, because one popped up as Likovya strode to the tree. He was a lean, bent little man, and as he opened his mouth to call a warning, she threw a knife into his shoulder. All that came from his mouth was a faint squeak, and he didn’t bother to run as she walked up to him and wrenched the blade away.

“You’re with the anti-guilds?” she asked. He nodded. “What are you doing here?”

“Not going to let the guilds take the rest of the castle,” he said. One hand was clasped over the wound, and blood slipped between his fingers.

“So you thought you’d take it first. Is that right?” The man nodded. “I’m not about to let you do that.” She leaned closer until she could clearly see the bags beneath his eyes. “Do you know why?”

His eyes widened. “You’re the one they told us about that. The girl with all the knives.”

“That’s right. I’ve got a sword, too, if you hadn’t noticed. Now, I’m here to send you lot back where you belong. If you want to fight, you do it on the first floor. Understood?”

“But I’m just a --”

“Understood?” She still had the bloody knife in her hand, and the man’s gaze flicked to the blade as she brandished it. He nodded, turned pale, and conveniently dropped to the ground. She nudged him a little with her foot. Either he was really unconscious or he was a very good actor, because he didn’t move. She was content. They knew and feared her. It was time to make them run.

The tree had to be the portal. There was no other reason a rabbit would run happily by a bleeding man and nibble on some grass without being even slightly nervous. It was a little frightening, and Likovya sped up, wiping the worst of the blood from her knife as she went. The sooner she got this over with and could get to a different floor, the happier she would be.

It was then that they saw her. A shout came up from around the tree, and Likovya slowed a little to a walk she hoped was intimidating. “Did you really think I wouldn’t find you?” she asked, smiling.

A bolt of lightning shot through the sky, and as the anti-guild members flinched, Likovya threw her head back and laughed.

---

Mirae barely paused to watch Likovya leave before turning her horse back to the hills. The tree seemed almost small from this place, crouched over its own hill as it was. As she rode closer, it grew visibly larger, until the shade from its branches brushed Chet’s hooves, though the tree itself was still several mounts away.

A great gnarled trunk loomed up in front of her, overtaking its hill. One of its roots curled up the slope Mirae was on, and she swung herself onto it. She glanced to the side and laughed. For once, she could see over her horse’s head without sitting his saddle. Something hit the side of her head, and she started, nearly falling off the root again.

She tensed for a moment before hearing a fluttering by her ear at the point of impact, soon followed by a soft chirping. Relaxing, Mirae reached up and absently began working the bird’s talons out of her hair, shifting her gaze back to the tree in front of her.

She’d thought it was a World Tree at first. A memory of a tattered book flashed across her mind as she stared up at the tower. It certainly looked more like an oak, though. Magic, then, she shrugged, smiling. The bird suddenly came free and shot up, flying once around her head before its flock swept it away. As they left, a movement caught the corner of her eye. Jenny had come up the hill behind her, and was now moving toward the tree in a sort of daze.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said breathlessly.

Mirae grinned at her. “Beautiful, right?”

“It’s… it’s…” Jenny’s eyes flicked past the tree, and her expression changed to one of tense amusement. “I think Likovya’s gotten into a bit of trouble.”

Mirae followed her gaze. Her eyes narrowed, and there was a bite in her voice as she said, “So they’re a bit less distracted than I thought. She might need help.” She crouched down on the root, bark digging painfully into her palm, and sent a bolt of lightning streaking across the battlefield. Beginning.

---

Likovya didn’t think that Jenny had any magic, so the lightning had to be from the girl Mirae. It was quite impressive, and she was glad she knew how to improvise. Rather than being spooked by the sudden flash and the crack of thunder, she was able to roll her head and grin at the shocked anti-guild members. “I assume you all know who I am,” she said, her voice low only in comparison to the thunder.

“I know,” a man said. He looked angry, furious, even. “You’re that girl who stabbed me.”

“You’ll really need to be more specific,” she said. “I’ve let a lot of people live after I stabbed them lately.” The man snarled, and she wondered whether she ought to apologize. If she really had stabbed him -- and she wouldn’t put it past herself to -- then he had probably deserved it. She didn’t attack people who didn’t deserve it.

Rather than clarify, the man turned to the others at the base of the tree. “Aren’t any of you going to do something? Are you just going to let her stand there and mock us?”

“They’re much too scared to do anything else,” Likovya said. “Honestly, I think they’re grateful I’m only mocking them rather than doing something far worse. How’s Prester, by the way?” She turned to a woman whose dark hair hung to her shoulders. “I notice he passed on my message, but did he get to a healer in time? I wasn’t careful enough when I stabbed him, so it could easily have been fatal.”

The man drew a wicked-looking knife with sharp teeth from his belt. “If you’re all too cowardly to fight her, then I will.” Likovya shifted her stance so she could fight him, but instead of charging forward, the man threw his knife directly at her chest.

His form was terrible, and Likovya didn’t even bother moving. After all, even if the knife did manage to hit her, it would probably strike her with the hilt or the flat edge of the blade, and at worst she would have some torn clothing and a little scratch. She was prepared to laugh, but that turned into a gasp of pain as the blade entered her left shoulder, piercing through skin and muscle, scraping off bone.

“How does it feel?” he asked, sneering. Likovya had doubled over from the pain, but now she looked up so she could stare into his eyes. “Maybe I’ll ask for it back, and then I can cut your throat. Everyone in the castle will know that I was the one who killed Likovya the knife-girl.”

“You want it back?” She stood up straight, trying to ignore how the blade shifted in her body with each movement. It was hard to breathe, but she didn’t think her lung was badly hurt. “Here. Take it.” The man took a step forward, but she set her hand on the hilt and wrenched the blade out of her shoulder. Blood spilled down her front, but she refused to falter. “I’ll even let you choose where I put it. Shall I pierce your shoulder again, or do you want it in your belly? I could even try for your neck, though I can’t promise it would connect properly.”

The man had grown pale, and the others shifted uneasily. She stared as many as she dared straight in the eye, and all looked away, shaking. More than one looked ready to run and never look back for fear she would be right behind them.

“Now,” she said, and her voice was a rasp of pain on a heavy exhale. “Who wants to test me next?” No one moved. “Well?”

“Why are we standing around?” A broken-nosed man asked. “She’s injured. Do you think she’s some sort of god? If enough of us charge her at once, she won’t be able to fight back.”

This was not going according to plan, and Likovya was starting to feel a bit light-headed. Her left arm was next to useless, and she wondered whether she could draw her knives fast enough to take down the bold ones. The man with the broken nose ran forward, armed with a roughly-made spear, and he was joined by at least a dozen others, including the man she had stabbed in the shoulder back in the city.

Abruptly, an arrow sprouted a few inches from the leader’s foot. A voice called from atop the hill: “You stay away from her!”

The attackers faltered, giving Likovya enough time to lift her head and step back in a manner that she hoped looked impressive rather than frightened. “You’re not the only ones who have friends,” she said in as strong a voice as she could muster. “Did you really think the guilds would leave their own defenseless?” They fell back a little, and she hoped they would think twice about attacking someone who might be defended by the whole of every guild in the city.

More lightning fell to the ground. It began to either side of the mob, as though they were surrounded by mages, but swept towards Likovya in fits and starts. As the noise and light grew, it closed in behind her, briefly forming a white backdrop, then abruptly stopped. The last echoes of the thunder faded.

Likovya smiled, well aware that she must look completely deranged. “Still feeling bold?”

The anti-guild members scattered.

Likovya watched them run, and as soon as she was sure none of them were watching, she let herself drop. Her body landed on her wounded arm, but she didn’t know if she cried out or merely whimpered. Just before everything went black, she felt something soft brush against her wrist. It could have been healing magic, or simply a rabbit passing by another one of the strange, bleeding beings that had found its world.
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Tohrinha
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:52 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Scarab on Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:28 pm

The old soldier was heavily built, and walked with the kind of loping stride that you wouldn’t want to run into in the dark.

He could travel the streets in comfort, even now, and seemed to have no fear of the rabbles that gathered at street corners, or the heavy weapons of nervous looking guardsmen, struggling to keep the peace during the war. He observed the chaos with vague interest. At the edge of the residential district, a group of youngsters were playing a game that looked almost like animals scrapping. Guards were hesitantly trying to enforce order, but nobody acted as if they had any idea where trouble was expected to come from, only that it would come... provided everything didn’t fall apart first.

He ignored them and walked into the darkness of the back alleys. Kain knew the streets of the castle better than the rats. This wouldn’t take him long. After all, Erastus wasn’t exactly difficult to find.

*

“I keep telling you, I don’t know,” Tamar muttered. There was a kind of empty prickling sensation in his mind, like the beginning of a migraine. “I just... found them. The pictures showed me where to go.”

“The pictures, hm?” Hector sounded puzzled and Tamar couldn't blame him. The images that had been so clear hours earlier seemed faded now. He tried to hang onto them, hoping they could help them find Luca again, but it was like trying to grasp water.

“That’s the only way I can describe it, Hector: pictures in my head. That’s how I knew to go to the underground.” He trailed off, cold flaring. It had felt this way since he left the tunnels, as if he would never be warm again. He remembered almost killing Luca... Anjali and Julius, both dead... Eliziya taken...

Hector had said nothing about the incident when they returned, probably sensing that another speech would not be well received. He hadn’t even admonished Tamar for the attempt on Luca’s life. Tamar almost wished he had.

A banging on the door of their hideout broke the awkward moment, but didn’t give either of them time to answer it before swinging open. “Hector,” the gruff voice said as the large man let himself in, walking past Hector and into the room, bold as brass. “Door unlocked? It’s a mess out there; you had better have a good supply of the strong stuff.” He looked over at the boy. “Hey kid, where does he keep the booze?”

“Kain?” Hector questioned, “What are you doing here? Also, how did you find us?”

“Come on, Hector, how many green haired giants are there around here?” Kain wryly asked as he found a half empty bottle and a small glass. “On this floor, anyway.”

“Hm, good point.”

Tamar sighed. “This is why I should do the sneaking.”

Kain looked at him and snorted. “Not doin’ such a good job of that now, are ya? You know there’s a blood stain the size of my head on your shirt?” He downed the glass of alcohol -which was indeed, the strong stuff- in one gulp.

“Easy Kain, things have been rough around here.” Hector reminded.

The man smirked, “Always is for people like us.” He pulled a chair out and fell into it with a thud. “Things are changing out there.”

Hector frowned. “How? What’s happening?”

“The Anti-Guild leaders have split, that’s what. The faction is falling apart,” Kain stated simply. Tamar looked up in surprise. “Those talismans that were enraging most of the sensible individuals? They seem to have...dried up; and with most people getting their senses back, they’ve realized just how insane Kavros really is. Finally,” he snorted. “A lot of them are either surrendering or hiding, and the die-hard believers are leaving Kavros behind and ascending. I imagine they’re trying to make some sort of stand on the fourth floor.”

“The fourth floor?” Tamar frowned. “But... we reclaimed the podium a week ago, me and Likovya.” He hoped she was okay. She did seem skilled at getting out of trouble.

“All I know is what I’ve heard, boy. An’ what I’ve heard reeks of mutiny. Problem is, having no leader is probably as bad as having one who’s a lunatic.”

“I don’t get it; Asha was the one making those talismans.” Hector recalled. “Why would they dry up now?”

Kain hissed out a breath between his teeth. “Well, I hear some of your guild friends were carrying out strikes against the storage areas, but there’s another reason as well. It’s why I came looking for you in the first place.” The man paused as he poured another drink in the class before downing it effortlessly. “Luca and this... Asha, you called her? They’ve disappeared. If Kavros was the face, they were the backbone, without them the whole operation is falling apart.”

Hector’s eye drifted to Tamar, who had his own eyes fixed on the floor.

“Last I saw they were heading up too, hours before this faction tried. It might have been them that busted through the podium even, I don’t know. What I do know is that they aren’t here anymore, and whatever they’re planning can’t be good for anyone.” The man let out a gruff sigh, “Figured you’d want to know, seeing as you have some history with them or something.”

Hector paced around the room slowly, rubbing his chin.

“Ya know this won’t be over until somebody takes them down, right? “ Kain said after another glass of alcohol. “They started all this, if they get away...”

“I know...” Hector responded, lightly. “But why travel upward, what could they gain from it?”

“It must have something to do with the Rage Spell...” Tamar muttered. And now he remembered something else: the longing he had felt in those memories. The urgency. “They were looking for something... Maybe on the upper floors?”

Kain grunted. “My guess is, if they find it, we’re all done for, whatever it is.”

“We’ve never been to the fourth floor. Without knowing their location it’ll be difficult to track them,” Hector reasoned.

Tamar opened his mouth to speak, but the words never emerged. Because now, one of the remaining pictures was forcing itself to the forefront of his mind, like a vision. A memory of a sloping hill in the darkness.

There was a rocky outcropping which seemed to go on forever. He was in thick darkness, occasionally broken up by torchlight, and the ground sloped gently upwards under his feet.

“We’ll come back here when the time is right, Asha,” Luca’s voice was saying, quietly in the darkness. The memory couldn’t have been more than a few days old.

The rocks crumbled under foot. Tamar thought he could hear a bird crying out, and followed the sound into the sky. “Don’t worry. We’re almost there now. Let’s return, before the child burns down the library or something. You know how she gets if we leave her alone too long.”


When the images faded, and Tamar looked up, Hector was frowning at him in a mixture of concern and interest.

“What’s with him, Erastus?” the newcomer frowned.

"Nothing unusual, at least not lately,” Hector said calmly. “Tamar? Something I should know?”

Tamar explained what he had seen. The darkness, the gentle slope. The cool air, which smelt nothing like the stench of the city. And that was when he saw something he very rarely saw with Hector: the light of realisation dawning in his eyes. “Well, I’ll be damned,” Hector murmured. “I think we’re onto something.”

“Is that something a headache?” Tamar grumbled, not seeing Hector’s point.

Hector chuckled. “Think about it, Tamar. The land was sloping upwards, there was cool air... and Kain here says he saw Luca and Asha, heading towards the fourth floor.” Hector said. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

...Oh.A dull hope flared in Tamar’s chest, even buried under the layers of ice that seemed to have set up a permanent camp in his lungs.

“Sir,” Tamar said, turning to Kain, who blinked, seeming surprised by the polite address. “The fourth floor wouldn’t happen to harbour a mountain range, would it?”

“...It does, off to the west of the entrance. Where are you getting this information from all the sudden?”

“Pictures.” Hector explained with a grin, as if he understood.

Kain shook his head, “I don’t know why we’re just gonna go on a hunch from imaginary pictures… but if it’s the best bet we got, I guess.” The man stood up, cracking his neck to the left and right, “I’ll lead you to the fourth floor. I want to go there myself… see if I can get any of the anti-guildies to give up, minimize the casualties.”

”We should be so lucky,” Tamar thought, but he didn’t say so aloud. Whatever Asha and Luca were up to, they were close to accomplishing it and however much it hurt; he had to forget about Storm and Drive, about Eliziya, just for a while. “Hector?”
“Yeah?” Hector responded as he tightening the armor on his body grabbed the only weapon he had left, his hand axe.
“You know what you said about it being too late to start doubting you? Well now it’s definitely too late.”

*

Exactly how they got to the fourth floor was a mystery as big as the castle itself. The chaos in town was distraction enough, neither side certain what was happening. Nobody noticed a mere couple of people sneaking towards the podium.

“Good luck.” Kain said, offering a hand to the taller swordsman. Hector accepted the hand for a brief shake between the two. “Ha, never thought I’d be shaking hands with you of all people... I’ll see ya again, back in the city. Try not to lose the other eye.” And with that, Kain hoisted his halberd up against his shoulder and left them out a ways into the fourth floor, heading off to where the last major battle was happening on this floor.

Tamar watched the man turn and walk away. “Who was that?”

“Kain. Didn’t you hear me say his name? Must have said it at least once or twice, pay attention.” Hector chuckled, shrugging his shoulders. He walked over to the edge of a and looked off in the horizon, where the mountain pierced the sky. So far as mountains went, it was... tall, but not so towering as Tamar had expected. Its peaks were barely dusted with snow.

There was a silence as the man just gazed out towards their destination, a moment for him to contemplate the situation. Tamar looked, and saw something in the man’s eye; it wasn’t anticipation or anxiety, he just looked... sad. And it wasn’t like that was unusual, if you paid attention to people’s faces, but that it was happening right now set Tamar on edge. “Ten years ago… I’d never # considered the possibility of having people I cared about. Five years ago, I’d never have imagined turning against those same people.”

Tamar had... no idea what to say to that. He had never known Luca as anything other than a killer, but then again he had never known Hector as anything other than a hero. People existed before they came here, crimes and all. It wouldn’t do to forget where people came from. That meant forgetting the truths as well as the lies.

“They didn’t have to come here,” Tamar said, faintly, not knowing what else to say. “We all chose this.” Even if it feels like they didn’t, he didn’t say. If they felt like tools on some grand stage. He remembered saying as much to Anjali in the peaceful quiet of the Inn. Only, Anjali was dead now. “What do we do?”

Hector’s gaze remained on the mountain. “We choose,” He answered after a time. Then he reached for the pendant around his neck, and lifted it over his head. Kneeling so that their heights were more equal, he placed the object in Tamar’s hand. “I want you to hold onto this, alright? It’ll… give you some light protection against magic.”

Tamar blinked at the pendant for a moment. “But... Luca...”

“I’ll take care of Luca. If it’s true that you’ve formed some sort of connection with Asha, it’s possible you could get through to her where I could not.”

“Get... through to her?” Tamar frowned. “I don’t understand.”

“She saved your life, right? That’s what you said… there has to be a reason. If we understand our opponents, we will have a better chance of stopping them.”

Tamar opened his mouth in yet another aborted sentence, this one about the inanity of handing over a source of magical protection to someone else when you were about to go up against a guy wielding a sword that commanded pure Rage. But he knew Hector wouldn’t take it back, so he raised the chain over his head. It settled against the blood stain. “...Thank you.”

“Ready?” Hector said, rising.

Tamar laughed faintly. “No speech?”

“No speech,” Hector smiled in response, and to Tamar’s surprise, he did indeed turn towards the mountain without a word. The sun was sinking low in the sky. It couldn’t be long until nightfall.

*

The further they ascended the mountain, the less natural everything appeared.

The paths began forming patterns, appearing far more manmade than natural. This at least made the climb a bit easier. The evidence that people had been here before continued, as stone columns jutted out from the surface of the rock, with symbols carved into them. The two of them recognized some of the symbols: the same emblems used on the rage talismans. It was as if this place had been used long ago, an old temple or place of worship long since fallen apart, there was even evidence of steps in some sections of the path, while others had smoothed out to the rock beneath once again.

The air grew colder as they climbed, but had little effect on them. They were too focused to be stopped by gusts of wind or a little drop in temperature. Arches welcomed their approach until they came to a slight clearing up the mountain. Columns surrounded the area in a circular pattern, before leading to the only solid steps left leading straight up to the peak. In between them and the steps stood a young woman, robed in black cloth and a familiar mask placed over her face. Her arms were crossed, as if she had been waiting patiently for the two to finally arrive at the mountain.

Only... something was different about her. She was shorter, missing the leather gloves and her sleeves were rolled up to reveal smooth skin, black hair flowing from behind the mask. The changes were obvious, even to Hector, but he didn’t quite understand what it meant. Tamar tensed up like a small animal which had sighted a fox. “Hector!” he yelled an unneeded warning.

The masked face turned towards the swordsman, analyzing him in the way Asha always did. Even while the mask hid her face, Hector recognized this. “He’s waiting for you at the top.” A muffled voice said, taking both of them off guard.

Then Asha stepped to the side, as if allowing him to pass.

This threw both of them off: for Tamar it was simply the voice. He had never heard Asha speak before. He hadn’t expected her to sound so young... “What do you mean waiting?” he asked.

Asha lowered her head slightly, still gesturing at Hector to pass. “I say ‘waiting’, simply because he always knew you would come. I don’t assume he’d relish the interruption. What happens now is up to you. No,” she added when she saw both Tamar and Hector step forward. “Just you, Hector.”

Hector looked over at Tamar, and then back towards Asha. He nodded his head with some form of understanding. “Tamar… Take care of things here, alright?”

Tamar only tensed for a moment. He nodded. He thought Asha might object, but she said nothing. She merely stood aside, waiting patiently as Hector passed.

“Asha...” Hector said quietly as he passed her, “I’m sorr-”

“Don’t.” She interrupted, her breath short. “Don’t waste your words.” She seemed to warn, her voice distant. There was a pause between the two, and then Hector continued up the steps to the peak.

Of all the things Tamar had expected her to do, that had not been amongst them. Why just let Hector pass, as easily as that? He drew Echo, feeling for the flare that always accompanied his fire magic... there was nothing. The fire, it seemed, had been replaced with ice for now.

It would have to suffice. “Don’t... don’t try anything, Asha,” he said in what he hoped was a warning tone.

To his surprise, there was a hint of laughter when Asha spoke next. “You already know why we’re here, don’t you Tamar? Or... no.” She paused, taking a step forward. It took all Tamar’s courage not to step back. “Erebus,” she said, after another moment. “Erebus Castor.”

Tamar flinched. “That... that’s not my name,” he said, slowly, trying to sound flippant; knowing he was failing miserably. “I mean, it isn't... I... I never wanted-”

“Or Tamar Delaney,” Asha interrupted. “Whichever you prefer. Sometimes, we choose our own names, don’t we? You saw my memories, Tamar, but I also saw yours. There was a great deal of power exchanged that night. There are consequences.”

Tamar didn't know what to say to that.
Something was wrong. This was the first time he had ever heard Asha speaking, and yet it didn’t sound like Asha ought to sound. The growing concern gnawing in Tamar’s gut flared as Asha reached a hand, no longer gloved, to her face and lowered her disguise.
Another face stared back at them from beneath the shadow of the mask.
“...Firefly?”
Asha smiled with Eliziya’s mouth. The fire burned in her palms, and Tamar sensed the attack building, knowing there was nothing he could do to prevent it. “Not quite. But enough.”
*
Hector continued up the pathway with haste, each step revealing more of the bizarre architecture left behind from long ago. Small pyramid-like shapes jutted from the sides of the steps, shattered statues of a bull like creature lay atop them. The symbol of its horns ordained the rock hector stepped across, and the air began to feel less cold and much heavier. There was a presence surrounding this entire mountain that the swordsman had not even noticed until now, a pressure that moved through the sky around him.

Slowly, the peak began coming into view. It revealed the crumbled walls of an old temple, long since having lost its roof. Giant rock like slabs surrounded the area with hundreds of carved runes cut deep into their surface. A red glow shone from each one, reflecting onto the warrior as his eye drifted between them. His pace slowed to a stop finally, when two objects lay in his way. The boomerang that Tamar had used just the day before and his sword Ivory, stabbed into the earth and waiting for him.

Ahead, a large stone tablet that towered over all the others expanded from the peak. It’s surface smooth, featureless, but from deep within it a terrible power squirmed as an aura of red emanated from it. Directly in front of it, stood Luca, arms spread wide in front of it as he seemed to be channelling the power around it. The clothing above his waist had been torn to shreds revealing glowing runs across his arms and torso, much like the slabs around them. His hair was wild and unkempt. “Jade.” Luca addressed, turning himself toward the other swordsman; His face too, carried the markings of the spell. “I almost thought you wouldn’t make it...looks like that Delaney managed to be useful after all.”

Hector was silent, somewhat in disbelief at what he was seeing.

Luca’s darkened eyes lowered to Ivory and the Boomerang. “Take them back.” He commanded as he unsheathed Ba’al. “I’ve been waiting for you to come here, Jade.” He growled, “With Ba’al connected to the source of this rage magic, I’ll be able to spread the influence of this spell outside of these castle walls and into our own world... all I need is time.” He explained. “This world will be under no one’s control any longer.”

Hector looked down upon Ivory. “Do you really think… this is what Olivia would have wanted?”

“No, no I don’t. Not anymore.” His voice lowered into a terrible guttural mutter. “I’ve come to understand now how wrong she was about everything. Her ideals are not my own, not any longer. That’s why...” His breathing was heavy as the markings on his body glowed with a terrible power, “That’s why I don’t want it anymore, I no longer agree with her. It belongs in the hands of her foolish puppet. After doing all of this… it’s time to put everything from my past behind me, to surpass it and never look back. Take her sword; I will crush you and her ideals and be done with this once and for all.”

Luca looked on, waiting to see how Hector would respond. It was when Ivory was lifted from the ground, that a malicious grin crawl across the man’s face. “We are warriors after all, Jade, this was the only way it was gonna end.” He raised Ba’al, gripping the blade with both hands. Hector lowered Ivory, preparing his own stance. There was rush of wind as they stared one another down, waiting to see who would make the first move. The sound of a pebble falling in the distance snapped them both into a charge toward the other; their blades meeting in a powerful clash.

*

There was a point when you had been angry for so long, that the feeling became as comfortable as an old leather tunic – yes, including one still soaked in blood from an encounter you still can’t remember days ago; that counted. But then there was always a moment that reminded you. When you remembered you were angry, and why.

That moment was, apparently, right now: seeing Asha’s eyes staring out of Eliziya’s round pretty face, her eyes where Eliziya’s should be...

“Zi—” he started desperately, taking a step forward. Zi –Asha– raised her hand lazily and a single carved rune exploded the ground near Tamar’s feet. He staggered, but didn’t lose his balance. The pendant hung a warm, reassuring weight at his throat.

“We all have to stop now, Tamar,” Asha said, in a voice that did not sound anything like Eliziya. “It finishes here.”

“Not... until you give her back,” Tamar spat. “That’s not your body!”

“You don’t think she was aware? The body must be willing.” Asha said bluntly, and the words stopped Tamar in his tracks. This was what Asha wanted. He felt a burst of magic as she raised the ground beneath him, throwing him off his feet. Dimly, he remembered Julius warning him that you should never talk in battle. The bitterness of the memory sent a burst of cold anger down Tamar’s spine, but there was nowhere to send it.

He couldn’t... Eliziya. This was Eliziya. He couldn’t attack Asha, not like this.

And worst of all, Asha knew that as well as he did. He Tamar’s mind raced. Had this been their plan all along? No. Surely that would imply that Asha considered Tamar a threat.

“So what are you going to do, Tamar?” Asha sounded curious. “Will you fight her? Kill her? I can feel it. Everything Eliziya has ever thought or known. She trusts you. This was never part of any plan.”

Was she referring to him, or herself? There was something... strange about this. Well, besides the fact that he was talking to a woman inside the body of his friend, on the peaks of a mountain inside a magical floating castle. He remembered Asha’s mask, staring down on him in the alleyway. Why had she saved him then, only to kill him now?

“Asha...” he started so say cautiously. “We don’t have to do this.”

Asha said nothing. She struck again, and this time Tamar was ready. He jumped, rolling to the side and sending her next burst of fire flying into a nearby outcrop. The air felt thick, like syrup. As if something terrible was building in the hills. As if the mountain were a volcano, ready to explode. The sky was the wrong shade of purple, and there was nothing natural about purple. ”What the saints is Hector doing up there?”

“What... what do you both want, Asha?” he asked.

“To remake the world what it should be,” Asha said. “At least... that is what I always thought, Tamar. All this time we were just looking for a way to escape.”

“E-Escape?”

“Isn’t that true of everyone here?” she laughed. “You think you’re the only runaway? But all they found was more death. How long do you think it will be, Tamar, before what we are causing here happens anyway? Before the Castle tears out its own throat!”

The next attack she threw was new: at first he thought it was light, but it turned out to be icicles, catching the light of the sun, now barely visible beneath a darkening sky, They peppered the ground at his feet and one slashed razor sharp across his cheek, spilling blood. Yet still he couldn’t raise his sword to her.

“Was...was this your plan for Zi all along?” he yelled. “You just wanted her”— block “—body?!”

“No.” Asha snapped, and to Tamar’s surprise she sounded... angry. Then she seemed to calm, fire dancing back and forth between her palms. “No... this was not the plan.” Asha repeated softly. “But things have happened beyond both of our powers, Delaney. Or should I say, Castor? She wondered a great deal you know... She wanted to know so much more. At least now she’s safe from ever having to know who we are.”

At first, Tamar assumed this was a taunt. That she was trying to throw him off. But there was something in Asha’s –Eliziya’s- eyes that told him it wasn’t. That the pain was as genuine as his own.

That scared him. The next attack should have been easy to avoid, but instead the fireball skimmed Tamar’s tunic. Only Tamar was starting to notice something now. This wasn’t the fight he had expected from her, even considering he was purely on the defensive.

He could feel the magic crackling across the surface of his skin, more like electricity than the ice it was. He had never felt so cold and yet it didn’t hurt. Echo was practically singing with repressed energy, but Tamar stayed back. He started blocking every attack Asha threw. The air was lit with fire, refracting light through the icy surface of Echo.

*

Hector and Luca split apart from another powerful exchange between their weapons. Much to Hector’s surprise, Luca was completely even in terms of strength between the two. Ba’al was picking up any slack and allowing the smaller warrior to block even a two handed strike from Ivory. The Crimson Hound let out a roar of laughter as the aura of red intensified around him. He charged right at the other swordsman once again, rushing past him with incredible movement, delivering strikes with strength and speed that Hector could not keep up with.

Luca was not making it easy, intentionally striking from angles that were within Hector’s blind spot. Two cuts to his ribs, another nicking his chin. Ivory swung to the man’s side but Luca nimbly ducked under the arc of the sword and delivered a quick jab to his opponent’s chest. Even with the sylph’s armor, Hector felt the immense power behind the strikes. Luca brought his sword up and prepared another strike upon Hector, but the swordsman pushed Ivory up against the katana and knocking back its opponent as best as it could.

“So slow, so awkward, so clumsy.” Luca chastised as he leapt backward from the strike. “It all makes so much sense that Olivia would give you such a weapon, now.” He insulted, “You really were a match made in heaven!” He roared as his blade dragged across the mountain rock, sparks flying from the magic sword. On his approach though, he was surprised to see Hector lifting his sword with both hands and slamming it down upon the ground far too early to hit him.

When Ivory slammed into the rock, it caused an explosion of dirt and debris, and when Ba’al cut through # to where Hector was supposed to be, he found the man had moved out of sight. Reflexively, however, Luca felt the heavy swing of a fist right to the side. With a quick turn the fist slipped past, allowing his free hand to slam against Hector’s face and slam him against one of the large stone slabs. The two struggled up against it, Hector slamming his opponent into the same wall of rock.

Luca looked on as he struggled, demon like eyes eventually falling upon Hector’s one good eye. And he saw, much like Tamar had, the sadness there. The man’s eyes narrowed in disbelief, but in his distraction Hector finally broke free from the grapple and delivered a strike with the broadside of Ivory; he batted his opponent across the mountains peak towards the other side of the battlefield.

“You… bastard.” Luca growled as he lifted himself from the ground, his sword still clung to his hand. Are you really so naive!?” He yelled. “You look upon me with what? Pity!? Sorrow for your ‘fallen’ friend!? Do you still believe you have some goal to accomplish here, that you are fulfilling some sort of promise to Olivia!?” In a rage Luca charged at his enemy, the two delivering swing after swing.

“You disgust me! After all the terrible things you’ve done, all the people you massacred, you dare give that look to me!” The two struck their weapons together once again, Hector struggling to keep up with his blind eye. “As if you have some higher ground to stand on!” Another blow, this one managing to cut into Hector’s shoulder. “Let me tell you something Jade, whatever pedestal Olivia built for your ego? All a fabrication! Forgiveness, empathy? It’s bullshit! We’re all mad dogs in the end. Even the weak willed bureaucrats toy with human life all the time; we’re nothing but pawns for their petty wars and disputes!”

“Only a brain dead animal like you could believe there’s some hope here! You and Olivia were nothing but idiots with strength, the most dangerous kind! I’ll crush you here before you can do anymore dam-” His voice was cut off, while he had gone on his rant and became less focused on the battle, Hector had been paying close attention to each strike of Luca’s blade and waited for just the right opportunity.

Hector deflected the incoming strike, giving an underhanded swing upwards with Ivory. It all happened in a flash, but the giant blade just barely made contact with Luca’s face, gliding through it with ease as it crossed right through his left eye.

*

The rumble took both Tamar and Asha all by surprise. A shudder deep through the earth. Tamar dropped and rolled, regaining his balance quickly, but Asha, clearly unfamiliar with having a body she needed to stay balanced, staggered. A nearby clump of bushes caught fire as one of her fireballs flew astray.

“Do... do you see that, Tamar?” Asha asked, briefly pausing in her onslaught, her eyes on the sky. “That is Ba’al. The power of the rage spell, fed by the fury of war. Luca...” she looked at Tamar, who stayed perfectly still, Echo raised in defence, the blade crackling with a fresh layer of ice that seemed to come straight from his blood, judging by how much it burned.

There was no doubt Asha was more powerful than he was. Tamar knew his power was limited, and that Asha had banished those limits long ago. So why was she only trying to throw him off his feet? What was she waiting for?

“I don’t... know what you think this is going to change, but it’s not going to work! Hector will stop you. We’re going to end this war, Asha!”

“Perhaps,” Asha said, voice so calm you’d never have guessed she‘d just been throwing fireballs like there was no tomorrow. “And perhaps it never really ends. But either way we finish this.”
“I won’t hurt Zi!”

“No, I guessed as much,” Asha sighed. And with that she flicked her hand. “I had hoped... but perhaps he has denied that hope to me, also.”

“What’re you talking about? Asha, please—“Tamar started, but in truth he knew the answer. He knew it was Luca Asha was speaking of. That in some way she had... lost faith.

“You are here for a reason,” she hissed furiously. “You can’t even do that?”

“Can’t do what—“ Tamar started to ask...

But then he knew. He looked at Asha, at the emptiness in her eyes, and realised it was not Luca she was disappointed in. Or at least, not him alone. It was combination of instinct, and the memories he still possessed. Asha had not expected to come out of this battle. Except then she had to take Eliziya’s body...

The fire danced in her hair and her hands, and when she breathed out, a barrier of fire burst forth, making the rocks hiss and boil. Tamar raised Echo, feeling the ice burn, the cold lancing deep into the earth beneath, as if trying to anchor him against the oncoming wall of flame.

*

Luca placed his left hand over where Ivory had cut, holding back the flow of blood. The two looked at each other silently with the only good eyes they now had, a stillness around the battlefield. Despite the horrifying injury, Luca seemed to completely ignore the pain surging in his skull. He lifted his hand away, allowing the disfigurement on his face to reveal itself. “Heheh,” a low laugh began escaping his mouth. “What… What would be a lame one liner you and Olivia would say right about now?”

There was another pause as Hector silently lowered his head in thought. Finally, he muttered, “…An eye for an eye?”The stillness returned as the two let the words sink in. There was a shortness of breath, a cough of something between the two. The origins of a laugh, but there was no happiness in it. It was…dark, a sombre realization of the destruction of their past, the loss of a master and everything that had died along with her.

Their laughter faded, and Luca wiped away the accumulating blood on his face. His breathing grew heavier, angrier as these realizations began to build upon his heart more and more. “Why you?”

“What?”

“Why did she choose you!?” He asked. “I did… everything she had ever wanted, I was the first to follow her as an apprentice. I was always meant to take her place, always meant to follow her path! But… she chose you, she chose a murderer with no goal, no motivation. A monster by any other terms. Asha and I sacrificed so much to save her when she grew ill; I always despised you for taking her life! Not because she asked for it, I knew she did, but because you went through with it! You gave up on any other option! You made everything we had worked for... it was for nothing!

“What were our sacrifices rewarded with!?” Luca questioned in his rage. “Tell me!”

Hector looked on, silently, his face averted.

“Asha lost her body… Lamada turned its back on me. They had the means to save Olivia, but they refused… because they saw her as a threat! They’d never admit it, but it was the truth! And you!? You… got to be there for her in her final moments, you denied us that!”

“Luca-”

“She rewarded you with her sword, she made you her successor! You! A psychopath!” Wildly, the half-blind man swung Ba’al back and forth at Hector, who was dodging the attacks far more easily now. Unlike Hector, Luca was not nearly as use to the lack of depth perception, causing his unfocused swings to miss their targets by a large margin. “I was betrayed! Order and Law had failed me! I despised this system, I despised you! I’ll turn this world into a chaotic mess, at least then the lives of the individuals are in their own hands, not some government official looking to increase the size of his coin purse!”

The swinging continued but it was becoming all but useless, Luca was not adapting to the new limitations of his sight. Finally realizing this he backed off, placing his sword within both hands once again. “I’ll take all of Ba’al’s strength, I’ll embrace this and I’ll cut you in two, Hector!” He roared as the area around them began to react. The giant tablet that towered over them releasing its power throughout the mountain peak and converged upon the sword, upon Ba’al. With one final cry the man sent all of his power down upon Hector in one overhead swing.

*
The good news was that whatever this pendant of Hector’s was made of, it did exactly what he had said it would. The shield burst from the jewelled surface, glowing brightly, then shivering, forming into... Ice. A thick, burning circle of the stuff r. Somehow, the two magic’s had... reacted together. The innate power of the pendant with Tamar’s own innate ability. The effect was incredible.

Asha screamed as her own attack was thrown back in her face. It wasn’t Eliziya he was hurting, not really, but horror still leapt in Tamar’s brain. Asha immediately began trying to stagger to her feet.

“You... aren’t going to fight, boy?” Asha gasped. “This... is disappointing.”

“I won’t hurt you.”

“Because... of her,” Asha laughed, and it sounded half like Eliziya, beauty mixed with horror.

“No. I mean... not just because of her,” Tamar said. He stepped forward. “You... don’t want to do this, do you?”
Ash’s eyes flared and Tamar knew he was right. “You dare—“

“If you did you would have killed me by now. You’re stronger than I am. I’ve seen it.” Tamar tapped the side of his head. He remembered lying in an alleyway in a pool of his own blood. Asha’s hand resting on his chest.

It all made sense. “You... don’t want me dead at all, do you?” he asked. “I don’t think you even really want Hector dead, I think...” he swallowed, risking another step. “I think you’ve been very tired for a long time. Asha Kannan,” he returned the favor from before, and Asha flinched at the full name, just as Tamar had at Castor. “And you don't want to do this anymore.”

The last name seemed to stun her. “That... is not who I am.”

“No it’s not,” Tamar agreed. “No more than I’m a Castor. We don’t have to do this, Asha. Don’t you understand?”

Asha laughed hysterically. “What else do you expect? This body was offered to me freely and now it’s all I have.”
“I know, but... you don’t want it, do you? Eliziya... she’s nobody’s but her own.” He moved Echo to his free hand, praying to Saints he didn’t believe in that this was right. That he could end it with something other than violence. “I get it. I mean... I’d be scared too. If I were you.”

For a moment it seemed enough. Asha was reaching out a hand towards him, the rage fading away.

Then the sky itself seemed to tremble, and Tamar was on his knees, along with Asha. Echo trembled violently on the rocks, and the whole world seemed to be screaming. Asha met his eyes, seeming no less bewildered than Tamar was, then she screwed her eyes closed, as if in pain. The world turned white.

*

Everything seemed to move at a snail’s pace. Hector stood, preparing a counter strike as the blade was approaching even if Hector’s power was incomparable to that of Ba’al.

Luca Maeori. Your Will Has Become Misaligned With Our Own.
A voice called out to Luca in his slowed perception of his strike. The voice was not recognized and yet it was completely familiar to him… it was the voice of Ba’al itself.

“Misaligned? What are you talking about?”

Our Power Over The Rage of A Creature's Heart, It Is An Influence Tested Through Balance. To Spread Our Will This Far Would Destroy This Balance. Rage Is A Power That Must Have A Force, An Entity to Channel It To, Our Power Would Collapse If There Was Nothing To Challenge It.

“What are you talking about?” Luca questioned desperately, “I’ve done everything you’ve asked of me! I spread your will over this castle!”

Correct. And At That Time You Indeed Followed Our Will. But Now, You Have Fallen Prey To Your Own Rage And Have Failed to Grasp The Influences Of Our Power. In Truth, By Succumbing To Your Rage You Have Failed. A Warrior Of Ba’al Must Have Control Of His Rage. You Are No Longer Such A Warrior.

The pressure of the wind seemed to change, as his sword grew closer to Hector, who was swinging Ivory upward to meet it, still in slow motion. Luca Maeori. You Are No Longer Our Proxy. Halting The Spread Of Our Will Is Acceptable To The Alternative.

The glow of Ba’al faded as Ivory clashed against the katana, and with its immense size and power, shattered the blade right in front of Luca’s eyes. The shards fell to the ground, and the Monolith behind him was no longer under the control of the sword any longer. Its power spread from the structure, warping and affecting the mountain around it.

*

...And then the mountain was gone, swept away. The world was dark, and perfectly still. There was no rush of wind across the mountains, no purple tinted sky. Tamar staggered to his feet. Wherever he was, it wasn’t the mountain. But that wasn’t the strangest thing. There was the dim glow of oil lamps... and a stage.

Alright. That was strange. “Uh... okay... Hector?” Tamar asked. There was no answer.

Tamar backed up, taking a deep breath to calm himself. How could this be real? He came to the conclusion that it couldn’t. A moment earlier he had been standing on a mountain. How had he ended up on a wooden floor beneath the glow of oil lamps? Somewhere in the darkness, he could hear the gentle tones of a piano and he stepped towards it on instinct, not knowing where else to go.As he did, Tamar trod on something in the darkness. The mask lay on the floor before him, and when he reached out to touch it, one of the memories Asha left pushed to the surface of his mind.

”...What’s it for?”

“For you, of course. Now if you don’t want to see poor old Luca’s face, you can just close your eyes, and he won’t be able to tell you aren’t paying him any attention.”

“Heeey, I resent that! I have a perfectly good face.”

The woman laughed. “You know I don’t mean it. Try it, Asha. See if it suits you.”


Tamar stepped back. Had that been the voice of Olivia? The one who Hector spoke so much about?

Memories. These were memories. Specifically, Asha’s. Tamar looked around, making out the dim shape of objects in the large room, wondering which other memories lurked behind them. He felt strangely obtrusive, but there was no way to get out.
Then the air grew thick with dread. A heavy wind blasted out from the stage, making the curtains flail and muting the piano. Then the creature stepped out of the shadows.

If somebody had given Rage a body, this was what that body would have looked like. It took Tamar a moment to figure out what he was seeing because it should not have been possible.

The creature moved like something unfamiliar with walking. It was as if the shadow that had hidden behind Asha’s mask had encompassed the whole of her body. Its form was translucent: shapes of smoke, burning fire, shivering ice, all held roughly in place. Like a monster drawn by a child in volcanic fumes. All except for the place where it’s heart should be: a space that seemed to be wrapped in heavy chains. Its skin crackled and spat. It was huge, bigger than any wild bear, taller than Hector, and it was wearing Asha’s mask.

It swung thick arms into the wooden floorboards, and Tamar leapt aside, the crunch of landing dragging the skin from his palms. He kept a tight hold of Echo, spinning to block an attack he was sure would crush him. It didn’t. The chain struck Echo’s blade and shattered, cracking as if the translucent substance were glass. The creature screamed.

“Luca? Luca, please, it’s eating me!” The voice was young, terrified, and so like his own. And just like that, Tamar understood what this was.

This was not Eliziya, nor was it even Asha anymore. It was the thing which lurked in the brains of everyone who had ever cast a spell, except it had turned wrong an ugly. It was a creature made of chains and darkness and endless pain. It was not alive.

It was Asha’s power. Asha’s magic, given a form of its own. Asha’s pain. But power needed form.

Tamar gasped, swallowing hard to cope with the pain in his hands. Pain. Actual pain, the kind he hadn’t felt since he confronted Luca in the Underground, and wasn’t that just typical? He was almost glad of it, seeing as it ate through the cold as he staggered to his feet.

“Please don’t put me back there,” a voice said in a frightened whisper. And Tamar, who remembered cages of the mind more than cages of the body, could do nothing but try and help.

Aim for the heart, was the obvious answer, and for the first time Tamar didn’t have to hold back on that logic. He had no way of knowing if that thing wrapped in chains in the middle of the creature’s chest was really a heart, but it hardly mattered. The chains wrapped close to and around it, as if trying to shield it from Tamar’s sword, and he knew that was where he had to aim.

So he struck –missed. The creature swept its arm across , and it was like being hit with a cannon ball. Tamar felt the rush of air, weightlessness, and the bone crunching thud of his body hitting the wooden floor. Thanks the saints it hadn't been the rock.

If Asha had been holding back, then this creature certainly wasn’t. Tamar staggered upright, head pounding, dimly aware of the blood flow from... somewhere. It didn’t matter. The cold would slow it down. He reached for Echo and found him lying several feet away. When his palms touched the ground to crawl towards it, the ice spread from his fingertips, a web-like network of thin, blue veins across the stone, weak and pale. The air was saturated with a cold he couldn’t feel. The flames that licked along Echo’s blade were white-blue, made of ice more than fire.

"Eliziya", Tamar thought. And somehow, the word held more power than any rune.

This was just magic, Tamar thought as he staggered to his feet. He could beat magic.

His next gesture probably looked more like a suicidal shrug than any kind of ‘come and get me’ signal’, but it hard the desired effect. The creature charged, and Tamar twisted out of the way, raising Echo to shove the blade between the chains into the creature’s heart. The pain of the magical overflow lanced back down Tamar’s arm, shoving him across the room. But Echo stayed embedded in the creature as it thrashed in the air.

It died, Tamar couldn’t help noticing, the same way as the bear they had faced on that first journey with Hector. Like an animal, clawing at the earth, before it disintegrated.

At first the air was heavy with magic, like a drumbeat, but as the creature shrank, the magic faded with it. Echo clattered to the ground with a noisy chime.

*

The silence that followed felt longer than it was. Tamar was suddenly grateful for the fact that he’d felt like there was an ice block in his stomach for the last twenty four hours. This would probably be a lot more painful otherwise. He rose slowly, head pounding, palms stinging. His own magic felt muffled, tired, but the thought of Zi, Hector and Asha, pushed him to his feet. Tamar reached for Echo and that was when he saw something else peculiar: an... object lying on the ground. It was the size of his outstretched hand: glistening like some strange creature from the Underground, mere inches away from Echo. Asha’s magic. Or rather, what was left of it.

Tamar reached out a hand, but it vanished, turning the flesh of his hand briefly translucent. He paused for a second, considered then finally reached out to take hold of Echo, shaking with adrenaline. Had what just happened been real?

The piano was still playing. Tamar blinked disbelieving. That kind of counteracted the idea of this being real. After all, who the heck would still be playing a piano after all that? Still Tamar pulled himself together and approached the stage, carefully climbing up onto it.

The piano sat in the very middle of the stage. It was an ancient wooden thing, tall and dusty, snd sitting in the chair before it, playing a careful, delicate tune, was a girl. “Zi...” Tamar started to say. But it quickly became obvious this girl was not Eliziya. She was the same age, had the same dark hair and pretty round face, but the eyes were entirely different, her features more pronounced. She didn’t look as if she came from the Eastern zones,. Rather, she looked more like a native of Lomadia.

‘Asha?’

Asha looked at him, hands pausing . There was an awkward silence, before she edged to the left on the chair and gestured at him. Tamar didn’t realise what she meant straight away, but he was already walking towards the piano, and sitting down next to her seemed natural.

“I think,” Asha said, her voice soft and no longer borrowed from Eliziya, “...that your master may well have defeated my ally in battle.”

“Uh... right.” Well, so much for natural.

“I suppose that means we no longer need to fight,” Asha went on. “We’ve lost... everything. Or maybe I already had.” She didn’t seem as saddened by this as she might have. Her eyes, Tamar noticed, were almost the same colour as his own. Purple.

“Did you...” Tamar started, but he could not think how to ask ‘did you want to die’ or ‘is that what you wanted of me all along’, without sounding incredibly rude. He might have lacked social skill, but he was not completely insensitive. He knew the Asha sitting beside him now had not truly existed for a very, very long time. She started playing again, the same soft tune as before, quiet and vaguely sad.

It seemed so strange, to be sitting here, at a piano, having a conversation with a girl who, minutes earlier, had been trying to kill him. Or had wanted him to kill her. And perhaps he had succeeded.

“Can... I ask a question?” he asked.

The music stopped, but her answer was unnervingly polite. “Of course.”

“Where are we? I’m... I’m not sure what happened.”

Asha turned from the piano, her face surprisingly calm. At peace. “If it helps,” she said, “I’m not too sure of the details myself... this is a memory, I think. Or a collection of my memories. When Hector destroyed Ba’al... you are aware that the sword fed on the effects of the Rage spell, correct?”

“Well... yeah,” Tamar said. It was only sort of a lie.

“Well, I would imagine that... when that happened, it created a reaction of some sort. Tapping into the magic I possess.”
“So... let me get this straight,” Tamar said slowly, knowing that Hector would be incredibly confused by all this. “When Hector destroyed Ba’al, the rage spell that it was casting over the mountain...” he hesitated.

“Fluctuated?” Asha prompted.

“Right! That’s the word, fluctuated. And it... opened a... doorway?” he guessed wildly, drawing on everything he knew about the Ether – the magical plain so many believed to be the origins of magic, (but which, in fairness, had never been conclusively proven to exist). ‘It combined with your magic and created... this?” he gestured at the stage.

“Well, yes. I suppose. We’re in a place created from my memories and my magic. Or yours. It’s hard to tell, we’re quite alike...” she looked thoughtful. “I suspect we’re both unconscious on a hillside and this is all happening inside our heads. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t real though,” she added.

“But it makes no sense whatsoever!”

“What about this place does, Tamar?” Asha asked dryly. “We’re in a castle, hundreds of miles above the earth, and you just did battle with the personification of my magical ability. Which was, by the way, an awful LOT of magic.”

“...Okay, fair point.”

Asha was quiet for a moment, gently prodding the keys of the piano, a quiet melody of a single note. “Magic never does what you expect. I suspect this world was... created. By you or me. Or by the magic interacting with the rage spell. It was a powerful force. It wrapped itself around us, and created this... world. I think.” she frowned in confusion.

“...Asha?” Tamar said, after a moment’s pause.

“Yes, Tamar?”

“You don’t have a clue how this happened, do you?”

And to his surprise, Asha chuckled. “Haven’t got the foggiest.” She reached up to take something from her hair, letting it fall over her face. She handed the object to Tamar. He started at it for a moment in confusion. A hairpin.

“Um...”

“I hope she still has it,” Asha said. “The real one, I mean. This is just a memory. Can't you hear what it’s about?”

Tamar shook his head. “No... Is it yours.?”

“It was. Now I rather think it belongs to Eliziya,” Asha said. Tamar didn’t ask if she was talking about the memory, or the hairpin. “Thank you, Tamar.”

“What for? Didn’t I just...” he swallowed, dreading the question but having to ask. “You’re dead, aren’t you?”

“Long ago. I sustained myself for Luca’s sake... and my own,” she smiled . “I think we just didn’t want our sacrifices to be for nothing. In the end, we made their meaning even smaller. Lessons to be learned, and we ignored them.”

Tamar remembered Hector trying to teach him how to name a sword and couldn't help but smile. “Most people do, I guess.”
Asha’s hands were back on the keys and she played a few more notes. Tamar listened, allowing himself to forget for a second that they were stood in a place that should not exist. When Asha finished, she carefully removed her hands from the keys and folded them in her lap. She looked at him, brightness in her eyes that might have been tears. “I hope she remembers me. For a while, it was almost like having a family again.”

Tamar swallowed. “I guess I’ll have to tell her.”

“Erebus Castor,” Asha said faintly. “Tamar Delaney. Hector Erastus. Olivia. Ivory... Sometimes we choose our own names. The girl chose the name Eliziya Torvantine. I give the right to that choice back to her now. I should never have taken it.”

“You didn’t mean to,” Tamar said. For all that she had done, Asha had saved his life, and taken care of Eliziya. Perhaps it was because of some misguided death wish, but Tamar could not forget that kindness.

“She’ll need someone like you, Tamar. Someone with your understanding.” She raised one of her hands and placed it on the boy’s chest, much like she had when she had saved his life. “You have so much potential. If you’d let me, perhaps I can do one last bit of a good, and bring some of that potential out.”

Tamar wasn’t sure what she meant, but he nodded anyway, because he was pretty sure you didn’t deny a dying person their last request even if you didn’t understand it. “I don’t have much left, but...” A glow flowed from her hand and transferred itself into the boy’s chest. Unseen by him, a rune appeared there, similar to the runes of the talismans she had made. “There… that’ll do.” Her eyes rose, looking around the memory as if she was perceiving something Tamar couldn’t know. “I think that’s the end of it, don’t you?”

The piano cracked.

Tamar jumped out of the chair, as the instrument seemed to break apart, fragments drifting away from each other. Then he realised it wasn't the piano. The whole world was crumbling, leaving behind walls of white and the blue veins of magic behind the illusion.

When he looked at Asha for the last time, she was smiling.

*
Luca fell to his knees, the rage spell’s aura forming a storm above him and hector. He stared upon the remains of Ba’al, the upper half completely removed. “This isn’t happening…” He quietly muttered as clenched the remains tightly. “This can’t happen. This can’t be all for nothing! Not after everything I had to do to get here!”

“It’s over Luca.” Hector said, standing over the other man. “You said it yourself; without Ba’al connected to that giant Monolith you have no means to control this spell anymore.”

“You want me to stop? Never!” The storm seemed to pulsate with the anger spreading from the man’s heart. “If you want to stop me then kill me!”

Hector did not move, he did not even think about lifting Ivory to finish his opponent. “… Why not!?” he questioned in desperation. It was then that realization seemed to dawn at him, an answer to his question for why Olivia had chosen him over Luca himself. It all started to make sense, and it sickened him. This became ever clearer when Hector extended a hand to him, as if to help him up after all this. Luca stared at the hand in disbelief and anger, before scrambling away from it.

“…I’ve caused the death of hundreds, killed just as many. I sacrificed my friends, I sacrificed a child.” The man lamented as he crawled back onto his feet. “But in the end, I was once again denied. First Law, and now Chaos.” The spells power was drawing into the man, his inner rage absorbing the magic. The power surged around his body, cuts and slashes appearing as the immense power continued to flow into him. “This is all I have left; I’m not giving it up…”

“Luca, stop.” Hector pleaded , “That power will destroy your body. Don't you see that?”

“Of course I see it!” Luca roared, the power pushing Hector backward towards the monolith. “I have sacrificed everything to achieve my goals, the only thing I have left to give is my body!”

“You can’t do this!” Even then, Hector reached a hand out towards his fallen friend, one last attempt.

“I won’t let this be for nothing!” Luca yelled out as the rush of energy tore his body to shreds. Its constant flow wreaking havoc upon him until it was suddenly cut short. The power just… stopped. Luca fell to the ground in a heap of his own blood as he realized what had happened.

The monolith before him shattered, Hector having cut it down the middle with a powerful swing from Ivory. It was over, the source of the spell truly destroyed.

Hector slowly returned to Luca, whose injuries now put him far beyond saving. “I… really do hate you, Hector.” The man cursed, his voice seething with anger and pain. “After everything… I did, I still couldn’t even get you to kill me.” He coughed out blood from his throat, “I ended up doing it myself, how pathetic.”

“Stubborn, more like.” Hector responded simply, kneeling before the fallen man.

“One of the few traits… we share, unfortunately. Even after… Everything I did, you still looked at me like… like I was some kind of friend. If that’s not s-stubbornness… I don’t know what is.” Hector just looked on mournfully, knowing the words Luca said were true. Luca said nothing else, his eye only staring up at the dispersing spell in the air. His right hand lifted ; his goal, so close and yet so completely out of his reach. Then the hand fell back upon the mountain peak, and the eye finally closed.
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:35 pm
Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:44 pm

Turn Rewards:
  • Tohrinha: Yggdrasil Leaf
  • Adell: ?
  • Scarab: ?
  • eli_gone_crazy: ?
  • JackAlsworth: Heat-resistant Gloves
  • RussetDivinity: ?
  • Victin: Magic Sense: Artifacts
  • Krika: Ability: Faster Casting

Setting Update:
With the collapse of the anti-guild and an end to the riots, people are once again feeling an urge to move forward in the Castle. Thanks to Marcus' adventure, the Castle is unlocked up to the twentieth floor now, though due to a tendency to stay in groups and a fear of the more vicious monsters on the higher floors, people for the most part aren't venturing past the seventh floor or so yet.

Quest 39: Witch Hunt
Quest Description: One of the more distant fields on the third floor has experienced a particularly dismal harvest. Rather than recognize the likely reasons for the poor crops, and the role some of them may have played in the recent turmoil, the community depending on that field has seized on a girl-- the only mage in their midst-- and declared her to be the witch who cursed their harvest. They are holding her, and plan to kill the witch in order to ensure a better crop next year.
Your Goal: Save the girl.
Quest Takers: Mirae (Tohrinha) and Giselle (narrativedilettante)


Quest 40: Wild Wood
Quest Description: Early parties of adventurers have found the fifth floor to have large stretches of forest, perfect for the town's carpenters who were running out of wood to work with. But when they sent a group of woodcutters up there, some of them came back... shaken. Spooked. They spoke of voices coming from the forest, of the axes in their hands being turned against them, and refused to go back. Others never came back at all.
Your Goal: Get to the bottom of it/ resolve the problem.
Quest Takers: Salvantas (Lordxana0) and Morionem (Victin)

Quest 41: Water World
Quest Description: The more ambitious people would like to reach at least floor seven. Unfortunately, Floor 6 is providing a small obstacle to that: The floor is an ocean. That is, entirely submerged in water. Not the kind of water you can breathe.
Your Goal: Make the floor livable, or at least passable.
Quest Takers: Tamar (Scarab) and Darren (Blurred_9L)


GM Notes
On Quest 39: The girl has some small magical ability-- enough to heal their scrapes or keep their meats cold-- but not enough to protect herself.
On Quest 40: The trees are alive. And they can talk! I don't think they like us much.
On Quest 41: I think this one is sink or swim.

Deadline for all quests is Tuesday October 22 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Victin on Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:56 pm

Wild Wood

Morionem was making his way through the people who returned to the streets after this nightmare. They were slowly going back to their normal lives, and it carved a merry smile on his face. It also helped he was going toward the fifth floor to face whatever kind of creature was haunting the woods of said floor. Some of the lumberjacks he had met went there to do their work, as the forest on this floor was recovering from a fire, but as soon as they got there they were swarmed by… Well, each one had their own understanding of what had happened. Trickster ghosts, enraged spirits and ancient curses were the most popular explanations among them, so the swordsman decided to investigate.

Salvantas stood in front of the Podium, waiting for the last of the people to finish filling out of the room. He had also heard the various rumors of monsters and curses destroying workers abilities to harvest the forest for supplies. He wasn’t exactly looking forward to going this alone, but there was still chaos to be taken care of in the aftermath of the Anti-Guilds fall, plus the ongoing threat of the Dark Carnival made it impossible to bring other agents with him into this. He let out a sigh and put his hand on the newly acquired saber he had picked up from the Anti-Guild base he had raided and began to step toward the gate.

“This is it now. My first time on a floor that isn’t this one.” Morionem tried to hide his excitement, but had no idea whether he was managing to or not. He put his hand on the hilt of his sword and held tight the wooden grip, who could tell what was awaiting for him there? The swordsman breathed deeply and stepped forward.

The fifth floor was simply an endless forest. Trees, bushes and all of the like as far as Morionem’s eyes could see. It was astonishing and scary at the same time. It was so vast, but yet so devoid of people, a primitive place inhabited by wild beasts and plants. He turned to look around, and was surprised when he noticed the traces left over by the first lumberjacks that came here. Some trees had been cut down, but the logs were left exactly where they fell, alongside some tools and stumps.

“Interesting isn’t it?” Salvantas jumped down from a tree behind the swordsman. “Something scary enough to send a group of strong woodcutters running, definitely something that shouldn’t be handled alone”

Morionem abruptly spun and nearly drew his sword, but stopped himself when he noticed the other man wasn’t hostile. “Certainly. But it should be fun to try.” He said with a smirk. “Name’s Morionem, by the way. You scared me there for a second.”

“Salvantas, guild master of Heroes Unlimited” he offered his hand to the other man, who accepted it gladly.

“Heroes Unlimited? Cool!” The swordsman said, but then tried to hide his contentment. “Uh… I mean, you are the first guild master I’ve met in person, and your guild does all this cool stuff to people, or so I heard.”’
Salvantas shrugged and smiled. “We protect people, nothing more nothing less, now then” his face became serious. “Do you have any idea what happened here?”

“Some lumberjacks from the first floor I know have decided to come to the fifth floor to chop down some wood, after it was discovered they had plenty in here. Except, as you can see -” He pointed towards the cut trees. “- as soon as they started doing their work, something happened. They said they heard some voices, and their axes turned against them.”

“Good so you know the basics then” Salvantas thought for a moment before looking at the other man. “Tell me, do you know what a sixth sense is?”

“Umh…” Morionem said thoughtfully for a few seconds. “I guess it’s when you feel something without using your five other senses? Something hostile approaching you, or a situation of danger that might happen soon or something like that?” He answered unsure.

“Don’t feel too bad, you are pretty much correct” Salvantas paused for a moment, thinking of how to properly explain it. “Yes!” Thought Morionem, cheerfully.

“The best way to explain it is by saying its proper name, the otherworld sense” Salvantas paused once more. “Sorry this is something that I have been taught and been around my entire life, so it is hard for me to summarize it, but basically it is the sense that helps you detect things that aren’t there, ghosts, demons, magic, that sort of thing” he looked around. “And even since I got here it has been going insane”

The swordsman gazed around once again. “I get what you mean. This place is so eerily empty, but at the same time, so full… We can’t see it, but there’s gotta be some hell of wild creatures on the forest, right? I bet we would hear wolves if it were night.”

Salvantas took a step back and pulled out his blade. “We are about to be attacked” Morionem did the same, but his sword shaked on his hand. Not his hands, his sword itself shaked, and tried to lung back to hit him on the face. Luckily its move was clumsy enough he managed to throw it away.

“What… What the hell was that!?” He yelled as his shield did the same. It repeatedly slammed itself at the swordsman, and he did to it the same he did to his sword.

Out of nowhere, a voice-No, hundreds of thousands of voices rang on their ears. Its tone didn’t sound natural, but even though it was one single word it could perfectly leave its message: wrath. “Leave.”

Salvantas scanned the forest around them to try and locate the source of the voice but found that he couldn’t. The voice was coming from everywhere at once. “We need to run!” Salvantas put back his blade and was suddenly very thankful the blade was all metal. Whatever this creature what it seemed to control wood, though he had no doubt that if he went at it face to face it couldn’t rip the blade from his hand.

“I’m not usually the one who points out this kind of stuff, but there’s a problem with your plan. Run to where?” The leaves rustled menacingly (or as menacingly they could), even though there was no apparent wind, and the branches joined the cacophony, swinging from side to side.

“I warned you.”

Salvantas closed his eyes for a moment and thought. “Why wouldn’t it just kill us?”

Because it doesn’t have that power. Blank’s voice rang through his mind.

“Right” Salvantas opened his eyes. “The creature or person is somehow projecting its will unto the forest, most likely using some sort of magic item that allows it use its powers to control the wood” he looked at the floating weapons. “All wood it seems.”

“Uhm… Some help please?” Asked the now swordless Morionem, who tried to dodge his own sword’s attacks. It seemed very clumsy when compared to the shield, which tackled him but didn’t hit very hard.

Salvantas looked at the weapons for a moment. “How exactly am I suppose to fight your weapons?”

“Parrying with the sword?” He answered puzzled.

“That is a rather short term solution, I think we should focus on tracking down the one making the weapons move” Salvantas paused. “I am beginning to realize we are in a huge forest with no idea how to track down a single person with a magic artifact.”

“I just want to-” He dove to the side, dodging an incoming attack. “-prevent them from following us. Better to enter a forest to fight a dude that can control freakin’ wood without the danger of being attack by flying -DUCK!”

Salvantas noticed a number of axes starting to rise off of the ground and turn toward him. “Well…. this is not going well” they began to fly at him, forcing Salvantas to bound and dodge them, using his speed and training to his advantage. Morionem threw himself on the ground, leaving the axes to fly past him, and then rolled to the side, to avoid being stabbed by his sword. He stood up as quickly as he could and held the blade down, even though it forced itself up. His shield came to strike his head, but he weakened his grip and let the sword jump into the air. In one move he stabbed his shield and stuck the blade back into the ground as deep as he could, pinning the shield down.

“This is more or less what I meant.” Morionem said as he ran towards the guild master and from the axes, which flew back for another strike. “Now what was your plan again?”

Salvantas looked at the axes and sighed. “One moment” he put his hand on the hilt of the blade and closed his eyes. “Demon Fang style, Mass Execution” he drew his blade and struck fast, cutting the heads of the axes from the wood, making the once dangerous tools just sticks. “Well do you have any tracking abilities when it comes to magic items? I could attempt to use my sixth sense, but it isn’t that developed”

The now swordless swordsman was distracted by how fast and precise that attack was, but managed to shrug away the astonishment and talk. “I can try. Magic leaves its print on stuff, it can be very distinctive. It flows from one thing to another naturally.” He took a deep breath and stared at the trees. “I could try to track it by seeing where does all this magic come from. I mean, these trees… They are irradiating life. I never thought life-related magic could be so creepy.”

Salvantas smiled wistfully. “Back in the days of the Light vs. Dark Flamewars our healers would cast a spell known as overheal on the enemies, which sent their immune systems into overdrive and well…” he shrugged. “Their bodies turned against them, not pretty. Light doesn’t mean nice after all”

“Oooohhh… Right. I think I heard about that war once, but I’m sure I didn’t pay enough attention. History never was my favorite subject. Though it did have some cool fights.” He looked around, studying their surroundings. “Oh, no I remember. I think I’ve heard at least one story of a monstrous undead creature being brought to life. Does that count?”

Salvantas laughed. “Basafama history doesn’t get out often, and when it does you can bet it will be largely inaccurate, during the war a group of Necromages found a way to burn the soul from a creature and implant more mad souls into it. Technically there were over ten thousand undead creatures running around in that war, not counting corpses raised by summoned demons”

“That does sound creepy. By the way,-” Morionem stopped on his tracks. “We entered the forest dominated by a dude that con control wood. What do we do now?”

“Track him down, punch him in the stomach, and put him in a metal box for preventing the city from cutting down the trees we need” he shrugged. “I often find the most simple plans are the ones that don’t end up with people dead or wishing they were dead”

Morionem was going to let off a laugh, but he wasn’t sure whether he should or not laugh at that last sentence. “I too find simpler plans good. Except he or she can attack us anytime now. Why hasn’t he?”

Salvantas smiled. “Simple, the assault with the sword and axes was probably the most he has ever done. He is charging and getting ready for something really big”

“That… Doesn’t sound good at all.” Morionem put the palm of his hand on a tree, and tried to focus on the magic that flowed through it as much as he could. It was simply life magic, though it behaved differently from the one he often used to heal himself. “Probably because this is a tree… But this tree doesn’t look like it needs to be healed. Actually none of them look like so.” Morionem decided to try and see if he could synch his magic with the one the flowed through the tree. He closed his eyes and concentrated. Energy streams from his very core converged to his arm, then to the tree.

Salvantas stood behind Morionem and watched as the tree branches began to move. “Keep doing your thing” he pulled out his blade and watched as they began to come toward them, the tips sharp as spears.

The mage tried to synchronize both fluxes but failed repeatedly. His breathing slowed down, his magic shifted into different shapes, but they wouldn’t connect. Maybe I… Maybe I shouldn’t slow down... He tried once again, this time a strong pulse of energy. This time it reverberated and mingled with the power that invaded the tree. It was… Unnaturaly fierce. It was forcing itself inside this tree, probably every other too. ”No… Not probaly. It… It caught my feet!”

Morionem opened his eyes and abruptly broke the link. He realized he used too much force, depleting more of his reserves than he should’ve, and that the roots of the tree were holding his legs tight.

Salvantas looked at the man. “Can you find him now?”

“Could you help- Bloody hell, what happened to you!?” Morionem turned behind as well as he could, only to see a bloodied Salvantas, alongside a carnage of sticks and branches laying on the dirt.

“Doesn’t matter, can you track whoever is doing this?” he asked, keeping an eye out for any more rouge branches. “Because I don’t know how long I can keep this up”

The other man was impressed by the guild master’s skill, but also worried about him. The dark red stained his clothes, his hair, the ground and everything in between. “I am… Almost there. I understood what he’s doing, but not what for. He or she seems to be pumping, for whatever reason, life magic into these trees. But he isn’t just pumping it inside them, he’s shoving as much as he can as fast as he can. Whatever he wants to accomplish he wants it now and it isn’t going to be any good. Each tree acts as a…As a… I forgot the name, which spreads the spell to the close tree, and those trees do the same to the ones around them, until every tree of this forest is…Infected.” Taking a moment to breath, Morionem paused his small lecture. “I haven’t been able to trace the exact path this big messy ether net is making, seeing the effect this is having, we probably just need to keep walking by the path where the trees attack us. That means the spell has been under effect there for a longer period of time.” The roots wrapping around his feet started moving again. The strain they caused was starting to hurt hard, and they already clinged to his knees.

Salvantas took notice of the roots and cut them quickly and cleanly as he could. “This is all very interesting, and when I get back I will make a due note to study it all in detail.” Salvantas saw a number of branches beginning to rise. “But right now I just need to know how we stop it”

“Thank you.” Morionem used his own life magic to stop the pain that quickly took over his legs. Hopefully the plant didn’t cause any kind of permanent damage. After a second of thought he realized that, even though he was in a forest full of trees that could attack him anytime they wanted, so far he was doing better not getting hurt than most time he had to fight something. Chuckling, he told Salvantas: “Let’s just walk on that direction. If the trees get too quiet we just need to go somewhere else.”

“So the plan is walk until we are attacked like mad, and that is the way we go?” he sheathed his sword. “I don’t think I like this plan at all” he winced and held his arm, pulling out a branch. “But we do what we must”

“The closer we get, the easier it’ll be for me to track the source down.” Morionem sighed. “But yeah… It isn’t the best of plans.”

Salvantas sighed. “Walk in front of me, if the trees attack they will do it from behind, and you can probably track easier on point”

“Right then.” He replied and resumed walking. The silence that took over after that was eerily menacing, as another attack could happen anytime, without warning.

~~~~

By now, Morionem didn’t even had to touch a tree to discover where the spell come from. The magic felt so strong here any magic user could sense it, although it would need some skill to discern the actual path taken by the energy from the background noise. Even then, it was obvious that the place they were aiming for was the one guarded by sentient trees.

“Do you have any ideas?” Whispered him to Salvantas ear. In this case, the trees could actually hear him, but they had either gathered around the place the evil doer stood or were resting, preparing to receive orders and attack. A small glade, asides from the living vegetation, circled the hut and approaching unnoticed would be outright impossible for anyone who dared to try.

“Yes” Salvantas touched one of his wounds and looked at the blood, allowing the demon inside of him to rage free. “Simple” Blank said in his typically emotionless voice. “We find the source of this, and then we kill it”

“Okay, now we need to kill it then. But how exactly do we get there?” He pointed at the almost literal tree fort. “I can try to hold or scare these ents, or treants, or whatever you want to call them, but personally I’d rather not… Set this forest ablaze.” The thought passed through his mind, sickening and creeping him off. “And even if I were to do so, I don’t want to be burned alongside them or become plant food.”

Blank looked at the ents for a moment. “I will cut through them, and you will use the time to go into the middle of their ranks and take out whatever is controlling them. Is this plan serviceable for you?”

Morionem didn’t trust himself very much to attempt such plan, but he had seen Salvantas’ skills the whole day and they were good. “Fine then. But first, give me your hand.”

Blank offered him his hand. “I do hope we are not being held up by some form of love confession, I somehow doubt my heart could handle that”

The other man laughed and released a wave of curative energy through his hand into the guild master. “Better this than nothing.”

Blank shuddered as his body repaired. “I would thank you, if what was about to happen next wouldn’t have made your efforts meaningless” Blank looked at the trees and then at Morionem. “You might want to step back” He does accordingly, and watches Blank. Blank let out a slow breath. “Art of Nine Dragons” he tossed his blade and sheath into the air. He closed his eyes, simply standing still as the sheath began to fall back toward the ground. At the last moment Blank pulled the blade free from the sheath and vanished for a few moments, appearing against in front of the Ents. “Fools Terror” his arm became a blur as he struck the line of Ents with his blade. When he had finally finished four of them broke into pieces. An audible snap came from Blanks body, which was the sound of his shoulder breaking. “Go!”

Following that order straight away, Morionem ran like hell towards the hut which was their target. More ents raised from around the glade, while what was left over from Salvantas’ attack roared in fury. “I will not tolerate this any longer.” Said the voice, or growl, of many thousands. “You have signed your death sentence. Prepare to die.” With a leap, the mage dodged an attack by what was left of one of the wooden soldiers. It was only now he noticed these trees actually had faces on them, seemingly carved onto their barks, but at the same time completely uncanny.

He entered the hut with ease, because there was no kind of door nor anything protecting the entrance (save for an army). It was a crude cave sustained by overgrown roots, all of them linked to an object atop an altar in the center of the sole room. The person standing on the obsidian altar dressed vines and leaves, which covered his or her from head to toes. The only discerning feature were the bright green eyes, emanating by an ethereal radiance of power. He, or she, stopped her unceasing ritual and turned his attention to Morionem. Power stopped pouring into the dandelion that grew in the hole on the center of the black altar.

“You.” Said the druid, and all the trees of the forest followed his speech in unison. “You are the vermin that devour our roots. You are the plague that raven our leaves. You are the pest that destroy our barks.” She raised her eyes to face the man, who was not one, but two heads taller than her. “You will not survive this meeting.”

The roots that covered the floor and walls of the cave trembled, and it shook alongside them. “Calm down… Lady. Or sir. Or…” Blinking away his confusion, he continued. “I like forests as much as you do, and I want to protect it too.”

“LIAR!” The roots took hold of him with surprising agility, and their grip was strong enough to turn Morionem’s struggle to escape futile. “You just came here to destroy my precious forest.”

“No… It’s… It’s true!” He spoke as he gasped for air. Seeing as he wouldn’t be able to heal his certainly broken bones while he was imprisoned so tight, the mage decided that he should use his curative magic to let him talk, at least. The refreshing feeling inside his lungs may have not been air, but it was satisfying. “There are many reasons forests are important, for people and for the animals that live in it. I want them safe just like... You want.”

“People and animals bring nothing but chaos and destructions. Plants are peaceful and orderly, that’s the secret that allows them to live for ages and ages, at each and every single corner of this world.” She raised her hand and pointed at Morionem. “And now, you die.”

A surge of power rushed by the whole hut, and the roots constricted him more. At the same time, another surge of power rushed by Morionem. But of another kind. “I didn’t... Want… To do… This… But you… You made me… I hope this works.” He added in his mind.

At first, nothing but an aching sensation under his skin, while burning pain came from his bones. Then, his hair stood up by itself, and his lungs started to dry, followed by sparking and gasping for a last straw of air. Finally, an electrical arc, and the refreshing joy of being able to breath again clashing against the hurtful yell of being on fire.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaah! Knew it! I knew you would do this to us.” Said the druid. The green of his eyes shifted between horror and fury so fast that no one could tell the difference between the two. The sentient vegetation backed away under the cackling of the fire that spread swiftl, leaving behind a catatonic master. “Come back! Who told you to leave? This is only a little fire! I can set it off! Return now, I command you.”

The entire place shook and trembled once again. Morionem had stopped generating lightning and now focused solely on trying to stand up and run. “Ungrateful bastards! Come back now! Don’t leave me here!”

“Get out of here you too!” He was standing up now, and he managed to give a step when a rock fell down on his side.

“No, this can’t be happening. Not to me, not now. This is impossible.” Tears of the same rage and terror ran across his face, as she threw himself on the ground.

“Let’s go!” Morionem said when he reached the door, trying to offer his hand to the druid. But now it was too late. Finally, a gush of wind ran out of the hut as one side collapsed and a waves of energy returned straight to its origin. Debris and dust threw Morionem out, and the entire place came down, with a brilliant flash and a single, lonely farewell scream.

~~~~

Blank watched as Morionem exited the building, watching the flames rise from atop one of the now inanimate Ents. “I am guessing that the mission is now complete?”

As a reply, all Blank received was a long, dull “ugh”.

Blank closed his eyes and allowed Salvantas to take control of the body once more. “Good job” he said in his normal friendly tone. “We should…” Salvantas collapsed on the ground and groaned. “Oh right, I have a broken arm and leg”

“You are better than me, then.” He told without moving or trying to.

Salvantas looked up at the false sky above them and smiled. “How about I send out a call to get us picked up so we don’t have to move?”

“This would be great. In fact, if you do that I’ll hug you.” Morionem smiled.

Salvantas closed his eyes and allowed his mental link with Elisa to go through, sending her a message to have a few Heroes Unlimited agents sent to pick them up. “Thank god for the mental powers of Succubi” he whispered under his breath.

“I guess that since we’ll have to use the podium to get out of this floor, can you do me the favor and pick up my stuff there?”

Salvantas waved his good hand. “Yeah, about four of my guys are coming, along with a….” Salvantas paused. “Lets say mage who can do basic healing stuff, until then I am going to stare at the fake sky and get some sleep” he yawned. “Haven’t slept in two days”

“I’ll follow your lead then.” And with that he closed his eyes and embraced the comforting darkness that overtook him.

As if imitating both men, the flames soon died out. Ashes, dust, and little seeds floated through the air, but soon they too settled down. The world fell in silence and slept, and the bloated sun silently stared them down with its burning gaze.
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.
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Victin
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:17 pm
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Tohrinha on Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:40 pm

The tavern was crowded. Giselle had trouble keeping track of everyone around her, given that she was slightly busy keeping track of the cards in her hand and those of her fellows. Not everyone was conscientious about keeping their hands hidden, and while Giselle understood there was a moral imperative to ignore such information when she caught it, she believed there was a more significant moral imperative to winning.

She just barely managed to notice that someone familiar had entered the tavern. When the next hand was over, she bowed out, taking her winnings--not enough to arouse suspicion of cheating, which worked out well, and approached the mage she’d met a short time before (though so much had happened in the meantime it felt like much longer) with the intention of catching up.

The girl caught sight of her when Giselle was about halfway out, turning from where she’d been scanning the room. Moving around a small group of men who had struck up what seemed to be a ballad about the perils of giving your money away to pretty girls, Mirae approached, recognition crossing her face. “Giselle?”

“Mirae!” Giselle smiled. “How have you been? I’m glad to see you looking so well. I’ve heard a lot of disheartening news lately.”

“Things seem to have been improving,” Mirae said, glancing about the bustling room. “It is nice to be able to walk somewhere instead of run. Your news…. Anything devastating?”

“Not directly. Some friends of some friends have been in rough spots, but most of the people close to me are okay. I mean, I haven’t been able to check up on everyone but… most of them are okay.”

“That’s good to hear,” Mirae replied. She paused a moment before continuing. “Do you happen to know of a Dan Shriker? In the guard?”

“Doesn’t ring a bell,” Giselle replied. “Friend of yours?”

“His parents let me borrow their house on the third floor for a while and asked to hear from him. So if I find him….” She shrugged.

“Well, I could ask around. The company I keep doesn’t tend to get on so well with the guard, but there are a few strings I could pull, if you wanted some help tracking him down.” Giselle wasn’t sure it was a good idea to try to insinuate herself in that crowd, but figured there wouldn’t be much harm in finding some kid in a suit of armor to deliver a message from his parents.

“Ah, thank you. I suppose I should keep looking for him. Unless,” Mirae trailed off, looking at Giselle. Then, with no hesitation, she asked, “Would you like to go on an adventure?”

Giselle’s face lit up at the suggestion. “That’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?” Then, her cautious side taking over, she asked, “What kind of an adventure?”

“Just finding out whatever’s on the next floor. I’ve been on these three for far too long,” Mirae said.

“Excellent,” replied Giselle, checking in her knapsack to be sure she had her mapmaking equipment, first aid kit, and everything with her. She wouldn’t want to head onto an unfamiliar floor unprepared. “Let’s get to it.”

Mirae smiled. “Let’s go to the third floor for a moment first. Let Shriker’s parents know there are others looking for him.”

“Sounds fine,” Giselle said with a shrug. “Is it very far far out of the way?”

Mirae gave a noncommittal jerk of the head, her cloak swaying slightly. “It’s maybe a couple of hours’ travel, but we shouldn’t be staying long. And there’s the original gate to the fourth floor nearby, so we don’t have to go back to the podium.”

Giselle grinned, lifting her knapsack so that the strap rested more comfortably across her shoulder. “I think I can handle that.”

“Let’s go.” Mirae flashed her own grin back at Giselle, then turned and darted out the door. Giselle followed shortly behind her.

---

The journey to the farmhouse was longer than Mirae remembered. Of course, the other times she had made it, she’d been riding. Now she walked next to Chet, both to take in the feel of the farmland for a final time and to make sure she didn’t overtake Giselle. They were waiting at the door now, though, Mirae having knocked at the thick wood.

After a moment, the latch moved, and the door opened a touch. A brown head peered out, then the door was pulled fully open to reveal Shriker’s father. He nodded to the two, and turned to call over his shoulder. “Megan! We have visitors.”

His wife came into view down the hall and replied, before returning to the room she had just come out of. “Well, let them in. They can join the rest of us; I think we still have some plates left.”

The farmer stepped aside and ushered Mirae and Giselle in. “Megan’s hosting some of our neighbors today,” he said. “It’s nothing large, not with the year we’ve had, but it’s company.” He walked a few steps with them, then lowered his voice. “Have you -- have you heard anything?”

“We have people watching for him,” Mirae answered. “Giselle,” she nodded to her companion, “has been helping.” The farmer gave another nod, clearly still a little unsatisfied, and began walking again. With a glance to her companion, Mirae followed.

He led them into the dining room, one of the larger areas of the house. Several people were already there, grouped around a long wooden table, talking and drinking from mugs. They were all dressed in plain clothes; it seemed to be more an informal get-together than any reason for finery. The most gaudy in the room was a woman on the other side of the room, her hair wrapped in smooth red fabric but otherwise in work clothes. The ones closest to the door noticed first, and elbowed neighbors until at least most of the group were looking up curiously.

“They’re guests,” the man said, and the room dissolved back into talk. Megan appeared with two mugs of cider and firmly steered the travelers toward the table.

A broad-shouldered man moved over to make room for them then continued conversing with his neighbor. “I was going to take on Laney’s son, the one who lost his leg when they came up, during the stampede. You remember him? But we just can’t bring in another mouth to feed, not with this harvest.”

His neighbor nodded sagely. “You have to feed your own family first. We’ve got enough in the cellar till next season, but it’ll be bare by summer.” He laughed hoarsely. “You know who to blame for that.”

“Damn mages,” the first man grunted. “Never know when to stop.”

His neighbor replied, “You should have heard a couple of the hands going on at the well. ‘Little girl’ -- devilspawn,” he muttered. Both men made a sign against evil. “Sella put ‘em straight, though,” he continued, nodding towards the woman in the red scarf. “She’s been working her fields for the longest of all of us, and they were the first to go.”

A younger man, the neighbor’s son by the resemblance, leaned in. “Hanging though.” His voice sounded strained. “Bit extreme, don’t you think? I mean, there are mages up and down this floor all the time.”

“Don’t stay, though, do they?” his father answered. “Don’t stay and blight all the crops around them. Ah, well,” he said, taking a swig of cider, “it’ll be over tomorrow. Then Sella’ll have her out of the barn and out of trouble.” Mirae got up and slipped out of the room as quietly as she could. A small movement in the corner of her eye told her that Giselle had risen and followed. The men half-glanced at them, then went back to their gossip.

“Thank you for your hospitality,” Giselle quickly said to Megan as she passed, carrying a pitcher into the room. She then hurried to catch up with the other girl.

Mirae shrugged as she came up. “Best to get out of there while they’re still friendly,” she said, by way of explanation. “Let’s go up.”

“Do you know what they’re talking about?” asked Giselle, drawing even as they walked. “It sounded… serious.”

“They’re having trouble with a mage, a young girl living with them. They’re hanging her tomorrow.” Mirae kept her steady pace towards the door.

“Oh,” said Giselle, before falling quiet. Clearly, this was something to be discussed once they’d gotten outside and had a bit of privacy.

Together, they left the farmhouse. Mirae collected her horse and began walking towards the passage to the next floor, looking for all the world as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Giselle looked at Mirae as if waiting for an explanation or a change of course, but she just kept walking. “Um,” Giselle finally broke the silence, “I don’t think a mage blighted these crops. I mean… I’ve seen fields when they were blighted, and these… don’t look like that.”

Mirae took another look at the fields. “I think you’re right,” she said. “They’re not doing well, but… drought? Maybe some disease, too, but not magic.”

“Which means that that girl they’re hanging didn’t do this.” Giselle said, her voice flat and controlled.

“Probably not, no.”

“So… do you think we should tell them? You actually know these people; I just met them. How would they take it if we pointed out that they were being,” Giselle took a breath, “dangerously ignorant?”

Mirae hesitated. “I tried that once. The farmers I’ve met don’t tend to look kindly on attempts to correct their thinking. Particularly when it comes from someone else who’s associated with trouble.”

“Hm.” Giselle took a moment to gather her thoughts. “I don’t like this. If it weren’t scheduled for tomorrow, I’d say we’d have time to talk to them, slowly convince them that they were mistaken. Mob mentality can be undone if you’re gentle and take enough time… But this is too sudden. There’s no time for me to gain their trust, let alone ask them to rethink a hard-line assumption.”

“You’re not going to let this go, though, are you.” Mirae smiled slightly.

“I don’t think I should. Letting someone left on her own in a hostile place be unjustly executed… It doesn’t sit right.”

“What are you going to do about it, though? It is an entire community you’d be going up against,” Mirae said.

“Well…” Giselle responded quietly, “They wouldn’t have to know I was going up against them.”

Mirae looked at her carefully, then nodded. “I can wait out here, for when we need to run.”

For the first time since they’d left the building, Giselle smiled. “Good. Then… all I have to do is find out where they’re keeping her, sneak in, and get her out. Easy.” She tried to keep the nervousness out of her voice, but she couldn’t help nervously shifting her knapsack on her shoulder. This was going to be risky.

“They said something about her being in some woman’s barn. I suppose we could go around and see which one is most tightly locked?”

Giselle nodded. “That should work.”

---

After the better part of an hour, the two of them had located a barn that seemed more well-secured than the others. It was unguarded, which seemed odd, but then, most of the farmers and assorted residents were at that meeting, and they were more concerned about the mage inside breaking out than they were about anyone else breaking in.

The barn doors were closed with a wooden plank in front, which was easy enough to remove, and a metal chain, which was more difficult. After the plank was removed, though, the chains gave enough leeway that one door could be pushed slightly away from the other. The gap was small, but if Giselle left her knapsack and bow outside with Mirae, she could just about fit through it.

The interior of the barn was dark, especially when Mirae shut the doors and boarded them up again, to hide Giselle’s intrusion. Giselle stepped carefully through the barn as her eyes adjusted, following the sounds of breathing and the occasional whimper.

At the back of the barn, tied to a support beam and sitting on the bare ground, sat a girl. She was younger than Giselle had expected, younger than Giselle, younger than Mirae, probably no more than a child. She didn’t seem to notice Giselle getting closer, so Giselle considered how to announce her presence so as not to scare her, while taking cautious steps and trying to get close enough that she’d be able to undo the knots holding the young mage.

An unexpected flash of blue light shone for a moment, leaving Giselle temporarily blinded and with an icy patch on her arm. It stung, but she wasn’t actually injured.

“Hey, watch it!” Giselle yelped in surprise, forgetting for a moment that she was meant to be undetected. More quietly, after taking a moment to calm down and remember what she was doing, she said, “I’m here to help you.”

She rubbed her arm. It was already nearly back to its normal temperature. So, these people had no idea how to handle a dangerous mage, but that wasn’t nearly as much of a problem for them as the fact that they wouldn’t know a harmless mage from a dangerous one if the Loreknights descended to lay it all out for them.

“I’m Giselle.” She approached the girl slowly, trying not to alarm her. “What’s your name?”

“It’s… Evelyn,” said the girl, between sniffles.

“Don’t worry, Evelyn. It’s going to be okay. I’m gonna get you out of here.” Giselle reached into an interior pocket and removed her emergency backup knife. As she started cutting through the ropes, she tried to keep up a conversation. “Do you have any family in the Castle?”

Evelyn shook her head, but it was dark, and Giselle was concentrating on the task at hand and couldn’t see. So, after a moment, she spoke. “It’s just me.” She made a noise like she wanted to say something else, but stayed silent.

“Hm,” said Giselle, as she freed the girl’s hands. “I’m wondering where we should go once we get out of this barn.”

There were marks on Evelyn’s wrists where the rope had held her, visible even in the dim light of the barn.

“I’ve got something that could help that, outside,” Giselle said.

“Oh, it’s okay,” said Evelyn. She rubbed her wrists with her fingers, and Giselle saw a faint teal glow around them. After a moment, the marks were no longer visible, at least out of the sunlight.

Giselle returned to her task, cutting through the ropes around Evelyn’s legs. “Would you be interested in receiving training? You’ve got a gift, but unless you learn to control it you’ll be out of your depth no matter where you go in the Castle.”

“Um,” said Evelyn, “training would probably be a good thing.”

“Then we’ll find you a trainer. I don’t know anyone myself, but I know people who might know people. We can ask at the library, somebody there’s got to know where the magic teachers are. And then there’s Salvantas and his school… I think they focus more on fighting, there, but he might be equipped to train mages, I’m not sure. We’ll think of something.” Giselle tried to smile reassuringly, but she wasn’t sure if the expression translated well to a scared girl in the dark. Giselle wasn’t good with kids. “There!”

Evelyn’s legs were free. Giselle helped her to her feet, where she wobbled. The two of them walked to the door, Evelyn using Giselle for support and becoming less unsteady with each step.

“Hey, Mirae! Open up!” Giselle knocked on the door when they reached it.

There was a scraping on the other side as the plank was pulled off, then a hand reached through and held the door open for them. Giselle helped Evelyn through the gap before slipping through herself.

Mirae stood just outside, supporting the girl. She was also standing next to a body, which had definitely not been there when Giselle had gone in. She quickly bent down to check; the woman was alive, but unconscious. A red scarf was pulled tightly down over her eyes.

“She came back early,” Mirae spoke up. “Just before you came out. The scarf will buy us a little more time if she wakes up, but we... should probably leave.” She began turning Evelyn to where they had left the horse, looking her over as she did. “Hey,” Mirae said quietly and, thought, a little sadly.

“Can you ride?” Giselle asked of Evelyn. “It would probably be easier going if we put her on the horse,” she added, knowing that the same thing had probably occurred to Mirae but saying it anyway, just to be sure.

Evelyn swallowed and shook her head. “She could probably still sit him, if we go slowly,” Mirae said. She cupped her hands to make a step up to the saddle.

With Evelyn seated on the horse, however unsteadily, they nonetheless kept a decent pace as they approached the podium. Giselle kept casting worried glances behind them, wanting to be sure that if anyone caught sight of the group, she was aware of it immediately.

No one appeared, though, and they got Evelyn to the first floor safely, there to figure out exactly how to make sure she was taken care of. Their plans to explore higher into the Castle would have to wait for another day, but it was worth it to take care of someone so strongly in need.
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Tohrinha
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Scarab on Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:23 pm

Quest 41: Water World

The Largest Body of water Tamar knew of back in the Veil had been the Oxblood Lake.

He had read in a book somewhere that it approached half a mile in diameter, with bridges and walkways that had long since rotted and rusted away collapsing into it’s depths. It froze in the winter, and steamed in the summer. You wouldn’t want to swim in it. The only fish that lived there were sickly tasting and poisonous and things were...thrown in there, everything from flotsam to the stuff people didn’t need once they were finished at the abattoirs. Apart from the lake there were only thin rivers and rain.

So needless to say, learning to swim had never been a top priority for Tamar growing up. So he was now feeling [i[slightly[/i] worried as he stared out across the expanse of water before them, deep and blue-black below, and fading to grey as you approached the horizon.
This body of water was significantly larger than Oxblood Lake.

‘Well,’ he said uncomfortably, walking as close as he dared to the edge of the circular platform upon which they had just materialised. (which was not actually all that close at all) A platform which could not have been larger than ten metres in diameter. He turned back to look at his travelling companion, who frankly seemed just as bemused as Tamar was. ‘This is... interesting.’

For a moment, Darren had lost himself in the giant blue extending in front of them. ”This brings backs memories.” he thought, approaching the edge of the tiny platform they were standing on. Lowering his body nearly to the floor, he extended a hand to the water, as if he didn’t believe that it was actually water. He tried to reach the liquid flowing around the platform, but it was useless. The gap between his hand and the water below was still considerable, and, while he wanted to make sure that he wasn’t imagining things, the idea of falling down into the ocean didn’t strike him as something he would want to do.

In his mind, an image of a floating creaking ship sailing across a sea began to appear. He didn’t want to remember that at all, but the images that ran through his mind as if he was standing on that ship all over again, as vivid as they had been before. He could hear the sound of blades and metal hitting against each other as the moon rose up through the sky… the deep silence afterward… him taking the book and jumping into the water without looking back…

Darren shook away the thought from his head. If he was to find a way through this “floor”, he couldn’t spent it all the time thinking about the past… even if the situations behind both of the events started to look eerily similar. “Hey…” he finally said, taking a step back from the edge of the platform. “...what should we do?” he asked to his companion.

Tamar blinked. He had never met the man before volunteering for the Sixth Floor expedition, but so far as he knew, Darren was a member of Severed Claw. That name didn’t conjure to mind images of seafarers. “I... have no idea. Why is there so much water? How can there possibly be so much in one place?”

“Beats me” Darren answered, looking back to the center of the platform. “I don’t think we can’t go back to the City Guard like this… Besides, isn’t it strange that there’s nothing but water here?” he asked as he eyed their surroundings. Nothing seemed to be alive out here.

Tamar shook his head. No, going back was definitely not an option.. He had known of course that oceans existed. They were in books, and in paintings. But to actually see this much water in one place, an endless depth stretching out into the horizon... He shuddered. “Strange is the word. What would we tell them? ‘Sorry but somebody sank the sixth floor’? There has to have been something here.”

He edged closer to the edge of the platform, not daring to go further than a couple of metres. This was... not helpful. So far as they could tell, there was nothing but the Platform upon which they stood, and the podium that had transported them here. No earth, no buildings, not enough room to build anything substantial. It was impossible to tell exactly what was supporting the platform they stood on, with the water several metres below and all around them. But surely there must have been something here once?

It was Darren (who clearly wasn’t experiencing the same level of gut wrenching nerves at the sight of so much water) who noticed the other podium i the ocean, not that far away from this one. However, it seemed like it had begun sinking as time passed, as its peak was barely above water. He wondered... could there be other platforms they could use under the ocean? Surely the floor had to hide away some secret, otherwise, the previous explorers of the castle wouldn’t have made it past the sixth floor. ”But why an ocean of all things?”[/iDarren wondered as he walked closer to the edge. “Hey, Tamar, can you see that?” he said, pointing to the northeast. “Do you think we can make it over there?”

Tamar turned, and now that he was looking he could see it too. Maybe it had been on the same level as their podium once, but time, or nature, had lowered it into the sea. Nonetheless it was still there: a stone pedestal, like a tombstone, sticking out of the ocean.. You could just about make out words carved into it, or at least the shape of them.

...Unfortunately, there was still an awful lot of water all around it. This was a problem. “Uh... I guess. You could at least... what does it say?”

“What does it… say?” Darren wondered aloud. [i]”Does it say anything at all?”
he thought, as he looked once again towards the platform in the distance, squinting at it. There did seem to be some words on it. However, he couldn’t make any of them out from this distance. ”They’ve probably eroded by now, too” he thought, sitting down on the edge of the platform. Even though it was probably not as tall as it was wide, being on the edge of it looking down gave him a rush of vertigo. Darren gulped. “You… can’t get over there, can you?” he questioned, slightly amused. Although to be honest, Darren couldn’t blame him for his anxiety. He was pretty frightened of the water himself. But he couldn’t let Tamar know that, could he? ”Of course I can’t.” the voice in his head spoke.
Tamar shuffled. “...I’m not really... I mean, I never learned to swim. Nobody told me there would be water involved here, I mean, this is a flying castle.” Okay he was officially screwed. Unless Darren could find a way to sort this problem out on his own... Calm down, Tamar, this isn’t helping Zi. Then he blinked in realisation. “Wait, you’re not going down are you? We don’t know what’s in there!”

“Well, one of us got to do it right?” Darren replied, a bit upset. He sighed in resignation.

Tamar shuffled. “Yeah, I’m still not sure it’s a good idea.”

Darren took a deep breath. Bad idea or no, they needed to get to the next floor sooner or later. ”...And with things as they are, I doubt we can wait…” He thought as he threw himself forward into the water below.

Darren closed his eyes just before he hit the water, as he had did a couple years before. Oh, how fate liked to repeat itself. He swam as best as he could back to the surface of the water, and slowly began moving towards the sunk platform in the distance. It didn’t took him as long as he had expected, reaching a hand to the border of the sunk platform and pulling himself up to it. The water didn’t cover the platform yet, but he was sure that, given enough time, it would be completely covered by it. “Ok, do you want to know what it says?” he shouted back to the other platform.

Tamar didn't answer for a moment. He was still sort of gawking at the fact that Darren really had just thrown himself off a platform and into the water and had not died in the process. Shouldn’t he have just sunk? Wasn’t he wearing armour, that should’ve been heavy, right? And why hadn’t something huge and with too many teeth come up from underneath to swallow him whole? “Uh... sure? Try not to sink, though!”

”I’ll take that as a yes…” Darren thought to himself. Just as he had thought, the writing on the stone had begun eroding, but he could still make out the words, carved deep into the stone pedestal. He began reading them, making sure to go out every once in a while to breathe. The process was slow, but he kept at it, even if the feeling that something bad was about to happen wouldn’t leave. He had to yell in order for Tamar to hear the words, and he thought that ruined the dramatics just a bit.

Image

Tamar took this in, frowning a he watched Darren pull himself out of the water and onto the tombstone platform. ”Beneath our feet... but... that’s the fifth floor, not the next one...” how could the way up be down?”

“Hey, Tamar!” Darren shouted to the boy. “How deep do you think this ocean is?” he asked, not realizing how stupid that question was after he had already said it.
Tamar scratched his head. “I don’t know, I guess it depends on the ocean.” He paused, daring to sit down near the edge of the platform as he thought,. “I read a book once!” he called. “It said you stacked thirty churches on top of each other you still wouldn’t be able to see sunlight through the water from the topmost spire, but that was a fairy-tale... this can’t be THAT deep, right? We’re in a castle! ...I mean fair enough, it’s a magic castle, but still logic has to apply somewhere!”

Darren thought about the words on the platform again, but couldn’t think of anything concrete. “Well, unless you want to check the previous floor for an answer I think there’s not much we can do!” he shouted back, still stumped at the riddle. ”From the ocean we came… to the ocean we return.” He repeated the words over and over in his mind but couldn’t find an answer. He looked around, but there was nothing aside from the ocean water, waiting endlessly. It was that a thought struck him. ”This platform must’ve sunk downwards. years ago.. so, why is the podium still above the water?”

“...Darren?” Tamar called, sounding somewhat anxious. Darren didn’t answer. He had no answer to give, not yet. Instead, he threw himself into the water again, ignoring the screaming urge to get out of the water as soon as possible. ”There should be something around here… there has to be!” he thought as he went deeper, opening his eyes as much as he could, trying to find a clue they hadn’t seen before. He swam back to podium, going around it. It was then that he found what he was looking for. On one of the walls, there seemed to be a piece of stone that was slightly detached from the wall. He went near it, feeling his breath starting to run out, he needed air fast. He tried moving, but it wouldn’t budge. ”Damn it!” he thought, desperation starting to sink in. He crashed his body against the wall, once… twice… and once more. It was then that the detached stone gave in, leading into a passage into the podium. Darren quickly entered it, and swam upwards to what appeared to be the surface.

Darren wasn’t entirely certain what he had expected to find on the sixth floor, but this? Yeah, this wasn’t on his increasingly ridiculous list of possibilities.

The room was well lit. That was the first surprise. There were no torches on the walls, and lt light seemed to shimmer through large glassy-gold stones set into the walls at regular intervals. They seemed a little like those experimental gas lamps he had seen at work in certain bigger port towns, except... more sophisticated. As if they’d been built by someone who long ago perfected the technology of endless light. He stepped forwards into the room, oddly conscious of dripping on the flagstone floor. could just about make out the reflection of the water beyond shining through the gold light, casting eerie silhouettes around the room.

In a strange way he was reminded of a Blacksmith’s forge: the room he stood in was circular, and lined with complicated machinery: giant cogs of stone, iron chain, all working together in some kind of complex machination. But everything was still. Whatever the purpose of these machines was, they had lain dormant for a long time. The centre of the room had a painted floor: all ancient carvings and seemingly ritualistic pictograms, telling some story in a language Darren couldn’t hope to understand.

“...Okay,” Darren said slowly. He had expected his voice to echo in the silence of such a large, empty room, but perhaps his words were being cushioned by the water all around outside these walls.

The height of technology lay dormant in this room, he realised. The height of technology, in a floor that was entirely flooded. But if these constructions existed then surely Level Six of the castle must have had dry land, once... Maybe that was the challenge the text had spoken off. Maybe that’s what it meant by ‘beneath your feet the way upward turns’...

Darren stepped slowly around the edges of the room, running his hand over cogs and machinery until he found a series of stones set into the wall at the back of the room, which seemed different to the others. They seemed to move under his touch. Some of them sank inwards, the ethereal golden light glowing beneath them as he made contact with them, and Darren resisted the urge to jump away in alarm as he felt the room around him begin to shudder.

*

Darren had been underwater for approximately two minutes before Tamar started panicking.

Later on, he’d argue that it hadn’t been panic so much as concern, but pretty much everyone who knew him would have known better than to believe this. How long could any one person hold their breath? Could you hold it for longer if you could swim than if you couldn’t? And he had just dove straight down there like some kind of madman, without so much as a word! What did he think he was a frog, or something? Tamar supposed that he shouldn’t be expecting common sense from a member of the Severed Claw but really? Couldn’t Darren have given him some warning before [diving to his doom?

“Uh... Darren?” he called tentatively after two minutes rolled on into three. “Are you down there? You alright?” Tamar leaned close to the edge of the podium. Trembling, trying not to imagine the water in his lungs and cursing himself for being ridiculous. he had fought mages with ten times his power. He had defeated Asha, for goodness sakes, why was he afraid of a little-

The ground trembled.

In fact, no, trembled was the wrong choice of word. This wasn’t just a tremble, this was a full on earthquake. What was more, it seemed to be making up for how little earth there was to actually quake with sheer force. The ground lurched beneath him, waves slapped violently against the pedestal as the formerly calm ocean was suddenly beset by swirling eddies and currents and the sound of machinery hummed in Tamar’s teeth... wait, machinery? But where? How?

He didn’t have time to wonder what in the name of the Saints was happening before he stumbled and fell off the platform, right into the swirling currents below.

*

Inside the room, the cogs began moving again, setting up a chain reaction over the other, unmoving ones he had passed a while ago. The whirr and creaking of old machinery being turned on began to resound over the entire room, though he was sure that if this was a normal room the loud sound would drive him insane. ”I guess I’ll be thankful for this ocean this time.

The room shook violently, throwing Darren off his feet, almost hitting his head against the rotating cogs of the wall. Finding it difficult to stand up again, Darren crawled across the room, back to the place where had entered. The platform keep shaking, and the water rose and went back again, soaking the floor. He jumped into the water without looking back, swimming downwards again, desperate to escape the inner part of the podium and find himself back out in the open. ”Who hides a machine like this underwater anyway? Whoever build this thing was probably a bit off of his head” Darren thought as he kept swimming, annoyed at the sudden turn of events. Then again, with a castle floating in the sky, how could it be anything else than this?

He struggled to pass through the passage he had made a while ago, the rocking of the podium not making the task any easier. For a moment, he wondered if something was happening outside ”You don’t start an earthquake on a whole floor and expect things to be the same”.

Just as he began swimming upwards again towards the surface of the once calm ocean, he saw a familiar silhouette falling down to the water. ”Oh for goodness…” he thought as he accelerated his pace towards the surface, grabbing Tamar just as he began to sink into the water. “You should be more careful…” he mentioned, slightly annoyed as both of them made it to the surface, Darren pulling Tamar towards the tombstone like platform where they had found the riddle a while ago. After struggling a bit, he managed to get Tamar on the platform, and he too, climbed it and allowed himself to catch his breath. Tamar looked not altogether unlike a gaping fish, and it would have been funny if the event hadn’t been so briefly terrifying.

“The... floor... shook,” Tamar coughed violently, managing to look indignant in spite of his obvious terror. He eyed the water as if it were a wild dog about to try and bite him which, in a metaphorical sort of way, it was. “I never expected the floor to shake!”
“Yeah, sorry about that…” Darren said, not realizing the changes in his surroundings. “You ok?”

“Once I get the... water out of my lungs,” Tamar gagged. “Sure... t-thanks... r-remind me not to volunteer for Floor Exploration missions i-in the future. What happened down there? What is this?”

“Well…” Darren started saying, trying to find the best words to explain what he had seen inside the podium. “There was a room inside the podium. It was filled with these old looking cogs. But they were not moving at all. I guess I sort of… activated some of them at the back of the room? And then the whole floor trembled, right?” he said, a bit surprised about recent events.

“M-more like ‘tried to throw me off on purpose’, but yeah,” Tamar shivered. The water wasn’t exactly warm. He checked quickly that Echo hadn’t been lost, breathing out in relief when he felt the familiar hilt of the sword in his belt. Salt water couldn’t be doing him any favours. “You’re probably meant to... activate this whole thing from somewhere around... this tombstone, or something,” Tamar breathed out between coughs, patting the stone where Darren had read the cryptic message. “There’ll be some kind of button, or pressure pad to activate the other platforms... Except it sank. So you had to activate it from the inside instead. L-look...” he turned as best while still clinging to Darren’s arm for dear life.

First of all, a series of stone steps had risen from the water around the original podium, providing a spiral staircase reaching back up to the podium and the exit which would take them back to floor five. And that wasn’t all. When Tamar turned to look in the other direction, several other platforms had been propelled out of the water, too. The most impressive of which was a stone tower, no less than twenty feet in height. It looked like the lighthouses you saw in picture books, except there was no obvious light at the top of it, only... some kind of stone construct... like the metal framework at the top of a Mage’s stave, designed to hold some kind of channelling stone.

Then there were the other stones: a series of stone platforms, reaching further out to sea and ending with... Something. It was a little far away or Tamar to make out. He didn’t even want to try and comprehend exactly how this whole mechanical system worked.

There was also no way structures like that should be able to float. Tamar risked sticking his face into the water and peering out through salt stung eyes... of course, Darren immediately tried to drag him out, probably thinking he was nuts, but Tamar was there long enough to make out the shapes beneath the water: large structures of insane proportions. Mechanics on a huge scale...
Yes... the platforms here were all connected to some kind of machinery deep within the platform they had arrived on. Tamar pulled his head back, sucking in a breath, his heart thudding violently against his ribcage.

“Hey, hey, I just pulled you out, don’t go sticking your head back down there!” Darren snapped, sounding understandably exasperated. “Come on, back to the doorway we need to regroup here,” he added, and moved as if he were going to take them back to the newly formed spiral staircase that would take them back to the podium, but Tamar tugged his arm and pointed at the newly emerged tower.

“N-no, not the podium... head for the new one, Darren. The one with the... thing on top. Then the stones beyond it, they’re forming a pathway.”

“Okay…” Darren replied weakly, perhaps believing that this was enough adventuring for a day. “Hold on, I’ll take you there I guess.” he said, just before he jumped back into the water again, which had become calm again. “Your turn!” he shouted to Tamar, who reluctantly threw himself into the water. Once again, Darren grabbed him and kept him afloat and began heading towards the largest platform of them all.

”What more could happen, anyway?” he thought, as he dragged Tamar across the ocean, feeling the distance at least ten times larger than if he had swam all the way there on his own. He could notice Tamar was still shaking, perhaps because of the coldness of the water, or maybe because he was still terrified of it. Maybe both, but he tried not to think about it much. After all, he probably was even more scared than he was. So he kept swimming towards the large tower in the distance.

As they came closer to the tower, they could make out images carved onto the wet stone walls. Most of them depicted a crudely drawn beast, surrounded by tall pillars and buildings, while a few others depicted the tower towards which they were heading. There was a fairly obvious theme in them. One of them even depicted both the beast and the tower. Except that there were... lines drawn diagonally from the top, as if to represent rays of light, reflected through a magnifying glass. But reflected through what? There was nothing at the top of the tower to reflect anything through. And yet that’s just what this picture showed: light, shining from the tower, and the beast lying beneath it, its many eyes closed.

Somehow, all these images made Darren uneasy. “We’re almost there” he said to Tamar, as he began dragging them both faster. ”If that thing is around here… then all that shaking probably woke it up…” he thought, just a few meters away from the stone structure. He went around it, trying to find a way to climb up to it.
“I guess this will do…” he whispered, as they floated on the water before the tower’s edge. There were obvious handhold, designed to help people climb upwards. “You go first.”

Tamar nodded shakily, although Darren probably couldn’t see the gesture given how they were being battered by light waves. Darren helped push Tamar up onto the stone tower before dragging himself up after him. It took Tamar several moments to catch his breath and crush down the shivering terror of actually being the water. He envied Darren his nerve. But once he had regained his composure, Tamar realised that the smooth stony walls of the tower were not, in fact, smooth at all

“Darren, look...”

“Yeah, I already saw them when we were swimming. What do you think those are all about?”

“Messages, maybe? Hints from whoever left this place?” Tamar murmured. He ran his hand across them feeling that this at least, was something he understood. Words. Pictures. Curved lines to represent the sea, with creatures painted on top. The kind of pictures Tamar only ever saw in the strangest of books. He thought of telling Eliziya about them later on: many legged creatures, like insects that swam in the sea, giant beasts that swam like fish and looked like lizards, and the most prevalent image, the one repeated over and over...

“Look here,” Tamar tapped the stone floor under their feet. It showed yet another image of the creature Darren had just seen on the previous tower. The carved image was everywhere. “See that? Do you know what that is?”

“No… I don’t think I have seen something like that… before.” Darren answered, glaring at the image, not realizing he was now frowning. There was something about that image that made him really uneasy, but then again, what did not make him uneasy anyway. He shrugged, trying to distract himself from the carved stone in front of him. “I haven’t really dealt with many monsters, but…” he started as he moved around the platform, “...it would be better if we didn’t find out about it, huh?” he ended, his voice lowering with each spoken word, until it was barely a whisper

Tamar didn’t answer, although he was clearly thinking something along the same lines.

“Do you think there’s something around here that will take us to the next floor?” he asked, as he looked around, finding even more platforms around them, some of them making a pathway to another, faraway structure.

“I... don’t know. Maybe it’s like a puzzle?” Tamar suggested. He absently drew the sword from his belt and flicked his wrist, drawing on a spark of flame and sending it down the blade. he held Echo out towards Darren absently. Okay, so there probably wasn’t much sense drying off when they were probably just going to end up in the water again anyway, and in the back of his mind he could feel a twinge of what Asha would have thought of this. ”Wasting power on the unimportant things, Tamar. There is no wisdom in that.” But what the heck, it was cold out here in the middle of an open ocean. Although they were probably both deluding themselves if they wanted to pretend that cold was the only reason for their trembling.

Darren jumped back slightly at his partner’s burning sword. “Hey… how do you even do that?” he wondered aloud. It was then that it hit him: Tamar was a mage. ”Of course, what’s with me and mages anyway?”. Even though he felt like asking more questions about it, the nagging feeling that they should hurry up, was still there, trying to pull him into despair. “I… I’ll go explore or something.” he said, hiding away the nervousness that ate at him.

To the right of the place there were standing, a pathway descended onto another set of platforms, on each of them, an image of the beast they had seen on the other walls and stones was carved, each of them bigger and more detailed than the last one. ”Run,” his mind told him, but there was nowhere to run, he would need to push forward if he were to get out of this floor.
So they pushed forwards. Jumping from one step to the next, each one taking them further away from the tower, and the podium, and the exit back to safety,

He reached the final platform, his heart thumping on his chest. There was a small stone structure in the middle of it, as if it were a shrine of sorts. Thin pillars encased a stone block in the middle of the shrine and from it, a protruding cog was found. Darren stepped into the shrine, not realizing what he was about to do. Carelessly resting his hand over the cog, it effortlessly sunk into the stone block in the center of the block, making the platforms shake once again as the cog began to spin into place...

If they had thought the rumbling rattle of the machinery underwater had been violent, then it was barely a whisper on a breezeless day compared to what came next.

It began with a rattle at the back of their throats, easily mistaken as chattering teeth until they realised the shaking they felt was nothing to do with their own fear. The stone platform on which they stood rocked furiously, as the water metres away from them began to hiss and bubble, waves lashing out in the opposite direction to the wind. As if the castle were turning inwards on itself, with a ferocious, violent screeching like a thousand forges, weighed down with melting metal. The light from Echo spat and burned out,
“W-what-“ Tamar started, but then the creature shriek. The sound was high pitched and deep all at once, painful to hear, and while Tamar had no clue whatsoever what could be causing it (asides from something extremely big), Darren clearly had more of an idea as his eyes had gone wide.

“Like... whales...” Darren gasped painfully, and Tamar opened his mouth to ask if this was really what whales sounded like, but the words never formed. The ground threw them upwards and it took all the two of them had to stay on the stone platform, which seemed to have come unanchored, drifting like an impossible raft in a suddenly furious ocean.
And then the creature rose, tendrils rising with it, like the arms of a thousand giant squids, the creatures Tamar had seen in books but had never truly believed could exist until right now. Each arm was the width of a tree, and slammed into the ocean with a thunderous clap.

At first Tamar thought it was an island. As utterly preposterous as such an idea sounded, what else could it possibly have been? An island, rising out of the surf, easily the size of half the town, too big to comprehend. Except that wasn’t stone or gravel he saw rising from the water: it was skin. Thick, leathery hide, rivers of water rushing from gaping crevasses across the surface.
Then eyes the colour of blood opened in a ridge along the creature’s side. Sliding wide like the ugly, lazy gaze of a snake... if a snake had over a dozen eyes. No. This wasn’t an island at all. This was more than anything they had ever expected.

”Well, damn” Darren thought as he darted outside of the shrine, not a moment later after the beast appeared over the sea. Running across the pathway he had walked on just a few moments before, he shouted to Tamar: “Get out of there, hurry!”.
The beast slammed its tendrils over the platforms Darren was crossing, making him stumble onto the cold stone floor. He heard a splash behind him, but didn’t bother to turn back in order to figure out the path way was sinking into the water, broken to pieces by the beast’s strength. He jumped to his feet again, before he too, fell into the water. His hand made his way to the hilt of one of his knives instinctively, but he stopped himself before he threw it towards the beast. After all, a mere knife would be like a bee’s sting to it. No, there should be another way to stop it. ”But what?” Darren kept running back to the main platform in the tower.

“An… Any i… ideas?” Darren asked, his voice finally stuttering.

“A-are you kidding? This is a Kraken! Neither of us can handle this, we have to get out!” Tamar yelled, even though both of them knew for a fact that this could not be an option. That if they stopped here, their journey through the castle would end right here and now.
Of course, at this particular moment in time, it seemed quite likely to end in blood and drowning anyway. Tamar gazed down into the endless black depths, and a sudden, even more horrifying thought struck him. “I... I think that this is only a PART of it!”

“What?!”

“This is only a part of it, Darren! Think icebergs!” Tamar yelled, and his mind quivered in terror at the thought of this monster being even more massive than it already appeared, reaching down, countless fathoms into the waves. How many more eyes did it have?
“Duck!” Darren ordered quickly to Tamar, snapping him away from his thoughts just in time to evade another one of the Kraken’s tendrils.Not that this benefitted them any in the long run, seeing a s they were both now cornered at the base of the stone tower... it was a wonder the beast hadn’t smashed the standing tower to pieces already.

Darren got onto his feet again, finding it harder to move with each second. ”What should I do?” the voice in his mind spoke, as he stared at the countless eyes glaring back at them both. He had to think of something, and fast. Otherwise… No, he would rather not think about that. He looked around in search of another pathway… perhaps if he distracted the beast, Tamar could think of something. But all the pathways around them seemed to descend towards the ocean, closer to the beast. Darren grit his teeth to stop himself from shaking.
Tamar shuddered at the sight of the water rising up all around them. He looked upwards, at the peak of the tower, Only now, probably in a fit of desperation, did he realise that the carving were indeed much deeper than they needed to be to survive the violent weathering of the ocean winds. Were they...

Handholds. Definitely handholds. It was a mad, desperate thought akin to trying to outrun a nightmare, but it seemed the only option they had. He reached out to Darren, but the boy was already too far away to reach so he resorted to yelling. “Darren! Up! Can we get up there?!”

“We don’t have any other option, do we?” Darren yelled back, just as another one of the beast’s arms passed by him. Nearly losing his balance, he dodged by jumping backwards, his cloak lifting up, momentarily blocking his vision. ”Not now…” he thought as he fought against the piece of cloth, just in time to parry an attack that threatened to throw him over the edge of the platform. The Kraken focused his sight on him, and, for a scarce moment, Darren could feel a weak dazzling light above his forehead. “Hey…!” he shouted, as he ducked again “Tamar! Can you see that thing at the top of this thing’s head?”

Somehow Tamar managed to look in the direction Darren pointed without being thrown to his doom: Darren was right. Above the Kraken’s many blood-red eyes there was something he could only describe as a horn... Except it didn’t look like a horn at all. It was a burning yellow stone. It stuck out of a pedestal, more like stone than bone. Tamar didn’t have time to ponder what it could be before the creature screamed again, and the force of the noise sent shockwaves careening across the water. He was thrown on his side directly in front of one of the carved images he had seen earlier:

He stared at the carving of the monster, and the tower. He remembered the words they had read carved into the tombstone, and in Tamar’s brain something clicked.

”Find the tower of the sun... well that’s not difficult. It’s right here.”

He looked around for Darren, who, in a vague display of courage, was clearly trying to fight off one of the massive tentacles. “Up!” he yelled again. “Come on, hurry, we need to get up there!”

Hearing Tamar’s words to move to another place, Darren didn’t hesitate. He started climbing the tower, grabbing tightly the carved images on the wall, making sure he wouldn’t fall. A few meters ahead of him, Tamar climbed too, avoiding and fighting back the creature’s tentacles as best as he could. He, too, tried his best; but his half-done sword fighting training left much to be desired. ”Should have waited a bit more,” he thought to himself, nearly falling down from the wall when a tendril crashed just above his head.

Pulling himself up to the top of the tower, Darren looked over the space around them. The beast was still nearby, as imposing as it had been a few moments ago, and a strange artifact on the centre of the platform didn’t left much space for manoeuvring. “Ok, now what?” he asked as he readied himself for another of the Kraken’s attacks.

Tamar honestly wished he had an answer to that question. All that they seemed to have accomplished from this was gaining themselves a few more minutes of life and a strong bout of vertigo. They couldn’t go down, because the waters would swallow them up and drown them.

“Um... good question.”

“D-do you have a answer?”

“Working on it!” They couldn’t stay here, because any second now, the Kraken would stop wondering what the heck they were doing and start trying to knock them off. THis was huge. Too huge for them to handle. Heck, the entire City Guard probably couldn’t have coped with this. Tamar looked around frantically for some kind of solution. There [must have been a reason the carvings told them to come up here...

He didn’t see the solution until he looked down.

There was a stone at the base of the podium on which they now sat: a carved spiral of symbols. A stone, Tamar realised, which was the same dull colour as the outcrop atop the Kraken’s enormous body. When Tamar reached out a hand to touch the stone it hummed under his fingers, the same way Echo did. The sword seemed to flicker in its sheath, as if he were trying to send Tamar a message he should’ve already worked out for himself.

So... The tower wasn’t just some kind of observation stand. It was a Channeller. Like the things Eliziya had shown him once in her books: an amplifier of magical energy, designed to draw magical power to it, and focus it into a concentrated burst.
...And everything magical needed a power source. So this must have been designed to work with a tool. A Mage’s staff, maybe, or a dreamcatcher, or...

...Or a sword.

Tamar felt suddenly sick. Well, sicker than he was already feeling, what with the waves tossing them around and the monster threatening to crush them to a pulp. Wasthat how this insane contraption worked? By drawing magic straight from its user’s body? Was that the only way to stop this thing?

“Uh... Darren?” he said, possibly too quietly to be heard over the sound of the waves. The creature seemed to have backed off slightly, as if preparing itself for another onslaught. “I... think I just figured out how this is supposed to work and you’re not going to like it!”

“You… did?” Darren muttered, trying to catch his breath. His body felt heavy, but he knew that if he stopped, he would be gulped down in an instant. The monster in front of him screeched again, making him cover his ear to block out its irritating sound. All the while, the light from the monsters head kept blinding him at the worst moments, going off as the monster retreated and turning itself on at its next attack, as if it had a rhythm of its own.

”Haven’t I seen that somewhere before?” he thought as one of the tentacle hit him straight on, sending him flying back near the edge of the platform. He felt dizzy as he tried to stand up once again. The light went off and on again… just like the lamp like stones he had found in the room inside the first podium. ”Are those… related in any way?”

“Hey…” he tried speaking as loud as he could, but he wasn’t sure if the words that came out of his mouth were barely stronger than a whisper, “...that plan of yours…” He supported himself with the edge of his sword. They had to do something, otherwise there wouldn’t be any more new floors, or adventures… or… anything, not that he cared that much for the adventures. ”Dammit, I don’t want to do this!” the voice inside his head screamed at the same time its brain told his legs to begin moving forward, rushing towards the edge of the platform.

“...It better d...damn work!” he shouted as he took his last step on stable ground and propulsed himself towards the beast in front of him, sword in hand. Somehow, the beast’s arms didn’t hit him as he flew towards it, sticking his sword inside one of its eyes.
To say tamar was stunned by this action was the understatement of the year. Sure, people in picture books leapt onto the back of raging beasts all the time but people in those books were a) the size of Hector and b) completely fictional. Darren was quite clearly neither of those. His heart skipped a beat at the obvious terror in the boy’s face just before he leapt towards the creature, and Tamar snatched Echo from his belt, the blade already burning.

“H-how the hell is this level six technology? What if they didn’t have a mage?!” Tamar rasped in disbelief, clinging to the shaking podium, as it was tossed about by kraken induced waves.

Still if it was magic the tower wanted, magic it would get. Tamar had that much, at least.

Without having the slightest idea whether this would work, Tamar lifted Echo high above his head, and brought him straight down, striking the stone right at the base of the tower. The blade sank into the stone as if it were liquid, and held fast like a magnet, as if it had been designed for that very purpose. Tamar felt the fire explode all around him.

It wasn’t enough. He knew it wasn’t enough. The artefact was crying out for more magic than he had ever possessed, but Tamar had no more to give it. He only had what little magic he had, and...
...And what magic Asha had given him. The same magic that was killing Eliziya and yet hadn’t so much as twinged in him, that had settled as if it belonged there, and perhaps it had. Perhaps Asha had known that all along. But there would be no saving Eliziya if he died now; no helping Darren either, and Tamar focussed on that, not so much calling on the power inside of him as dragging it kicking and screaming to the surface, whether it wanted to be cast or not. The magic he never asked for but that she had seen fit to give him whether he asked for it or not. The magic he had fought to the death inside his own whacked out hallucination. How much could he possibly take?

Looked like it was time to find out.

The tower seemed to shudder, but not because of the Kraken’s assault. The fire burst from Echoes blade, buried deep in the stone, bouncing frantically back and forth between the stone outcropping, building i strength. Tamar saw the beam begin: a burning amplified ray of heat, hurtling towards the Kraken, Darren’s silhouette still leaping blindly forward at the edge of Tamar’s vision. The world went white.

The Kraken rocked wildly as the flaming beam struck it. Darren held onto it, by mere luck, stabbing the beast’s flesh with a pair of knives in order to climb it. The sword he had gotten a long time ago from the City Guard was left stuck on the beast’s eye, partly because Darren didn’t want to risk falling down by recovering it, and partly because he feared the beast would try even harder to throw him off if he did.

Still, he kept climbing steadily, moving one arm after the other. Somehow, the magic blast that also threatened to burn him alive was keeping the Kraken from using its tendrils to throw him away. Deep down, he was glad of that, because he wasn’t completely sure how he managed to stay conscious after that jump.

”Just… just a little… more” He was nearly there, he could feel the strong heat from the magic starting to burn him, but he also knew it was their only shot at defeating the thing. He could see the beast’s “horn” now, and he no longer needed the knives to not fall down. The beast still swayed strongly, but it was no longer enough to make him lose his balance.

Moving up towards what he thought was the beast’s weak point he held a knife in front of him before striking. The light had begun blinking at a faster pace. It’s golden-like light was even more blinding from near than it had been while he was on top of the tower.
He took a step forward, covering his eyes from the light with his free arm. ”Now!” he thought as he stabbed the beast’s horn-like appendage, its shining light intensifying just as he did so. The beast shook violently, but it didn’t seem to be dying. The heat from the magic blast was decreasing. ”Dammit! Darren stuck one knife after another on it, hoping it would stop.

The beast screamed one last time, throwing Darren to the side as he did so.

Darren hit the creature’s back with enough force to drive the air straight from his lungs, his head pounding in time with his heartbeat and he may have blacked out for a couple of seconds. When he was aware again, the world seemed to shriek violently one last time... then the sounds began to die away.

It took a few moments of gasping and desperately trying to slow his heartbeat to a regular pace before Darren realised something else was happening. That the leathery skin beneath him was slowly... changing. He could hear a sound like stone crumbling; as if he were standing beneath the edge of a fragile cliff. But the noise came from beneath and around him, not above. One hand touched the creatures back, and Darren quickly became aware that it no longer felt like flesh. There were shudders of magic still crackling across the surface of the beast’s steadily petrifying body. It’s deep, red eyes were crystallizing, moisture drying up until they were nothing more than smooth, grey rubies in a dry skull.

Darren stood up, and the ground beneath him was suddenly solid and firm, not at all like the twitching, horrible mass of muscles and flesh it had been before.

It looked, Darren realised, almost exactly like a stony island, in the middle of the ocean. As the creature died, it’s body seemed to rise, and the crystallisation process continued. The ocean splashed and settled into eddies and currents around the newly formed stone crags. Darren even thought he saw a heavy, green moss sprouting across the creatures back. Or perhaps that was just freshly exposed lichen darkening in the sunlight. It was hard to tell.

It felt like forever before the process completed, but eventually there was no more sound except for the wind and the ocean lapping against the newly formed stone walls of the Kraken’s body. Except it wasn’t a Kraken anymore. Perhaps it never had been. It was just some test, designed by the castle. A test they had presumably passed.

When Darren eased himself upwards, bracing himself in case of broken bones, he saw that the stone horn he had struck before was no longer glowing. It looked like some kind of strange,ritualistic totem. As if it, and the island it stood upon had always been there and had not, in fact, been a giant, murderous leviathan less than two minutes earlier.

“Raise the land,” Darren whispered, shakily. And suddenly, the words on the tombstone (which was now buried beneath several thousand tonnes of ocean leviathan) made a, little bit more sense. “This is the land.”

...Not a great deal more sense, mind you, but a little.

“I think... I’m gonna be sick…” Darren spoke, but the sound didn’t even reach his ears. Perhaps it had been just another one of his thoughts. He looked around himself, walked around trying to get a feel on the new “land”. He stepped over the solid rock beneath his feet, purposely stomping on it. Far in the distance, he saw his sword, still stuck on what had been the Kraken.

”Well… I guess I’m not getting that back.” he thought, returning to the place he had woken up a bit ago. He headed to the tower where Tamar had fired of the magic blast. Somehow, after all the shaking, he was surprised it was still on foot.

He climbed, wearily, up to the top, reviving memories of moments ago. He trembled a bit, but kept climbing. Breathing heavily once he reached the top, he walked up to the artifact from where the beam had been fired. Darren frowned.

“Hey… hey, wake up.” his words were weak, he struggled to even stay awake. He shook the boy once, trying to make him come to his senses.

Ow.

As waking thoughts went, this one was growing worryingly familiar.

There were shapes, then there were figures, then sky, and then the shadow of someone crouched besides him. Tamar could still feel the path all that power had taken, right from his head and head down through the veins of his right hand, and into Echo. More magic than, honestly, he had ever thought he had in him. [i[Because it [/i]was more than you have in you the small part of Tamar’s brain which didn’t feel like mush said. ‘The tower... a magnifier... it built up...’

Whatever had happened, the aftermath hurt like hell.

“D’ren?” Tamar said, although the voice came out a lot quieter than he intended it and he had to cough and try again. “Darren, y’okay?”
He reached out to pat Darren’s shoulder maybe, make sure he was alright. But pain lanced down his arm, from his palm, which felt worryingly like it was burned, and his bones felt like they were made of lead.

“I’m okay.” he answered plainly. “Can you walk?”

“No,” Was Tamar’s first thought, but he didn’t say so aloud. He felt drained. As if all the energy he had had been sucked out of him. He supposed he couldn’t exactly complain though, not after Darren had just...

Wait...

Tamar blinked in sudden remembrance. “Did... you just jump on that thing’s face... or was I hallucinating?”
Darren remained silent for a second before answering. “Let’s… just get out of here.” he said, trying to get Tamar to stand up. “How are we even going to get down, anyway?”
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Scarab
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:35 pm
Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:00 am

Turn Rewards:
Tohrinha ~ pet cat
narrativedilettante ~
Victin ~
Lordxana0 ~
Scarab ~
Blurred_9L ~

Quest 42:
Coat of many maladies:
Quest Description:
A newcomer has appeared at the castle gates- wearing a voluminous cloak of diamond studs. Those whose bare skin comes in contact with it immediately shrivel up and wither away into corpses- which then stand back up and promptly pile on top of each other, biting and clawing and ripping until every other undead in the area has been consumed.
Quest Takers: Salvantas (Lordxana0) and Kyras (Richard the Warlock)
Quest Goal: Confront the mysterious plague-bringer. Put an end to all the suffering.
GM Notes: The man in the cloak has been wandering in his aimless stupor for an eternity; his only companions are the clothes on his back, the ethereal shroud of diamond, the book of dark magic in his satchel, and uncounted years of mental trauma.

Quest 43:
Freaky Friday
Quest Description:
You woke up this morning with a splitting headache and a… new haircut? You stand and look in the mirror, and…. You suddenly look completely different than before. Obviously you should find yourself, and hopefully end this nightmare.
Quest Takers: Ben (Qara-Xuan Zenith) and Jenny (JackAlsworth)
Quest Goal: Become yourselves again
GM Notes: Ben is now Jenny. Jenny is now Ben. This should be self-explanatory.

Quest 44:
Catch More Flies
Quest Description:
The ninth floor is the honey to the other floors’ vinegar. Everything you could want is here. The people want you to stay, and their arguments are persuasive. There’s no real reason to keep fighting. Why not settle down? This is a fertile land, and we will thrive.
Quest Takers: Anjali Torvan (eli_gone_crazy) and Kurt (Sicon112)
Quest Goal: Remember why you can’t stick around, and get out of there!
GM Notes: This floor is basically a Lotus-Eater Machine. It will attempt to supernaturally convince your character to not leave.

Quest 45:
Cattle Call
Quest Description:
When you step onto the tenth floor, you feel a little… different. No noticeable difference, except the grass looks very appetizing. As time passes, the changes increase, until you realize that you have been transformed into cows, as have everyone else who have ventured to this floor.
Quest Takers: Marcus (Guyshane) and Mirae (Tohrinha)
Quest Goal: Undo this process so you can all be humans again.
GM Notes: You can still communicate, and retain your own minds. You’re just… bovine.

Quest 46
You’re STILL All Gonna Die!
Quest Description: The prophet who was stirring up trouble shortly before the Civil War has returned, and is up to his old tricks. This time, rather than fearmongering about the guilds, he’s telling people that if they continue to try to leave the Castle, they will all die horrible deaths.
Quest Takers: Alexander Curtiss (Endless Sea) and Legias (NPC, Pixelmage)
Quest Goal: Keep the fearmongering to a minimum, please.

Quest 47:
Deaf And Blind
Quest Description: You walk into a mishandled spell designed to target people’s senses, and suddenly one of you is temporarily deaf, and the other temporarily blind.
Quest Takers: Fern (Krika) and Darren (Blurred_9L)
Quest Goal: Find your way through the lab to get to Lori. She should help. Probably.
GM Notes: You’re really going to have to work together to avoid dying or being otherwise harmed on your way.

Quest Deadline is Monday, November 18th at 11:59 p.m..
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eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:50 pm

Quest 43: Freaky Friday

Ben woke up. She had spent long enough bedbound to know that the bed she was in was unfamiliar, the room she was in was not her own. Wary, she swung her legs over the bed to gingerly stand… and almost fell over.

Her legs were the wrong… length. Her height and weight were off. Trying to find her centre of balance, she staggered to a mirror hanging on the wall, and gaped.

She was not in her own body, that was for sure. The mirror image looked nothing like Ben of Lamada. On the other hand, this was… a very nice body. Nicer, really. She ran a hand absently down the glossy brown hair on her head, noticing the curve of her new profile. Very nice body…

Ben looked about the room, trying to quell her panic. If she was, well, here, where the hell was Jenny? Jenny needed her body back, as much as Ben needed hers. This felt too… odd. Rummaging through the shelves until she found some normal clothes, Ben got dressed, conscientiously keeping her eyes away from the inviting mirror as she discarded the sleep things.

She stopped by the mirror for one last smile before she left the room, glancing worriedly at the door for which she didn’t have a key to lock, and hurried toward the Severed Claws’ guildhall.

----

The first thing Jenny noticed when she awoke was the massive ache thudding against the inside of her skull. She groaned and rolled over, vaguely noticing two other things: her legs hurt quite a bit more than they had the night before, and her bed had inexplicably become more comfortable. She kept her eyes closed, hoping she would fall back asleep until the headache passed.

Ben slipped into her room and looked at the figure on the bed, shaking the eerie sensation that she was looking in a mirror. “Oh, come on, I never sleep this late,” she complained.

Jenny tried to wave a hand irritably in the direction of the unfamiliar voice. “G’way, my head - ”

She stopped. Her voice was unfamiliar too. Was she that ill?

“Jenny. Listen to me. If you stay in bed any longer you’ll make me sore and fat.”

Jenny groaned again. “‘M sick, leave me alone.”

Something about the other’s words resonated in her subconscious. Make me sore and fat?

“I wasn’t sick when I went to sleep last night,” Ben snapped, “and I doubt you are now, these… new developments notwithstanding.” She waved a hand in the air to illustrate her point, and was momentarily distracted by its long, delicate fingers.

Jenny’s confusion was threatening to overwhelm her. Something about the voice was tantalizingly familiar… Finally, curiosity won out. She looked up and saw a figure standing in the doorway. It was herself.

Her head snapped backward, banging into the wall behind the bed.

“Oh, for goodness’... You know, I did have a pillow for a reason.”

Jenny had curled herself into a protective ball on the bed, partially to massage her head from the new splitting pain, and partially to shield herself from the figure standing above her. “W-what are you?” she asked, as bravely as she could manage.

Ben raised an eyebrow-- or tried to. Apparently Jenny could only raise both at once. “What am I? Wow, Jenny, didn’t know you had such low self-esteem to call yourself a thing. Even if I’m not really you, but to be fair, you’re being me right now.”

Jenny was completely awake now. She looked around slowly. She was in Ben’s room, lying in Ben’s bed…

With a trembling hand, she reached up and touched her hair, trying to get some in her field of vision. Red.

She looked over at… herself, shuddering as she asked, “B-Ben? Is th-that you? What’s going on?”

“Not really sure,” Ben said, trying to perch on a chair. She misjudged her shape again, and started to tip off before she regained balance. “But I woke up in what I think was your room, and what I know is your body, this morning, and… you seem to be in mine. So there’s that.”

Jenny took deep, even breaths, forcing herself to calm down. Ben is in my body. I am in Ben’s body. All right. We’ve both been in worse situations than this. She carefully levered herself out of the bed, thrown off by the strange proportions and wincing slightly at the pain in Ben’s legs.

The mirror in the corner drew her eye, and she couldn’t help but limp over to examine herself. Sure enough, Ben stared back at her, wearing a nightgown and a confused expression. She touched her face, and watched with a mixture of horror and fascination as the Ben in the mirror touched her own.

The corner of Ben’s mouth twitched as she watched Jenny look at her reflection as she had done a short while ago. “You should… I’d appreciate it if you get dressed,” she murmured, stifling a laugh. “Since I don’t make a habit of walking about in that. I could turn my back, but…”

Jenny nodded vacantly. “A-all right…” Part of her brain was still screaming, It’s a dream, it’s a dream, it has to be a dream, while the cool observer part pointed out that she was still in a great deal of pain, which tended not to happen in her dreams.

After she had gotten dressed (tactfully trying to avoid looking through more of the closet than was necessary, to respect Ben’s privacy), she had partially regained her composure. She turned to herself - Ben, she thought forcefully, suppressing yet another shudder. “Okay, you said you woke up like this?”

“Well, like this,” Ben agreed, indicating Jenny’s body. “I’m thinking we should do something about it, interesting as the experience is.”

“Interesting” is not the word I would use, Jenny thought, realizing, to her mild consternation, that she was blushing. Aloud, she said, “Do you have any idea how this happened? I was… we, we were fine last night, right?” Maybe if we retrace our steps…

“Far as I know,” Ben agreed. “Could it be we ran afoul of a mage, or something?” What would Alex do? she asked herself. Be nice if I could just walk into the library and ask him… “We could go to the library,” she said aloud. Even if Alex isn’t there, it’s probably what he would do.

Jenny blinked. “There’s a library here?”

“Yes,” Ben answered. “A big one, with a mildly psychotic librarian in charge and everything.”

Jenny considered. On the one hand, libraries tended to make her nervous. On the other, she didn’t have any other ideas. Finally she nodded. “All right, let’s go.”

----

Ben was right; the library was certainly the largest Jenny had ever seen. The mass of accumulated books was, if she was honest, rather intimidating. Before she had come to the castle, she would have counted herself fortunate to see four books stacked together; here, the shelves were piled so high that she wasn’t sure she could even reach all of them.

Of course, Ben’s reach was slightly shorter than she was used to, so there was that.

“Are you lost, Tannaieon?” came a curt question from her left.

“Just browsing,” Ben returned sardonically, before remembering that the question had not been addressed to her.

Lori glanced at Jenny’s face curiously, head tilted at an odd angle. “That’s new. Hello, person. I’m Lori, a librarian here. Who are you?”

Ben sighed, grabbing Jenny’s hand-- her own hand. “The situation is rather complex, Lorekeeper,” she snapped. “Though if you can assist us in our research, I’m sure you’ll be able to learn something new. What do you have on people switching bodies?”

“Oh… Haha. Hahahahaha!” The librarian fell over laughing, curling up with a wide smile on her face, “Oh that is just lovely!”

Jenny looked from the figure on the ground - Lori, she had said - to Ben and back. “Is this the… the librarian you told me about?”

Ben nodded, rolling her eyes at the woman on the floor. “Like I said. Psychotic librarian.” She stepped delicately over the laughing Lori with longer legs than she was used to, striding toward the back shelves.

“Hey..” Lori called out, voice petulant. “I am not psychotic. I am a high functioning sociopath. If you’re going to demean me, do it right.” With a huff, the librarian stood, and glanced the two over. “I have just the book for you.” She rummaged through a nearby shelf and produced an old, dusty, leather-bound volume.

Ben raised two eyebrows, mildly annoyed that she couldn’t use just one, at the book that the Loremaster offered them. “I’m thinking we shouldn’t let the psychotic librarian choose our reading material,” she murmured to Jenny.

“Do you have anywhere better to look?” Jenny muttered back, taking the book from the eerily grinning woman’s outstretched hand. She flipped through quickly, trying to read the chapter titles. Eventually, she looked up, confused. “This is a book of love stories.”

Ben laughed. “Naturally, the title didn’t give it away.” She peered over Jenny’s shoulder-- her shoulder-- that was an odd view-- to look at the pages herself. “That looks like something.” She pointed to an illustration of two figures, with arrows pointing between them. Above the woman, in curly script, was written “Arthur” and above the man, “Millena”.

Jenny read some of the story next to the illustration, struggling more than usual thanks to the ancient lettering. “Unbeknownst to him, his gift had been imparted with a curse by a jealous rival, who wished to keep Millena for himself. The king-to-be awoke in his lady’s form, and she in his, until the two heroes sought out the cause of their misfortune and undid the curse.”

Ben glared down at the page, nonplussed. “Well, there’s a diagram with them as themselves again. Funny how the book neglected to say how they undid the curse, though.” Her eyes fell on the still-open page of the book, and her hands itched. She glared at the tiny painting of a jewel. Why did it make her hands itch? “Jenny?” she asked quietly. “The other day in the sewers… did your hands itch at any point?”

Jenny thought back. Something caught her memory. “Yes… yes, they did. It was right after you handed me something. I don't remember what.”

“Could it have been a disease?” Lori remarked, flipping through a paperback riddled with bookworms.

“Yes,” Ben said dryly. “We probably contracted that version of the common cold that causes sneezing, itchiness, and, oh, ending up in the wrong body. Thank you so much for your valuable assistance, Lorekeeper.” Jenny’s voice sounded strange to her ears with sarcasm weighing it down.

“I haven’t been sneezing,” said Jenny mildly.

Lori laughed derisively. “See, Princess? Your little fling gets the joke.”

Ben glared at the librarian and rolled her eyes, pointing to the tiny painted jewel. “Did the thing look like this, J-- Can I call you Eve? It’s shorter than Jenny. Did it look like this, Eve?”

Jenny was, once again, having trouble processing everything. “I… well, I prefer Jenny, but… Princess? Who…” Desperate for some sort of anchor to tie her thoughts to, she glanced at the picture Ben had indicated. “I… It might have. It was definitely small.”

“Oh, sorry. Jenny it is.” Ben started to bite her lip, then stopped. That was Jenny’s lip; she shouldn’t leave it in worse condition than she found it. “We should probably go look for it, then. That’s a picture of the cursed gift from the story, I think.”

Jenny winced. “We’re going back into the sewer, aren’t we?”

“Look on the bright side,” Ben teased. “This time, you don’t have to smell anything that wafts toward your nose. ...Only the stuff near my nose.”

That startled a laugh out of Jenny. “Does your nose smell raw sewage differently than mine?” she retorted with a smile.

“Probably not,” Ben answered blandly, “but I haven’t tried it out yet. How’s your head?”

There was still a dull pounding in Jenny's temple. “I'll be fine,” she replied. “Let's get this over with.”

----

“Maybe your nose really is more perceptive than mine,” Ben commented, as they turned another corner, slowly retracing their steps with their eyes scanning the ground. “This place smells terrible.”

“Just keep looking,” said Jenny, limping slightly behind Ben. “I don't remember where it fell, but it was somewhere near - aaahhhh.” She ground a fist into the side of her head.

“Uh… everything all right?”

“Yeah, I... mmm, I'm fine.” She said it more for her own benefit than Ben's; her headache had been getting progressively more severe ever since they had gone into the sewer. Now all she wanted to do was find the cursed jewel and get out.

Ben’s hands started to itch more. She hugged her arms around herself to ignore the sensation, then dropped them stiffly to her sides as she remembered that it was Jenny’s torso she’d been hugging.

They continued down the dark passage, Jenny gritting her teeth and kneading her forehead, and Ben rubbing her hands against her slacks to try to reduce the irritation. Just when Jenny thought her head would explode with the pain, she saw something glinting against the nearby wall. Not trusting herself to speak, she pointed it out to Ben.

The taller woman stooped, to lift a shining violet jewel inset into a gold medallion and chain. “Jenny… I think we’ve found it.”

Jenny nodded, trying her hardest not to collapse into the muck surrounding them. “We... w-we should... both touch it. Bring... aaaah… bring it over here.”

Ben passed the amulet to her friend, pausing to scrape her itching palms against a corner of the jewel.

Before they could both put their hands on the jewel, however, a high-pitched voice rang out. “Son of a bitch!”

“We should smash it,” Ben suggested. She reached for her waist before remembering that Jenny’s clothes had no sword belt. “Use my sword.”

“Oh, you’re going to smash me, now!” the voice squawked. “That’s just terrific! First you decide to pick me up after who the hell knows HOW long I’ve been sitting here gathering dust, and then you toss me right back down like some common trash, and THEN you decide to come back down here to finish me off!”

Jenny’s headache was somehow intensifying. She fumbled with the sword hilt around her belt. “I… I don’t know how,” she gasped.

“Oh, come on. Just--” Ben rolled her eyes. “Pass me the sword.”

Pass me the sword,” the voice mocked. “Honestly, you thought I would just lie here and take that? I know everything about you two; I managed to get a psychic link into your heads when you were busy throwing me around the other day!”

Ben glared at the thing. “Shut up. Jewellery doesn’t talk.” She accepted her sword from Jenny, but her grip was… wrong. It was like she had forgotten how to hold it properly, and the thing was heavier than she remembered. “Blast it all, E--Jenny, how often have you held a sword?”

Jenny spared enough energy for a sidelong glance at Ben. “People… people like me don’t… use swords.”

“She’s right,” the jewel’s voice said casually. “She’s quite a bit different than you, Ben. One might even say… too different.”

“Too different for what?” Ben deadpanned. “Wearing my skin for a day or so?” She glanced at the girl beside her as she handed back the sword. “Oops, guess not.”

Jenny gripped the sword tightly. Somehow, it simply felt right, like the sword was already an extension of her arm, just waiting to be recognized. Ben’s body treats her sword like mine treats my bow, she realized.

“Now reverse your grip,” Ben directed. “Take the low end of the hilt, then raise the blade so the pommel faces down.”

Jenny did as she instructed, her muscles going through the practiced motions without so much as a twitch.

“Oh, come on!” snapped the jewel. “Why can’t you two just kiss for hours like Arthur and Millena did. Oh, right, I remember, it’s because - ”

“Good,” Ben said, pointedly ignoring the voice, “Now bring it down and smash with the hard rounded end of the pommel.”

Still fighting through the haze of pain, Jenny brought her arm up as high as she could and prepared to swing.

“No one even cares about what I think,” the jewel grumbled. “Fine, then, no more Mr. Nice Rock!”

Jenny saw the oncoming sword a split second before it hit Ben. She threw herself forward in front of her, landing in a parry stance and deflecting the blade.

A giant figure, armoured from head to toe stood before them, holding a massive broadsword aimed directly at Ben. “Say hello to my pal Sven,” the jewel said smugly. “I told him you’re just dying to meet him. He doesn’t talk much.”

Jenny glanced disdainfully at the small amulet she had left off to the side. “Shut up,” she told it, raising Ben’s blade in front of her in a guard. It wobbled slightly; something in the way her hands were positioned told her she was holding it wrong.

Ben felt… decidedly weird standing off as a noncombatant in a sword fight. Worse, Jenny had all her muscle memory, but no real knowledge of how to use the sword. “Readjust your grip to hold the sword traditionally,” Ben called.

Jenny’s hands changed their grip almost automatically. She was just in time - the armoured golem had raised his sword for another blow.

Ben saw their foe’s strategy immediately. “He’s feinting. Block to your left and up instead. Take a step to the right. He’s leaving you an opening-- don’t take it, it’s a trap. Thrust low. Keep your centre of balance low. Don’t let him get in too close.”

Jenny let Ben’s body take over; it knew how to follow the orders. She dodged, maneuvered, and stabbed upward in a deadly dance with their assailant.

Frustrated with doing nothing, Ben slipped her hand down as she continued to shout directions, trusting Jenny’s body, this time, to come up with a weapon. The hand slipped into her boot, returning with a knife that was well-sharpened and straight-edged, if small.

Enjoying the sidelines again?” the jewel’s voice whispered in her mind. “Must get tiresome after a while, watching your dearest do all the work.

Ben narrowed Jenny’s eyes. “Probably not as tiresome as living in a sewer without the ability to move under my own power.” She reversed her grip on the knife, holding it as she had shown Jenny how to hold the sword, and brought it down on the glittering rock.

A loud, keening scream echoed in the tunnel. Jenny stumbled, crying out, and jumped away from Sven’s follow-up strike. The jewel itself was cracked down the center - but not broken.

Go ahead, smash me, see if I care!” the jewel hissed, still apparently only to Ben. “It won’t make her love you! And you know it! I've seen both of your minds!

Ben glared, calling out, “Play to my strengths. Come in low and drive it up,” as she slammed the knife down again upon the irritating jewel.

Ow, ow, OW, what the HELL, woman!” the jewel said angrily. “If you break me, no one is left to tell you how to break the curse?! You’ll be stuck in the body of your precious Jenny, and she’ll never be any the wiser to your feelings!

“There are worse bodies to be stuck in,” Ben smirked. She heard a familiar grunt of triumphant exertion: Jenny had just found a weak point in Sven’s defense.

“Keep pressing,” Ben shouted, raising the dagger in the air once more. “Drive him against the wall. Defend your left flank-- you’re undercompensating. It’s an illusion, which means kill, not disarm. You’ll have to keep his sword arm at bay, though, or you won’t have a killing blow.”

Fine,” the jewel said petulantly. “Goodnight, cruel world, and all that crap. Just get it over with, asshole.

Jenny had finally tapped into Ben’s expertise; her offense was brutal and efficient. Sven was forced up against the wall, and finally forced to expose its centre. With a wide grin, Jenny drove the sword up into the weak point of the armour.

They struck as one. The jewel shattered at the same moment the armoured shell collapsed in on itself. Jenny slumped against the tunnel wall, staring at the sword in her hand.

Ben took a deep breath, and lifted a hand experimentally. Still the same shapely, delicate fingers that she’d been moving all day fluttered in front of her face. “Well,” she sighed, “so much for that.”

Jenny was breathing heavily. She looked over at Ben and tried to smile. “My headache is gone,” she said. “There’s something.”

“That’s weird,” Ben agreed. “Clearly you take better care of that head than I do. Maybe I should let you keep it.”

Jenny chuckled weakly at that. She turned again to look at the sword. “Don’t think I ever appreciated how good you are with this until now,” she mumbled.

Ben rolled her eyes. “The weight is right. It’s easy. Don’t know how you manage with the little stuff.” She waved the dagger in the air vaguely.

“I don’t, usually,” Jenny replied, pushing herself to her feet and grimacing as the pain in her legs returned. “The knife’s there for when I don’t have anything else.”

“Hmmm. You should carry a sword. They’re useful.” Ben flexed an arm experimentally. “It’s not like you haven’t got the muscle for it, you just need to prepare yourself for the weighting, get in practice.”

Jenny shook her head. “I told you, swords aren’t for people like me.” She hesitated. “You’re a fighter. I’m not.”

“Place like this, everyone’s a fighter,” Ben informed her practically. “Either you’re a fighter or you’re something’s lunch.” Nodding toward the shattered jewel that was all that remained of the phantasm Jenny had duelled, she pointed out, “Looked a bit like a fighter to me back there.”

Jenny let out a humorless laugh. “That was all you, Ben. It would've killed me if you hadn't...” She realized they were standing very close to each other. “Uh, th-thanks for the help, by the way.”

Ben smiled sardonically, the curl of her lips feeling weird on Jenny’s honest face. “If I didn’t pitch in, I rather think it would have been skin off my back.” She clapped Jenny on the shoulder-- clapped her own shoulder. “Really, my pleasure.”

Jenny felt the comforting weight of Ben’s hand - her own, she reminded herself. She blushed again. A thought had occurred to her, but she wasn’t sure enough about it to say it out loud. Ben looked at-- her face-- noting with embarrassment for the first time how very obvious her blush was.

Torn between smirking and pushing for a blush of her own, on Jenny’s less-expressive skin, she asked, “What is it?”

“Oh, it’s… nothing…” But Jenny had never been very good at lying, and she knew it.

“Nothing enough to make one of us embarrassed,” the not-redhead commented coolly.

“Well, it's just…” Jenny’s blush, if possible, deepened. “In some of the old stories, if... if someone was put under a magic curse, then... sometimes it could... could be undone with…” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “A kiss?”

Ben said nothing for a moment, looking into “Jenny’s” familiar hazel eyes as though she could read something there. “It’s an idea,” she agreed in a strangled voice. She wants to kiss me. Well, she wants me to kiss her. With her body. To my body. This is a weird first kiss.

Jenny nodded, looking up at Ben. “It couldn’t hurt.” Why am I so nervous? It’s not like this is a big deal. Just a way to fix this.

Awkwardly, Ben leaned forward-- down-- how was she taller than Jenny!-- to meet Jenny’s lips with her own. Or rather, to meet her own lips with Jenny’s. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was kissing herself, which rather spoiled the otherwise significant moment.

Jenny’s eyes closed involuntarily as her lips met… hers. Ben’s lips met hers. She felt her heartbeat quicken; another involuntary shiver passed through her, but this one felt… different. Vaguely she wondered why she would be reacting this way to kissing, in effect, her own body.

After a few moments, they parted. Jenny opened her eyes and looked back into her own dark ones. She looked away quickly. “It was a thought,” she muttered.

“Interesting thought,” Ben murmured faintly. She shook Jenny’s head briskly, clearing her mind of its confusion. “So, what now? Back to research? Look for things to stab?”

Jenny stumbled; she hadn’t realized how exhausted she felt. “Think I’m done stabbing things for today,” she said feebly. “Maybe tomorrow?”

And with that, she collapsed into Ben’s arms.

Ben staggered back, holding… herself, before she sighed, trying to block out the foul smell of their surroundings. She sat down with her back against the wall, laying Jenny down as well as she could, Jenny’s head… Ben’s head… in her lap. There was nothing to do but close her eyes, and within the hour, she was asleep as well.

----

Jenny’s eyes fluttered open. She was still lying in the sewer. She groaned, looked down at Ben’s sleeping form in her lap, and tried to stand without waking her -

She froze. She was looking at Ben - red hair, sword, and all. She pulled some of her own hair in front of her eyes, and sighed with relief at the familiar brown.

“It worked,” she said softly. “Whatever we did, it worked.”

Ben woke up, nuzzling her head against the amazing pillow-- her eyes opened, seeing the “pillow” for what it was, and her face turned bright red. She sat up quickly, pretending to rub her eyes to hide the blush. “Oh, Jenny. You’re here. And you’re you and everything. That’s good.”

Jenny nodded, smiling. “And you’re you. We did it.”

Ben stood, wincing as she put too much weight too soon on her weak leg. She’d been getting too used to Jenny’s healthier body. “Well, we should probably be going before we pick up something else nasty. Pleasure doing business with you, E--Jenny. And thanks, I guess.”

Jenny couldn’t help laughing at her friend's odd behaviour. “Pleasure doing business with you as well,” she said, standing up and giving a mock bow. “And… you can call me Eve if you want to.”

Ben reddened slightly. “I didn’t mean to-- thanks, Eve.”

As they exited the sewers, Ben grinned to herself. “Well, I got my body back, I woke up in the lap of a pretty girl, and now I can even use my sense of smell again-- I call today a win.” She snuck a glance at Jenny, daring the other woman to react.

Jenny met her eyes. “Yes,” she agreed. “Yes it was.”

She looked away, hoping Ben hadn’t seen her blushing again. In the corner of her mind, a thought shone out happily.

She thinks I’m pretty.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Tohrinha on Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:30 am

Quest 45: Cattle Call

Okay so that was nine so now I get to see what fresh horrors await me on ten Marcus thought to himself as he ascended the staircase. I realize that the levels are supposed to get harder the higher you go but I think the castle needs to lighten up a little, this is getting excessive.

Then Marcus saw light filtering in from above him, he grinned and began moving faster up the staircase.

Mirae stepped out onto a staircase. This storm drain was really far longer than it had any right to be. She checked the cat, nestled in what remained of her cloak, and glanced up. It was lighter up there, which might mean it was an exit. Either way, something was up there.

She grinned and began moving up.

Marcus heard a shuffling behind him before he reached the exit. What already? That doesn’t seem fair. I haven’t even gotten to the 10th floor yet. There outta be a rule about that or something.

Turning and preparing himself the warrior waited for the new threat to show itself. But then his pre-battle mindset was interrupted by a small sound. Was that a cat mewing? The monsters on this floor have pet cats? No, wait get a hold of yourself, that doesn’t make any sense. More likely its just someone else coming up from nine. His mind made up Marcus called out. “Hello? Someone else there?”

The shuffling stopped. A moment later, the stair below was filled with yellow light. “Oh, hey.” Mirae smiled up at him, one hand cupping the light, the other holding her cloak bundled up. A cat’s head poked out of it.

Marcus smiled at the mage and put away his weapon. “Hey, Mirae. Wasn’t expecting you here. Or for you to have a cat with you.” Then he caught wind of the smell. “Where have you been lately?” he asked attempting not to show that he had noticed the sewer smell.

“I’m not entirely sure,” Mirae answered, not noticing his tone. “I missed a turn in the sewers down on the first floor. At least, I assume this isn’t the first floor anymore?”

Marcus looked at her with one of his eyebrows raised. Then he bent over to stare at the area she had just come from. “How in seven hells? What kind of logic does that even follow?” Noticing his friend staring he quickly regained his composure. “Sorry about that, but yes this isn’t the first floor. In fact that-” he said gesturing to the doorway. “-is the entrance to floor ten. I’m also officially giving up on this castle making any kind of sense.”

“About time,” she said absently, looking past Marcus. “Well, unless you’d like to see for yourself that part of the Castle’s strangeness...” She trailed off and nodded to the door. “Want to go see some more?”

Marcus smiled at her. “I’ll test out the storm drains another time. Maybe I can throw the next person who tries to kill me down one. I bet I can even get Lori to help.” he joked. “Come on, lets go see what else is in store for us.” he said as he turned and walked towards the exit.

Mirae ran up the stairs after him, dousing her light. She was only a step behind him when they stepped out. The first thing she noticed was the light glinting off the surface of a river. She turned her head away, looking at it sideways to cut down on the glare. “You know,” she said, “I think this is the first river I’ve seen here.”

Marcus nodded. “Not the first one for me but its the first time I’ve seen one without having to worry about someone chasing me. I have to say its a nice change of pace.” He looked around some more and saw the rivers and grassy plains of the floors. “Okay this floor is way too nice. What’s the catch?” he asked turning toward the mage. “I mean there has to be a catch right?”

“You’re only saying that because you haven’t noticed the werewolves behind you,” Mirae said, focusing on something over his shoulder.

Marcus immediately jumped and spun. Only to see a certain lack of werewolves behind him. He turned and glared at Mirae. “I suppose you thought that was very clever of you, hmm?” he growled.

She smiled innocently at him. “There’ll be plenty of interesting things somewhere here,” she said, turning to survey the floor. “Besides, if there had been werewolves behind you, they would be severely singed by now.”

“Please don’t do that Mir.” Marcus drawled as he walked up to stand beside her. “My nerves can’t take much more, I need the few I have left. I mean how would you like it if I grabbed you out of nowhere and pulled you without any warning so we both rolled down this wonderful hillside?” he asked gesturing and grinning mere seconds before he did exactly that.

They landed in a tangle at the bottom, laughing. Mirae lay there for a minute before a pair of cat whiskers brushed her ear. She looked back up the hill to where her cloak was spread out, the edges torn by what looked like giant claw marks. “I think that can stay there,” she said. The cat walked over her and sniffed at Marcus’s face. “Like him?”

Marcus gave the cat a few scratches along the jaw. “He’s cute. When did you find him?” he asked Mirae. “I don’t seem to remember you having a cat before.”

“He was in the storm drain,” Mirae said. “He wouldn’t stop following me, so I just took him along.” She shrugged.

Marcus ran a finger along her cheek. “How sweet of you, taking in strays and all. Something you do often?” he asked, his voice intentionally sing-songish.

“It’s turned out well in the past,” Mirae said, leaning her head against his hand. “Though he’s only staying if he can keep up with me.” With a quick movement, she extricated herself from Marcus and cat, and jumped up.

Marcus looked up at her quizzically. “Something wrong?” he asked concerned.

Surprised, Mirae looked at him. “No? Just, I don’t know, just restless. It’s good to not be underground anymore.” She offered him a hand. “And we should probably at least be standing up if any werewolves do come along,” she said, smiling.

He smiled back as he took her hand. “What and make it easy on us?” he replied as he got to his feet. “Although this floor is odd. I don’t see any threatening objects, or any noticeable landmarks. Do we just pick a direction and start walking?”

“Want to head towards the river?” Mirae asked. “There might be fish. Interesting fish.” Her eyes narrowed mischievously.

Marcus rolled his eyes in amusement. “Sure, why not? So long as there aren’t anymore giant snakes.” he replied as they began walking. “I do have to say this floor is a nice change of pace. The other floors were to the point where I was seeing assassins around every building corner. Though to be fair a few time there might have actually been assassins and not just me being paranoid.” He rambled. The soldier stopped himself going a bit red. “Sorry, sometimes my thoughts have a way of snowballing into each other.”

Mirae shrugged. “It’s a rambling floor. Also, very green,” she said, slowly turning to take in the hills. “I suppose it’s the water that makes the grass grow like this.”

“Probably.” Marcus agreed. “Looks very refreshing, the water I mean.” he added sheepishly. Then he looked around a bit. “Does everything see a little taller?”

Mirae glanced at him. “If anything, I’d say you were getting shorter. Or have I always come up to your shoulder?”

Marcus blinked. “Well no, you always just missed my shoulder.” Marcus shook his head before blinking several more times in succession. “Though you suddenly being a cow might have something to do with it. Either that or we got hit with one hell of an illusion.”

“That would explain it.” Mirae nodded. “Seems like they’ve done the same to you.” She stumbled. “Is it just my illusion, or is yours making you walk on four legs too, instead of just looking like it?”
Marcus paused. “So wait we’re actually are cows? Did….did we just get vengeance taken upon us by a bunch of deceased livestock?”

“That… would be insane. They’d also have taken their time about it; waiting ten floors?”

“This castle is insane, and so is everyone in it. Besides would it really surprise you at this point?”

“I would have thought if they were that angry about it, they’d have done something before. Though they are cows,” Mirae said. She kept walking towards the river for lack of something else to do.

Marcus walked with her. “Well the way I see it there are three options. One, that ghost cows turned us into cows but since it is unlikely we’ll just ignore that for now. Two, That some mage has been messing around with something he shouldn’t have and started turning people into cows. Or three, this is simply another obstacle the castle itself is responsible for.” normally he would have counted off on his fingers as he went but for now Marcus just ignored his lack of fingers and acted like the situation was something resembling normal.

Mirae scuffed one of her feet-- hooves against the ground. “That’s a pretty powerful mage to be doing transformations. Unless this is all some elaborate hallucination. That… might be a little disappointing, actually. I’ve always wondered if cows can swim.” She rolled her head from side to side, her voice amused.

Marcus snorted. “Well I wouldn’t recommend trying it. If they can’t and you gave it a shot that would end badly. I do have to wonder what we are supposed to do to fix this.” He thought it over some more. “Or even how we’re supposed to find out what is doing this.”

“Well, if nothing else happens, I think we can assume that it’s the castle. Either that, or that the both of us are terrible at finding danger, and I think you’ve disproved that by now.”

“Oh sure I use one unstable magical artifact and suddenly I’m a danger magnet.” he snarked back. “Okay well is there a way for mages to sense other mages? If so we could use that to prove or disprove the mage theory.”

She knocked her head against his side gently. “Not a bad thing. I’ve never done that before, for an actual mage,” she went on. “It doesn’t feel like a spell, though. It could be one that’s playing with my magic; if you want me to test that, you might want to get further away.”

"Hm? Why's that?" He asked curiously.

Mirae twitched her ears. “Because if I still have magic and can’t feel it, I might put a lightning bolt through you. Of course, that could happen wherever you are, so maybe you don’t have to run.”

Marcus shrugged as best he could. Which was not very well given the circumstances. "Well since you put it like that I'll be over here a bit." He replied moving about five feet to one side. "Not right in the line of fire but close enough that if I get hit I won't have wasted my efforts for nothing."

“Fair enough.” She blinked and tipped her head to one side. A spindly bolt of lightning crashed down a short ways away from both of them. “Well, that seemed to-- ah,” she said, trotting over and stamping out the grass that had just caught on fire.

Marcus came over and began to help her with the fires. "Right" he said speaking up. "I'm not an expert but I'll go out on a limb here and say that didn't happen how it was supposed to."

“I probably just estimated wrong. Everything looks odd from this height,” she said, tamping out the last of it. “It used to happen much more often before I was used to magic.”

Marcus bobbed his head. "Okay, we'll at the very least we've established that your magic is still on. It's a start. It could still be a spell but it does beg the question of why a cow spell is useful. Then again I suppose our only other option is the castle did it and we just have to talk at the sky until we get changed back." Marcus furrowed his eyes somewhat. "I had a point somewhere in there, I'm not quite sure what though."

Mirae nodded. “We could always talk to the sky while we look for a mage,” she said, amused. “It would save time.”

"You can always suggest a better plan if you have one." Marcus offered. "But unless you do than yes, that is our best plan at the moment."

She rolled her shoulders, clearly also trying to shrug. “I don’t see what harm it would do. Hey, Castle?” she called out. “We’d be grateful if you’d turn us back. I’m sure this is very amusing, but it might get tiresome after a while.”

Marcus let out a huff. "Uh, yes Castle. I have to give you credit, this is a great prank. Also I realize I kind of asked for this with my earlier train of thought but I'd appreciate it undone, or even just keeping the change confined to this floor and not permanent." He paused. "Actually that'd be pretty funny in and of itself." He finished with a grin.

Mirae looked at him askance, ears twitching. “Are you sure you’re not something the castle created? You have the sense of humor for it.” She shook her head. “There doesn’t seem to be anything happening here. Shall we look for the staircase? If we miss anything on this level, I’m sure we’ll hear about it later.”

Marcus shot her what would have been a solemn gaze had he been human at the time. "Yes, I'm a construct the castle made purely because it want to lure you off and kidnap you.” He took a moment to bump her side with his. "Sure lets look for the stairway."

“Sounds fair,” she said. They’d reached the river while they were talking and began walking along the bank. There was nothing but hills and grass on their side, and it looked the same across the river. Mirae peered along the river as far as she could see without being able to lean over it. It dipped down and ran underneath a hill not far away. She thought she saw something in the water, like a series of stepping stones.

“Marcus? Come look at this.” She stepped aside so he could go to the side of the river.

Marcus looked at the river and stepping stones. "Well that's...specifically convenient. I guess...." And with that began walking along the stones.

Mirae dropped into the river with a splash and followed him. She had to duck to get into the tunnel, but it opened up a little ways in. The hill was hollow, similar tunnels breaking off all around. The stones continued along the edge.

"Stranger and stranger." Marcus muttered as he continued to follow the stones. If he squinted he thought he could see some strange structure further back in the tunnel Exit maybe? I hope.

They clopped over the stones toward it. The curve of a staircase came into view. It was almost a ramp, with how wide the steps were.

Marcus turned to look at Mirae and tried to shrug before remembering he couldn't. "Well, only one way to find out." Then he turned and walked up the stairs. At first nothing happened but the suddenly Marcus felt some pain and arrived on the next step human. He took a moment to lay and rest on the step before looking at Mirae. "Well it's safe...you can still understand me right?"

Mirae stepped up beside him and tripped, suddenly on two feet again. She sat down on the rock next to Marcus. “I can,” she said. “That… was interesting. Think our plea actually worked?” She grinned at him.

"Who knows? I like to think it did. But now I'm a bit torn." He admitted looking up the stairs. "I want to keep going but we should really tell people the effects are limited to this floor. Or at least like leave a note. He looked over at his companion. "What do you think?"

Mirae suddenly sat up straight. “My cat. I don’t think he followed us into the river.” She glanced at Marcus. “You could leave your note if we go rescue him.”

Marcus gave her a look. "We huh? Sure why not. The little guy seems nice enough. If we move fast enough we might avoid being cows."

“Then we won’t find out if the effect’s the same going down as coming up.” She caught his look and smiled. “All right, sure.”

Marcus stood and offers her his hand. "Well then, what are we waiting for?"
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Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Lordxana0 on Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:58 am

Quest 42: The Coat of Many Maladies

It was very rare for Salvantas to say that he hated something. There was Tenzami obviously, everyone who worked with him, criminals, and of course the thing that was probably at the very top of his list. Zombies. Never had he met a zombie or Necromancer that he liked. So when the town square was suddenly brought under assault by a small force of undead creatures which seemed to be spawning from a man in a diamond studded black robe it could be said that Salvantas was a bit peeved.

“Cursed, cursed are all who are around me” the man who seemed to be the source of the undead moaned. “Flee in fear children who have yet to see the jaws of infinity…” all around him shambled disease ridden corpses, hunting for their next meal. Many of them appeared to be civilians most likely caught up before they had realized what happened. A few had weapons in their hands, probably adventures or guardsmen who had attempted to stop the man and had failed.

“And what exactly are you suppose to be?” Salvantas asked as he pulled free his saber from its sheath. Next to him was the overgrown wolf pup known as Smoke, carrying a small knife designed to fit between its jaws.

The man turned to regard him. His face was covered by the cloak he wore over him, one that was covered in beautiful jewels that glowed as the light played off of them. “A cursed man who begs for death in all he does but it not allowed to find rest. Put to work by a place of horrific mirth”

Salvantas growled and pointed at him. “In other words, you are a member of Dark Carnival”

The man swayed back and forth. “Member nay, prisoner yay. Either way death upon all must be obtained” he reached a hand up and pulled back the hood, revealing a face aged by multiple years of disease. Scars and boils both fresh and new marred what might have otherwise been a handsome face. A XIII symbol in midnight black ink played across his left cheek, covering the area. “I am Death, I bring change, unstoppable as the morning breeze” he raised his hand at Salvantas. “Go now those inflicted by me, slay the man so I might be given some form of rest”

The zombies happily complied with his orders, charging at Salvantas with amazing speed. Of course he was ready for them, and as soon as they came upon him his sword was already in the work of attacking and parrying the undead creatures who still had some knowledge over the weapons they held. Smoke danced between their lines, using the knife in his jaws the slash at their legs and bring them down to the ground. Despite it all through Salvantas was not doing well in this fight. He style was about bringing multiple wounds on enemies, enough to make them drop of blood loss or just surrender to pain. But these creatures knew no pain, and it seemed nothing less than the destruction of the entire form would bring them down. Salvantas jumped back from a sword swing only to be caught by a mace in the back, sending him down as the hoard of thirty undead creatures began to pile on him. He quickly rolled out of the crowd, bringing himself up with a massive pain in his back. If he didn’t get back up soon these creatures would kill him. But with most of the Guilds sending their forces to explore the upper floors or dealing with their own issues, it wasn’t very likely he would be getting it any time soon.



**

The trip was rough, The small kobolds were dishonorable in their way of combat, surrounding Kyras and trying to overwhelm him. But he was more they could vie for victory, the Sanguine blade cut deep in their short bodies. The quest was completed.

Kyras was returning to the town square, when he heard fighting nearby. The moan of the unhallowed undead filled the air, as were the ramblings of an old man. Kyras made a quick guess that glory could be found, and hurried to the square, only to see a strange image.

There was a horde of Zombies, that surrounded a man clad in a strange cloak, that were also after a strange fighter that wielded a sabre. A weak weapon in the eyes of Kyras , but the man used it against the zombies to it’s full potential. This was a great warrior , but hopelessly outnumbered.”Insolence! Kyras shouted, drawing his huge greatsword and charging the fray. “All is dust “ The cloaked man said “And dust is all. Even the mightiest shall fall”. The zombies, as though they had understood their master was in danger, turned their attention to Kyras, much to his enjoyment.

“Know this vile Creatures!” Kyras shouted in glory, using his momentum to cut the first zombie in half from one side to another “For your attack on this town thou have earned the undying thanks[b/] of Kyras Deadarious!”. He spinned the Sanguine clade in a whirlwind of death, cutting the zombies trying to pile in him apart.”For too long have I ached in such sport!” He continued to yell in the top of his lungs as he continued to fight off the zombies ”To hear the din of battle and cry in a thunderous voice!” .

The zombie in front of him managed to sneak through his sword and dug his claws as much the plate armor allowed in, only to receive a devastating kick from his armoured kneed, breaking it’s frail legs , and then his face was crushed by a steel boot.”Have at thee!” He yelled at the remaining horde, and his blade swung in unison.


Salvantas watched in awe as the large warrior plowed through the hoard, only one thought running through his mind. “That's certainly one way to solve that problem” he put his blade back into the sheath and made a mental note to send the obviously crazy man a basket of fruit or something later. He turned toward the robbed man and made his way forward. “You are under arrest for gods know how many murderers and for illegally practicing dark magic in a public area”

The man shook his head and sighed deeply. “It matters very little how many infected die, there are more. Always more dead, walking dead, living dead. We are all dead” he walked toward Salvantas slowly, painfully moving every inch toward him.

“I somehow doubt that” Salvantas reached into his coat and pulled out a pair of manacles to put around the man's wrists. “Just be lucky that I am only arresting you for…”

Before he could react the man who had only moved at a slugs pace earlier leapt forward with a speed that seemed almost impossible. His hand lashed out and pressed against Salvantas face. The hand was as diseased as the rest of him, almost black from the various fungi growing from the multiple sores. “Change” the cloak he wore seemed to glow pure black for a moment and Salvantas began to trash in the man’s grip. After a few seconds Salvantas broke away, putting a hand over his face. “Disease is not just physical, there are so many forms that one might even call it infinite. That is one thing I hav…”

“Shut up” the guild leader spoke those words in a rather harsh tone, one that didn’t match his normal voice.

“E...excuse me?” the bringer of plagues replied, confusion taking hold on his voice.

“I said” Salvantas moved his hand to reveal a large grin on his face. “Shuuuuuuuuut up.” he began to stretch out. “Honestly all you people do is talk talk talk talk talk talk talk it is annoying as all levels of hell!”

“You wish to speak of hell child?” the plaguebringer started forward. “I have exp…” before he could finish his thought Salvantas sprang forward and struck with his saber, slashing the mans arm and letting fly more than a few droplets of tar black blood.

“You see there you go again” the man jumped back, the mirthful grin still on his face. “Talking, yammering, doing all of that kind of crap that is just boring” he shook his head in disappointment. “I honestly just got control of this body back for the first time in I don’t even know how long, and I am not going to spend it listening to some tired old bastard recount his life story for me”
The man took a step back and leveled an even glare at the guild leader. “Is this personality change an effect of the disease I implanted?”

The red haired man shook his head. “Nope, but it did help me get my head on straight” he put a finger to the side of his head and chuckled. “I was locked up behind a gate so tight that I could have never escaped, held back to let the likes of Salvantas and Blank run free” he rolled his eyes. “Oh we must protect people by doing good” he turned his head and dropped his voice low. “Yes but sometimes we must do wrong to do good” he shook his head. “They could never just get their understanding on about what people really had to do!”

In all his years of existing the man in the diamond robe had never encountered a reaction like this to the mental plague he could inflict. This was different.

“In order to protect the world you just have to do whatever it takes. If that means killing a few folks that is fine. If it means you got to get your torture on that is just great!” He spun around and began to travel in a circle around the man. “That was always their problem, too big of a stick up too small of an ass. You have to have fun when you are doing what you do. Killing, torture, arson, blackmail, they couldn’t find fun in the little things and it drove me up a wall!”

“What creature are you?” the plaguebringer brought out a book from the pack he kept on his back and opened it up. “Speak your name.”

“My name?” the man grinned. “Jadas. That is the name I give myself. The third piece of a puzzle that doesn’t want to be made”

“Then know this Jadas, today you shall die” the man brought his hand over the book and from it and bolt of pure black energy flew toward Jadas.

“Nope!” Jadas dodged out of the way of the bolt and ran toward the man, ramming his blade into him from behind before jumping over him to land a harsh kick from the front. “No limits, no holding back, no pretending” He swept the man’s feet out from under him knocking him to his back before bringing foot down harshly on his neck and pulling out a knife.

“I have lived for ages, there is no one who can slay me” the man’s voice was confident but also filled with sadness.

“Those people weren’t me, and they just weren’t creative enough” Jadas began to giggle. “You see I figure that this body you are in is actually just a magical construct housing a human soul, advanced stuff for sure. But there is always a single point in these spells that when shattered breaks the entire thing.” he quickly examined him before letting out a laugh. “I bet I know where it is!” he leaned down to slam home the knife into the marking on his face.

The man let out a gasp as for the first time in years he began to feel something. Release. His body began to crumble around him as the seal that kept him entrapped in this body was destroyed by the knife. “I...freedom…” the body dissolved inside of the cloak, leaving it empty. With the host now destroyed its magics couldn’t function, and those who had been turned into the living dead collapsed. Jadas picked up his blade and sheathed it. “What’s next?” he looked around and noticed the town center was empty except for him and the other warrior. He could maybe kill him,.but it didn’t seem like it would do much for him in the long run. Better to keep up an act as if he were mister good and boring if he wanted to keep in control and not in a cell. After a few seconds to put on the false voice and manners of Salvantas he walked over to the warrior. “You fought well today, I doubt that I could have won this battle without you” yes that sounded polite enough, no need to exactly get on his knees to kiss the guys boots for his assistance, through he was sure the stick in the mud would have offered Jadan at least had some damn pride.

Kyras stood for a moment, watching the undead crumble before him.”It was a worthy fight you have granted me” He finally said “And i doubt i would be able to kill that miscreant myself. Thank you for the help”

Jadas shook his head and smiled. “No need to thank me” he offered the book to the man. “Since it was your might that saved the day I feel it is only right to offer you the mans tome. Perhaps you might find some use of it, or make a fair penny from it”

Kyras approached the man, taking the tome with his hands with a bow. Eldritch symbols of power were inscribed on it’s pages, surely it would cost quite a few for discerning mages.
Or not.
The Sanguine blade was sudden filled with an eerie, red light. The tome lifted itself, as though it had a will on its own , and brought itself on the tip of the Greatsword. Then, the tome surged forward, impaling itself on the sword. Kyras jerked backwards, almost dropping the weapon as it was engulfed in balefire, burning the tome to a crisp.”What the-” Kyras began to say, as the weapon stopped glowing. “You saw nothing” He said coldly to the man, in a slightly intimidating tone, before sheathing his sword and left the square.

Jadas blinked for a moment after the event before giving a shrug of his shoulders. “Oh well,” he turned around and used his sword to pick up the coat from a safe distance. “To the victor and all of that jun…” he blinked as a piece of paper fell in front of him. And then another. And another. He looked up to see hundreds of pieces of paper falling down all around the city, each one marked with the same invitation.

[b]Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, coming soon to a city near you. Dark Carnival! Where wishes and dreams come to life. Admittance is free, but by the end we can’t promise you will ever want to leave!


Jadas grinned and chuckled for a moment. He had forgotten freedom could be so...interesting. He turned around and carried the coat on the end of his sword, the wolf pup following a few feet behind him. He really hoped he wasn’t expected to take care to the creature. His acting skills only went so far after all.
Who you going to call? ME!
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Lordxana0
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:36 pm
Location: Long Beach

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Blurred_9L on Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:31 pm

Quest 47: Deaf and Blind

”When was the last time I was asked out on an errand like this?” Thought Darren as he headed back to the first floor, following a knight that had identified himself as a member of the Loreknights. Somehow, passing once again through the streets of the city felt oddly familiar.

“What did you say you needed me for?” Darren asked, his eyes darting to the side, as if looking around for something out of place.

“Lori sent me to get you. She said you owe her a favor.” the knight replied seriously, not even bothering to look back at him. They both fell into silence for a few more meters.

“A favor?” Darren wondered aloud. ”This is starting to sound strangely similar to that time with the City Guard and the goblins…”, his mind trailed off. “She never lifted the anger curse from me, I don’t owe her anything.” he spoke, but still walked behind the knight, diligently following the path in front of them.

“That’s none of my business.” The knight replied, coldness in his voice. “Besides, I’d rather go out and get you than try to stand up to that woman.” He said after a while, sounding not quite like the stoic knight he had shown himself to be. Was that fear in his voice? “I mean… you know what I mean.” The knight finally said, lowering his head in shame, still not looking back to see Darren’s reaction.

“I knew it.” Darren whispered, half of him laughing at the knight and the other half starting to shake with anticipation at the sort of madness that might be waiting for him at the library. He sighed, like he had done so many times before. Not a choice at all.

The gates to the library were but a few meters ahead. The knight went ahead to speak with one of the gate guards. They whispered to themselves, as if hiding something. As he walked towards the gate, another one of the guards stepped out in front of him.

“Halt!” he spoke with authority. “What is your business here?”

Darren rolled his eyes, as he rummaged through his pocket in search of the library card he had gotten from Lori herself.. ”I don’t even know why I keep carrying this thing.”. He reluctantly showed the card to the guard, finding himself back inside the book filled corridors of the library.

“Ok, now what?” he asked to his surroundings, half expecting somebody to pop out of nowhere, as they appeared to do, turning the corner of a stack and slamming into him.

“Oh, I am sorry! I did not see you standing there, I did not mean to run into you like that!” The young man was scrambling to pick up the book he had dropped in the collision, as well as to apologize.
“Ow…” was the only thing Darren could say. “It’s okay” he said, as he leaned to pick up the book the man had dropped. “Here,” he said, as he handed him the book. He couldn’t avoid noticing the title of the book. ‘A Treatise on the Sublimation of Alchemical Metals’. “...Uh, what?” he wondered aloud again, his hand still holding the book, drawing a frown over his face.

“It is a, ah, a treatise on the more obscure state transitions of metals that have significance in relation to the creation and usage of semi-permanent magical items, specifically transitions that should not occur without the use of magic as a catalytic agent, due to the metal’s…..” he trailed off at the expression on Darren’s face. “..but you were not asking for an in-depth explanation, were you? I am sorry, I was somewhat engrossed in my reading. And I appear to be forgetting my manners. I am Fern, Loreknight. Do you require assistance?”

“Oh sorry” Darren quickly apologized to the Loreknight, “I… uh, didn’t mean to distract you. I was just curious. Anyway, I’m Darren. I’m looking for..” he paused, looking around for the mage, just in case she was eavesdropping on their conversation. “I’m looking for Lori.” he said, a look of resignation appearing on his face. “She asked me on an errand or something like that. Do you know where I can find her?”

Fern’s expression briefly flicked across shock, slight horror, and a bit of fear, before settling on something vaguely mournful. “As far as I know, she will be in her laboratory - or one of them, at least. Would you like assistance in locating her?”

Darren hesitated. He wasn’t too eager to go meet Lori again. Even so, he was already at the library so there wasn’t much he could do, perhaps, she could jump out from behind him if he tried to leave, he imagined. “Uh… sure, I guess?” he replied, not entirely sure of his answer.

“Alright, if you will follow me.” Fern started to walk off down one of the stacks, Darren following behind. Several minutes of walking later, they had made their way out of the library portion, and were headed into a secondary wing of the building. As they entered one of the doors, Fern turned to Darren.

“As a rule - do not touch anything in here. Several of the items and experiments may be rather….volatile, or otherwise delicate, and only Lori really knows which ones are which.”

Darren nodded, quickly taking a step back from the shelves and desks scattered across the room. His free hand found refuge inside his pockets, realizing that, before he had mentioned that, he had been about to touch one of those experiments. “They don’t seemed that dangerous, you know?” he mentioned, realizing he was still carrying the book Fern had dropped a while ago, but he didn’t say anything about that. ”I’ll give it to him once we’re done with this I guess.”

Fern gave a little huff, and indicated what appeared to be a small ball in a pool of some silvery liquid, although the liquid was covering the ball completely, so it’s exact nature wasn’t clear. “This one…” he bent down and examined it up close for a moment. “...is either quicksilver or an alchemical fluid designed to completely encase an object it comes into contact with.” He looked up at Darren. “Quicksilver can be poisonous, and I do not think you would appreciate being partially or completely coated in a foreign substance. Some of these are likely safe enough to handle, but I would not risk finding one of the more dangerous ones by accident.”

“Ok…” Darren whispered, suddenly picking up the pace. “...Let’s move on, then.” Fern nodded, and slipped ahead, starting to pick his way through the cluttered room toward the next door. As they reached it, he paused in his step. Blocking the door was a table, on which was placed a delicate looking contraption. “But Lori is the only one in...why would someone put it…..how was this….how is someone supposed to….” He pulled himself back, and then looked at Darren, then back to the table, then back to Darren.

“We...are going to need to move the table. Preferably as gently as possible.”

Darren backed away a little. “Okay… you tell me what to do.” he said, as he moved to the right side of the table that blocked the door. He held a deep breath. ”Relax…” He told himself, as he tried his best to not seem any nervous. “Just out of curiosity… do you have any idea what that thing does?” he asked, pointing towards the experiment on the table. Fern paused as he moved to other side, momentarily distracted. “Hmmm……” He leaned in carefully, examining the device, before moving to look at it from another angle. “I think…..It appears to have something to do with scrying, or some sort sensory extensions.” He looked at Darren. “Experiencing things in other locations as if you were there. I do not think it will be dangerous, but we should try to avoid jostling it as much as possible. On principle.” He took up the left end. “Are you ready?”

“I think so.” Darren replied quickly, his voice coming out not as sure of himself than he had expected. Fern nodded. “On the count of three?”

“Okay”, Darren’s voice trembled a bit. “One…”

“...Two…”

“...Three!” ...And then he lifted the table as gently as he could, but he soon realized that maybe it hadn’t been as gentle as he had thought it would be. The table ended up being lifted in an uneven angle and, as if time started slowing down -counting down to the disaster he had been expecting since he had stepped inside of the library- the artifact over the table began rolling down towards the edge of the table. Fern frantically tried to raise his end up to compensate, but his muscles proved insufficient for the task, and were unable to prevent the contraption from spilling off the end of the table. It hit the floor with a dramatic crash, pieces breaking off, and spilling around onto the floor. Fern dropped his end of the table quickly, and stepped away from the spilled experiment hurriedly. Darren did the same when he felt the other side of the table fall down to the floor. He worriedly looked to the broken experiment on the floor, which seemed to be spewing smoke all of a sudden, he lifted his cloak, instinctively protecting himself with the cloth, hoping that it would be enough for whatever was about to happen. The object began to shine just before a bright light filled the room completely with a loud “bang” echoing all around them. Darren didn’t move, but for a moment he felt like lying down, his knees starting to shake. He didn’t know for how long did the flash of light last, but it felt like it had been several minutes since the accident happened. As the light and the smoke began dissipating, he too, lowered his cloak, trying to find the Loreknight in the room.

”Fern? Are you there?” he asked, but he couldn’t hear a single sound. Perhaps the shock of the event had made him think the words, rather than say them. ”Fern! You there?” he tried once again, but he still couldn’t hear the faintest sound of his own voice. But he was sure, he had spoken the words.

As the smoke cleared, he found Fern leaning against the wall, pressing his palms into his eyes in apparent pain. His mouth appeared to be moving, as if he was speaking, but no sound appeared to issue from it. A moment or two later, he removed his hands from his face, and looked around, blinking in confusion after a moment. His mouth moved again, as he reached out and began to feel his surroundings with his hands, face furrowed in confusion as he continued to silently talk.

Okay… don’t panic… I’m… Am I deaf? he thought, yes,. he thought that, the words didn’t come from his mouth; his lips weren’t moving at all. This was a thought. ”Fern? I think I’m deaf.” This time, he spoke, he was sure of it, but still, the feeling of not being to be able to hear your own voice made panic began to swell up inside of him. He walked up to where Fern was crouching and patted him on the shoulder, trying to catch his attention. ”Hey… you ok?” he spoke again, not exactly sure if he was being loud enough for him to hear him or if his words were mere whispers for him. Fern jumped when his hand touched his shoulder, nearly falling over as he jerked. Gripping the table with one hand, he unsteadily took a step forward, before turning his head to look at Darren, and waving his hand in front of his eyes, shaking his head and saying something as he did so.

”Can’t hear you…”, the words came out, slightly frustrated. Still, Fern kept signalling his eyes with his hands, before shaking his head from side to side. ”...you… can’t see me? Is that what you’re trying to say?” Fern’s expression changed to one of relief and exasperation, giving exaggerated nods of his head.

”Just great!” Darren shouted, or so he thought he did. He didn’t particularly enjoyed being deaf. Standing up again, he walked over to the place where the table that was blocking the door was, and with some effort pushed it out of the way, Fern frantically grabbing onto the wall to avoid falling over as the object he was leaning on was suddenly moved. ”By the way, is this Lori’s office?” he asked Fern, before realizing he had to be more specific if he wanted to get a straight answer from him. ”I mean… did the blocked door lead to Lori’s office?” Fern shook his head, before frowning, and speaking again, this time seeming to do so more to himself. He sketched a square in the air with his hands, before indicating one side and pointing toward the door. Indicating the other side of the square, he sketched an ‘X’ on the other side, and indicated that spot.

Okay…” said Darren hesitantly, not exactly sure if he understood what Fern was trying to say. “We still want to go through the door right? he added, trying to understand the situation a bit more. Fern sighed, and muttered something before nodding again, and starting to make his way toward the door, gripping the wall as best he could with one hand.

Darren opened the door, taking a peek inside. The room didn’t seem particularly different from the one they were in, though over the floor of the room, a carpet was laid out. Darren couldn’t help but think an adventurer, either from previous explorations of the castle or from the current one had left if there. Aside, from that, the room seemed fairly normal, there were empty desks with piles of papers and books over them, as well as several bottles of ink and quills layed out on top of them.

”What’s our next move?” he asked the librarian, who still struggled to find his way into the room. Oh for… Darren thought, before grabbing his arm and dragging him along into the room as carefully as possible. ”We’re in the next room, where should we go next? Fern sighed, latching onto Darren’s shoulder after a few abortive grabs into both thin air, and Darren’s head. With his other hand, he indicated a doorway on the other side of the maze-like structure of the desks from where they were standing.

”So… that door in front of us, huh?” he asked, more as a way of reassuring himself, rather than to get confirmation; even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to hear a sound. They clumsily navigated through the room, dodging some of the desks and accidentally knocking some of them over, Fern often running full-force into them, despite his guide’s efforts to steer him out of the way of the obstacles. He appeared to be talking full-time now, and his expression as he did so made it clear that whatever he was saying wasn’t exactly nice. Darren flinched as he hit one of the tables, perhaps a bit harder than he intended, knocking over one of the ink bottles over some very important looking documents. At least the book are fine… he thought as he cleared the way by moving some of the desks aside. Reaching the other end of the room, he opened the door and pulled Fern’s arm, dragging him along.

The room they had emerged into was much more of a laboratory than the previous room, though not as stuffed with items, appeared to be much more of an active laboratory. In the center of the room, with her back turned to the disabled duo was Lori, apparently engrossed in fussing over some large piece of greenish-grey stone, while a large bubbling cauldron was position on the table next to it. To one side of her was a small pile of rubble of the same stone, while on the other side of her, though placed back a ways was a cage containing three rats.

Fern, upon entering the room, perked up and spoke something, causing Lori to perk up and turn around, a massive grin gracing her face as when she noticed the two. Speaking rapidly, she strode up to them, stopping and looking at the duo with curiosity, before asking another question. Fern responded, to which she responded with another wide grin. Bouncing a little, she held up one hand, and pointed at Darren, firmly pointing at the ground where he was standing. Without waiting to see if she had been understood, she turned and walked off, striding toward what appeared to be a cabinet set on the wall. Opening it, and pulling a small jar out of one hand, she returned to the two, still awkwardly standing where they had entered the room. Opening the top, she reached in, and pulled out a finger with covered with some lotion. Placing the jar onto a nearby table, she grabbed Darren’s head with her free hand, before sticking the lotion-covered finger into each of his ears in turn.

“Hey! Stop that…” Darren shouted, before having to stop. He could hear his own voice once again. “How…? Hey! Why the hell did you block off the door with that thing?” he shouted almost immediately, but he was shushed by her as soon as he tried to ask another question, as she was already busy with something else, namely rubbing the lotion onto Fern’s eyes. After she was finished, she looked up at him. “I certainly didn’t block the only route out of this room, so whoever did that is going to very much wish they hadn’t…” She gave him a manic grin as she reattached the top of the lotion to the jar, and returned it to cabinet where it had come from. “So, are you ready for science?” She asked, spinning around to address him.

“You tell, weren’t you the one to call me here?” Darren replied, not exactly thrilled by her sudden reaction. In fact, he was more nervous than anything. At least he could hear again, and that was a huge difference from before. Lori responded with another wide grin. “That’s a yes then! Let’s begin!” She turned to Fern. “Thank you for escorting him here, but you can return to whatever books you were with before. Just be careful on your way out, as informative as that was, I don’t have as much of that ointment to go around as I would like….unless you’d like to help me make more?” She brightened up visibly at the last point, at which Fern, having drifted off to the side, jerked, and shook his head. “No Loremaster, I was already busy.” She frowned, before waving her hand toward the door. “Then be off with you..” she turned to Darren, grin spreading across her face. “...there is much experimentation to be done!” Fern gave Darren a mouthed ’Good Luck’ before slipping out the door.

Darren looked back towards Fern one last time. He looked a bit apologetic as he seemed to wish him good luck. Lori dragged him away across the rooms they had been in, thankfully, not realizing the mess they had made while trying to go through them. ”Oh crap, I forgot to give the book back to him…” Darren realized as he saw the Alchemy book tucked away under one of the tables in the experiments room. ”Oh well, guess he’ll find it later.
Why should we do the right thing?
-Well... because it's the right thing to do, there's no other good reason.

Am I a bad guy trying to be good, or a good guy trying to convince himself that he's not the bad guy?
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Blurred_9L
 
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Endless Sea on Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:10 pm

Quest 46: You’re STILL All Gonna Die!

“Oh, come on, not this scam again…” Said one of the passerbyes, “Isn’t it enough that you started that whole mess with the guilds?”

“Please…” The prophet pleaded. “Listen to me! We’re all in danger! It’s not like the guilds, it’s worse! I’ve seen it, you have to trust me!” A crowd had started to form around the square, mostly youngsters there to scorn at the older man, wearing rags and with darkened eyes of sleepless nights.

“People are going to die… Every day, every night, I can’t stop seeing it… I can’t… You have to listen to me! Why don’t you listen to me!” The prophet roared, shaking and crying. It was soon to reach a point where no one would be able to avoid hearing him at all.

-----

Legias was one of the first ones to notice the conglomeration, oh, great. Just what we needed, more chaos, more confusion and more death threats… She glanced around the area, considering her options. Valerian and Ben… What was her last name again? Oh doesn’t matter. Had been the ones to stop him the last time he tried to cause mass panic, but this time she was watching the scene first hand, she just wasn’t going to sit there and let him create chaos unchallenged.

“Or, so I’d love to.” She finished her thought out loud. If the Captain of the guard tried to drag the man away personally, it would probably cause more fear than he was managing to provoke so far. She started scanning nearby faces for options, until she paused her eyes over someone vaguely familiar. “Hey, you there. You seem familiar enough… Ever did guard duty? Well, doesn’t matter, just, do me a favor and get that man out of there before they start clubbing him to death?”

The tall man in the gray, slightly muddy hiking gear looked over his shoulder, frowning. “Wait, who the what in-” he started before breaking off mid-sentence. “...oh,” he muttered. “Hello, captain. Uh, you talking to me? Because I’ve kinda got things to do right now, and I’m on a tight schedule-”

“Also, please be discreet about it.” She interrupted, ignoring the man’s objections. “A bigger commotion than what we already have would be something to avoid.”

Curtiss opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again. “Um… Seriously, ma’am, please let me weasel out of this? Seriously, I-”

The scout’s protest cut off in a strangled grunt as one of the women he was talking to spontaneously draped herself over his shoulders. “Pleeeeeease~, miss captain,” she twittered from over his shoulder, “do us the kindness of letting poor Alexander stay with us! He’s really important to us…” She glanced at the agitated man she was hanging onto, then added, “At least, I think he is. You are, right?”

Curtiss glanced from Arietta to Legias. “...you know what, I think that’s my cue to get going. Can’t keep the captain waiting.” Hastily shrugging his clingy companion off of his back, he strode over to his former superior. “All right, I’ll tag along. What was the issue, again?”

“As far as I can tell, the same prophet that was claiming the guilds were evil is trying to warn us of some danger… Again.” Legias shook her head, pointing to the forming mob. “This time it looks like people are a bit less willing to listen to him, and I don’t want a lynching to happen under my watch. I can either bring a guard force here and look very much militaristic right after we end a civil war, making things worse; or someone, preferably not the head of military force, could get the poor man out of there without any overt consequences… Which is where you come in.”

Curtiss scratched the back of his head. “Hm… Did you try throwing a knife at him?”

Legias blinked. “Um, that isn’t-”

“Well, there’s your problem!” Curtiss cut in, grinning. “No, but seriously, why not go the easy route and just waltz in and drag him off? Or is everyone just that stab-happy right now that they aren’t gonna let him get away without some bloodshed?”

“You can do that and bring him out, if you move fast enough. Anyone on uniform, though, and he’ll just bolt out of there, or make everyone just that stab-happy, as you put it.” She narrowed her eyes. “I’d rather have him alive so I can listen to what he has to say. Not running off and most certainly not bleeding all over my fancy shoes.” She pointed at her steel plated boots, standard model used by all of the guards.

“Well, there goes the simple solution,” Curtiss said with a sigh. “Y’know what, let me just take a run around the place. I don’t have any plans at the moment, but maybe a bit of scouting would change that.”

-----

Five minutes of rooftop-jumping later, Curtiss leaped down from a nearby grocery stall and landed neatly in front of an impatient Legias, kicking up a small cloud of dust as he hit the ground. He coughed a few times before saying, “Hey, did you know that green shack to the right is selling balloonfruit? I mean, I could’ve sworn that stuff was only found in Arkenis or something, but nope, they’ve apparently been growing a ton of it on one of the upper floors-”

“The mission, Curtiss,” Legias growled.

“...right,” Curtiss muttered, head sagging a bit. “Well, uh, I saw some ropes conveniently hanging from some rafters or whatever you call them in a way that I could probably take a swing on them and just grab mister ‘EVERYTHING IS DOOMED’ out of the crowd when nobody’s looking, though. Probably gonna need a distraction or something so I don’t get shanked along the way, though.”

“You’re suggesting… You know what… I won’t even ask.” Legias just shook her head, it might have been a bad idea to stand and wait on Curtiss, but she couldn’t waste much more time. She stepped heavily toward the crowd, glancing back at the scout. “If all you need is a distraction, you better take the chance.”

She approached one of the curious onlookers, careful to keep a safe distance. “May I know what’s the cause for this commotion?”

“Damn drunkard seer’s back.” The young man replied. “Dunno why they didn’t lock him up for good--- Oh… Woah.” He stepped back, recognizing the woman who addressed him. “I ain’t doing nothing wrong ma’am.”

“I’m not trying to arrest you--” She spoke carefully, but the nearby people started to notice her presence.

“Oh, great! The cap’s here. Get that hoax outta here!” Hissed one of the older women in the crowd.

“Damn, dammit all!” Screamed a shady looking young man scrambling away.

Legias rose her voice, too late to avoid notice, but… Well, Curtiss said he needed a distraction, he better make use of this one. I swear, if that prophet disappears before I get to talk to him… “Look, all I want to know is what is the cause for this commotion. There’s no need to be nervous,” she showed her hands, unarmed, although the sword sat neatly by her belt, she made no movement to draw it. “I just want everyone to be calm and we’ll have no trouble.”

Someone near the back of the crowd swore loudly. Roars of agreement followed quickly, and suddenly the majority of the mob was ignoring the prophet’s ranting as they panicked at the arrival of the guard captain.

And then the prophet’s wailing degenerated into a startled yelp, and the crowd turned as one to watch the tall man in gray, slightly muddy hiking gear swing through the square on a rope and disappear into a darkened alley, a flailing, robed figure hoisted over his shoulder.

The mob went silent.

Legias quietly stepped away and, making sure no one was looking, followed the scout into the shadows.

-----

Four people sat around a table in one of the guard outposts, sneaking past the dumbfounded crowd had been easier than Legias expected, not so surprising, considering most of the people there started talking about how the prophet had gone flying out, or who was the person who pulled him out, instead of giving chase.

“You’re safe here, we’ll not hurt you.” Legias reassured the man, he was still shaking and his eyes bounced around, glancing at Legias when she spoke, at the silent Adam, who kept staring lazily at a blank page and mostly staring at the cloaked man, Curtiss, who dragged him out of the crowd. “We just want to hear what you have to say, that’s all… What’s your name? I don’t think we ever heard it.”

“N-Neto…” The prophet stuttered. “You… Can just call me Neto.” He looked at Legias while speaking, and promptly went back to staring at Curtiss once he was no longer talking.

“He won’t drag you away, Neto.” Adam interjected, without so much as looking up from his no-longer blank page. “Well, not again, at least.”

“Adam’s right.” Legias reinforced, “we just want to hear what you have to say, that’s all. You wanted people to hear you back there, so, tell us what you wanted us to know.”

Neto took a deep breath, and kept his eyes closed while he spoke. “Every day… Every night… When I try to sleep… There’s someone, every time it’s someone different.” His hands trembled, and his teeth began to clatter, whatever it was, it was clear that Neto was terrified. “There’s this hallway… And it has many doors… All of them have the word ‘exit’ written over it… Each time, someone opens one and leaves… But then… Then...”

He fell silent for a moment, trying to steel himself, keep his emotions under control. “The following night, the previous door is already open… And the person from the day before is dead inside. There’s nothing else… Just… Always the same hallways, and everyone who opens one of the doors ends up dead. There’s… No blood, no nothing. Just… They lay there, without moving.”

Adam scribbled furiously, but silently. Legias just listened until he stopped. “Thanks for telling us. Look, Neto, was it? You’ll be safe here. You’re saying that we’re in danger right?”

“Y-yes. Everyone who tries t-to leave just… F-Falls over.” He seemed to calm down, ever so slightly.

“Then we’ll keep them safe. That’s what the Guard is here for, okay?” Legias tried to reassure him, “I’ll move the forces to keep everyone safe, and you’ll be safe here in the outpost. You let us know about the danger, you can rest now.”

Neto didn’t so much as reply, he merely let himself relax, as if a massive weight had been taken off his back. The other three stepped away from the room. And then Legias directed her attention to Curtiss once more. “I suppose I can trust you to not spread the words of doom and death around, right?”

Curtiss shrugged. “M’kay. You need me for anything else, or can I go now?”

“Yes, that will be all. Thank you for your service.” Legias spoke formally, and watched as Curtiss made his way out. Only when he was gone, Adam broke the silence.

“You’re not going to mobilize the forces because he told you about recurring nightmares, right?”

“Of course not.” Legias let out a smirk, “You, on the other hand, are going to make sure there are no guards that are both drunk and on duty at the same time.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me…” Adam took a step back, raising his sheets of papers as an imaginary wall between himself and the Captain. “Skinny and wimpy me? Taking ale from from bored soldiers? If you’re trying to get me killed there are less painful ways, you know?”

“Silly Adam, I’m not trying to kill you.” Legias laughed lightly, trying to conceal her concerns. “Last time he preached out about the guilds plotting our demise. He was wrong, but we still had a civil war on our hands, with the guilds smack in the middle of it. Of course I’m not going to run laps because he told me to, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful.”

“Yeah, right. It doesn’t hurt you when I’m the one trying to get people sober.” Adam complained half-heartedly.

“Oh, come on, we both know you could use the exercise. Build up some muscle, run around and get some fresh air instead of being locked up doing paperwork all day.” She teased. “But, I’ll understand if you want to write a full report on-”

“Nope,” Adam cried out. “I’m out. I’m there, on my way.” He started walking to the door. “Make guards be sober, I’m on it. No more full reports for a month though. No full reports on anything at all for a month!”
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.
User avatar
Endless Sea
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:33 pm

Quest 44: Catch More Flies

Kevin looked up at her from the small picnic he had laid out on the ground nearby, sun filtering through the leaves like starlight. “Come on, love. We can relax today. There’s nothing to be worried about.”

Anji shook her head reluctantly. There was something she needed to do, something nagging at her from the back of her mind. The smells of the food and the promise of a free day soon overwhelmed her, and she slid to the blanket next to her fiance. “What’d you have planned?”

“Well, first I thought we’d be together for an afternoon of happiness and relaxing.” Kevin snaked an arm around Anji, pulling her close. “Then I figured we could have a bit of fun, if you like.”

Anji’s eyes widened, and she pulled away slightly, “What do you mea-”

“I mean I want to spend time with my beloved.” Kevin smiled once more, leaning in to kiss her. Anji pulled away, eyes narrowed in confusion.

“What about the guilds?” she asked,

“Hm?” Kevin rolled his eyes, “Oh come on, they can survive for an afternoon or five without you. We can have some time together.” He leaned in closer, and Anji stood, backing away.

“Yeah… We can…” Anji shook her head violently. What the hell is wrong with me? This is Kevin. I can afford to relax around him. Before she had a chance to sit down, a distant boom was heard, in the direction of a distant town. Anji’s eyes narrowed as she pulled away from Kevin’s complaining form, studying the smoke, “Love? I’m going to go look at th-”

Kevin pulled at her hand desperately. “Please, love? Stay with me. Let others deal with their own messes for once.”

A small, self-satisfied voice popped into Anji’s head. Yeah, you have done a lot for the city. They should deal with their own problems for once. With a shake of her head, Anji pushed the thoughts out of her mind like cobwebs, stepping out of the forest, and into the outskirts of the small town.

Anji headed steadily towards the smoke, glancing around the deserted village nervously. I remember there being more people when Kevin and I left. What happened? Shop stalls lay deserted, wares still brazenly displayed in the bright sunlight of early afternoon. There was a football bouncing down the street haphazardly, rolling to a stop at Anji’s feet. The entire town was completely silent; the only noise was that of Anji’s own heartbeat, thumping rapidly in her chest.

Backing away, Anji ducked into an alleyway, making her way toward the smoke. A sound drew her attention to a nearby window, where a half-filled cup of tea sloshed in its cup, steaming quietly in an empty room. Anji’s eyes widened nervously, and she began sprinting, sliding into an open street, only to collide with a familiar body.

“Hey, love.” Kevin smiled at her, eyes warm. “Where’d you go?”

“Th-What? Kevin? How-” Anji was interrupted by a distraction only Kevin could give her, her eyes slipping closed, before a different, nagging thought hit her mind. Pulling away, she asked, “How did yo-”

She was back in the original street, kids playing around her as adults hawked their wares. Anji began to panic quietly, sliding away from Kevin as he rolled his eyes, scooping her up. “Why don’t we have some fun, love?” He smiled again, glancing up and down the street. “I’m sure we can find something you like.”

Anji all but spun out of his arms, falling to the ground and landing hard. She coughed roughly as she stood. “How. Did you get. Here.”

Kevin’s eyes narrowed as he laughed. “I walked, sweet. With you. You mentioned wanting to check the shops… Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

Anji began sprinting away from him, clambering up onto the roofs of the buildings to put more distance between herself and the very odd town. Glancing around, she looked for the smoke, frown becoming nervous as she couldn’t see it. Slipping back to street level, she slipped out of the alleyway, and back to the original street.

A football rolled to a stop at her feet, and a small boy motioned for her to kick it back. Stooping, Anji scooped up the ball, walking up to him. “Have you seen any smoke around here, kid?” she asked, smiling warmly at him as she handed back the worn ball.

The child smiled brightly as he laughed happily, the sound somehow both normal and quietly terrifying at once. “Smoke? From what, nice lady? There hasn’t been any fires around here or anything.” Laughing again, he skipped forward and reached out his small hand to grasp Anji’s, and perhaps it was her imagination, but the child’s grip seemed oddly strong. Something seemed to whisper in the back of her mind to trust the child, to not ask any more questions, and to follow him back to the bustling market without resisting. “Everything is happy here, just like always! Come on, this way!” He tugged softly and yet almost irresistibly on Anji’s arm. “Mister Kevin is worried about you!”

Anji had let herself be pulled by the child, only glancing reluctantly back at the alley, before the mention of her fiance’s name caused her to grind to a halt. Pulling the child to face her, she asked, voice high with panic, “Who did you just say was asking for me?”

“Mister Kevin of course!” came the response from the still-grinning child. Perhaps it was her imagination, but the child’s smile seemed just a bit too wide for his face. When she looked closer, however, she couldn’t find any traces of oddness in his features. “You just ran off without him, shouting silly things about a fire that didn’t happen. Of course he was worried. Maybe you’re just tired. You should come back to Kevin and sit down to get some rest. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind you getting a little extra sleep during your picnic.”

Anji fell back to the ground, eyes wide with shock and panic. How did he know about the picnic? Kevin… I should probably rest. No, something is wrong. Kevin wouldn’t be so free with information. Nagging, conflicting thoughts chased themselves around her mind as she slid to her feet, only stumbling slightly as she fled the street for the third time.

She ran for what felt like hours, only stopping every few minutes as she found herself back at the market street, smiling merchants with wares that were just too cheap, kids that seemed too nice. She heard Kevin’s name behind her, in front of her, even beside her. Panting, she slid into an alleyway to catch her breath, slipping to the ground, holding her aching, befuddled head in her hands. A sharp, booming sound caused her to look up, while the scream sent her to her feet, knives drawn as she peeked around the corner of the alleyway.

She wasn’t prepared for what she saw there. A limp body crashed to the ground only feet from her, head flopping loosely about without support from the spine. As her eyes focused on the first corpse, her lively green eyes meeting the little boy’s dull brown, she realized she wasn’t alone. Blood had splattered onto the brick walls of the dim alley, and all about lay the bodies of people she could have sworn she had just seen out in the market. Some had been stabbed or slashed open, a few others lay impaled on the twisted metal remains of a trash can of some sort, and far too many were like the first corpse, with their necks shattered beyond all hope of repair. Almost invisible at first, but revealed by the swish of black fabric, was a figure standing in the middle of the carnage, clad in a long, black coat, and what appeared to be a twisting red scarf wrapped tightly around his neck. As he turned, hearing the sound of her footfalls, his face, smeared with blood and crowned with snow-white hair came into view. For a moment, the familiar face was hard and unreadable, the grey eyes morphed into the colour of steel. Then recognition and confusion lit up the priest’s features, followed by a startled expression as his eyes focused on something behind Anji.

Another set of footsteps resounded from the alley walls, and the worried, familiar tone of Kevin frantically called out her name from just behind her. Somewhere along the line, the alley way was lit up faintly by the light of the sun, shining in directly behind Anji, though the golden glow barely managed to spread its illumination to the feet of the priest, where he stood amidst the brutalized corpses. As this realization flashed through her mind, the sounds of the market drifted into the enclosed space from the direction of Kevin, and somehow, Anji knew what she would see if she turned around once more.

Anji gave the priest another glance, hesitating for a moment before ducking into the darkened butchery, never losing sight of the priest. She slipped beside a bloodstained dumpster, putting it partially between her, the alleyway, and the priest.

Paper crumpled from the darkness as Kurt’s grip tightened on a thin strip of parchment clutched desperately in his right hand. “Get away from her, you… thing!” His voice shaking, his breath coming in frantic gasps, Kurt pointed accusingly at Kevin.

“You can’t take her away from me,” the blond man said fiercely. “I love her. She’s mine.”

“SHUT UP, CREATURE!” Kurt’s body shook, and his eyes, revealed by the sunlight from the end of the alley, were wide with madness as he screamed at Kevin. “Anji, if that’s really you in there, then RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” With a crack like a gunshot, the darkness was thrown aside as the alley was lit by a deep blue lightning, darting across the priest’s hand. The tiny sheet of paper within it twisted as the colour was charred from it, burning into the pitch black of midnight and elongating menacingly. A black blade, gleaming with the sheen of metal, was now gripped in Kurt’s shaking right hand as his left hand darted out from under his coat, flinging something towards the man in front of him.

Sidestepping, Kevin barely slipped out of the way of a thick steel cable, tied tightly to a lead weight on its end. With the clang of metal on metal, the weighted rope looped itself around a lamppost on the far side of the road and sprang taut. In the blink of an eye, the priest shot forward, yanking on the wire to draw him in towards his target. Black metal flashed through the air and slid through flesh with a wet tearing sound. Kevin let out a scream of pain as his arm, which had barely managed to intercept the blade, was slashed open to the bone, crimson rain dropping to the cobblestones beneath his feet.

Thrown off course, Kurt was hurled sideways through the air, and he barely managed to right himself with a tug on his cable and skid stumbling to a stop, tearing up a small cloud of dust from the dirty bricks beneath his feet.

Anji hadn’t moved from where she stood, sword half-drawn, jaw slack. She had screamed in tandem with Kevin as she saw the blood leaking down his arm, tears tracing down her cheeks.

“He’s there!”

“Murderer!”

“Kill him!”

The screaming voices echoed down the street. Up until a moment ago, those same voices had been shouting for attention amidst the chaotic, but idyllic market. Now, however, they closed in on the black-clad man from all sides, and the expression on his face was that of a hunted animal.
“We won’t let you get aw- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!” A young man, anger written across his unmarred face, leapt toward Kurt, only to catch the gleam of the black knife a moment before it found a home right between his shocked eyes.

“I won’t fall to the likes of YOU!” A loosely bandaged hand reached up to grip the wire bound to the hilt of the knife and yanked it taut. “CREMATION!” Starting from his forehead, brilliant golden-orange flames darted across the young man’s body as he let out a scream of agony. A moment later, all that was left was ash blowing in the wind.

The screams of rage echoed ever louder as the entire crowd dashed like madmen toward the priest. He couldn’t take them all out. It was a hopeless fight. However, he wasn’t quite cornered, and with desperation in his eyes, he flung his weighted cable with all his might, and with a crash and the tinkle of breaking glass, it flew through a second story window and wound tight around something inside. As the mob closed in from all sides, a blur of black shot up over their head and slammed shoulder first with an even louder noise through the remains of the window, vanishing into the house.

Anji slipped out from behind the garbage bin, stepping gingerly over the dead bodies as the crowd noticed her. “Hey, hey! Guys, It’s Anjali! Anjali Torvan’s here! She can save us!”

Anji winced, walking out into the light. “Uh, Hi.” She called, moving towards Kevin. “Are you okay, love?”

“That bastard cut me. He’ll pay. I’ll make sure of it. He’ll pay for cutting me.” The blonde man was livid, voice quavering. “Anji. Kill that bastard for me. Please, I can’t. Blood like mine shouldn’t be spilt by the likes of him.” His blue eyes searched hers, hopeful. “Please, Anji. Help me save this town.”

Anji backed up a pace, eyes narrowing, as more townspeople took up the cry, “Help us, Anji! Save us from the bad man. We can be happy and safe once he’s gone. Please, Anjali. Please, save us!”

Anji turned to run, scream forming in the back of her throat. It choked her as she stumbled over one of the corpses, falling to face another, brain matter leaking from a shattered skull. Wide, empty blue eyes stared at her, as she screamed, high and sharp. The crowds chant picked up, deepening and groaning, “Kill him! Save us! Vengeance!”

Anji scrambled back, sliding up a wall to her feet to face the crowd. What had once been a motley assembly of fat merchants and skinny buyers, laughing women, and crotchety old men, had turned into a wall of blond hair and deep, clear blue eyes, snarling and angry. “Kill! Death to the one that fights us! He deserves to die!”

----------------------------
With a roaring, almost deafening boom, the wooden wall before him shattered, flinging splinters and debris in all directions, and even as Kurt sprinted frantically for the new hole, he flung a second glass vial through the smoke, contents already gleaming a brilliant gold. The black dust from the first blast split before him as he leaped from the building, for a moment hanging in the air above a new alleyway, falling towards the flash of an explosion shattering the side of the store before him.

His jump cost him too much height, and his injured leg, ankle twisted from his bad landing in the street moments ago, couldn’t get him enough height. Crashing through the weakened wooden siding at the base of the gaping blast hole, he fell into the main room of a general store atop a pile of rubble.

A blur of movement caught his eye and he turned as a shape launched itself out of the dust cloud from the direction of the back of the store. He felt glass slip through his fingers as he reached for his last vial, and instead of throwing the tiny container, he sent it spinning from his hand and fell to the ground, just as the blur cleared the smoke cloud. Instinctively curling his body and slamming his eyes shut, Kurt was lifted off his feet as the air was hammered out of his lungs from the explosion. A fraction of a second later, his back lit up in pain as he flew through the storefront window, the fragmenting glass twisting in impossible ways just for the privilege of embedding itself in his back a moment before he crashed to the brick road outside, flopping like a ragdoll as he rolled across the stone.

The taste of iron slipped into his mouth as his teeth dug into his lip to hold back a scream of pain from the glass pushing itself deeper into the muscles of his back. Gasping for air, he barely managed to pull himself to one knee and raise his head. His eyes stung from the blood that had splattered on his face back in the alley when he had chopped open the neck of one of those creatures, and his vision was blurring, but it was enough to see the things that were rushing toward him.

There was a horde of them. Horrible, twisted abominations with only the barest resemblance to human beings. Hollow black cavities graced their melting ‘faces’ instead of eyes or a mouth, and nightmarish, maddening screams echoed from the dark depths of their throats. Their limbs, far too long to be those of men, flopped about at impossible angles as the red goo that composed their skin dripped off onto the cobblestones with sickening splats. One of the lead creatures stumbled and fell as they shambled toward where Kurt stood, but even as its body was being trampled by its fellows, the thing’s jaw seemed to unhinge, gaping maw spreading wide as another screaming head emerged, a second body clambering to its feet to join the horde once more, leaving the old one behind to be trampled on like a limp leather bag.

“What… the hell… are you!?” Kurt couldn’t stop the horrified exclamation from leaving his mouth as his stumbled to his feet. The rapid wet thump of footfalls from behind him set off his combat instincts, and he stumbled to the side just as huge, white teeth, dripping with some kind of red, gooey substance, clamped down on the air where his neck had been. Reacting on years of combat training alone, his hand filled with blue lightning as the parchment twisted into a blade once again, slashing upward and through the neck of the creature in front of him. He stumbled backward and panted for breath as the abomination crashed to the ground, head lolling to one side, barely attached by a fragment of something that seemed like muscle, but was far too elastic. The clatter of metal on stone touched his ears and sent a chill of fear down his spine. Slowly, he looked down to his left hand, where it tightly gripped the leather-bound hilt of his knife, and to the blade of his knife now lying in fragments on the ground. A second flash of blue lightning filled the air, and the fragments of metal twisted into charred paper and flew away with the breeze like tiny clouds of ash.

As he backed up, watching the crowd closing in from all sides, Kurt felt his boot touch stone behind him. Logically, his mind told him, that was impossible. A moment ago the creature lying on the ground in front of him had come running from somewhere far behind, and yet now, he knew by the way the wind was blowing, he was standing on the edge of a steep drop. However, he had been fighting these nightmares for almost four days now, and this wasn’t the first time they had cornered him like this. The entire land was his opponent. It knew where he was at all times, and it never once stopped in its attempt to kill him by any means necessary. He couldn’t stop, he couldn’t rest, even though he knew he was going mad from the strain. It wanted him dead because he could see. He could see it for what it really was, thanks to the scarf bound tightly around his neck, the remnants of his shroud bound together in a desperate ward against the twisted magic that filled the floor.

A groan from in front of him brought him back to his senses, and he realized he had almost blacked out on his feet. Struggling back to consciousness, he looked around for the source. It had come from close by. One of the creatures might have managed to approach in his moment of weakness. Then his eyes found the source of the sound, rising off the ground, head still dangling beside it limply from where he had nearly severed it. And with an ear-piercing screech, the monster leapt forward and tackled him from the parapet.

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

Anji backed up as far as she could into the alleyway, sword drawn as tears flooded her eyes. “What the hell is going on?!” she screamed at the crowd of grinning, yelling mob.

“Kill the priest!” they yelled in unison, smiling madly at the promise of blood.

Anji screwed her eyes shut, breaths coming in pants. There’re too many Kevins. There’s something wrong here. I need to… I need to… Livid green eyes snapped open as Anji screamed back in defiance, sword twisting to meet the first, grimly smiling Kevin’s neck, decapitating him in one swift motion. With another twist, she slashed the other in the stomach, quickly disemboweling him before moving on, face twisted in fear and fury.

Once the Kevins had caught on, not moments later, Anji was met with resistance. Blades nicked and tore at her unguarded flesh, cutting and biting deeply into her shoulders, arms, legs. She gritted her teeth, growling in defiance, matching her opponents blow for blow.

After an eternity of fighting, Anji whirled upon the last opponent, dripping red goo and with an empty maw, reaching out for her. Anji cried, slashing wildly as it fell to the ground. Turning, she saw a new Kevin, falling from the rooftop, its head flying away from its body. Once it had made contact with the pavement with a sickening crack, it shifted, becoming a creature oozing goo. Making a gurgling noise somewhat close to a groan, it struggled and writhed slowly on the ground, as though trying to will itself back to its feet before finally falling silent and still.

The sound of a straining steel cable reached Anji’s ears, and the black blur of the priest swung down like a pendulum across the alley mouth, his downward momentum changed into a swing that sent him hurtling down the street. A confused creature at the far end gathered what wits it had and stepped into the path of the oncoming body, opening its mouth as though expecting its food to fly right down its throat. However, it instead bit down on tightly wrapped steel as Kurt’s cable, thrown in the blink of an eye, wedged itself into the joint of the creature’s jaws, and as the priest flew past and tugged the wire along with him, the creature’s head was violently ripped to shreds.

That the rolling form of the priest as he hit the pavement looked in any way human at all was a testament to his experience and reaction speed. Curling himself tightly into a ball, he bounced painfully across the cobblestones like a rock across a pond before finally flopping to a stop next to the curb, barely able to breath from the battering his body had taken.

Anji ran up to him, boots kicking up dust as she skidded to a halt. "Kurt?! C'mon... Be alive, dammit!" Anji twisted his head around to face her, eyes narrowing with concern.

A hand swatted away Anji’s arms. “Stop making… so much noise,” Kurt gasped out, his breath steadying. “You’re only making my headache worse.” Grabbing onto the curb, he forced himself into a sitting posture, ignoring the pain from his back.

"If it knocks any sense into your head, it'd be worth it," Anji mumbled, glancing around nervously. "Dumbass."

Usually, the sarcasm-loving man would have shot back a counter-comment or some sort of veiled insult, but all Anji received in return was a cold glare as Kurt’s eyes almost seemed to change colour into a dull, metallic hue. Instead, his voice calm and oddly cold, the priest responded with a commanding tone. “Enough. We don’t have time for frivolity. Unless you want us both dead…” He winced and shifted his back slightly as the edge of the curb hit one of the many wounds on his lacerated back. “...then I suggest you start thinking.”

Anji rolled her eyes. “You’re one to talk, priest.” She glanced up and down the street once more, and asked, “How are you on weapons?” Kurt only laughed bitterly in response as he brushed aside his black, and now very much tattered coat to reveal the coils of cable attached to the harness around his chest. “Oh,” Anji remarked, before sighing and dragging out several of her own knives and tossing them his way. “What happened to your sword? I thought you had something beyond a garrotte.”

Kurt arched an eyebrow as he recalled the weapon she was referring to. “Ah. That.” Rushing water closing in from all sides flashed through his memory. “I suspect, though I’m not certain, that you could find it on the bottom of the north lake on the second floor.”

Anji grinned. “Might take you swimmin’ then, if we can get out of this.” She stood, offering her hand. “What do you know about this thing, and how do you figure we can beat it?”

“Everything…” He paused for a moment, as though deciding exactly what words to use. “Everything is a fake. The buildings, the landscape, the people, all of it is being controlled somehow, by some kind of will. I don’t even know what could be powerful enough to cause something like this, or what it even might be. All we can do is hope that we can find some sort of central mind, or core, of some kind. Even then, I’m not sure we could destroy it with what little we have left.” He shrugged, a bit of frustration seeming to exude from the small movement. “If you have any ideas, I’m listening.”

“Well, first we ought to get your wounds looked over. I supposed you can do that while I look out.” Anji looked up at the city. “Then I suppose one or both of us starts climbing. See what we can find.”

Kurt chuckled darkly in response. “You say that like you think we have the time or supplies to rest here.” He motioned down the street, where, two blocks away, the first of the horrid creatures rounded a corner. “No, whatever this place is isn’t going to let us get any breaks. I imagine we are already surrounded. Time to climb.” Saying that, he flicked out a weighted cable and wrapped it around the chimney of a house across the street. Gripping it tightly, his hand and the cable crackled with blue energy and he was almost yanked away from where he slumped on the edge of the road, landing with a crash on the shingles of the house.

Anji looked up at him, face twisted with irritation and amusement, before a growl sent her scrambling. “Head up to the highest point! I’ll draw them off!” she called back, feet already flying as she sprinted away.

Swearing under his breath, Kurt stumbled across the rooftop and glared at the street where Anji was cutting down the vanguard of the creatures. His eye caught a motion in a nearby alleyway, and before the lone abomination could leap at Anji’s back, he had already fastened one of his new knives to a wire and launched it, shattering the joint of the thing’s knee, and dropping it harmlessly to the ground, where Anji finished off any threat it might have posed with a quick stomp to the skull. “Those things are hardly going to fight fair. Start climbing or there won’t be anything left TO climb!” Even as he called out, he found himself in thin air, almost as though he had fallen forward off the house, despite the fact that he hadn’t moved. It was like the innocent-looking house had instead skipped backwards the moment he had taken his eyes off of it. Another lightning-wreathed wire hooked into place atop another taller building in the next instant, however, and the priest shot upward once more.

Anji clambered up onto a building, only to have it shrink to ground level. Cursing loudly, she decided to just sprint, dodging the creatures and keeping an eye out for Kurt’s black jacket. “Come on!” she panted, “Look for something freaky and mysterious. Or just… Wait... Kurt! Look for the real thing!

“You act like I can see through walls! It isn’t that simple! The illusions are too strong for me to ignore! Whatever it is is buried somewhere in this city. It’s at the center of the floor. That’s why I came here.” Kurt, after shouting back across the rooftops to Anji, turned and jumped another alleyway that suddenly seemed a lot wider the moment he got airborne. It was a moot point though, because one of his cables yanked him the rest of the way.

“What, you don’t have like, radar vision or something?” Anji smirked, before nearly being decapitated. “Seriously, you have the best chance for this. I’m just a thief, ‘member?”

“You walked around this city before it was trying to kill you. Were there any huge landmarks you saw? Something that seemed like it was in the center of everything?” The roof fell away in front of Kurt, and he felt himself plummeting down to the street, where more of the creatures were waiting open-mouthed. Throwing a cable over a flagpole jutting out from the side of a building, he let himself fall toward the street. Just before he hit the ground, he looped the end of his cable once around the neck of the monster and grabbed the weighted end with one hand, while hooking a grocer’s sign with his second cable. As he launched forward, the cable looped over the flagpole like a string over a pulley yanked the creature into the air with an audible snap before the cable unwound from around the creature’s neck, dropping the body to the road as Kurt rolled to his feet on a rooftop and reeled in his wires.

Anji ran for a few more meters, slamming a creature into the wall before heading for the outskirts. “I have no idea, Kurt. None at all. In fact, I think I’ll go back to Kevin now. It’s safer that way, anyhow.”

Anji broke away from Kurt, sprint slowing to a quick jog, then a walk. The creatures around her twisted and moaned, reforming themselves into the shapes of happy shopkeepers and impish children. “Gee, it would be amazing if I had a priest with me, as I go to the market to meet my fiance,” Anji said loudly, enunciating each word carefully.

Trying to catch his breath after his close call, Kurt suddenly felt the shingles underneath his feet start to slip from the roof, and as he fell on his side and lost view of the street, the house shifted and deposited him on the road. All around him, he could still see the creatures, trying to mimic human functions. As if they could sense his gaze, unpleasant moans began to come from their mouths, and thinking quickly, he yanked the red scarf from his neck and shoved it into his coat. Instantly, his mind was assaulted with reassurances, but he had been trained to resist mental invasions, and rallying his stressed mental capacities to the defense, he pushed out the intruding presence, though not without quite a bit of strain. “You are about to get us very close to being murdered where we stand. I don’t trust this thing to fall for a trick this inane for an instant. Do not let them get close.”

Anji beamed at him, looping one arm through his as she began to stroll down the streets. “Gee, Kurt, isn’t this amazing? Everything here, it’s so calm, and nice, and peaceful. Why, I’d bet that this place would be wonderful to settle down, relax. Take it easy for once.”

“Save it, Anji.” Kurt growled in annoyance, hand still hidden under his coat. “Just because I took off my scarf doesn’t mean my guard is down. I’m using it to hide my voice from them. Now take me wherever it is you think you’re going, but make it quick. Those orphans over there are gathering on our flank.”

Anji looked over at him, eyes deadly serious. “Play along, or death will come quicker for both of us.”

Though his tone was sharp, Kurt’s eyes never once stopped calmly surveying the market, feigning interest in the merchandise of various peddlers along the way, but his hand, still hidden, clutched the red fabric to the base of his throat. “What does it look like I’m doing to you, girl? Just signal me when we get there, and I’ll tell you if we need to make a break for it. It’s enough of a hassle to walk with my ankle in this condition without having to deal with conversation.”

Anji nodded, before remarking, “Don’t call me girl.” She slipped away from Kurt, kneeling by a little boy with a football. “Hey, kid. Can you take me to Kevin?”

The little boy nodded, smiling widely at the redhead. “Of course I can, Anjali. I know the way!”

With a self-satisfied smirk, Anji said, “Here, let me help my friend along.” She walked over to Kurt’s bad side, motioning for him to let her help. “May I?” He only snorted and waved her away before limping a few steps out of line to look over the contents of a cabbage stall.

Anji glanced at him, and then at the creatures. “How long do you need to… do your weird priesty-magic stuff?”

“Cabbages are watery. Not too long. I can create a distraction if you need one. How long do we have till we reach the spot?” He leaned further over the cart and his golden crucifix slipped out from the collar of his jacket.

“Should be soon. Remember that street? We’re at the beginning of it.” Anji glanced further up the street, where a tiny ball bounced, lonely and sad. “There.”

The grey eyes narrowed as they settled on the black and white orb and shifted colours once again. “Do you have a weapon? One stronger than those knives.”

Anji nodded, pointing discreetly at her sword. “Fairy gift. Dunno what it does, but seems fairly strong.”

“Good enough. Start walking. You have twelve more seconds.” Kurt stood and slipped the cross necklace back under his shirt, quickly turning and limping away as fast as he could.

Anji’s eyes widened, and she began walking toward the ball, emerald sword gleaming as she strode toward the ball, eyes narrowing. As she drew closer, the sword turned silver, gleaming sharply in the sunlight. The townspeople frowned, forms shifting and breaking as they realized her plan.

Before they could make their move, however, the air was filled with a mighty roar as golden streams of fire spewed from the innocent-looking cabbage cart, and with an ear-shattering crack, the blinding light filled the street, causing the monsters to shy back. On the end of the blast, a rumble filled the air as brick slid against brick, the house next to the cart tumbling to earth like a landslide, wiping away the monsters already moving for the two adventurers’ backs.

A moaning wail rang out as the creature that had been disguised as the vendor dragged his mutilated form from beneath the rubble, only to take a knife to the face, thrown in one motion by the priest. “The sword! Now!” Kurt yanked the red fabric of his scarf back into view once more and reached out a hand to catch the requested weapon, moving as fast as his injured leg could carry him toward the ball.

Anji tossed it to him, barely missing an extended claw as she skidded over to the priest. “What in blazes are you even doing?!”

“Making this hunk of metal useful!” Snatching the weapon out of the air, he quickly wound his shroud around the hilt, tying it tightly to the leather-bound handle. Yanking his necklace out from under his coat again, he touched it to the fabric, which began to shoot golden sparks along the length of the blade. “Now take this and cut that ball in half! I’ve got your back!” He threw the sword back and ducked as one of the monsters leaped over his head, only to get cut from head to toe by a raised dagger.

Anji jumped as the sword sparked, and began sprinting toward the ratty ball. She leapt over anything that got in her way, not pausing to kill anything that attacked her, gashes appearing on her arms and neck as she fought closer to the ball, which began to quiver violently.

Anji heard the screams and cries of creatures dead and dying behind her. Glaring at the ball, she screamed in defiance, slashing once as the silver blade turned gold, cutting through the sphere as an explosion rocked the entire floor.

Anji flew back, colliding hard against something before falling to the ground, head woozy. She blacked out for a few moments, maybe longer. She woke up, head woozy. The once-pristine environment had changed, morphed into a battlefield, littered with blood. Bodies littered the floor, swords and spears and worse protruding from bloated stomachs. Anji inhaled sharply, and immediately regretted it as a smell of decay settled sleepily onto her. She scrambled to her feet, coughing and wheezing, nearly tripping over a dead woman’s body.

She reached for the green sword, still bound with the scarlet cloth the priest had attached to it. The knot, loosened in the attack, slipped completely undone and the length of crimson fabric was picked up by the wind and began to float away. Glancing around the blood-red sky, Anji yelled, “Kurt?”

There was a coughing noise as one of the corpses suddenly moved, and was thrown to one side, rolling onto its back and revealing the knife embedded in the rotting chest. Spitting out dirt, Kurt raised himself to a sitting position, holding up a hand and snatching his shroud out of the air. “I hope you don’t want that knife back. I’m pretty sure it’d infect any wound it made from here on out.”


Anji snorted indelicately, before offering her hand. “You okay?”

The priest snorted rudely as he dusted himself off and stood, still favouring one ankle. “I have no intention of dying in this state,” he muttered, and surveyed the area around them with a frown. “Well, nice working with you. I knew you could be competent if the situation called for it.” His tone dropping into condescension and sarcasm, he waved a hand over his shoulder as he set out across the newly revealed wasteland.

Anji turned away, trudging back the way she had come. “Ungrateful bastard.”

“I heard that,” came the amused call from behind, Kurt’s voice slowly growing distant. “If you want gratitude out of me, you’ll have to do a lot better than that…” The smug grin on his face was almost audible as he paused for emphasis. “...Girl.” A brisk wind swept across the battlefield, and a swirling cloud of dust closed over the black outline of Kurt as he walked into the distance. Off to the west, the setting sun filtered in through the side of the castle, bathing the scene of so much carnage in a deep bronze-gold.
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eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP

Postby Pixelmage on Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:44 pm

Castle Event: Conflict of gods.

Shard knelt in the marble hallway, no words were spoken, but intent was conveyed by the mere act of being present. He was summoned to answer a question, a simple, but meaningful one. Why is the cattle raising so fast?

“My King,” He said, in deference. “There were… Misplaced… Pieces of substantial importance that they came into contact with, but that has already been rectified.”

Yet, they still raise. The intent, the meaning was clear. Even the disappointment translated over the thoughts as the King remained silent. “Only one raises, my King.” Shard interjected, “The others struggle to make way through the ordeals set to them. I have seen to it that they won’t have any respite personally.”

“Good. However...” The King’s voice resounded in approval. Soft and melodic, of an adult woman sitting in the throne. She returned to using her thoughts, far more efficient at imposing her will than the strain of speaking through sound. One still raises. Why so?

“A lone knight can’t face one such as I, my King.” Shard replied. “But it shall be addressed as well. If you will it so.”

This knight is of no consequence. Yet cattle should behave as cattle... Are we ready to seek our vengeance, Shardreach? Shard smirked, concealed by his downcast face. “Yes, my King.”

We waited enough. The unspoken intent carried over first, then the lady King dismissed her kneeled knight by gracing him with her voice. “See to it that we start our crusade, as to how to handle the menial details, I leave that at your discretion.”

Shard rose and bowed deeply before vanishing from sight. It was time.

-----

“We had a deal, Shard.” Julius spoke, snarling with barely controlled rage. As he finally stumbled upon his target on the reaches of the twentieth floor. “Finally decided to show yourself, then? I thought you’d wait and cower in hell until I got there.”

“Yes, and, in fact, we still do.” Shard said, bored, “Sadly, dealing with a pest such as you had to wait until I was available… You are not as important as you seem to believe yourself to be, Julius Valerian.”

Julius held back the flowing tendrils of molten metal that squirmed from and around his body. It was time, but not yet. This was a fight for more than fists, words here mattered as much as blades. “Anyone can realize what you are, monster. We had a deal and you betrayed it… It’s not about me, it’s about your lies and your words.”

“Is that so?” Shard corked an eyebrow, tilting his head inquisitively. “You know what? I’d ask what lies I told you, but I suppose we could make this far more entertaining… If we were…” His voice slowed down, and the air itself seemed to fold around the two of them. “To make it a spectacle!”

The two suddenly stood in the central square of the first floor, the distance between them unchanged, with each being on one side of the podium. Julius flashed his eyes around briefly but trained then upon his target again. A pearlescent dome rose around them, the edges of the square, in such a way that he could not see anything outside. His fists began to stain themselves with blood as he dug upon his own skin to not lash out of control.

Shard continued, cheerfully. “Oh, don’t worry. They can all hear you and see you just fine, Valerian. I just wanted us to have some privacy, after all, you went to all the trouble of seeking me alone, it would be oh so unfair to let anyone steal your spotlight!” His face then turned to steel, his voice matching the same rage he had only heard so far. “Which lie did I tell you, such as it is, that you claim to unmake our agreement, Valerian?”

Julius stood silent for a brief moment. “In exchange for my service in one task of your choice, you’d heal her.” He no longer conveyed any emotion, only the metallic tendris snapped and swung aggressively, as if begging to dive upon the one standing before him. “You did not live up to your end of the bargain, Shard.”

“Now, now, isn’t you the one misleading the crowd here, Valerian?” Shard flashed a maniacal grin. “I agreed to heal her wounds. And tell me, did she have any scars or pains born from being pinned to a tree?”

Julius bit his lips. More blood started to stain his body, his own blood, born from his own choices and his self restraint. “I took you for a different kind of monster, then…” He snarled. “As you stood by the letter of your word, so I stay by mine. But do ask now, fiend, if you had the trouble of making an auditorium to this, what will you have me do?”

Shard clapped slowly, contemplating everything as it happened. “Oh… I’m not the bad guy here, as you seem to think… I’ll give you exactly what you want, Valerian. Where everyone can see it and be powerless to do anything about it… You will fight for your life, you will struggle and cling to the living… You are welcome to challenge me, Julius Valerian, but know that you do so because I deem you fit to serve as an example, to all of them…” He moved his hands signaling the pearlescent barrier. “So that all will know what it means to defy Shardreach.”

Julius didn’t reply with words, he simply closed his eyes, focusing on the flowing metal around his body. Tendrils tore the square to splinters, lashing at Shard and every place he could possibly try to run to.

Shard, for his part, merely danced around the raising spikes and vicious swings. Batting aside every other tentacle with his bare hands. His grin ever wider than before. He danced and sang around the vicious powers that Julius unleashed with all his might.

“See, Knight? How utterly powerless you are? How even a fury such as yours is but a fly to one such as I?” He rang out, creeping closer and closer to Julius, whose storm of liquid metal seemed to never end.

“You tried, you really did… And don’t blame yourself…” Shard continued, flashing a false sympathy. “You got close enough to see me, to talk to me, even!”

Shard’s hands clamped around Julius’ neck, lifting him from the ground and bringing a halt to the maelstrom of liquid steel; but as soon as he opened his mouth to continue his bragging, Julius’ right hand, coated in a silver-colored claw lashed at his face, drawing golden, glinting, ichor from under Shard’s eye.

The now-bleeding Shard snarled with rage, raising up in the air himself, carrying Julius with him, away from all the scraps and fragments of diverse metals left on the floor. Julius was barely conscious by this point, but Shard wanted him awake for even just a few seconds longer. He spoke, ever serious again. “Let this be a warning to all. This is what happens to those who fly too close to the sun.”

“They burn.” Shard’s hand clamped, breaking the knight’s neck with an audible snap, magnified by his enchanted dome.

“And they fall.” He let Julius’ limp body fall to the shredded ground below. But didn’t release his barrier, not yet. He continued his speech to all that watched from the other side.

“Realize your places, vermin. And don’t challenge those so far above you, I certainly hope you have learned your lesson from this humble performance.” He pointed up to the sky and it began to darken, floating stretches of rock and soil took place of the light as if it was a ceiling. Then it began to spiral, stretching outward and revealing numerous such other patches of land. “Those with power choose their purpose, those such as you should beg to stay alive…”

As the first of the landmasses settled upon the horizon, stretching the land into something that could only be described as a continent, a massive earthquake crossed the city. And then another, and a third.

“Know that the lands you come from will be no more. Know that I will devour all that you have ever held dear, and…” He pointed to the floor below his feet. “Know that you are powerless to stop me. Cower and cling to your lives, run or fight, but know that no matter what you do, by the word of my King, I am the law, judge and executioner. Know you’ll never be heroes, you'll have your hands full as it is.”

His voice then turned to a whisper, yet audible by all. “You will die. Just hope you amuse me enough that you will deserve an enjoyable end.”

--------------------
So, basic GM summary. No one can go through Shard's barrier and into the square. If your character is within the city boundaries, you get to see and hear everything. He's making it that flashy. Earthquakes are happening with an alarming frequency and intensity, for about one day. If your character is outside the city, he won't be able to see the events or hear them, but for the duration of the Continental Shift, the city will sort of flare up a beacon, like a pillar of light signaling the direction your character should go to find it. Heads up that the beacon won't stay up forever.

The Continental Shift is essentially the combining of the floors of the castle. They are no longer separate floors but one large landmass instead.

This is not the next round of quests, but those will go up as soon as everyone is ready for it. If there's more you need to know, just ask away.
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Pixelmage
 
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:08 pm
Location: Brazil

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