Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

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

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Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Pixelmage on Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:35 am

Image
Welcome, to the floors that shouldn't exist. A shattered key was assembled, and a doorway in the woods was opened. Beneath the Castle, tunnels that weren't meant to be found, where even the most daring of adventurers avoid entering.

-----

Quests in the Underground will be evil, unfair, and willing to kill you. Or experimental ideas that don't fit the flow of the normal quests.

How this goes is, quests here will only be written on demand. And they will be different in mechanics than the normal castle goes. One rule is that there will be a hard time limit set the moment the quest goes up, this can be discussed and will depend mostly on the number of players writing the quest.

The number of players is also variable. One of the possible quest type for the Underground levels is guild wide exploration, which is the only reasonable motive why you'd possibly want to play through a hellish mission in here to begin with. If you want a guild-wide benefit, the whole guild will work on a single quest here, details can be arranged, but no single character will receive a reward, only a single boost to the guild itself.

Other ideas on how to torture and torment the players in this "GM wants you dead" place will surely follow. :twisted: And of course, same rules regarding GM participation apply, so if Storm and Drive applies for a guild quest, someone from outside the guild will be commissioned to GM that quest.
"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 - Underground Floors

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:06 am

Assigned Quest: 1 Impossibru!

Quest Victim: Sicon112
You stumble upon the recently opened gates to the city's underworld while exploring. Instead of doing the smart thing and gathering a group of others to help explore the labyrinthine pathways, you decide to head in on your own.

You wake up hours later on the floor, in the pitch black. The air is stale and damp, you must've traveled deep into the caverns. You still have your sword with you, but no other supplies seem to have survived. You can hear clicking and snapping noises in the background as you rub your sore head. The hungry sounds seem to be getting ever closer, can you escape the caverns alive?

You have 24 hours from the posting of the quest to complete it. There is a one post limit. If you fail....well, let's hope you don't fail. :twisted:
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Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Sicon112 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:10 pm

The colorless grey eyes of Konrad Schweinorg snapped open to find...black. For a moment, the quiet, white-haired man vanished as Kurt's mind flashed back to a time long past, memories he would rather forget hardening his features into those of a man whose blade had drawn blood far too many times, the light grey becoming cold, impenetrable steel. He had woken up like this many a time, once, but that was the past.

The sound of movement rang out in the blackness, and before the thought had even registered in his mind, he was standing, his silvery blade cutting the air with an audible hiss as he raised it to a backhand defensive posture. A surprised sounding squeaking was his response. Bats? The flutter of wings moving up and away to his left confirmed his guess. I'm in some kind of cavern then? His feet crossed the floor, feeling the familiar grooves that signaled cobblestone. This is no cavern.

Eyes hardening into steel once more, he considered. He could not remember where he was, how he got here, or what he had been doing. His last memory was of going to bed the previous day. A wordless apprehension passed through him, a sense of familiarity that carried him back through the years once more. He didn't like it. However, he had no choice but to let it carry him onward, because he remembered those days, and knew well what could happen if he did not. Thus determined, he let his body carry out the motions that two years had failed to take from it.

Tap. Tap.

The reinforced toe of his boot came down hard on the floor beneath him, the sound echoing as he closed his eyes. They would be useless here. Wall four feet directly ahead. Ceiling is just under ten feet above my head, probably fifteen feet high, then. Wall to my right, twelve and one half feet away, and wall behind me and back seven feet. Left is...nothing. That's the exit then? His head turned towards the direction the sounds had guided him to, words resounding in his mind.

"Sight is a fragile thing, reliant on so many conditions to work correctly, and yet we rely on it to the point that without it we are useless. Sight can be gained, and sight can be lost, but our duty will not waver, and so must we learn and adapt. Train for weakness and let it become your strength."

Konrad had learned his lessons well. That, and many others. It seemed they would once more begin to serve him.

Turning swiftly, Konrad moved, his footfalls rang out through the darkness, leaving the fabric of his cape to swish in their tracks. His pace as smooth as it was purposeful, the 'adventurer' approached what he had determined was the exit to his current room, then stopped dead as a chill ran down his spine. He knew that feeling. Dark magic. The words resounded through his soul, the feeling of quiet dread that had been resting silently in the back of his thoughts since his return to consciousness finally exploding outward and overtaking his thoughts. It was happening again. The feeling of that spell confirmed his dark premonitions.

The sound of a long sigh suddenly filled the air as the tension drained out of Konrad's body with the air in his lungs. His stance relaxed, and his right hand slid the dao back into its sheath at the base of his back. His breathing slowed to an unnaturally slow pace, almost meditative, before he started. Breath speeding back up, Konrad's eyes widened. His actions for a moment had been beyond his conscious control, his mind slipping as instinct took over. But would it be better to let myself act? In this place, in this darkness, there is no reason for 'Kurt' to exist, is there? He closed his eyes, and then let go.

When the young man opened his eyes again, they were steel once more. His breathing slowed, and his muscles relaxed, but there was still a tenseness about him. He was not entirely willing to surrender to the training that wanted to consume him. However, this would do for now. With a sharp noise, he spit forward into the spell in front of his face. If it was meant for attack, he would be able to feel it activate from so close, but his worries were not realized, for there was no sound from the barrier.

Hmm. Then, I should be able to pass through it, though I probably won't like what I find on the other side. No time to waste. Stepping forward once more, the darkness peeled open before his eyes as he passed through the shroud of midnight black covering the doorway and into a dim blue light. Glancing around him at the stone walls, Konrad determined he had previously been in some antechamber that ran off a network of underground passages. A glance behind him showed that the hallway he now stood in cut off abruptly at the wall of darkness where the spell was placed. As Konrad moved forward, his searching eyes tried to determine the source of the illumination filling the cavern, and finally saw the small fragments of cyan crystal lying here and there across the ground or embedded in the wall and ceiling at random intervals. A few small traces of ambient magic hung in the air around them, but Kurt decided to ignore them, as they obviously posed no threat.

Reaching the end of his small side passage, Konrad stepped into a larger rectangular junction that split into two more hallways, one to either side of him. The cold steel of his eyes narrowed to slits as he examined the room a frown on his face. Four suits of ancient armor stood in each of the four corners with a point-downwards broadsword placed before each of them. Down the hallway to his right, there was a small alcove in which some kind of decorative gargoyle sat, grimacing towards the main passage. Looking around him like he was, Konrad missed the patterns carved into the floor until it was too late.

BGM: Kawai Kenji ~ Mouka Houkou

Purple-black fire suddenly shot across the ground like lightning, completing the intricately carved magic circle that had escaped Konrad's notice until he had stepped into its very center. The flames below him held no heat, and in fact seemed to drain it from the room almost entirely, as the light they gave off only appeared to darken the dim illumination further.

The whistle of metal cutting through air reached Konrad's ears, and acting entirely on instinct, he threw his torso backwards as the blade of a broadsword bisected the air where his chest had been. Continuing with his motion, he turned the backwards dodge into a one armed handspring, launching himself back and to the right as the armor advancing from that corner of the room turned to try and follow him, caught off guard by its prey flying past it so quickly. Even as Konrad flew backwards from his one-handed launch, his right hand reached down and back, grasping the hilt of his sword. He knew the room was far too small to correctly pull of the maneuver, and so instead of trying to land on his feet, he twisted his body just as the wall came speeding up to meet him from behind, hitting it feet first and landing sideways on its surface, suspended in the air for a fraction of an instant by his momentum.

Drawing his blade and kicking off the stone in one motion, Konrad brought the dao out in front of his flight path, launching in a diving tackle towards the back of the armor suit still turning to track his movements. The crash of metal against metal rang out through the corridor as armor and man collided in a shower of sparks. The demonic armor suit, wreathed in the purple and black fire that had triggered it, stumbled under the force of the attack, then fell over backwards as Konrad turned his momentum into a forward roll, flinging himself off the armor and to his feet once more. One down, three to go. His sword held before him, he observed the purple fire and black smoke as it faded, revealing the three other animate constructs standing in a line before their fallen comrade. Then the fourth demonic suit of armor stood up to join them.

What? That strike should have been able to pierce it easily? No...enchantments? Steel eyes wavered to grey, then back to steel once more as Konrad swore. He needed time to figure this out. He'd just have to buy some. Whirling, he turned and darted down the right hand passageway, cape flapping out behind him as he sprinted away, the heavy footfalls behind him never letting him forget what pursued him.

The ear piercing screech was his only warning as the hideous gargoyle he had taken for a decorative piece leaped out of its alcove in an attempt to devour his cranium. He spun on his left foot, trying to avoid the attack, but it was too little, too late, and pain lanced through his left elbow as the gargoyle's claws ripped at his flesh. Lashing out through the instinct of a wounded animal, he clamped his left hand down on the hem of his cape and used his rotation to fling a cloud of fabric up between himself and his ambusher, confusing the bestial being. Even as the crimson of his mantle fell down, revealing his attacker once more, the silver of his blade came whirling down, removing the gargoyle's head from its torso.

Good! Something I can kill with my sword! That was about when the corpse exploded into a swarm of bats. Backpedaling, Konrad followed the screeching cloud of black with his eyes as it gathered back together over his head, reforming the gargoyle he had just slain before his horrified gaze. As the mutated form dived for him on its twisted wings, he leaped backwards to avoid it, only to hear the sound of a metal foot hitting stone right behind him. The armor had caught up.

Time seemed to slow for the white-haired man as his eyes widened. His last second twist to the side was not enough to avoid a gash on his right shoulder from the stab coming in from behind. Can't kill them normally, can't escape. More will just keep ambushing me. Two wounds already, not enough to slow me down, but the bleeding will get to me eventually, especially if I keep running. The drops of blood from his wound seemed to fly through the air in slow motion, their image reflected by the broadsword blade passing him by. Almost automatically, his mind calculated the location of his attacker from the angle of the blade. It wouldn't do him any good though. He couldn't kill the thing. Another footfall rang out behind him, seeming to take an eternity to finish reaching his ears. Another enemy was moving to stab him in the back, and this time he wouldn't be able to dodge it, due to the violence with which he had thrown himself out of the way of the first strike.

"As far as we are concerned, our duty is never impossible. There may come a time when we are incapable of completing our tasks, but we will push ever onward to victory in defiance of that fact, for as long as we can see The Path before us, we are unstoppable."

The words reached him through the years, his memory of them unnaturally clear in that moment before his demise, as his life hung teetering on the brink of destruction. 'Can't hurt them'? 'Can't escape'? SCREW THAT! If their armor deflects my blade, I'll keep hitting them until they stay down! If they try to surround me, I'll take them all on! It was there, before him, in the eyes of his mind. He could see the floor, the position of each enemy and their weapons as clear as if he were looking straight at them. More importantly, he could see it. The outline of movement, the steps that would carry him to victory, The Path was now before his eyes. Steely eyes narrowed, and a tiny smirk appeared on his impassive face. Konrad moved.

His left leg swung backwards supporting him as he bent his knees and hurled himself backward, twirling his dao into his left hand with a flourish as he swung it down and braced it under his armpit. Stands of white floated through his vision, interspersed with tiny drops of blood as the broadsword that would have impaled him caressed his cheek. Then his blade found its target and a feeling of satisfaction shot through him as he felt it slide into the gap in the demonic construct's chest-plate. The screams of the damned filled the corridor, but Konrad didn't stop moving for an instant. He could already see the next step before him, as the words of his past rang in his ears.

"Death is our comrade." He twisted, leaving his sword impaled in the now harmless chest-plate, the sudden circular motion launching the large chunk of armor free of his blade and right into the face of the armor suit beside him, whose blade had been the first one to reach him. "In battle, his spectre walks before us, clearing our path." As it stumbled back, his right hand shot out for the dead construct's helmet, catching it and hurling it forward at one of the slower demonic beings in the same motion. "Even as we reach our opponent, death is already laying claim to their souls." Not pausing to watch the spike atop his projectile impale the visor of his target, killing it instantly, he dashed forward past the dying construct as the gargoyle's claws slashed the air where he had been a moment before. Using all his momentum, he flung himself feet first towards the corridor wall, the force of his passage allowing him to take one, then two, then three steps straight into the air before he turned his falling motion into a high double backflip, crashing to earth once more atop the unlucky gargoyle, which was still trying to gain height from its dive. He felt bones snapping beneath his boots, and the body transformed once more into bats, many of them crushed beneath him even as they appeared. The ones that remained began to take off once more, trying to gain space, but Konrad had no intention of letting them. Spinning, using the blood slicked floor to accelerate himself, Konrad become a whirling tornado of steel for an instant, and in the next, the bats fell to the ground, dead. "For when we aim to kill, we kill. When our targets stand before us, they are dead even before our blade reaches their hearts, because our strikes will absolutely, inescapably, find their marks without fail."

Konrad leaped once more, even before the corpses of his most recent victims could hit the ground. The now slippery floor afforded no purchase for his boots, but he allowed his feet to slip from beneath him, turning the motion into another hand spring, tossing his dao from his left hand to his right as he landed once more. With a cacophonous clatter, the fourth animate armor slipped on the gore he had left behind as it tried to catch him during his landing. Even as the helmet hit the ground, Konrad was already dashing past it, blade flickering out and down and severing the helmet from the body, cutting easily through the fire where the neck should have been. Before him, the final, enraged suit of armor got the chest-plate of its fallen brother off its helmet at last, and brandishing its broadsword, it leaped at Konrad even as he dashed at it.

Konrad skidded to a halt on one knee with his blade held backhand before him. Behind him, the armor also halted in its tracks, its swing frozen just as it was completed. Konrad was not even breathing hard. In fact, his breath rate was so slow it was almost as if he was meditating. Standing, the white-haired man impassively began to slide his sword back into its sheath, ignoring the clatter that rang out behind him as the remains of his fallen enemy dropped behind him.

Blinking, he looked around him at the carnage, then frowned as the color of his eyes lightened slightly. He would need to stay in this state, but that didn't mean he had to like it. I had better flee quickly before more enemies are drawn to the sounds of combat. As if the universe really hated him that day, the sounds of metal boots and screeching bats rang out from the hallway behind him. Swearing again, Konrad took off running as a large group of armor suits came dashing towards him, surrounded by a cloud of bats.

His mind now on full combat alert, he wasn't even surprised when a halberd shot out of a side passage and tried to take his head. Ducking and sliding under it, Konrad spun past, his lightning-fast draw strike cutting off the tip of the weapon and the two followups demolishing first the rest of the wooden shaft, then slashing through one of the joints of the armor suit behind it, which died the same screaming death of its fellows even as the white-haired man ran on. They are trying to herd me into a loop. The want to catch and surround me. Smart, for a bunch of mindless constructs. Something has to be behind them as well as that dark magic from before, or more likely, someone.

Dropping into a slide, Konrad avoided the swarm of poison darts that lanced out past him from the tiny, almost imperceptible slits in the wall. Traps like that wouldn't slow him down. Catching his boot on a crack, he used his momentum to snap back up to standing position only to leap off the ground in a sideways twisting jump between the strands of razor wire spread across the hallway. He could hear the echoes of footfalls closing in from a side passage, and guessed that his pursuers wanted to cut him off.

"Never fight on the battlefield of the enemies' choice if you have the option to avoid it. Even the most bestial of enemies still contain the animal instinct to surround and overpower their prey. Instead, make them come to you, and send them to meet their Maker one at a time."

Konrad darted past the pincer force meant to cut him off, smirking slightly as he heard his pursuers scream in animal rage. That was when his foot hit a loose cobblestone and he stumbled. Rage turned to glee, the first of the screaming horde, one of the suits of armor, leaped at him. Konrad's smirk only widened. Turning the intentional stumble into a handspring, Konrad twisted in midair, and even as he landed, he launched himself back the way he had come past his first attacker, slipping in under the frantic, last-second guard and leaving it to fall to pieces behind him as he deflected a spear from the next in line. Turning once more, he dashed away, passing his latest kill before the pieces even finished hitting the earth, then slowed his pace to keep him just ahead of the swarm.

The next one to reach him was a screeching gargoyle, falling upon him from above even as it finished shapeshifting into its true form. Konrad slammed his foot down, skidding to a halt almost instantly as the gargoyle's uncontrolled dive dropped it down before him, only for it to be bisected as his dao flashed out once more. The horde of enraged bats appeared even before the two pieces hit the ground, but Konrad was ready for them this time. Before they could take wing, his return stroke bisected one clump of the creatures a second time, and his left hand shot out from beneath his cape holding the arm of the demonic construct he had slain a moment before, bringing it down with a loud clang and crushing the rest of the bats against the stone floor. Sidestepping a spear strike from the same armor suit that had attacked him moments ago, Konrad began to flee once more, this time baiting the demonic spearman to the front of the pack, before running up and along the wall, cartwheeling off, and taking his attacker's head in midair. As he spun through the air, however, his blade scraped the lower-than-normal ceiling, dropping tiny bits of crumbling stone and dust atop him as he landed. The shower was not enough to slow him, however, though it did create a cloud that hid his movements for an instant as he darted around a sudden turn in the hallway.

However, the cloud only lasted for a moment, and an instant later, it was blasted apart by the horde behind him as they dashed through it and down the passageway, screeching their displeasure for all to hear. As the final suit of armor rounded the corner and dashed off, a part of the wall suddenly began to move, and then Konrad's hood fell back, revealing his white hair and satisfied smirk as he stepped away from the wall, brushing the dust he had used to hide himself from his cape. That went better than expected. Konrad turned and ran back the way he had come, ducking into a side passage and jogging down it, even as the sounds of his hunters faded into the distance.

It was a minute or so, time flowed oddly when underground, so he couldn't be entirely sure, before he reached the end of the passage. Suddenly, the tunnel flared outwards into a large, open space, and the ceiling shot upwards and away into the darkness. The grey cobble and dim blue light were gone, replaced by dirty looking orange stone, with large dark patches across its surface that looks suspiciously like dried blood splatters. The room was lit with a series of torches burning with a flame that was just a little too orange and giving off a smoke just a little too black to be natural. On the far end, two huge double doors stood in the center of a large, decorative arch, their seemingly wooden forms constructed of some impossibly dark material that was almost pure black. The walls were covered with tall cages that appeared to be meant for containing some kind of animal. Most were shattered from the inside out and covered in claw and teeth marks, despite apparently being made of metal, and observation that did not make Konrad feel very good about being near them.

That was when his eyes crossed the white form lying in the middle of the floor. Recognizing it as a human skeleton at once, Konrad dashed over to it. The bones were marred with marks similar to those on the cages, and many of the joints were disconnected. While the dead man could not have come down here much earlier than Konrad himself, there was not a hint of flesh or organic material of any sort left. They devoured the body. The observation was dispassionate and entirely without emotion. The thought of creatures killing and eating a man as they tore him apart was not so disturbing to one who had seen it happen in real-time.

The fire-light glinted off of metal somewhere in the remains, and, curious to find out what the object was, Konrad turned the skeleton over. His heart almost stopped entirely from shock. There, lying in the dust, its string torn during its owner's violent demise, lay a small gold crucifix, not unlike the one Konrad bore around his own neck. Then, this was a- His thoughts were cut off as his eyes caught something made of glass half buried in the sand. A moment of shifting revealed a set of two very familiar vials once wrapped carefully in paper that was now torn and crumpled. He picked them up and stared at them silently, as though his mind could not even comprehend what he was seeing.

A chattering laugh sounded from far above, and pebbles from the ceiling dropped with a quiet thunk into the dirt floor around where Konrad kneeled, his eyes wide with shock. His body responded to his subconscious's scream of "DANGER", though his mind was still stuck processing his realization. Blade flashed from sheath once more as Konrad stowed the vials away in his cloak and stood up in a guard stance in the center of the room. It was the worst possible place to be in that scenario.

The claw strike that came an instant later should, by all rights, have severed his spine. However, the characteristic whooshing of displaced air, and his instincts built up through combat encounter after combat encounter warned him what the skill was even as he was struck. SHIT! FLASH STEP! Hurling himself forward into a roll, he felt his back light up with agony as wickedly sharp claws severed flesh like a hot knife through butter, but he could still feel, and that meant he had succeeded, though barely.

He had no time to think, and barely any time to act. The moment he regained his feet once more, another claw flickered into view reaching to tear out his right eye. However, the pain in his back caused him to flinch a moment before he realized that an attack was incoming. It was the only thing that saved his sight. Instead, the claw dug deep into his forehead and sent him flying head over heels into the wooden door behind him. The laughing form flickered and vanished again even as he feebly tried to counter strike it while flying through the air.

Konrad's mouth was filled with the taste of blood and sand, and his mind was filled with pain. He could here the jittering laughter of the...probably ghouls, he decided, that had left him in this state. He must have blacked out for a second after his back slammed into the door, because now he was face-down on the floor and he couldn't remember clearly how he had gotten there. His strength was flowing out of him alongside the blood from his back wound. He just wanted to rest...

BGM: CROW'S CLAW ~ Emiya

"One more time..."

The words came back to him, wafted on the winds of memory. But these, these words were different from those that came before. These resounded through his mind with his own voice. As if viewing from some great distance, Konrad idly noted that he had somehow gotten on one knee while not paying attention, and the chattering creatures were not so amused any longer. "One...more...time. Just gotta get up one more time. And after that, one more, and then one more again. Always just one more time..."

His head slowly lifted from where he was staring at the ground, and he looked at his enemies through just one eye, as his right was clamped shut to protect it from the blood covering that side of his face and slowly dripping down to the red-stained dirt below him. The deformed, hunchbacked creatures before him that had been about to leap upon their wounded prey froze and stared into that single, cold, heartless, steel eye that looked back at them through stands of silver. Konrad's face was no longer twisted in pain, but entirely impassive as he let out a long, slow breath. Something in that face triggered a warning in the ghouls' brains, an animal instinct that, in defiance of the real situation screamed at them to flee from the white-haired man who would not stay down. They hesitated, and he could see the fear in their eyes.

Konrad stood, saying nothing, making no sound, as the blood that dripped from his wounds slowed alongside his breath until only a few drops escaped. Across the room, a familiar screech rang out as a swarm of bats and some suits of armor ran in to support the ghouls before it. "Useless." He voice was as devoid of emotion as his face, and yet it bore a sense of absolute dread to those who heard it. The ghouls, however, were overjoyed to be joined by their friends, and the fear of what was once their prey vanished, their animal minds regaining their courage. They struck. They really shouldn't have.

"We, as hunters, often face a dilemma. We are merely humans, but our prey are very frequently so much more. However, being intimidated by this gap in ability will only serve to get you killed.

The first ghoul, the pack leader, appeared in a blur behind him, but Konrad was already moving, his ears having picked up the displaced air and the impossibly fast footfalls. Releasing the grip of his sword, his right finger flicked outward, catching the ring of metal that made up the pommel. With a twist of his wrist, he turned the swords fall into a lightning fast spin, easily slicing the skull of his first attacker in half even as he twisted the spinning blade in front of him. The hilt of the blade slammed into his open left palm, and he allowed it to whip around his wrist once, slashing off the clawed hand of his second target even as it flash stepped into view beside him, before grabbing the hilt once more and slamming the pommel ring into the face of the new amputee. As the second ghoul's skull caved in before his hilt, Konrad spun, decapitating the third ghoul even as it launched past him at speeds beyond sight.

"It is of no consequence if your opponent is fast... Pivoting on his foot, Konrad dodged the claw strike of the fourth and last ghoul even as he ducked to scoop up a leg bone from the dead man in the center of the battlefield. "...strong..." A broadsword whistled above his head, and as he straightened in its wake, his left hand shot out, stabbing the bone through the slit visor of a second armor suit before he turned his spin into a twisting jump kick that caught the first construct in the chin, sending it stumbling backwards. He made a three point landing, his right hand grasping his sword in a backhand stance once more as he skidded sideways, throwing up a cloud of dust around him. As the final ghoul flash stepped towards him, Konrad calmly watched the flow of the dust cloud, then almost casually stretched out his arm and clothes lined the speeding monster, not even bothering to look as the two halves of its corpse hit the wall behind him with a wet splat. "...or tricky... He flipped easily over the head of the gargoyle that dived at him out of the darkness, bisecting it, only for it to reform, shooting towards him like a bolt of lightning as he landed. Calmly, he extended his arm and held his sword vertically before his face, bisecting the being once more. However, this time, the reversion to its bat form came to slowly, and it too impacted the wall at deadly velocities.

Flicking the blood from his sword, Konrad turned towards the main door, walking past the remains of the armor suit he had kicked, lying in a pile at the base of the bent bar that had impaled it. "...as long as they have the minds of beasts. Their moves and intentions are easy to read, easy to manipulate. the real threat..." With a loud creaking, Konrad heaved the immense doors open before him, and stepped out into the enormous underground coliseum.

As his first footfall hit the orange-brow dust that covered the ground, torches began to materialize, each appearing with a burst of flame that seemed to come from thin air. The flickering orange light, similar to that in the previous room, slowly revealed the immense circle of empty seats and the dusty, obstacle strewn floor before him. Then the light revealed the other end of the arena.

"...the real threat comes when you hunt prey that is intelligent."

Wiping the blood from his face with the back of his hand, Konrad opened two ice-cold steel eyes and stared at the three pale forms sitting across the arena from him. One, the tallest, held a staff and stood directly opposite him. Another, with a scimitar, skulked in the shadows of a half collapsed wall, as the final one experimentally whirled his kusari-gama from where he sat on an overturned pillar, embedded diagonally into the cracked ground. Hissing laughter echoed through the room as the third being turned to his comrades.

"Look, brothers! The prey actually made it to us this time!"

Vampires. Konrad was familiar with that pale, sunken look. He knew what the wheezing voice and sharp teeth symbolized. His eyes narrowed further. It meant that they were his prey. The laughter stopped abruptly as the light caught the golden cross on his chest. Eyes widened as the three stared at him with dawning comprehension and growing hatred. It didn't matter. He could smell their fear.

The shadow of a column beside him exploded outward, spears and blades of pitch black darting towards him with impossible alacrity. Apparently, they had decided talking was pointless as well. His right hand grasped the hem of his cloak once more and threw it between his body and the oncoming spears. He could see the smile on the mage's face. After all, what could thin fabric do? As it turns out, quite a lot.

The vampire mage went from smiling to a scream of pain as the backlash from his spell detonating in midair hit his mind. The blackness collided the crimson fabric and shattered into thousands of fragments. Dispassionately, Konrad observed the looks of shock and fear on their faces. "That's not a cloak! It's a shroud!" He had hoped that the gift he had received for completing his training years ago would never have to be used again.

However, such sentimental thoughts were the farthest thing from his mind now. He was a hunter, with his prey before him. To them, he was death. His expression was set in stone, not a twitch could be seen as he dashed forward, deflecting the iron weight of the kusari-gama with expert timing, allowing it to contact his blade at an angle and bounce off instead of snaring his weapon. He would not be stopped. A thousand shadow blades flew towards him, stretching out from the ground to impale his body as he rushed forward, but his cape whirled around him again, the holy properties imbued within it deflecting the tainted spell once more. He would not be resisted. A scimitar flashed down upon his head and was met halfway by his dao as he turned a running slash into a whirling flurry that made his sword appear as though it were a cloud of deadly steel before him. He would not waver in the preforming of his duty. The vampire's guard broke as slash after slash slipped past his defense. A moment more and he would have lost his head, but Konrad was forced to turn and deflect the oncoming sickle, then twist into a flip to avoid the sweeping chain that attempted to knock him off his feet.

That was exactly the opening the mage had been waiting for. As Konrad fell, his holy shroud flew upward around him, leaving him wide open for just an instant to assault from below. Tearing out of Konrad's very shadow, the vampire mage lunged upward at the falling man, his staff coated in his most powerful shadow-spell. The mage noticed the glint of glass in the torchlight just as his spear pierced the small vial Konrad had flicked over his shoulder in midair.

BGM: Bleach OST ~ Senna

The world turned to fire.

As the brilliant light faded, Konrad landed in a crouch, opening the eyes he had closed to protect himself from the violent flash. The vials he had found so familiar minutes ago when he had examined the body in the antechamber had now come in handy. They contained a concoction of demon's blood contained within a blessed flask that caused an explosive detonation when pierced or shattered, but could also be poured out for a more controlled burst of flame.

In the end, the blast was bright, but not all that powerful. After all, it had only been one tiny vial of liquid. Unfortunately for the mage, at the moment of detonation, he had only half transferred through the shadow, which was promptly obliterated by the flash of light. Dried up blood, limbs, organs, and fragments of muscle and bone exploded up from the ground everywhere. The mage didn't even have time to scream as his whole form was systematically dismantled and scattered into the air in the space of a single instant. The other two vampires, however, did, as the pain of the blinding light burned their skin and blinded their weak eyes. However, that didn't last long either. A red blur dashed across the field of gore, and Konrad skidded past the kusari-gama wielding denizen of the dark, disemboweling him with a horizontal cut, then whirling as he skidded to a stop, flinging his dao with all his might over the top of the collapsing form. Whistling a song of death, the blade flew end over end before embedding itself blade first into the face of the third and final vampire.

Konrad strode smoothly across the bloodstained ground towards the corpse of his final prey and yanked the sword out of the mutilated face. Flicking the blood off of his blade, he returned it to its sheath, ignoring the coating of blood that stained his black suit and turning back to observe his carnage.

His eyes follow the small white orbs that seemed to dart here and there amongst the bodies, like dust on the breeze; uncertain of where to go. He held out his hand as one of the now freed souls from within the vampires, for that was what they were, floated down to his open palm. His other hand held up the small gold cross that he had removed from his neck, and finally he spoke.

"Requiescat in pace."

A pulse of gold light emanated from his crucifix, and as the wave of gleaming yellow dust crossed the battlefield, the small white orbs faded away into thin air.

His job now complete, Konrad turned towards the new doorway opposite the entrance he had used. Something in his mind whispered that this was the way to escape. That was when the wave of pain shot through his left shoulder.

BGM: Sonic the Hedgehog OST ~ His World (Solaris Phase 2)

The sound of slow clapping filled the arena. On a cloud of blackness, a tall woman descended from the shadows of the roof, touching down calmly in between Konrad and the door. In one hand was a tall staff that radiated a dark power potent enough to send chills down one's spine just because they glanced at it. She smiled wickedly. "Well done, little Executor. Well done. You not only escaped my maze and the creatures within it, but you defeated my latest toys."

Konrad glared at his opponent, the first shift in expression his face had gone through since entering the room. "I expected that one of your kind was behind this, Denizen of Darkness."

"Oh yes, isn't this such a glorious setup? Adventurers come down here, searching for riches, I place them in my labyrinth, then let them run free. You see, I am such a picky eater. The blood of weaklings is disgusting to me, but blood refined through torment, and flavored with just a touch of false hope? You have no idea what a delicacy tha-"

"I don't care for your reasons vampire. I am an Executor. I am your death warrant. Prepare yourself, for I am about to return you to the darkness from whence you came."

A wicked smile split her face. "Feisty one, aren't you? Looks like I really will get a bit of fun this time!" There was a thump as her staff hit the ground, and then the battle began. Konrad darted forward, body low to the ground and blade flashing out of his scabbard once more as a wave of pure darkness exploded from the shattered and bloodstained earth. Compared to the weaklings previously, the power behind this magic was a thousand times more deadly. Konrad did not even attempt to block with his shroud, as tattered as it was it would be no use against this attack.

Sparks flew and the sound of magic scraping against metal rang through the huge arena as the shadow spell buckled in on itself, then shattered outward into a crimson bullet leaping towards the vampire. The steel of Konrad's dao rang against the magic reinforced staff like the reports of a machine gun, but each strike of his rapid flurry was parried easily by his target, before she knocked his blade off course with a twirl of her staff. Konrad stumbled as he was overbalanced, but turned it into a high leap over the vampire's head at the last moment as the ground exploded into shadow-spears. Steel darted down from the heavens, reaching out to decapitate the woman as Konrad passed above her guard, but she was quick, and managed to duck to the side. Landing, Konrad leaped forward once more, his first strike bisecting the small cloud of black hair his aerial attack had detached from the vampire woman's head.

Her staff still held on the other side of her body from defending against his previous rapid assault, the woman was left defenseless before him as he slashed downward. Konrad saw the surprise on her face and felt the rush that came right before the kill. She raised her empty arm up between them, as though she thought that would save her. The blade halted in its tracks.

---------------------BGM CUT-----------------

Konrad stood, paralyzed before the woman, eyes wide in surprise. She smiled calmly at him, pointing at something on his body. His head turned to follow the line of the finger, and looked down at his left shoulder, where a bit of red cloth was wrapped tightly around his arm. Confusion filled him. Why had he not noticed that before? Why had his mind blocked it out? The dried blood around the wound showed that he had had it since long before he awoke in that room back there, but he could not recall seeing it or feeling it before now. No, that wasn't true. When the woman had appeared, he had been paralyzed with pain for a moment, but yet he hadn't even thought to look and see where it was coming from!

His head turned upwards, looking at the smugly grinning vampire in horror. That was when he remembered. His journey into the forest, the discovery of the underground passage. Fighting his way deep into the first level, then finding a stairway that spiraled deeper. The blur of motion from the shadows and the pain as teeth dug unto his left shoulder. The laughing vampire pursuing him through dimly lit hallways, and finally his escape, where he stumbled into that antechamber, though the dark veil across the doorway hadn't been there then. Before he had passed out under the effects of the vampire bite, he had bound it with a piece of his shroud, stopping the spread of the transformation, but not, apparently, stopping the damage to his soul that had materialized as memory loss.

He could see his soul now, bit by bit seeping out of the wound in his shoulder and flowing into the vampires outstretched finger, connecting with the fragment she had already taken, which explained his sudden recovery of memory. He felt the strength fading from his limbs, and his mind fell ever downwards into blackness and oblivion.

-------------------


BGM: Two Steps From Hell ~ Strength of a Thousand Men

The vampire could see the light fading from her prey's eyes as he finally gave up his hold on his soul. The grey turned to a dull metallic color and the white-haired head fell forward. Victory was hers. Sure, it would be difficult to repair the losses the Executor had inflicted on her pets, but more adventurers would probably come along shortly.

Smiling at the thought of more prey, the first warning of the movement beside her she got was the thud of her severed hand hitting the dusty ground. The grip she held on the Executor's soul slipped, and in an instant it was gone.

Stumbling backwards and cradling her arm as she cried out in pain, she lashed out with her staff. Thought vanished from her mind. All she wanted was to KILL the one who had hurt her! The spell shattered before her. Slowly, a chill began to run through her body. She was...afraid? But... he was HER prey! He was wounded! He had given up! She SAW the light leave his eyes! How?!

Blackness broke against deep crimson as the kneeling Executor's cape whirled around him. He wasn't even looking at her. He was just sitting there on one knee staring at the dirt! Why, then, did the air feel like it was crushing her bit by bit? Why was her mind screaming at her for fear of death?

The Executor's head rose up, and two cold, dead eyes stared straight into the deepest depths of her mind. "Ash to ash. Dust to dust." The words echoed through the room, a call to some invisible, ancient power beyond mortal understanding. The vampire was beyond afraid. What gripped her now was pure terror. This was the fabled might of the Executors, humans so skilled that they could battle with the greatest warriors of darkness. She had thought them legends, but this man had just torn his very soul from her grasp, something so impossible that she could not even begin to comprehend it.

She opened her mouth to speak, but all that came out was a gasp of panic. The Executor moved. The distance between them was closed like it was nothing at all, and the white-haired dervish was upon her, blade whirling. No longer was he even bothering to wield it like a normal sword, as he tossed it from hand to hand, whirled it around various parts of his body, or spun it by the ring at its base. He was like a tornado of steel and death, eyes never faltering, expression betraying nothing. Before her supernatural vision, a specter came into view. Cloaked in black robes, faceless, bearing an enormous scythe, and instilling pure terror in those that viewed it. She watched as it showed the human before it each and every hole in her technique. He could not see the figure, of that she was certain, and yet somehow he seemed to understand its signals, following its advice unerringly. The blade slipped past her defense once, twice, three times, and then the Executor began to use his very body as a weapon. Punches and kicks far more powerful than the broken human form should be able to muster rained down on her amongst the sword strikes as she stumbled backwards one step after another. A palm strike slipped under her staff, knocking the air from her lungs, and as she doubled over, a blood-soaked boot connected with the side of her head, sending her stumbling away to the side, stunned and dizzy.

She was going to die. That thought filled her mind, bearing an absolute certainty that sent her even deeper into panic. The figure before her lifted his scythe, and the curved blade of the Executor arced back to follow it. Screaming and lashing out with every last bit of her power with the instinct of a cornered, wounded animal, she gave one last effort to save herself. More blood stained the broken ground.

----------------------

BGM: Future World Music ~ Anthem of Courage

When the blackness over Konrad's sight faded, he found himself kneeling on the ground, breath coming out in wheezes. Pain ran through him. So much pain. How had he gotten here? The last thing he remembered was the hallways, and fleeing from a large army, no wait, he had fought ghouls too, hadn't he? But they had been fast, so fast. Were they going to eat him, now? No, that couldn't be right. If he was lying before them, why could he remember cutting them down? But then why was he hurt? Did the three vampires do this to him? He wondered where that thought had come from, since he couldn't remember any vampires, let alone three of them, but then he did, and it was a moot point, because he could recall killing them too. How many had he killed since he was last conscious?

It was about that time that he became aware of the panting breathing nearby. His eyes refused to focus for some reason, but it seemed like he could see the bottom of a black dress ten or fifteen feet away. Why was he so dizzy? He recalled with sudden clarity his fight against the vampire, then she had him, and was draining his soul. He had... lost, hadn't he? Then why was he still alive and why was there a huge, bleeding gash in his left side? Wait, that was probably why he was so dizzy. Blood loss. He decided that he had better get that fixed up. Maybe the lady over to the side would help him get a bandage on it? No wait, she was a vampire trying to kill him. Never mind.

Not really knowing what he was doing, his hand fumbled in his pocket for something, because he was very certain that there was something in there he was supposed to use in this situation, even if he couldn't quite remember what it was. his fingers closed on a cylindrical shape, and he fumbled with it for a second before getting it out of his pocket. Popping the cork from the top of the... bottle thing - his mind failed him when he tried to remember what it was called - he poured a few drops of the liquid inside it upon his bleeding side.

The jolt of pain that resulted as his wound was cauterized in an instant was more than enough to snap him out of his delirious state. His mind sorted out the chaos it was in as he lay on his hands and knees, gasping in pain. At least the blood had stopped pouring out of his side, though. But what is the point? If I start trying to fight again, it will just reopen. I've lost. He noted the fact that the vampire had not yet killed him. He had probably done some good damage to her when he attacked, but he knew it wasn't enough. She was still breathing and upright, and he could barely stand. He was doomed.

A quiet fluttering sound reached his ears, and a piece of crumpled paper fell from his pocket. he was confused for a moment, before recalling the way the vials had been wrapped when he found them. Staring at it as it landed softly in the dust, because really, there wasn't anything better to stare at, he let out a defeated sigh. As the paper landed, it flipped over, revealing a few words written sloppily, hastily, with some kind of charcoal or similar inferior writing utensil.

"We walk by faith, not by sight."

He read the words. Then he read them again. More words began to flow back into his mind, the admonishments of a teacher to his brash student. "Konrad, you do not lack in strength, nor in skill. You are a genius in combat, and you will one day become a peerless fighter. However, should you ever find yourself in a situation where you are overpowered and outmatched, you will lose. That is because you have one weakness. You lack faith. When you are outdone and defeated, you believe it. Your mind tells you that over and over again, and never lets you forget. Then, you fall prey to your own thoughts, and because you believe that there is nothing you can do, you can find nothing to do."

Konrad laughed. his side lit with pain, but he no longer cared. It was not a self-pitying laugh, or a laugh filled with bitterness, it was merely a laugh of amusement. With immense effort, he pushed himself to one knee, and smiled calmly at the vampire before him, who, he noted, was staring at him like he was the demonic one in the room. Her mouth opened, then closed, then opened again, confusion evident on her features. Konrad just smiled wider. "You win."

"Wha-what? I mean, of course I do! I'm a vampire, and you are nothing but a human!"

"Yup. Hey, I just thought of an awesome deal."

The vampire stared at him as if he had suddenly grown a new head. "A what now?"

"A deal! You know, a bargain, a trade, and agreement, that kinda thing." Konrad answered pleasantly. "Here's how it goes. You beat me fair and square, so now I have to serve you."

"Wha- that doesn't make any sense!"

"'Course it does. It's my personal code of honor. You beat me, I swear loyalty to you. So, here's the deal. I join you, and go out to the city up above, telling everyone that there is this massive stockpile of riches down here. Now, as I think we both know, humans are greedy, so when I tell them that, they won't come down here in great big groups, oh no, it'll be a gold rush. Every man for himself. An amongst the chaos, all you have to do is pick them off one by one. You'll have entertainment for a lifetime!"

A look of comprehension crossed the vampire's face. "Oh, I see now. Silly human, did you really expect I would just let you leave here?"

"Of course not! If I just walked out, why would I keep my end of the bargain? No, letting me do that would definitely be stupid. That's why I'll let you turn me! Once I'm one of your turned vampires, you will have total control over me." Konrad calmly undid the clasp of his tattered shroud, which would interfere with the process, and tossed it aside, quickly sending the crucifix around his neck to follow it. "Plus, once I'm turned, you get to use my fighting ability all for yourself."

The vampire blinked and stared at Konrad with surprise, and then a calculating look. Konrad's friendly smile didn't waver. "Look, I've put aside my cloak and necklace. As I am, I can't hope to get them again before you reach me. So, what do you say?"

A wicked smile crossed the vampire's face. "Actually, I... accept."

"Very well, I am yours to command!" With a flourish, Konrad tore off the shroud bandage from his original bite wound. The crimson fabric fluttered high into the air, then slowly fell. Neither of the two in the arena looked to follow it, only continued staring at each other, one smile friendly, one smile twisted. The ribbon fell between them, cutting off their line of sight.

The vampire leaped forward, teeth bared, ready to fulfill the contract. "Oh!" Konrad's shout froze her for a minute, and she glanced down at him from where she stood in front of him.

"What is it?" The vampire was not happy to be interrupted.

"Oh, just forgot to tell you. Since you are my new employer, you should probably know my profession." The vampire blinked, not really comprehending Konrad's statement. "I just so happen to be the world's best..." There was a pause, and then suddenly, Konrad's grin became as twisted as the vampire's.

"...con artist."

Steel flashed through the air once again, and blood splattered across the ground for the final time that day.
Last edited by Sicon112 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Normal people are the easiest to manipulate. Too smart and they have an annoying tendency to catch wind of your plans, too dumb and, in the words of a certain pirate, "You can never tell when they are about to do something incredibly...stupid."
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:48 am

Well, you survived. :evil:
You were given 24 hours to complete the quest; you finished in 20:11 hours.

You are warped, beaten and bloody to the outskirts of the starting city ruins. Sore and tired, you reach the town square in time to see, lizard...things attack the city. All the townspeople are running away, holing up in hastily repaired shops, or scantily defended shacks. What will you do? This directs back to the main thread. Best of luck, hopefully the Kobolds will succeed where the vampires did not.

Reward: Blessing:Holy water

Now, as to your reward. Because you, uhm, *coughstupidlycough* decided that attacking this floor NOW was a good idea, we had to get creative. This is our first technical skill, and hopefully one of many. Right now you are at level 1 in the skill, meaning that while you DO have the ability, it's stunted and not very useful... until you expand it of course.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Pixelmage on Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:23 am

Assigned Quest 2: Tempting Fate.

Quest Victim(s): Hector Erastus (Adell).
Groups of youngsters frequently boast about challenging the new-found underground labyrinth. It has become a game to go peek at the entrance and taunts to go down there are common enough that it becomes uncomfortable. Seeing as a young man, only a few years out of his teens, leaving the town alone after stepping away from a group, you immediately assume he was just challenged to prove his worth by visiting the underground level.
Quest Goal: Find the young man and bring him back home. Preferably before he goes too far to come back.
Time Limit: 24 hours.
GM Notes: The rescue target, even though young, is far from incompetent and can fend well for himself, a fighter with sword and shield who actually carries a reason of his own to explore the underground. Depending on what exactly his motives are, and whether or not he has found what he was looking for, he may or may not be willing to follow you back up.

-----

Assigned Quest 3: Cartography?

Quest Victim(s): Alexander Curtiss (Endless Sea), Giselle (narrativedilettante).
Rumors abound regarding the underground labyrinth discovered in the woods. Whispers of fame and glory. And cries of death and pain. They talk about living armors, gargoyles and ghouls and even worse creatures. Adventurers seek the entrance, and the few that manage to return bring stories of horror. People vanish from the streets, perhaps seeking the doorway on their own, perhaps being taken there. You decide to investigate to what extent the rumors are true, to put an end to the scare tale, or prove that the labyrinth is not to be toyed with.
Quest Goal: Investigate the underground floors, mapping out a safe perimeter and return to the main city with a report of what is actually down there.
Time Limit: 48 hours.
GM Notes: The vampires slain by Kurt left a power vacuum in the areas near the entrance, one of the stronger members of their court is now roaming the area in search for the culprit. He's good enough to notice two Scouts snooping around, so you'll probably have to deal with him. A lone vampire, but a strong one. Do be careful.

-----

The two quests are independent time-wise. So don't worry about meeting each other in there.
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Adell on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:51 pm

Quest: Tempting Fate

((For the Record, Pixel told me what the necklace did for the intention of me using it in this story.))


The coast of Lamada held a serene like quality; a bright haze seemed to kiss the scenery causing it to bloom in its beauty. Waves calmly caressed its shore, which was devoid of life save for one; a man with green hair, knelt over the body of another. He looked upon the lifeless eyes of the individual laid upon the sand, their blood being drawn into the ocean in a delicate painting. He never turned his eyes away, as if he wanted to imprint the memory of this dead person for the rest of his days.

His hands, covered in the others blood, tightly griped a single blade…his blade. It too, would be washed of the blood atop it from the forgiving waters of Lamada's ocean. Those hands, however, remained coated in the red material…the waves never reached them, never touched them; they were not given the same privilege.

“Hector…” a voice echoed, getting the swordsman’s attention. He looked for the source of the voice but found none. Again it repeated his name, “Hector…” Now he grew angry, paranoid. Lifting the heavy sword into the air, he prepared to cut down whatever appeared before him. “Hector.” The voice one last time, as a sound of a sword unsheathing interrupted the serene atmosphere. Hector knew the sound, the voice…however, as he turned to confront it his vision faded to black.

“Hector.” The voice said more clearly now, as the swordsman’s eyes shot open, revealing himself to no longer be standing upon a beach but instead laying upon a bed within his guild. The man’s eyes darted over to the individual standing over his bed, a fire in them that caused the squire by his bed side to nearly lose his footing and fall backwards. For a second, Hector held the eyes of incredible rage. The moment subsided however, when his eyes gazed upon Ivory, which lay angled against the frame of his bed.

“…I’m sorry.” He quietly said finally as he regained his composer, rubbing his eyes. “I was having…” he began to explain but stopped himself, his mind deciding to hold something back. “Do you…need any help, young one?”

“N-no sir.” The boy finally said. “Ben told me to wake you up before you wasted the whole day in here.” Hector looked at him confused, “You’ve been sleeping for nearly half the day.”

“My, have I?” The green haired man let out a hearty laugh in surprise, “well, it wouldn’t be the first, I suppose.” In one fluid motion the large man leapt from his bedside, landing upon the hardwood of his guild. “Still, can’t he just let me do what I want? I’m the guild leader after all; I’m allowed to be lazy every now and then if I want to…” The man muttered jokingly to the squire. Looking outside, Hector was disappointed to see that it was a rather cloudy afternoon.

“Uh, “He,” Sir?” The squire questioned.

“Ben, of course! Who else?” Hector yelled with another laugh as he began the process of putting his armor on. “You can go ahead and tell that knight that I’ll take care of the night patrol around this area of the town tonight. …Might as well do something productive.” The Squire went to correct the larger man, but decided it was not worth the effort and just went back to the downstairs to relay the information to Ben. With his armor draped over his body, Hector lightly placed a necklace onto his collar; a trophy from his victory over Gwrtheyrn. Finally, he looked once again upon the sheathed great sword that lay beside his bed. “Ivory…” A sigh escaped his mouth before the weapon was strapped to his back. “I really am a wreck without you.” He admitted with wry chuckle as he secured the beast of a weapon.

The artificial sun moved past the large man like a swift wind as he took heavy footsteps around the area, his mind oddly distracted; Minutes became hours in a flash to the man. To those around him this would surely have seemed like something out of the norm for him. The truth was that…well, maybe it was more the norm than people noticed. His eyes scanned alleyway to alleyway, looking for anyone who could potentially use his help, someone to keep his mind off of the dream…

But the streets lay bare tonight, for one reason or another, leaving Hector alone this patrol. His mind returned inwardly, back to that moment. The dream was so vivid…and the voice at the end…it was too familiar. Why now, he thought, of all times would the memories of his past resurface? Of the time before he was simply known as Hector and was regarded with far more…fear, or of the people who no longer wished to remember.

The patter of footsteps running across the cobble road brought him back to reality before he could think on the subject any further. Quickly his eyes darted towards the location of the sound, barely catching the glimpse of a figure running down one of the side streets. “Who’s running around this late at night?” He questioned. Quickly, he pursued the footsteps down the alley, again just missing the individual as they turned down another corner. The thought that maybe they were running from Hector himself gnawed at his brain, and so without thinking anymore on the subject, he began to tail the runner.

Hector turned down the next alley as quickly as he could, dashing along the side path in the direction of the noise. It was clear from the sound of their feet against the ground, however, that the other person was far nimbler than the soldier was in his armor. The chase continued, as the two traveled further and further into the center of town. No matter how fast Hector went though, he could never fully see who he was following. “Stop!” He called out in warning, but the figure ignored his plea. The weaving in and out of the side streets of the city began to disorientate the green haired man; it was like whoever he was following was intentionally leading him down a set number of pathways.

Finally, after what seemed like twenty minutes, Hector exited the alley between two buildings. There, he stood above a huge stairwell built right into the ground so far down that the bottom was hidden in shadow, and surrounded by large bars that gated the whole thing off from the rest of the town; that is it would if not for the fact that the door had wasn’t swinging open from someone running into it. Knowing that the runner had escaped down into this area Hector took in a deep gust of air to catch his breath, and then pursued down into the darkness spiral stair case. Every step Hector took downward made the air feel heavier around him…it was as if the darkness itself had some sort of unnatural pressure to it. The darkness eventually filled his very vision, and for several minutes it lasted. Hector began to worry that he would not be able to see at all down there, but just as suddenly did he think that did the shadows fall behind him, revealing the rest of the stair case. “What the…?” The man suspiciously stared back up, noticing now that the darkness of this stair case was literally like an unnatural wall of black blocking of the users view until they had passed it. By the time he reached the final steps, his breathing had grown heavy and he was forced to slow down.

“Whoever this guy is…” Hector gasped between breaths realizing that the other person had vanished along with the sound of their feet, “He is definitely in better shape than me.” Catching his breath, the man’s brown eyes scanned the area around him carefully. Blue and gray cobblestone filled his vision as he found himself in a cylindrical like archway that led directly into a long hallway; from afar, he could faintly hear the sound of rushing water. “Some kind of sewer…?” He muttered as he walked further in, rubbing one of his hands against the aged stone the walls were made of, “There’s no way anyone in the town built this. The real question, though, is why that guy ran down here…”

As he continued he was forced to slow his pace to a walk. While the place was visible enough, several corridors and pathways seemed to have that strange, unnatural darkness blocking his vision any further in. “Where were you heading…?” The swordsman thought to himself; anyone else by now would have most likely given up but the thought never cross his mind.

Lowering himself to the ground, he examined the floor more carefully. While Hector was more accustomed to tracking animals in the wilderness, the basic principles were the same even with a person. The moist stone, would betray the runner, as the faint imprint of his muddy shoes remained. Not wasting anymore time, the man took up the trail and followed it wherever it would lead him. The darkness of the area picked up once again, touching his heart. The pumping of it against his chest seemed to get louder and louder to him, like it was building…expecting something on the other side of this pathway.

It emptied him out into a central waterway, a circular platform connected by several other tunnels that pumped water out into a center waterfall that emptied out into the fog below. The platform itself had no walls and as Hector walked to towards the edge of the waterfall he got a true impression of how big this place was. In the distance lay several other large buildings; yes buildings, built into the underground. Some were even appeared natural; mountains carved into new shapes and pathways. Truly, this place was like a whole other floor of this castle.

Hector’s eyes closed for a brief moment, listening to the calm flow of the water that dispersed below. “…Hector,” A voice rang out once again, making the man think that he was thinking of his dream once again. Then, however, he heard the sound of a blade unsheathe once again. With clear shock in his face, Hector’s head hesitantly turned to see who stood at the opposite end of the room. “It’s been awhile, Hector.” The man said with a sly smirk on his face. “Or…should I still be calling you Jade?”

The swordsman took a step back as his fear seemed to be realized. The figure that called to him in his dream now stood right before him. The man stood at nearly Hector’s height, his short hair a dark crimson red that was swept back, a dark blue coat covered a thin layer of chainmail for protection. What stood out most of this man, however, was the unique blade he held. The guard was adorned with the head of lion, with the blade extending out from its mouth. The blade itself was long and reminiscent of the long swords from Lamada though this one was closer in length to Hector’s, the big difference being both its flat tipped edge, and the black coloration of the metal. “Luca…!?”

“You sound surprised to see me.” The man said taking a threatening step forward as his sword rested against his shoulder, his voice carrying a calm yet snake like persona. Hector’s own hand reached for ivory at this moment, preparing to remove it if he needed to. “Did you really think you could just cut ties like that after all we did?” He sighed somewhat irritably, “Actually, with your simple head you probably DID think that.”

“…You lured me here, then. How did you know I had gone to this castle?”

“Any adventurer worth his salt would take the opportunity to come here, and I knew someone like you couldn’t turn down a challenge.” Luca deduced correctly as he took another step forward. “Yes luring you was easy enough, I knew if I stayed here long enough you’d come to me on your own, honestly. I just decided to…play on your instincts this time.” The crimson haired man elaborated, not taking credit for being the individual Hector had chased. “Now…” Luca changed the subject, cutting to the chase, “The sword, Hector.” He demanded, extending his free hand to the other man.

Hector let out a sigh himself, knowing full well why Luca was hear. The sword Hector own carried far more importance than just sentimental value to the hardened warrior. After a moment of thought, a challenging grin crawled across his face as he removed the blade from its sheath, hoisting it forward with both hands gripping it tightly. “Sorry, Ivory and I are inseparable; you should know that by now.”

“…You dare name that blade Ivory?” Luca spat out in anger, clearly striking a tone. “…You made a mistake, Hector. And now, I’m here to fix it…and take what is mine.” The man lowered his own blade, placing both hands upon it. With a yell both men ran at each other as the sound of their weapons clashed against one another. Luca nimbly followed through with his initial swing however, bringing the blade upward and expertly sending a rough cut into Hector’s pectoral muscle. He then continued moving, rolling out of the way the green haired swordsman’s own counter swing with the blunt side of his weapon and smashing it into the cobblestone like a hammer.

Luca easily rolled back onto his feet with incredible skill and coordination and rushed forward yet again. Hector instinctively raised Ivory defensively to block a direct attack, but Luca maneuvered to the side of the weapon giving him just enough time to smack the handle of his weapon against Hector’s cheek before backing up to brace against another sword strike from his opponent. Ivory’s strength easily threw the man back, but the crimson haired enemy landed right on his feet thanks to his incredible reflex.
The two engaged each other once again, their blades clashing loudly as they exchanged blows. There was a key difference between their attacks however, one that Luca picked up on quickly. Luca aimed his attacks directly at Hector…but Hector seemed to be intentionally aiming for Luca’s sword, like this were some sort of exhibition match and not a fight for their lives. With quick maneuvering of his feet, he allowed Hector’s blade to swing right past him vertically giving him the time to deliver a slash that would have ended the battle if Hector roll his back as far as he could, causing only one of his rips to take a hit by the flat tip of his opponent’s sword. He winced in pain from the hit, and was immediately knocked onto his ass when Luca delivered a swift kick directly to where he had cut the green haired swordsman.

“The Jade Demon…” He echoed a familiar name to Hector, shaking his head in disappointment. “You’ve become pathetic.” Luca proclaimed as he stared at the taller man, who was attempting to catch his breath. “Ever since that day…you lost it, that killer instinct, didn’t you? …You don’t deserve that sword.”

“That. Isn’t. Your Decision.” Hector said between breaths as he lifted himself back up, ready to continue the fight. By now it was obvious that Luca was the faster of the two, even his larger weapon seemed lighter in comparison. And the one advantage Hector’s sword had over his opponents, a sharp tip allowing for stabbing attacks, was under utilized due to the green haired man avoiding lethal injuries to his opponent. Knowing this as Luca approached once again, Hector intentionally stabbed his weapon into the ground, instead using it more like a pole-vault, and leapt over his incoming slash before swinging his armored leggings directly into the red haired mans face. This allowed him to land directly in front of his opponent, and gave him the chance to land a series of punches on the man. The chest, ribs and face all got a taste of the gauntlets that swordsman wore. Finally his hands landed upon the handle of Luca’s sword, causing the two to wrestle over it.

Surprisingly, both men seemed roughly evenly strengthed, causing a back and forth as they pulled one another around the room, falling dangerously close to the waterfall now. “Let…Go.” Luca grunted out through gritted teeth as he pulled back on his weapon, only to have Hector smirk and let oblige, letting go of the weapon and causing the man to fall backward, landing in the base of the waterfall. As Luca did his best to regain his footing and not be taken by the rushing water, Hector returned to his weapon and pulled it from the ground. Carefully he stared at it, and then back at his red haired opponent, who stared right back. After a few seconds of hesitation arose, Luca let out a low laugh as he got enough footing to jump out from the water once again. Not letting Hector get another chance, the man moved a full speed, circling the swordsman in a mere second. It was fast enough that the more exhausted Hector had no choice but to take slash across his back, his armor doing it’s best to protect his body. He stumbled from the attack knelt before the water fall, looking at the warrior who bested him.

“As you are now, you’ll never be able to beat me, Hector. You’ve grown weak…a murderous demon wanting to take the role of an angel. Even when the opportunity presents itself you let it slip through your fingers…” The man analyzed as he sheathed his own sword, instead pulling out a strange wooden rune from inside his coat. “I truly have no idea what you were thinking.” Hector remained silent as tried to weight his options. “It’s over Hector,” He claimed as the rune glowed with magical energy. Aiming it at the downed swordsman, electricity bolted out of it in a straight line, aiming to skewer him, leaving him no chance of escape.

Something happened however, that neither man seemed to be aware of. The necklace Hector wore, once owned by the “lord” Gwrtheyrn, actually held a hidden power within it that even the aristocrat was unaware of. It reacted to the energy building nearby, and an aura of light seemed to emanate from it. When the thin bolt of energy struck at Hector, it was deflected partially to the left; where it would have initially pierced his heart, it merely struck passed right under his arm pit and traveled off into the distance of the large underground. Hector, of course was unaware of what happened, but when he saw that the attack did him no harm, he tightly gripped his blade and rose to his feet once more, charging the man one last time.

“What…!?” Luca called out in shock as Hector both seemingly walked off the attack, but also when the green haired man swung his weapon diagonally across his chest, causing blood to spurt out dramatically. “Agh!” The man cried out as he stumbled back against the wall from the injury.

“Damn, I must be really lucky for that to miss.” Hector said with a cocky attitude in his voice, “Or your aim has gotten way, way worse, Luca.” His opponent’s eyes narrowed at him as he clutched his injury in pain. “…And yeah, you’re right. I might not be willing to kill you, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give a you few…injuries. Nonlethal ones, of course. It hurts, right? …You’ll live though as long as you get it taken care of soon.” The green haired man challenged, with a smirk of his own, lifting the blade against his shoulder in a similar fashion as Luca had done earlier.

“Damn you…” Luca coughed out, “…Well played, Hector. Maybe not all of the Jade Demon is gone after all.” He laughed painfully. “Fine, you win this time. But this isn’t over. I need that sword, Hector. You can hold it for me another day but that is all you are doing. When the time is right I’ll take it back, and give you the punishment you deserve. You can't escape from what you did.” Luca promised as he removed another rune from his jacket, this one he threw to the ground, causing it to ignite a bright fire across the ground, hiding Luca briefly before it dissipated, leaving nothing behind.

Hector’s breathing continued to be heavy from exhaustion, until he finally fell to his knees, catching himself only by balancing his arms on his sword. That battle was the closest to a brush with death the green haired swordsman had gotten in truly a long time. The scars here, however, would be a reminder that no matter where he traveled, or how different he acted now…the man he was wouldn’t be far behind. Luca was the better fighter of the two; he won only by luck this time. He sighed, gazing upon his blade once again.

He returned once more to his dream, kneeling before the body of that whom he had killed. He looked upon the body, and with melancholy in his voice, he spoke softly,

“Ivory…I promise, I will never kill again.”

And his hands remained bloody.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby narrativedilettante on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:01 am

Giselle waited for a moment after the platform reached its destination, making sure it had come to a full and complete stop before she stepped off of it. She looked up to the barely-visible exit and shuddered. This place felt wrong. It reminded her of the sensation she got when she realized the architecture of a building didn’t make sense, and discovered a secret room. Only, this was in reverse. She’d entered a secret room, and realized it didn’t fit in with the layout of its surroundings.

“This place shouldn’t exist. Whatever magic quirk brought it into being was disastrous. Hell, I’m not even a mage, and I can just feel that something’s off here.” Said Giselle.

Alexander’s head turned slightly towards Giselle, one corner of his mouth curling upwards. “You ‘feel’ that something’s off,” he echoed. “You’ve gotta be kidding. It’s a bunch of cobblestones and crystals, that’s it. Nothing even remotely worrying. You wanna get jumpy? Wait ‘till we find the thousand-meter cliffs or legions of, uh, crab-zombies or something, or whatever the hell is down here that could actually kill us-”

Giselle glared at him. “Listen. You’re not going to get to me like that. I won’t get jumpy. This place just makes me uncomfortable, and I’m making a note of it. I’m perfectly willing to keep going. I don’t like it here, but so far it’s certainly no worse than I’d expected.”

His smirk widening, Alexander shrugged and strode over to one of the crystal growths, pulling out his knife as he began to fiddle with one of the more noticeable protrusions.

Giselle took out a piece of parchment, a quill, and a jar of ink, and sketched out a quick diagram of the room they were in. She left it by the platform they’d arrived on to let it dry.

That done, she got out a large spool of black thread and tied the end to a pillar.

“Let’s go this way,” announced Curtiss, and without waiting for Giselle to respond, he strode through one of the exits, one of the pockets in his jacket now occupied with something small, blue, and luminescent. Giselle followed, letting out thread and keeping it adjacent to the wall, to reduce the likelihood that someone else would notice it.

***

An indeterminate period of time later- five minutes? Thirty? An hour or two?- and Alexander and Giselle had covered a fair chunk of labyrinth without incident. The scenery varied little between corridors and chambers; vast stretches of cobblestones blending together into a uniform grey, broken only by the occasional outcropping of crystal in the walls or ceiling and, in some of the larger rooms, the occasional moat. Of the fountains and waterfalls and buildings that the few adventurers who had previously braved the lower floors had reported, there was no sign. Some of the darker corners hid fragments of metal and stone with blackened, distorted edges, hinting that sentinels of some sort had occupied the area earlier before being violently removed.

For most of the journey, Alexander hadn’t stopped muttering, although the subject tended to vary by the minute, ranging from how odd his rations tasted to the complete lack of scenery variation thus far. By the time he finally closed his mouth for more than two seconds, Giselle was ready to assume that her companion had finally run out of material to complain about.

The reprieve ended a mere minute later with a loud yawn that echoed through the hallway they were in, Alexander stopping in his tracks as his arms stretched towards the ceiling. “Seriously, what is with this place?” he groaned. “It’s just stones and crystals, stones and crystals! Where’s all the sentries? Where’s all the other weird stuff the others that went here kept talking about?”

Giselle paused mid-sketch, looking directly at her companion for the first time since leaving the entrance chamber. “Probably in a different section of the maze. I’m guessing that we’ve barely covered a fraction of it so far.”

Alexander stared. “A fraction. We’ve only covered-” Shaking his head, he stepped over and yanked the map closer to him, leaning to the side to get a better look. “Look at all of this! That bit, right there- that’s where we started, right? And all of this-”

“This is a big place, Curtiss,” Giselle chided.

“Yeah, and I’ve got little patience.” Alexander’s eyes swept the map once more. “This section, right here-” he pointed at a section of map near the top of what Giselle had drawn so far- “It looks kind of circular, like these rooms and halls and everything are surrounding something. And then there’s this hallway on the outside that, from what we’ve seen so far, branches into totally different directions.” He looked up at the other scout. “I say we find out what’s at the center.”

Giselle had already opened her mouth to explain how stupid of an idea it was before realizing there really wasn’t much point in arguing. After all, direction didn’t matter as long as they were charting new territory, right?

“That tunnel on the right,” she said, gesturing to the passage in question. Alexander nodded and ran off, Giselle following at a more leisurely pace.

Less than a second after disappearing from view, Alexander sprinted back out, shouting, “Wrong turn! Wrong turn! Go, go!”

Since, Alexander had kept up a commentary all the while they’d been exploring, Giselle had begun to tune his voice out. When she first heard his warning it took her a moment to register what he was saying. Then she saw him running, and she began to run too. Even with her hesitation, she was further from the danger than he was.

“What are we running from?” Giselle asked.

“Just listen to me! There’s no time for your questions.” Alexander replied.

“But what is it? This is important. We need to tell people-”

“I don’t know, okay? There were three of them, and one was probably a vampire, and the other two were misshapen abominations with giant eyes. Is that good enough for you? Oh, there they are now!”

Giselle turned back to see two shapes vaguely resembling stalagmites and following them down the corridor. As she watched, one of Alexander’s throwing knives reached the nearer of the two abominations, and passed through it, splattering goo everywhere but not causing the creature to so much as slow down. Of the vampire, she saw nothing.

They passed through the intersection Giselle had noted earlier, and she realized that she’d dropped the spool of thread. She was grateful they were still in familiar territory, at least.

Two simultaneous events stopped the chase. The two amorphous creatures caught up to Alexander, so that to keep avoiding them he had to quit running and start dodging and weaving between the two. And Giselle stopped just an inch shy of running straight into a vampire.

Giselle took a step back, as would be polite in most circumstances and prudent in this one. She stole a quick glance at her map to see if there was an easy way for the vampire to have beaten her here, but she wasn’t familiar enough with the corridors and her map was too unreliable for her to know much other than that he had.

“You two have very poor timing,” said the vampire.

“Oh, is that so?” Giselle couldn’t attack immediately; her hands were full of cartography supplies. She decided to make a show of polite conversation - this had got her out of many scrapes - and slowly put the map and equipment away, as if doing so for no other reason than to give the vampire her full attention.

At the other end of the corridor, Alexander was little more than a blur, winding a path through and around the two creatures faster than the untrained eye could follow. Each creature stood roughly five feet tall, with a single eye taking up most of their domed tops. They were no match for Alexander in terms of speed, but he couldn’t quite press his advantage with them. Their eyes had no trouble following him, rotating indiscriminately inside their gel containers. He couldn’t get out of their sight, at least not for long. His knives were wearing them down by small amounts - they lost a bit of volume with each cut - but the damage he’d done so far was minor, and every time a bit of the gel touched his skin, it burned.

“Yes, very poor timing. You see, I simply can’t let you interrupt our ritual. On any other day, you’d still have a decent amount of time left before I had to take action against you. But the ritual is too important.” He smiled the sort of hypnotic smile that vampires use against the weak-minded. “I’m sure you understand.”

Giselle evaluated the situation. Behind her she could hear Alexander fighting the gel-creatures, and she hated to leave a companion in distress. She couldn’t risk turning around though, or the vampire would be at her throat in a moment. She just had to hope Alexander could handle himself, and deal with the danger at her own end.

The vampire was clearly evaluating her as well. From his demeanor and his attempt at charming her with his smile, she assumed he was one of those vampires that could win women over to his side, for as long as need be before he slaughtered them. Since she still wasn’t in position to utilize her weapons, Giselle decided to play along for a moment.

“Oh,” she said, dropping her typically hardened expression for something softer and lighter, “I understand.” Reaching back for her bow and readying an arrow would take too long, and be too noticeable, to finish before the vampire could realize what she was doing and stop her. Instead, she’d have to go with Plan B. She dropped her hands, now empty, to her pockets, where she could quickly grab her back-up weapons.

“Of course you do. You’re a sweet girl. You wouldn’t want to ruin my big day. Imagine a pair of adventurers wandering into the chamber at a critical moment. No one would trust in my leadership ever again!” He kept up the charming facade, but Giselle was certain she saw genuine relief in his expression. He wasn’t as sure of himself as he acted.

“Oh, that would be terrible,” Giselle said airily, reaching into her pockets as she shifted her weight, putting on an act of self-consciousness. “Just terrible.” As she said this last part, she drew a dagger from each pocket and lunged for the vampire’s throat. If only these were silver, she thought. I don’t stand much of a chance as it is. These things aren’t exactly long enough to behead the guy.

Meanwhile, Alexander’s whirling and stabbing had finally yielded a positive result. He’d put a knife right through one of the gel-creature’s eyes, and it squealed and backed away. Now he knew their weak spot. He turned on the other one, a new fire in his eyes.

The vampire, snarling, threw Giselle off of him. Her back hit the wall and the pain filled her head fit to burst. She lay on the ground, not bothering to move, hoping that the vampire would ignore her for long enough that she could regain some composure.

The vampire advanced on her, ready to finish her off, when he suddenly unleashed a howl of pain. Alexander had finished off the gel-creatures, and threw a knife that cut a gouge in the vampire’s cheek. Leaving Giselle where she lay, the vampire turned to Alexander and began advancing. He dodged another knife, but a third caught his leg and caused him to continue with a limp.

Giselle waited until she could breathe easily. Though pain still throbbed in her head, she opened her eyes and stood up, trying to take in the battle in front of her. The vampire was fast, but so was Alexander, and the two of them moved with a purpose and coordination most dancers would have envied. Neither side had a clear advantage. The vampire was injured but was stronger and swifter than the human. Giselle drew her bow and carefully aimed.

The shot was tricky, because they were moving quickly enough that where the vampire was one moment, Alexander would be the next. If Giselle timed her shot wrong she could kill her companion instead of their enemy. She blinked her eyes, trying to dislodge the pain from her head. There was a pattern to the fighting, and she studied it, learning the rhythms of their movements, planning her shot so that it would land when the vampire was definitely nearer to her. Now Alexander was closer, and now the vampire, and now Alexander again for a brief moment before... Giselle let the arrow fly.

The arrow didn’t do much damage, but it caused a distraction. The vampire paused, interrupting the rhythm of the fight, and Alexander leapt at the opportunity. His knives were at the vampire’s throat, and a moment later the monster’s head was no longer attached to his body, and the threat was gone.

When they’d gathered their supplies and regained their composure, Giselle brought up her conversation with the vampire. “He said some very interesting things. Did you happen to overhear him mentioning some kind of ritual?”

“Hm?” Alexander looked up from where the vampire’s bizarre pets had scalded him. “Oh, yeah, that. Why’d he even bother talking about it? I mean, we were supposed to be prey or something, right? Why tell someone you’re about to kill…” His voice trailed off, then returned after what appeared to be a few seconds of thought, this time significantly more breathless. “Ritual. Important vampire ritual.”

Giselle nodded, frowning. “Whatever it is, it can’t be good.”

“You kidding?” Alexander was smirking again, wider than before. “This means there’s actually something interesting down here! That’s better than good!” He looked in the direction of the tunnel the vampire had exited. “Come to think of it, the crystals back there were orange instead of blue… That’s important, right?”

Giselle sighed. “Yes,” she muttered, her hands massaging her forehead. “Yes, it is.”

***

After a few initial sharp turns, the tunnel settled into a straight line, albeit slanted slightly downwards, towards where the center of the circular section Alexander had pointed out earlier was supposed to be located. The orange crystals weren’t the only oddity about the passage; as the scouts progressed, the cobblestones gradually appeared more and more fused together, until the entire hallway looked like a single large tunnel-shaped stone with linear veins of crystal running through it in a clear pattern, more likely than not the work of dedicated mages. From time to time there would be a gust of warm air, and a faint chanting could be heard in the distance.

Alexander, for all his complaining earlier, was silent. Judging by how stiff he was moving and the knives in each hand, Giselle assumed he was too focused on what was at the end of the tunnel to spare any thought on quipping.

The chamber at the end of the passage was circular and, for the most part, on a lower level than its entrances. Surrounding it was a walkway less than two meters wide, cut off from the lower section by a shoulder-height stone railing and a multitude of support arches connected to it. Both veins and protrusions of crystal dotted the walls and floor, glowing the same brilliant red as whatever was hidden within the enclosing railings.

The scouts nodded at each other, and Giselle darted towards the right, Alexander heading in the opposite direction. Soon, she came across a gap in the railing, and, making sure to keep as much of her body behind the obstruction as possible, peeked into the lower section of the chamber.

Several meters down, floating above a pool of pure magic that writhed and bulged like ocean waters caught in a storm, was a hexagonal stone platform ringed by over a score of vampires, all clad in oversized robes and murmuring some obscure language under their breath, crimson lightning crackling along arms stretched forwards. Suspended in the center of the formation was an immense globe of magic from the pool below, hiding all but the faintest silhouette of some indeterminate shape within, which rippled and bent as miniature waves coursed throughout the surface of the sphere.

Part of Giselle’s mind wondered what the vampires were trying to summon- another of the eye-creatures? A fallen comrade? Whatever passed for a deity for vampires? Most of the rest was screaming at her that it didn’t matter, that she needed to run away, to get as far from the ritual as possible, to tell someone else- someone who could actually help- that there was something horrible being birthed in the depths of the catacombs. One particularly tiny bit idly wondered what her companion was planning.

There was a flash as something small and reflective passed through the chamber, and suddenly one vampire, dressed in gaudier robes than her comrades, gurgled and clutched at the knife handle that had appeared protruding from her throat, then stumbled backwards and fell off the platform into the pool of magic. The bubble exploded, and as she instinctively ducked back behind the railing, Giselle had a brief glimpse of something discolored and shriveled and covered in spines.

The chanting ceased, replaced moments later by cursing and guttural screams. Giselle decided it was time to leave.

Running back to the entrance tunnel, she noticed Alexander running for a different exit, gesturing with a hand that hadn’t been empty a minute ago for her to go back the way they’d come. Then he rounded the corner to the tunnel he’d been heading for, and she turned back to the entrance she’d chosen. With luck, the product of the failed summoning would solve the issue of pursuers, and the end of the scouts’ journey would be as uneventful as the beginning. Otherwise, she was in for a very hectic run.

A few corridors later, it was clear that at least some of the vampires had escaped the chaos that resulted when Alexander interrupted whatever it was they were doing.

“Dammit, Curtiss! You just couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you?” Giselle cried out as she ran from the vampires who had turned on her. She was outside the mapped area, working her way through rooms and corridors she hadn’t seen before. Without realizing what she was doing, she ran down a hallway into a large room with only a single door... the one she had used to enter. Before the vampires showed up she ducked behind a desk - evidently she’d entered some sort of study.

There were two of them. Giselle could have sworn there’d been more, but maybe they hadn’t been able to keep up. She would have tried to sneak out past them, but one stood in the doorway, making that impossible. The other one was going deep into the room, beginning to conduct what would no doubt be a thorough search. Giselle could usually count on staying hidden from normal humans, but vampires... Vampires would definitely be able to find her.

The vampire that was searching the room began in the far corner from Giselle. She was glad she’d hidden close to the door. Normally she’d try to go for something a little further from possible intrusion. But being close to the exit could sometimes yield significant advantage.

Still, she had to do something about that vampire at the door. She readied an arrow and took her time to aim it. Going in from the side, it would be more difficult to pierce the heart, but if she was careful, and patient, she could manage it.

She blocked all thoughts of the other vampire from her mind. There would be time to worry about him later. Right now, all that mattered was her bow, and its arrow, and the vampire at the door. She noted the shape of his side, determining the locations of ribs and muscles from the impressions and indentations of his shirt. Finally, she lined up her shot.

The arrow pierced the vampire’s heart, which should have killed him, but Giselle didn’t wait to verify his death. He was incapacitated well enough for her to make a run for it, and that’s what she did, not pausing to spare a look back. She ran, and when she reached intersections of corridors she turned, taking a path that was sure to confuse anyone tracking her. When she saw a thin black thread, she followed it down a path she knew she’d traversed before, but she didn’t slow down until she reached the place where she’d entered the Underground, at the same time that Alexander came into the entrance chamber from another direction.

Alexander looked somewhat the worse for wear, but he insisted that most of the blood was not his. Giselle picked up the sketch she’d made of the entrance chamber, and Alexander told her all about his experience escaping the vampires who’d gone after him while they ascended to the first floor of the Castle.

Back on the surface, Giselle wrote out a letter to accompany her maps.

The letter: This map indicates the low-danger area in the Underground. Be aware, though, there is no “safe” part of the Underground. Just because we didn’t encounter anything harmful in these areas doesn’t mean you will find the same. Don’t venture there unless you’re prepared for extreme danger.

We witnessed something being summoned. The summoning did not go as planned, but the something is still extremely powerful. I can’t describe it clearly for you, so understand that there is an unknown, powerful, and angry entity somewhere on the first underground floor. You can see the location of the summoning on the map, but the entity might not be anywhere near there now. Exercise extreme caution.

My advice is to stay away from the Underground entirely, but if you are determined to venture into this unreliable and unnatural hell-hole, study this map carefully and go in with your eyes open to the dangers you may find inside. I wish you the best of luck.”

Alexander grinned as they walked back toward the city. “This is my favorite part. We get to tell everyone about everything that happened to us.”

“Good idea,” Said Giselle. “You do that. I want to clean up this map and get it to a scribe who can make copies for me. We need to get the word out to as many people as possible. And then,” she rubbed her head, “I think I’m going to sleep until Thursday.”

“Aw, you’re missing out on the fun part! Okay, I’ll tell everyone what happened. By the time you wake up there won’t be a single person who doesn’t know!”

“Oh good, that takes the pressure off,” said Giselle, but Alexander wasn’t paying attention any more. He grabbed a random passerby and began telling the whole story, with a little elaboration.

“So most people, seeing a vampire on the verge of sinking its fangs into their partners’ neck, would panic, but I had my knives and I knew I could damage him enough to make a difference...”
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Pixelmage on Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:50 am

Trip Rewards:
  • Adell ~ Necklace became unsealed.
  • Endless Sea ~ Energy-reader crystal (Outfitted into a pendant).
  • narrativedilettante ~ Crystal Clip (Auto-fills map sheets).

You have successfully completed your assigned tasks within the allocated time. Enjoy the rewards you earned.

Hector didn't venture far into the Underground, he did however locate a closer entrance, within the perimeter of the city. News were spreading and a makeshift seal made of wood was put over it, a couple of scouts assigned to watch the are periodically and make sure no one disrupted the entrance, in order not to attract whatever creatures lurked there into the town.

Alexander and Giselle make it back alive. Reports of their exploration have been wildly exaggerated. The maps brought back, however, proved as a helpful reference and ever since the number of mysterious deaths around the entrance in the woods reduced. No other explorers reported seeing the summoned beast or the orange crystals, however. Even around the are were the big chamber was located. It became a rumor in town, that the creature roamed the floor randomly, looking for any pray it could find, or a way out of the damp caves.

-----
GM Notes on the rewards:
  • Adell has a necklace which makes fatal attacks less fatal and more "oh hey that could be a problem" injury-wise. The necklace has a small ability to redirect or nullify magical attacks, to a degree. A lightning bolt can be easily dodged, but a cow-sized fireball will end in barbecued Hector.
  • Endless has a power detector/lantern. Blue means there is no one with magical energy around, while red means that the local wizardry convention is in session. The scale is solely related to the amount of magical power around him though, a demon would turn it red, while your average thief!assassins wouldn't even change the hue. The crystal itself is cut into a pendant and is a very fancy, possibly stealable, necklace.
  • Narra gets a map writer crystal clip, we don't even know what it's formal designation is, really. It basically attaches to a piece of paper, making a map of the area around her in a approximately 3 meter radius. If it runs out of paper space, it will go inactive until a it is attached to new piece of paper to replace the old one. Since the radius is set to 3 meters, If she wants to map a city, she actually has to physically transport the clip around the city.
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:08 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:05 pm

Assigned Quest 4: Engram
Quest Victim: Ben (Qara-Xuan Zenith)
You fell asleep for the entirety of the Kobold invasion! Really, you ought to be ashamed, an adventurer like you missing ALL the fun

But really, all you had to do is head down into the dungeons. You had heard about the monsters that lurked in the deeps, and decided to take a look for yourself. But, there are none to be found! The stink and rot of the vampires remains is all that is left of the first floor. Feeling dissapointed, you began to search through the treasure troves of the vampiric lair, and again, none of the treasures you were told about are there anymore. You're not the type to give up easily though, and begin to search for a way further into the dungeons labyrinthine pathways.

You may not give up easily, but you're no scout either. You quickly lose your way in the tunnel systems, and end up somewhere 'else'. No longer is the dungeon dank and gloomy. Instead it looks exactly like your hometown. You wander around, marveling at the complexity of the replica, and wondering how the hell it got down here, and who made it.

You find yourself in front of your house, and nearly jump out of your skin as someone opens the door. It's your brother, Alex! He offers to spar with you, like old times. Ian and Charlie chime in, encouraging the bout, laughing and making bets about who'll win. You are lead to the sparring ring, and smile as you and your brother take your positions

:twisted:
Quest Goal: Survive, really.
Quest Time Limit: 24 hours.
GM Notes: You're actually on the dungeons 2nd floor. (woo!) The Vampire nest has been completely eradicated(Humans and Vampires do NOT play well), and you have stumbled into an unexplored area. Also, everyone acts the happiest/best you ever remember seeing them, the point were they had the best relationship with you, regardless of current standings. (So, even if someone is your enemy now, you'd see them as how you saw them when they were your closest friend/acquaitance/reation/with elephants) Have fun, and don't die. :evil: terrible mess to clean up.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:00 pm

When Ben finally opened her eyes, her head was splitting. Why... how... why on earth did her head hurt so much, and why did this seem to happen so bloody often? She lay in bed for a few minutes, waiting for the clarity which would come with her memories of the previous day returning, since an end to the headache was obviously too much to hope for.

...Right. Hector had... challenged her to a drinking contest? The man was a tank; why would she agree to such a thing? ...Well, there had been the arm-wrestling before that, and what with his hilarious inability to understand that she wasn't a man, she just had wanted to... prove her manliness. When framed in these terms, it all made so much sense to her, even now. Ben had a good sense for when to stop drinking, but when her nominal guild leader was still knocking back the tankards of ale like there was no tomorrow, and showing no ill effects for it, well... to quit would have made her look weak in comparison, especially after he'd already bested her at wrestling, which to be honest had been a write-off from the start.

She rubbed her face with her hands... how long had she been sleeping, anyway? Ben dressed as fast as she could, already knowing she wouldn't like the answer to that from the shade of light coming in through the window. Pulling on her boots, she poked her head through the door of the room where she was staying at the inn. "Hey, you!" she called at a young man who was passing by, dressed as a squire.

"You're awake, sir," he observed. Well, at least he's gotten the memo about not calling me "lady", she thought dryly.

"Yes, about that-- what's been happening around here?"

"You didn't hear?-- oh, right, of course not. Kobolds attacked, miss-- sir. A whole band of them. Coupla heroes had to dispatch the things. Sir Hector was one of 'em." He grinned, as though this last were the best part of the piece of news.

Ben glared. "Why wasn't I woken for this?"

"Sir Hector said y'weren't t'be disturbed, mi--sir."

"Of course he did."

The boy blinked. "Sir?"

"Never mind," she told him. "Not your problem."

Weren't to be disturbed, eh? Ben seethed. Well, it made a kind of twisted sense... after all, she had recently sent someone to ensure that Hector woke up at a reasonable hour. Hector had wanted to sleep in. Ben had wanted to rise early, so it naturally followed that Hector would exact his revenge by telling the people at the inn to let her sleep. Yes, for a man who didn't know how to spell his name and was still convinced, in the face of all evidence, that Ben was a man, it made perfect sense.

She ducked back into her room for her sword, which she buckled to her belt. She looked at the armour for a moment, before deciding it was too heavy to be worth it. Instead, she threw a light mail shirt on over a leather jerkin, stuffed her gauntlets into a pocket, and left.

Ben wandered over to the town square, in the vague hope that somehow there was a kobold or two left over that they had missed, for her to fight, but, of course, no such luck.

Well, she had come here for an adventure, dammit, and she was bloody well going to get one, even if she had to hunt it down herself! Ben smiled to herself. Hunting down adventure was practically a speciality of hers.

The question, of course, was... where to begin? There was the Underground she'd heard of. From what she'd heard, the place was positively lethal to any but the boldest of adventurers. That seemed like a good place to start.

The town was busy enough, presumably cleaning up from their recent kobold attack (the thought still made her burn with indignance at being left out), that there were no scouts stationed as they should be at the Underground entrance which Hector had discovered. Perfect... Ben pried aside the wooden seal, pulling it in back after her so as not to draw any undue attention, slipping into the Underground levels of this odd place.

***

It was, well, dark down there. What did you expect, for the "Underground" floors? she snarked at herself, for lack of a more deserving companion. Bright lighting and candy? Still, visibility wasn't too good. If anything jumped out at her now, she'd be fighting blind. On the other hand, it probably wasn't a good idea to stand still in one place for too long; true, it would give her eyes a chance to adjust, but it would also give anyone lurking a chance to have her surrounded before she could see them. She forged on ahead, willing her night vision to kick it. Slowly but surely, shapes began to outline themselves in her vision. Finally, she could get some clue of her surroundings.

The walls were a dull grey stone; she could hear water rushing somewhere in the distance, and there was a dim blue light in the passageway that only served to make her migraine worse.

The floor, made of the same stone cobbles as the wall, was tracked with mud, though she supposed that that was preferable to the odd, whorling designs painted on the walls as she progressed which looked to be done in dried blood, or a close facsimile of it. The one thing she couldn't detect, though, was signs of life. It appeared that her fears coming in blind had been unjustified; the only one in the vicinity was her.

"Oh, come on," she muttered. The rumours of this place had been flying wildly-- vampires, demons, half-formed beasts-- and all she got was a dank hallway? She wanted adventure, dammit! Ben raised her voice. "Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

Okay... that was stupid. If Ian were here, he'd probably have had a heart attack by now. Still, it felt nice to at least have DONE something.

Ben walked furiously onward, making turns at random whenever she came to a fork in the passageway, in the desperate hope of finding something, anything, that she could fight. Later she would regret this cavalier approach to orienteering, but for now, she just couldn't be bothered to think about anything but scanning the area for possible opponents.

Ben was grouchy at missing out on the big fight in town, and impatient to find something to fight, and the air down here was really not helping her head, which still felt as though it had been doing double-duty as Ian's anvil for some time now. Hm. Well, Ian was pretty careful with his strokes, actually. More like the anvil of some beginner smith who thought the idea to pounding out metal was to slam the anvil as hard as possible. Slam her head as hard as possible.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bangbangbangbangbangbangbang.

She knew there was really no noise to hear, except the dim rushing of water whenever she got close to wherever that spring was, but oh god her head. It felt like she was hearing that. Being beaten out on a drum made of her skull.

Ben turned left, wondering whether her head could be an anvil and a drum at the same time. Perhaps she had to choose one. After all, it was already trying to work a side-job as a head; it would be unfair to give it too many things to do. On the other hand, it was more like a bellows, pumping in and out. Throbbing.

It was the worst, she decided, behind her eyebrows. Or maybe behind her eyes? She turned a corner. Her brains felt like overcooked noodles. Overcooked noodles which had been chewed up and then spat out. Her brains. Hurt. Gah.

When the only light is an ungodly blue glow, and there's no window to the outdoors, it is very difficult to keep track of the passage of time. The only way Ben could really measure it was by headache: gradually, the hangover migraine subsided into a sleep-deprivation migraine, characterized by an easing up in her temples in exchange for worse pain in the back and bottom of her head.

Ben yawned. However long she had been walking here, it felt like too long. She should probably get some...

She forced her eyes open as soon as she sensed them closing, glancing apprehensively about her. For all she had not come across any monsters or men yet, it would be an incredibly bad idea to go to sleep, completely defenseless, in this obviously-sinister place. The sensible thing, though she was loath to admit it, was to cut her losses, turn back, and get some sleep in a proper bed at the inn; perhaps she'd find some adventuring to do tomorrow.

Of course, turning back was easier said than done: She could remember the last three turns, maybe, that she had made, out of she had lost count how many. And every corridor in this place was identical to every other one, or so it seemed, so she could hardly rely on familiar markings to guide her back to where she had started. The best she could do was to continue to wander aimlessly, this time with a little more focus on where she was headed, in the vague hope of ending up at an exit.

Right...

***

"...Aaaoum." Ben yawned, loudly. She doubted she was any closer to the exit than when she had decided to turn back. Maybe she was further. Who could tell? Not her. She just wanted sleep, goddammit. Was sleep so much to ask?

She was sure that the fungus on the walls had been increasing in quantity for at least the past few hours. Or maybe it was just an optical illusion, from staring at it for so long.

She was thirsty, but she was more tired than thirsty. She could not remember ever being this tired. At least, on those rare occasions when she had ridden through the night to hasten her way to the end of a quest, the adrenaline had kept her going, had prevented her from noticing her own fatigue. Now, though, there was no adventure, no anticipated endgame. Just the mud on the floor, and the fungus on the walls. It hurt behind her ears.

Was it her imagination, or were the passageways starting to look in generally worse condition as she walked? Maybe it was just mirroring how she felt. She felt as dilapidated as these stones. She just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for a year. Even a month could do, in a pinch.

She blinked rapidly, recalling the moisture to her eyes in order to keep them open, alert. Oh god even her hair hurt. She hadn't even known hair could ache, but apparently it could, if one was tired enough.

The stones were scratched, the mud was thicker, even the fungus on the walls was starting to look a little bedraggled.

Bedraggled fungus. Ben stifled a manic giggle at the thought of the absurdly disjointed phrase. That was the sleep-deprivation laughing, she told herself. Her brain felt like bedraggled fungus.

Her brain felt like it was made of fuzz. Or wrapped in fuzz. Bedraggled fungus wrapped in fuzz oh god sleep...

At this point, Ben was just mindlessly turning corners, getting entangled deeper and deeper in the labyrinthine Underground passageways. At this point, she barely even cared. She barely even noticed when the scene started to change, until she could ignore it no longer.

***

Stone passageways widened, finally giving way to city streets; the rough, uneven cobbles beneath her feet slowly became more uniform and smooth. The blue glow had vanished long ago, and now she found herself walking in bright sunlight. The rushing of water in her ears was replaced by the whistling of the wind, the clank and clatter of of carriages and carts passing by on nearby streets, and the occasional raised voice from the marketplace.

Instead of just making turns at random and in desperation, Ben settled into a more familiar pattern, walking a path that her body knew well, even if her mind had not quite yet clued in. Sleepwalking, almost.

It was only when she saw the Lamadan Palace towering over her that she realized, through the veneer of sleep-deprivation, where exactly she was. Home, if only for a short while longer.

On a certain level, she knew that it should not be possible to reach her home from an underground labyrinth beneath a castle floating in the air located who-knows-where. On the other hand, it also didn't make sense for a party hat to enable a horse to cross a river, or for a trunk en route between three countries to end up in a magical warehouse far removed from all three. Since when did geography ever make sense in her life?

Still walking the beat that her feet knew well enough to do on autopilot, Ben looped around the familiar palace to the back, where the stables and training yards were. About to head in via one of her hidden entrances and get some sleep, she was startled by that very door swinging open, and who should come out that way but Alex, as though he had somehow known of her arrival and was coming out specially to greet her.

"Ben!" he cried joyfully. "What do you say to some swordplay, right now?"

She punched him lightly on the arm. "Look who decided to stop being boring."

His smile stayed on his face, as though glued there. She hadn't seen Alex grin like this in-- she didn't know how long. "That's right, no more Mr. Boring Guy. So, what'll it be?"

Ben knew that the sensible thing to do would be to take a raincheck, and get some sleep before she collapsed on her feet. On the other hand, she usually couldn't pry Alex away from his books with a crowbar, and she hardly wanted to let the opportunity go to waste when she might not get another chance. "Sure thing," she agreed.

"All right!" This came from Charlie, running out with Ian close behind him, his brown hair flopping about a little bit.

Ben did a double-take. What was Ian doing here? she wondered, before remembering that, of course, he was her brother, too, now. Charlie was the one who lived somewhere else...

"Charlie?" Ben asked. "Is everything all right with Jennifer?"

"Absolutely," he answered cheerfully, seeming to not understand her worry. "Why wouldn't it be?"

"I... Never mind." Why wouldn't it be? Ben repeated to herself, no longer able to remember why she had thought Charlie's presence here strange. Besides, how could she complain about having her baby brother here?

"Don't have a cow," he told her, shaking his head at the concern on her face. "Ready to get creamed, Ben?" Charlie joked.

"Guess so," she answered. They both knew she had never won against Alex yet.

"Hey, our Ben can hold her own!" Ian objected. "Don't make assumptions just yet!" Ben looked at him. Ian was acting like, well, like the old Ian. She wanted to think "like before anyone else came along," but she knew that things had been tense since before that. The easy way he held himself, joked, supported her, well-- it reminded her of way back when, when she'd help him around the forge, before Jeanna came into the picture. Not like Jeanna had been the one to cause things to sour...

Ben pushed the topic from her mind. She wasn't here to think about that. Right now, she would just accept that the help she'd given Ian hadn't just made him forgive her, but had brought them back to "normal", whatever normal was. Stop questioning it, she told herself. Just accept it. Just... accept...

Laughing and joking and not questioning how Charlie and Ian even knew each other, the four of them made their way to an empty practice field. When Ben reached for the wooden practice swords beside the field, Alex shook his head at her. "Why bother? We both know what we're doing. It's not like we're going to accidentally stab each other just because we're using bladed weapons."

"I guess you're right," Ben agreed. She supposed it couldn't hurt to ignore the training field regulations, since this was them, and it was true that it was easier to fight when the weight of her weapon was familiar.

They stretched, on opposite sides of the field, limbering up. Alex took his cue from Ben, who wore a mail shirt and no shield. Ben drew her sword, as the two approached each other in the centre of the field.

First came a series of passes and blocks; this wasn't so much to test the opponent, since they both knew each other's fighting styles so well, as to get into the swing of things.

Strike. Block. Strike. Block. Arc. Counter. When Ben and Alex sparred, it was really more of putting on a show than actual fighting. Charlie and Ian probably got the most enjoyment out of it.

Overhead strike. Block. Feint. Middle strike. Block.

"All right, this is fun, but I'm really tired, Alex," Ben panted. "I think it's time to call it quits."

"Come on," Alex whispered, continuing the pattern of strikes. Well, if he didn't break away, that didn't give her much choice, did it?

Ian and Charlie, watching from the sides, chimed in, encouraging her to keep it up.

"What are we playing for, anyway, then?" Ben asked, as she battled fatigue in order to keep up the game. She blinked rapidly, trying to force herself to stay awake to see it through.

During her momentarily loss of focus, Alex's sword snaked past hers, slicing through the sleeve on her left arm and drawing a thin trail of blood. A second later, she had taken control of the situation once more, assuming a defensive position. "Sorry, I guess you didn't see I wasn't paying attention there," she apologized. She knew Alex wouldn't have tried that if he thought she would let him through.

Well, not first blood, then, she thought to herself, as Alex continued to attack.

Ben kept the fight going, now gripping her sword's hilt with both hands, because her energy was draining. Something was... off. Charlie. Something about Charlie. Nothing was wrong with Charlie. He looked great, happy...

No scars. Why would Charlie have scars? No, she struggled to remind herself, as though her thoughts were wrapped in cheesecloth, He had scars. She had seen them. Plenty of scars, that would never disappear. She should be able to see them. But the Charlie she saw was a happy, laughing Charlie, not the more serious king-to-be that he had recently grown into. No scars. Where were his scars?

This realization made her remember her misgivings about seeing Ian. His marriage with Emily hadn't set things back to "normal", after all. They were friends, yes, but the nature of the relationship had changed. So why wasn't he showing it?

Strike. Block. Strike. Block. Strike. Stumble-block. Now there was a thin line of red on her right arm to match the one on her left.

"Oops," said Alex, still grinning.

Alex doesn't smile this much. He just doesn't. Even when he does smile, it's... smaller. Quieter. Not like this.

Something was off. Ben was struggling, through the coating of fuzz on her mind, to make herself see what it was. See...

If everyone was different, then, well, they couldn't be them, now, could they? So what was this? Some kind of... illusion? Ben frowned. She didn't particularly want to be trapped forever in an illusion...

But maybe it wasn't an illusion. Just because her brothers were acting a little bit odd, and had no scars where scars should be, didn't mean that she had to be paranoid. What to do, what to do...

Well, if it was Alex, then he could counter any move she made, Ben was certain. But if it wasn't really Alex, then no swordsman would anticipate her doing this,, and then this,, and then push through the fatigue to bring her sword up like this and disarm him...

Her brother's sword slipped neatly out of his grip, confirming her fears that he wasn't her brother but proving her plan's success.

"Good job," he said, coming forward to clap her on the back, but Ben wasn't listening. She vaulted over the short fence enclosing the practice area and raced to the stables. She needed quiet. She needed to think.

If this really was an illusion... then wouldn't all of it be an illusion? This couldn't really be here... but she was still seeing it. She had won the fight, but the illusion was still here. So how did she get out of it? She collapsed against the stable wall. She needed sleep. She needed to think. She needed...

You need to get up, came a voice. When Ben lifted her head to see where the sound was coming from, she realized that her eyes had closed. Blinking them open, she looked around. You need to stay awake. You need to keep fighting. No one was saying the words aloud, Ben realized. They were entering straight into her head, as though they were the holdover from a particularly strong dream.

"Fight's over," she mumbled. "I disarmed him."

Wake up! the voice insisted again. You are not safe from this illusion yet. Look. She obeyed the unseen command, to find her brothers and friend-- the illusions of her brothers and friend, she corrected herself-- walking toward her. The not-Alex had retrieved his sword, and still bore that pasted-on grin which was beginning to look positively manic.

"What are we even fighting for?" Ben asked again, tired and frustrated.

The Alex-lookalike's smile widened, against all odds, and he whispered at the same time that the invisible voice answered her. "Death."

Ben nodded. Of course. It figured. A wave of despair washed over her that had nothing to do with her fatigue, or her faith in Alex's swordsmanship. Was this how Jennifer felt, she wondered, when she had to look her brother in the eye and know he was a monster? When she had to fight him for her life? Except, of course, for Jeff it had been real. No illusions masquerading as a prince. Just cold, hard reality. Small comfort to her now, but she knew her friend had been braver than she would need to be now.

As though he had heard what she was thinking-- and why not? after all, she was hearing his voice in her head; for all she knew, she was projecting-- the invisible voice recommended, Close your eyes. If it will help you remember that it's not the real person whom you're fighting, close your eyes. It's all illusion anyway; seeing won't give you an advantage.

"If I--" Ben stopped, realizing that the illusions would hear her speaking aloud. Presumably, that was less of a concern inside her head, if Mr. Invisible was speaking to her like that. She tried to consciously project the thought at him. I'm tired enough that, if I close my eyes, I'm liable to just nod off in the middle of the fight.

I'll help you, reassured the voice. Ben was too tired to protest offers of help. Or maybe she had just learned enough from Charlie to know that sometimes it was all right to accept some. She closed her eyes, moving her sword into a "block" position. She wasn't in a bad place for the fight, all things considered; her back was still against the stable wall, so she didn't need to worry about anything happening behind her, at least.

Strike. Block. Strike. Block. Hang in there, said the voice, plainly keeping talking so that she would not fall asleep. Strike. Block. Strike. She found that, as the invisible voice had implied, she could sense her opponent's movements as well with her eyes closed as she could with them open. Or maybe that was him, showing her the shapes of the motions in her mind's eye as he could see them.

Remember, it's just an illusion.

Strike. Block. Lunge. Block. Feint. Strike. Block. Keep it up.

But Ben knew that she couldn't keep it up much longer; something was going to give. Her head was still in pain, and she had pushed her body's endurance to its limits. Well, she had her eyes closed-- time to put that to some further use.

Relying on her mental picture of where not-Alex's body was, for which she silently thanked her unseen helper, Ben stumbled to the side, as though she thought he was standing somewhere else. It was a feint, yes, but a particularly convincing one, when there was no reason to believe that she could see him, or did have any energy left. As it was, she was relying on this working, because she was using up the last of her energy on making it work.

The fake-Alex took the bait, turning to the side to finish her off as soon as it looked like she had given up. In a flash, appreciating the powers of adrenaline more than she ever had before, she brought her sword up and around his undefended left side. Not your friend, the invisible voice reminded her, perhaps sensing her hesitation. Not the person you know. Just an illusion.

"The best way out is through," she whispered to herself, knowing that if she did not end this now, it would never end. She swept the sword straight across to the right in a move which should decapitate the imposter.

That move having expended the last of her stamina, Ben slumped down against the wall, her grip on her sword going slack. As though it were coming from a long way away, she could dimly hear the sound of one person clapping slowly.

Oh god, I don't want to have to fight fake-Ian now, and Charlie. Wasn't this bad enough as it was? Still, she opened her eyes, bracing herself for the worst.

***

The worst never came. Apparently, by slaying its chief construct, she had put an end to the illusion; the vision had melted away, and instead, she found herself in a grimy but spacious antechamber, made of the same scratched, muddy stone that had formed the rest of the Underground passageways she had walked.

Before her stood a man robed in a red cloak, his face hidden in his hood and his form almost consumed by the shadows, slowly clapping. On the floor in front of her lay an approximately humanoid-creature, totally featureless, covered in a uniform grey hide. It had a bloody stump for a neck; the creature's head, little more than a grey, head-shaped ball, had rolled a few metres away. That was the thing she had killed, the thing that had posed as her brother.

Ben was exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Strange though it seemed, she missed the illusion desperately; true, it had been trying to kill her, but, on the other hand, it was her last chance at seeing an Ian who was still her best friend, a Charlie who had not yet faced trauma. She fixed in her mind that last glimpse she had had of her brother's doppelganger, his face open and friendly and unscarred.

Realizing that the man in the shadows had undoubtedly been the one whose voice had kept her awake, and, by extension, alive, Ben mumbled, "Thanks." Then she closed her eyes and slipped off into sleep. After all, she no longer had any reason not to.
Last edited by Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon May 27, 2013 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

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

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Dungeon Quest: All Hail the King!
Quest Victims: Qara Xuan Zenith, Sicon112, Adell

You have decided to go find your friend, helpless in the dungeon below you. It's a long, dull journey, mainly because you brutally disposed of all the major enemies of this area already. As you walk, you see little shadow glimmers ahead of you, and hear whispers as you pass from one level to the next.

After you find your friend, you go to leave the dungeon and return to the sunlight above, it can't be that easy, you think, and the castle never fails to impress. A legion of ghosts stand in your way, men and beast alike, silent sentinels of the dungeon. One of them, the centurion speaks to you, warning you of the king. It would be better to die by the hands of the legion, than to face the king in all his glory.

GM Notes: There is an army of ghosts. yes they can kill you, and no you can't really kill them. they phase in and out, so walls aren't an issue, though they CAN be dissipated like mist, so keep that in mind.

Also, the king doesn't command THIS legion. They are outside of his control, but still bent on murdering you.

Don't die please, I'd hate to have to fill out the paperwork.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Adell on Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:32 am

Quest: All Hail the King (Part 1)

The dead of night. Most would be asleep around this time, assuming they had nothing better to do. Sure, there were a few kids running around past their curfew, and the night watch of course. For the most part however, most everyone was sleeping. Hector could not while his friend was missing. Two full days since the Kobold attack… and still no sign of Ben anywhere. The last any had seen of him was the morning after the attack; apparently he didn’t appreciate Hector’s little joke of letting him sleep… seeing as it caused him to miss the entire battle. From what the squire had told the swordsman, Ben had gone off to seek some adventure for himself without Hector, as if to kind of get back at him for having all the fun.

At first Hector had been fine with this, but time went by and there was still no sign of his friend, and he began to worry and become anxious. He talked with anyone who would listen, guards, scouts, some fellow guild members; while he still was unable to pinpoint the other warrior’s location, he was able to narrow it down to the fact that no one actually saw him leave the inner part of the town. That left only one real place to find “adventure,” the Underground. Rushing on ahead, he returned to the fateful spot where he had encountered Luca, that now felt like a distant memory. He wondered, would the Crimson Hound be waiting for him again; was it possible he had something to do with this?

Not wanting to waste any more time, the swordsman shoved the thought aside as charged at the gate, only to suddenly be stopped as two large armoured men stepped out of the shadows. “Halt!” one loudly called, extending his hand to tell Hector to stop. Lucky for them, Hector recognized their attire as Guards from the church, and slowed his pursuit.

“Step aside; I need to go into the underground,” he responded anxiously, assuming they would abide without much argument. When the met his eyes with skepticism and even annoyance, he proclaimed, “Someone’s life could be in danger!”

One of the two guards stepped forward, clearing his throat. As if reciting from memory, his muffled voice spoke through his helmet. “Due to the recent events and entities discovered in the underground, the area has been deemed off-limits to all but those who work within the church. For both your own safety and the safety of the town, we are not allowing anyone inside that accursed place unless approved by a man of the cloth.”

“That’s right,” the other said, before speaking skeptically, “and you say someone is in danger, but we have been guarding this gate ever since the kobold attack, and no one has come in or out.”

“Someone IS down there, a member of MY guild. I’m the head of the Severed Claws, I can handle myself in that accursed place, as you call it,” Hector argued, getting angrier now. Ben could be hurt for all he knew, and these idiots were talking some kind of politics to Hector. “Last I checked, the church doesn’t have any more influence than the guilds do; what authority do you have to stop me from going in there?”

The men, feeling threatened, both placed their hands upon the sabres they carried. “We appreciate the work the guilds do, sir,” one elaborated with some nervousness in his voice, “but none of you have any training with the demons and magics that are down there. You could inadvertently cause more harm than good if you go down there, or lead something up here, right into the centre of town. This is not about rules or laws, this is about safety. The church will not let you down there, and we will use force if you attempt to do so. If you need authority, we have the authority of God with us,” he warned, carefully.

Hector’s eyes narrowed at the two. Their words did not intimidate him, nor did he care much about whatever could possibly try and stop him down there. At the same time, he was not exactly looking to just beat up a bunch of people from the church because they were trying to protect the city; he couldn’t exactly say they were in the wrong. They did not believe him on the situation, but he knew Ben had to be down there. Somehow, these guys just missed him.

If Hector was gonna get in, he’d need to get someone from the church to come too… but most of these guys could not fight, at least not the ones they had running around town. These two guys were practically shaking at the thought of even needing to tackle this giant of a man. If one of these religious guys needed to follow him, it needed to be one who could handle himself. Silently, he backed off from the two, as he thought to himself. These church guards are practically just civilians with swords… and I doubt any of the capable higher-ups would listen to me. He pondered for a moment, for his pace picked up and he went into a full-on bolt to the church, There’s only one ‘newcomer’ among them that I know can handle himself in a fight, even if he tries to hide it! Hang on Ben, I’m getting down there one way or the other!

-----------

The door closed behind Kurt with a soft click as he shut it with his now bare right hand. Tossing the pack casually over his shoulder, Kurt walked down the hallway of the cathedral, popping his knuckles. The annoying monks had only just now let him take his hand out of its cast. Sure, three days wasn’t very long time to heal from broken bones, but with persistent use of holy water and healing magic, it hadn’t even taken that long. Not that that stopped the monks leaving their cast on for a while longer “just to be sure”.

Snorting in annoyance, he rounded the bend in the hall and headed for his room. At least they had repaired his shroud, and probably renewed the blessings on it as well. They had already been worn out over years of consistent use, so they probably needed it. Along with that, they had polished and sharpened his sword for him, which he didn’t particularly have a problem with. Sure, he could have done it himself, but why pass up free help? Well, it wasn’t really free, in the end, a fact demonstrated aptly by Kurt’s current situation. The monks, upon hearing about his little adventure in the underground, had immediately made him prepare a full report. It was like being an Executor all over again, which made sense considering that was his cover story.

Mentally grouching to himself, Kurt stepped into the hallway to his chambers, where his partially written report lay on his desk. At least they let me get my hand out of that cast...

Located in his home base, and inside a church at that, Kurt had no reason to be paranoid of the janitor’s closet halfway down the hall, directly opposite his room. So, like any sensible person, he ignored it and turned his back on it for a moment while he reached down to open the door. That turned out to be one of the less smart things he had ever done with his life.

“Urk--” Kurt let out a noise of surprise, cut short by the sudden lack of air as a huge hand clamped down on the back of his suit collar and yanked him backward. Before he could even protest, he was already halfway down the hallway as his attacker dashed for the exit.

“Come on, Kurt!” the ‘attacker’ yelled out, as if Kurt knew what he was talking about. With a crash, the man holding him rushed through one of the exits through the church, knocking over a few passersby in the way. Kurt himself flopped around like a rag doll in this giant’s hand, much to his annoyance.

For a moment, Kurt remained silent, eyebrow twitching erratically as he realized at least some of what was going on. “Oh, all right, that’s it.” Kicking off a passing wall, Kurt flipped himself over the man’s head, causing the other’s grip to falter as Kurt’s flight twisted his arm. Landing lightly on his feet off to Hector’s left, he dusted himself off calmly, adjusted the strap on his pack, and then sent the swordsman he had met a few days ago a withering glare. “You know, I would really love to know just what you thought you were doing.”

“Augh, there’s no time for this!” the bigger, green-haired man said with a tackle to Kurt, lifting him over his shoulder in one swoop. “Don’t you get it? He’s in danger and I need your help!”

“No, I most definitely do not get it, and if you don’t put me down right now I will crush your windpipe.” The priest was getting fed up with this situation fast.

“You’d probably re-break that hand on MY windpipe.” The man teased, still moving. “I’ll put you down, but you need to follow,” Hector ordered, loosening his grip on the man to put him down.

“That’s why I have brass knuckles,” came the deadpan response to Hector’s first remark. Landing once more on his feet, the priest revealed he was perfectly able to keep up with the much larger man, not seeming to exert much effort at all.

The larger man grinned at the threat, commenting, “Fair enough.” The two rounded a bend, and began heading down the familiar path toward the underground. “It’s Ben,” Hector finally explained; “he disappeared into the underground, and your annoying friends weren’t gonna let me down there. So I need you to let me in.”

Kurt had been intending to point out that he had no clue who “Ben” was, but the moment he heard the word “Underground”, he skidded to a stop. Listening to the rest of the man’s statements with a serious, cold expression, he responded. “Good. They shouldn’t have let you in. That place isn’t somewhere even adventurers should be going.”

“Adventurer, commoner, it doesn’t matter to me. My friend is in danger, and I’m going to help him. I’m not gonna let someone die because it ‘isn’t safe’ for me. That’s ridiculous.”

“Are you even sure that this friend of yours got into the Underground, or are you just running off on a wild guess?”

“Of course I’m sure!” the man bombastically retorted. He was not, of course, but he didn’t care to argue on that fact at the moment; it was the only lead he had.

“Really? Why?” Kurt remained completely emotionless as he looked at the swordsman in front of him, but his mind was whirling. If there was someone down there... he would have to go see for himself. Even if it wasn’t sure, he would need to check, just in case. Still, there was no way he would let someone inexperienced go down there, too.

Hector gritted his teeth, not wanting to waste their time over this. With a sigh, he admitted, “Look, he’s been missing for nearly three days now, I’ve asked around and have narrowed down the search to where he’s either in the underground or far off into the first floor. If it’s the second, he’s a bigger fool than I would have thought, because he didn’t bring any rations or supplies with him.”

“Fine then. You go get supplies and a search party together and go looking there. I’ll deal with the Underground.” Kurt began to step around Hector and head for the door. Might as well get this over with... His moves were halted, however, by a hand that came upon his chest, keeping him in place.

“You’re not listening, are you? He’s not out there, Ben isn’t a fool. He would have never left without supplies. He’s in the underground.” Hector’s eyes narrowed as he looked down at the priest. “That means I’m going there.”

“You aren’t going anywhere. If you try, I’ll just have two people to drag out of there instead of one, and believe me when I say I won’t be very happy about that.”

“...You’ll have that problem one way or another. You can try and go alone, by I’ll be right behind you. I was being nice to your friends, but they couldn’t stop me from getting in there even if they tried.”

“Perhaps not, but I know a few ‘friends’ that could, and I’m perfectly capable of holding you here until they show up.” Kurt slipped past Hector and began to head toward the corner that would lead him to the blockade. “There are things down there that you can bash with a sword all day and it won’t do anything to help you. Unless you know what you are doing, trying is pointless.”

Hector walked up beside the priest, arms crossed. A knowing grin crawled across his face, one from plenty of years of battle experience. “You think me some common soldier, I suppose. I’m not offended. You’re right, the things down there are dangerous, dangerous for one man to go alone, whether he be a man of the cloth or not.” Hector eyed the man’s right arm carefully, “Your arm’s looking a lot better, but we both know no magic can make it work at full health this quickly.”

“While it’s apparent that you know I’m not just a priest, I don’t think you quite understand what I can do.” He sent another glare Hector’s way. “I work alone. Period. The things that are down there are nothing I haven’t faced before. Creatures like that won’t be able to stop me. However, unless you intend to serve as target practice for them, you won’t be so successful.”

“A very confident man.” Hector reasoned with a nod of his head, “I can respect that in a warrior. Heh, but while you... apparently know that I’m a swordsman, you don’t quite understand what I can do.” The giant man gave a cocky grin, clearly mimicking Kurt’s words. The two would continue moving toward the gate, perhaps instinctively. “I’ll gladly be the target of your enemies, if it’ll keep that frail body of yours from falling apart. As long as we get Ben out of there, that’s all that matters to me.”

“Determination won’t make your blade kill what it cannot harm, but I suppose you will be a useful distraction. Very well, you can travel to the Underground on one condition and one condition alone. If you won’t accept that, I’ll ensure you won’t be going anywhere very soon, no matter how much trouble that will take me.” He turned to face Hector fully and spoke his order. “You will follow my every command immediately, and without any hesitation. If you ignore me, chances are you will die down there, and it will be on your own head. Is that clear?”

“Fine by me.” Hector shrugged rather nonchalantly. This wouldn’t be the first time Hector needed to listen to the commands of another; he certainly did not prefer it but he would accept it if he needed to. “Like I said, I’m just trying to get my friend. Just don’t lose that silver tongue, otherwise I won’t know what to do,” the man joked. “Now are we moving, or what?”

“Very well.” Kurt whirled to the guards, who had looked up at the approaching duo, and spoke in his booming voice. “You will allow us to pass on the authority of the Executors. This man will be traveling with me in search of his friend. Open the gate.” The men stumbled a half-hearted salute, before scrambling to unlock the gate for Kurt. Upon the title of ‘executor’ they did not dare question the order. “If we do not return in seven hours, prepare a party in search for us as well. Chances are, we’ve been pinned down by something down there.” He gave one last order and strode past them, into the darkness. “Now, Hector, prepare yourself for combat. It’s time to search.”

“I always am,” he responded instantly, following one step behind the priest.

In the darkness, a thump echoed as Kurt dropped his pack to the ground. He had only just had his equipment repaired, but it seemed unavoidable at this point. The dim light from the entry behind them shone on Kurt as he drew forth the first item from his pack. A flurry of crimson fabric soared through the air and blocked him from view for a moment, before his repaired shroud settled around his shoulders comfortably. Strapping his sword horizontally on his back beneath the cloak, Kurt ignored the slamming of the door behind him and removed one last item, slipping it quietly beneath his robe. He already had some of the steel cable he purchased the previous day hidden on his person, but the rest would probably be needed. Pulling on durable leather half-gloves to protect his palms from the wire, he stood. “Stay quiet and keep your weapons ready at the slightest sign of an ambush. Come on.” Leaving behind the sound of rustling fabric, Kurt ventured into the passage.

Hector merely fastened the strap that held Ivory’s sheath to his back, and checked that his recently received Axe was still within the satchel on his side. With a nod, he would follow Kurt, his eyes scanning the area carefully, not just for signs of enemies, but for signs that could potentially lead them to Ben.

---------------

The two had traveled for a few hours by now without any fanfare. Both were able to pick up on subtle trails, like footprints left behind in the moisture of the stones, that led them to believe they were following Ben’s path. The paths she seemed to have taken were random; there were at least two times when they merely circled a hallway before ending up down some other direction. They finally emptied out into a larger room: this one was rectangular in shape, with the back wall completely missing. Chains lined the walls, and the tops of the left and right walls had two large holes carved into them, possibly unnatural in nature. Where the fourth wall would have been lead into a recently created path it seemed, as the debris of what was once the wall covered the floor. Darkness, however, prevented them from seeing any further into it.

“Looks like she was heading this way...” Hector muttered to Kurt quietly. “There’s only one direction to go here, though. What do you think? A trap?”

“No, at least not on purpose. There is something out there, though, if I’m not mistaken.” At that moment, there was a small clattering noise as some small bits of rubble were jostled from place across the hall. Kurt let out a noise of annoyance, apparently having glimpsed something. “Naga. Great.”

“Nagu? ...What?”

“Like a centaur, but with a snake. I ran into some in the Northgarlad mountain range a few months back. A brood infested one of the passes and no one saw fit to let me know.”

At that, Hector’s mind imagined a large horse with a snake where the horse head should be. “That seems...oddly humorous to me.” He responded, deadpan. “What’s the best strategy with them? Attack the hooves or something?”

“...” Kurt blinked, silently looking at the other swordsman. “...I’ll just let you find out for yourself. Judging by the fact that they haven’t swarmed us yet, these just must be scouts. Probably from a brood down a level looking into the space that cleared up around here.” Kurt glanced around and found a partially-collapsed pillar, the top of which was barely even standing at this point. “Go push that over and get their attention. I’ll catch them by surprise.” Not deigning to explain any further, Kurt climbed smoothly up the chains on the wall behind them and vanished into shadows.

“Heh, at least he knows what to do with me.” With that, Hector stood tall, removing the giant sword on his back audibly. “Alright, Ivory, let’s fight some horse-snakes.” He paused. “Never thought I’d ever say that. Not that it sounds any sillier than Nagu.” Tightening his grip on the blade, the man wasted no time to charge directly at the pillar. From wherever Kurt had gone, the sound of the blocks crashing down would echo to him, as well as anything else that might be listening. It was certainly attention-grabbing.

Which was just what the scouts were listening for. In an instance, four large creatures poured out from the holes up near the ceiling. The bodies of female women, the large tail of a snake, the scaly creatures hissed at the green haired man; their snake-like appendage whipped at the ground, cracking the stone below. Hector seemed to pout in disappointment as the creatures showed themselves to him, before yelling out to those who could hear, “Hey... HEY! You said Centaur! Where the hell is the horse part!?”

The answer he received was the quick pounce of one of the monsters as it launched itself several feet toward him. Colliding with the broadside of his weapon, it was surprised at how the man managed to both hold his ground and even begin pushing the creature back. The other three began moving to the sides of the room, preparing to pincer him between all of them at once. “Not a bad plan,” he grunted out, before swinging Ivory hard enough to push the first Naga back from him.

The sound of fabric flapping in the wind suddenly reached the combat zone, and with a roar, Kurt came falling from the shadows, swinging down on a glinting steel wire. Crashing feet first into the lead Naga, he cut off his descent that was just starting to become freefall as the end of his wire far above began to fall back down. The sheer momentum of his swing sent him flying sideways and clear of the area as he turned his flight into a flip and landed at exactly the same time the collapsing ceiling fragments rained down on his enemies. “Now get them while they’re stunned, Hector!”

Before Kurt had even given his order, Hector had removed a hand from his heavy sword and grabbed hold of the axe at his side. With a flip of the wrist he put it in the perfect position in his hand to throw, which he did. The axe spun through the air gracefully before catching the Naga he had pushed back right in the abdomen, causing it to roll to the ground in pain as the weapon dug into her.

In that moment, however, one of the others managed to get behind. Its tail wrapped around him suddenly and forced him to drop the heavy sword to the ground before it got squeezed into the man. Its head whipped forward before biting down into one of his arms, causing the man to clench his teeth in pain. Meanwhile, the first Naga worked up the will to remove the object lodged in her, and held it herself. It looked like the plan had become to keep the swordsman in place while the other used his own axe against him. “I’ve never been one for hugs,” the man wheezed out, before he finally worked up the strength to make his counterattack. His elbows pushed against the monster’s tail, once again catching the Nagas off guard by what he was capable of.

The axe-wielding Naga attempted to not waste the moment, and immediately charged at Hector, preparing to swing the axe down upon him. It was too late, however, as the man used his immense strength to break the hold on him. From there, it was just a simple duck to allow the axe to slice into the head of the other Naga. Hector then used the opportunity to send an uppercut to the other one to force it back once again.

“Never try and use a warrior’s own weapon against him like that.” The man grinned, before his hands fell upon the tail of the fallen Naga. “...Now their allies? That’s a different story.” With that, he lifted the large corpse from the ground, heaving it over his body like it were a great sword all its own. With a charge, he whipped the monster forward, smashing it down upon the other one, forcing both to the ground. Quickly he ran up, removed the axe from the first one, and used it upon the other, separating its head from its body. “Nice work... Zorica.” Catching his breath, he raised his head toward Kurt was, seeing if his side of the fight had been taken care of or not.

The clash of blades answered him even before Kurt came into view across the rubble field. His dao gleamed in the dull light as it crashed again and again against the weapon of one of his opponents, a strange thing made of what looked to be bone, but was certainly far more durable than it should have been. Flicking his wrist, Kurt swapped his mode of attack, twirling the blade that had previously been held backward to a traditional grip as he sent another relentless barrage of attacks into his enemy almost too fast to see, and was rewarded with droplets of blood flying through the air as numerous small cuts appeared on the naga before him.

Twisting a slash into a one-armed handspring over the sweeping tail of the second, Kurt slipped out from between the two serpent beings that had tried to trap him. Landing and jumping again at the same moment, Kurt escaped another tail strike and landed on the coils of the naga with the blade, slashing a large gash into its back before it could react, then flipping back over its head again, taking another cut from its shoulder before landing in a crouch in front of it and spinning with a lunge to finish the job.

Steel met serpent-flesh, but unexpectedly, the creature survived for a moment longer than anticipated and managed to send Kurt launching backward as the Executor lost his grip on his blade. The second, now enraged naga took the opportunity to finally connect with its tail and smacked Kurt back in the opposite direction. Righting himself and skidding along the ground for a moment, Kurt caught his balance.

“Quick, use your brass knuckles!” Hector yelled out from the other side of the room, as he was running over to retrieve Ivory from the ground.

The other man, too far to hear, or simple beyond caring, ignored Hector for the moment, and instead dropped his right hand to his side. “Sorry, but I already prepared for this, snake.” So saying, he began to spin his hand, and a steel cable hissed through the air beside him, humming ominously.

The naga let out a warning hiss and leaped forward, but Kurt was faster. Cable flew through the air and the counterweight at its end wrapped around the serpent’s neck. However, as it was, there wasn’t any easy way to kill the creature like that, only slow strangulation. Kurt, though, was not finished. Sending another cable whirling from his left hand, he hooked one of the chains high on the wall and ran up the side of the vertical stone, pulling himself by the wire as he went, before launching into a backflip. Landing on a flagpole jutting out from a pillar that had probably once held a banner of some sort, Kurt leaped forward a second time, out into empty space. He flew forward, fell, and pulled the cable taut with his own weight, yanking the naga from the floor violently, even as he swung back around with the pendulum motion of the wire and snapped its back by crashing into it. Neck and spine shattered, the creature simply hung limp as Kurt once more landed on the ground. One flick of the wrist later, the suspended serpent fell down beside its comrade.

Hector arrived as Kurt was reclaiming his sword. “Huh, Flashy. Nice work.” The other man complimented on the finish sincerely, “But you could have probably just punched it a lot with those brass knuckles you mentioned having and done just as well.”

“Tch. I didn’t bring any brass knuckles with me this time. I don’t even use them.” Wiping the blood from his blade, Kurt slid it back into its sheath.

“Oh?” The man laughed, assuming then that it must have been some idle threat Kurt had made at the time, and nothing more. “Well I suppose a hundred feet of steel wire is just as good... I think.” He rubbed his chin in a moment of thought, before he began examining the room once again. “Not bad, Kurt. I was worried these things might crush you for a moment. Clearly I underestimated you and your frail body.”

“Get used to it. That happens a lot. Usually bad things happen to the people that do, so I suggest you break that habit before it really sets in. Let’s keep moving.” Kurt turned on his heels and headed for the far wall.

“Haha, and I suggest you just take a compliment, friend!” The man laughed off the attitude Kurt had sent his way, seemingly unaffected by it. “No need to puff your chest out all the time, tough guy, I got the idea about three days ago in the church.” Bringing Ivory back within its sheath he stretched a bit, looked over the minor injury he had received on his arm, and followed the other swordsman toward the exposed wall. The two stepped over what was left of the nagas and eventually got as far down the path as they could go, but the debris had gotten too condensed making it impossible to simply pass through it.

“Wait here.” Before his companion could respond, Kurt started leaping up the face of the rubble with amazing agility, before landing lightly on top and glancing around. Making a hand motion also signaling for Hector to hold position, he vanished over the top of the rocks. A few seconds later he reappeared. “Come up here. There is a passage that opened up when all of this fell.” A thin steel wire fell down before Hector, and Kurt tied it off at the top. The other man gave a nod and accepted the wire, using it to make the climb upward easier.

Kurt untied the wire from the boulder he had fastened it to, then motioned to the back of the rubble, where it sloped downward in a hill of loose rocks, at the end of which was a hole in the floor where the ceiling below had caved in. Once both were ready, they slid carefully into the open passage and emptied out into another series of branching paths. Hector took a step forward, examining the room for signs of movement. Feeling the damp floor, he could see light traces of some sort of fungus on the ground, which made seeing the footprints left behind by Ben a bit easier to make out. “Can’t be that far behind, these look pretty recent. Looks like he got here from a different path than us, though... odd.”

“It doesn’t matter. Let’s start moving again before we run into more trouble.” So saying, Kurt stepped past one of the small growths of fungus that were spread here and there across the walls and into one of the side passages which seemed to lead deeper into the dungeon.

“So, Nagu, vampurs...what else should we be looking out for?”

“Who knows? This place seems to be a general collection of everything nasty the world has to throw at people. I wouldn’t be surprised to find hellhounds, spectres, demonic puppets, possesed former adventurers, and generally everything dealt with by necromancers. I already found cursed suits of armour, ghouls, and gargoyles the last time I stopped by.”

“Augh, Necromancers.” Hector groaned, thinking back to some other fights from his past for a moment. “You ever fight a werewolf? I had to once back a few years ago, tricky bastard, that one.”

“It would have been easier on all involved if you had just called in the Church. When you have a few scriptures prepared beforehand, battles like that don’t last long.” Kurt made an odd expression as he spoke, though, seemingly annoyed about something.

“I can imagine. That...” he paused, “wasn’t exactly an option for me.” The man scratched the back of his head, thinking of a way to shift the topic. The underground did the work for him though, as a stench started to fill his nostrils. “Bleeeeh...” He growled, “Damn it Kurt, the hell did you eat? Is this how you perform your exorcisms? ‘Cause it’s certainly expelling something.

“It seems to be coming from this fungus.” Kurt motioned to the small growths that were now quite a common sight. “I started noticing it when we dropped into the tunnel. Apparently, you weren’t paying attention.” He didn’t bother glancing at the other man, and merely moved on ahead.

“Some people just can’t take a joke,” Hector sneered. “I noticed, all right. It’s been a lot easier to track him with all this crap on the ground.”

“Some people just can’t tell a joke. There is only one way to go, anyway.” He pointed toward the large archway in front of them. “I imagine that probably helped your tracking significantly.”

“I can tell you what’s not,” Hector laughed, patting the shorter man on the head.

“Good. I never intended to help you. I have had no problems finding my way on my own so far.” He stepped into the large room and looked around him. On the far end, another archway led into a second chamber, but all that could be seen in the dimness was that it was large. They managed to cross about half the distance to the opposite door before both of them suddenly halted, as if realizing something at the same time.

“What the hell...?” Hector’s eyes squinted toward the end of chamber, but he wasn’t quite sure what he was seeing. It was like looking into a deep fog, with the flicker of lights and sounds that one shouldn’t be hearing from the inside of this place; it was like a bustling city or something.

“Turn around and go back. Now. Get back to the opposite end of the room.” Kurt’s voice was suddenly very serious as he stared forward.

“What are we dealing with here?” the man asked cautiously, checking their back to make sure nothing else was coming. Beyond that awful stench, they still seemed to be alone.

“I’m not entirely sure, but whatever it is, it is projecting some kind of nasty illusion field. If you go any farther, you will be pulled into its trap and I won’t be able to get you free.”

The man nodded his head, understanding the gravity of the situation. “Ben’s probably in there... are you gonna be able to get in?”

Kurt considered for a moment, then responded. “Yes, I believe I can. This shroud of mine isn’t just a piece of cloth. With its protection, I should be able to withstand the illusion long enough to find what’s causing it and get rid of it. Until I do, and you see the illusion over there collapse, you wait here. Now, go back to the other side of the room.”

The other man nodded, removing Ivory from his side in preparation in case something got in the way. “I’ll make sure we have a way out,” he reasoned, as he moved back to where they came from. Kurt tightend the lace around his cloak and prepared to enter the mist; however, both men stopped in their tracks as something large fell from the ceiling above, up till now going completely unnoticed by the two. Crashing in front of the priest, Kurt barely rolled out of the way as a large pile of... what appeared to be the fungus from earlier landed in his way. The creature was bulbous, shifting in size and contorting its shape. Random objects seemed to have fuzed with it, debris from the ceiling, swords, bones... and a cow, still alive and mooing... how’d they miss THAT? Hector pulled the other man to his feet so the two could quickly distance themselves from the creature. “All right, what’s THAT?” Hector asked, quite annoyed this time.

Kurt responded in perfect deadpan. “It seems to be a ferocious amalgamation of fungi intent on devouring us.”

“Huh, and what does that mean?” the man replied, his voice almost just as deadpan. “Ya know what... whatever, all we need to know is how to stop it. What do we do?”

There was a pause for a moment as Kurt looked between Hector and the monster. “...I have no bloody idea.” An instant after, apparently homing on the sound of their voices, a limb shot out from the central mass in an attempt to crush them, but Kurt shoved Hector to the side and leaped the opposite way, leaving a cloud of flying wire behind him. Landing from his jump, Kurt gave a yank on the ends of his cable and the steel clamped down around the arm, slicing through the fungus smoothly and severing the limb.

As Kurt finished his attack however, he was surprised as the creature merely fired off another limb in response to the man’s attack. Hector rushed in front of and cut it down with a mighty swing from Ivory. “Get going,” he said simply, giving a trusting nod of his head to the other man, “I’m counting on you.”

Kurt sent another nod back toward Hector, then dodged around him, dashing straight for the monster. A cloud of limbs and spikes shot out toward him, but he didn’t slow his dash and slipped through the cloud of attacks in a crimson blur. Before the monster could try and attack him as he retreated, It was met with bash in its... face, if one could call it that, by the broadside of Ivory, causing it to flail backward away from Kurt.

Hector’s eyes narrowed toward the absurd creature that molded and twisted near him. “This is gonna be interesting… I’ve fought a lot of things in my life… killed a whole lot more. This, however, will be the first time I’ve fought a… what would you call it, Ivory, bedraggled fungus or something like that?” If Hector wasn’t so sure this thing was a fungus, he could have sworn he had heard it roar to him in response as its body twitched. Pieces of the monster seemed to just slide off, collide with the ground and reattach at the bottom. The poor Cow in the back of could only flail its freed hoof up and down and moo in fear of whatever was holding it.

The large man raised sword in a defensive position. “…You ready, Ivory?” he whispered to the blade, a grin crawling across his face.
If you ever need to ask the questions "Am I needed? Should I help them?" The answer is always yes. Always.
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Adell
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Sicon112 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:36 am

Quest: All Hail the King (Part 2)

Kurt strode quickly through the large, cave-like area he had found himself in. While the other rooms appeared to be crafted, it seemed that this one was more natural in origin. As he walked amongst the shadows, he could feel the illusion slamming into his mind, and sometimes the world around him twisted and blurred for a moment. However, the flowing crimson of his mantle washed all clean in the next instant. Whatever was causing this, it was strong. He had been quite surprised at the power which his now-repaired mantle now held. It was as though the fabric had been returned to the state it had been in in the old days, when he had received it as a new gift.

A sound reached him from far across the chamber, loud and sharp, though diluted by the distance. He knew it well. The clash of blade upon blade grew ever louder and ever more ferocious as he approached the site of the combat. He had no doubt that he had reached his goal, and also the source of the illusion.

Not wishing to be noticed, Kurt stuck to the shadows, slipping ever closer between the natural rock formations dotted through the cave. Climbing across a ledge that ran behind a miniature waterfall, the Executor slid down a slanted hill and landed behind some rocks within sight of the battle. Sure enough, a human adventurer was crossing blades with a featureless thing that was a single, uniform shade of grey. If it hadn't been moving, it would have been near impossible to see amongst the rocks. A predator that stalked you silently until it trapped you within its illusion.

Well, what now? Kurt considered his options. The adventurer was tiring before the other creature's constant assault, and he could hear the person speaking as though to someone that wasn't there. They were definitely trapped inside the illusion then. Of course, he could approach the thing himself, but the area around them was too open for a surprise attack, and if it focused on him, there was the chance that it would be able to overwhelm his shroud for a few deadly seconds. Wait, the adventurer was tiring! That was it. He could already feel how the illusion worked, the pounding sensation against his thoughts as it attempted to break in. It was an internal illusion that shifted perceptions, as opposed to an external one that shifted appearances. Such a thing could be very dangerous, but it also had one glaring weakness. If those perceptions could not correctly do their job, such as during unconsciousness or complete exhaustion, then the illusion could not fully deal with them.

It was at this moment that the adventurer broke away from the creature, whose blade, made of some strange material, went flying to the side. Turning and running, the person disappeared behind a nearby rock cluster. Kurt moved quickly. This was his chance. Rounding the corner to meet with the weary fighter, he found them sitting against a boulder, panting for breath. As he approached, he was surprised to find that the person in question was not, as Hector had led him to believe, male, but instead was a woman. Shrugging that aside for now as unimportant – perhaps he had the wrong person, but they were not in any less need of saving-- he approached as the adventurer's eyes closed. “You need to get up.” Her breathing was slowing. He had to get her attention. “You need to stay awake. You need to keep fighting.”

The fighter blearily opened her eyes and looked around, but could obviously not see him. Muttering as she tried to rest again, she responded to him. “Fight's over. I disarmed him.”

“Tch.” Kurt made a sound of annoyance. Then deciding that even if he drew the attention of the creature, he needed to make this fast, he raised his voice. “Wake up! You are not safe from this illusion yet!” The girl's eyes snapped open and turned to face something behind him. He spun as well, only to find the creature hissing violently at him as it approached. Well, it seems it was a moot point anyway.

However, his shout had worked; combined with the creature's approach, it had caused the adventurer to regain her feet once more and step forward. Kurt also reached a hand for his blade, but the mental assault suddenly redoubled, so he gritted his teeth and stood still. He wants me to wait my turn, it seems.

“What are we even fighting for?” The question came from the adventurer as she took her combat stance once more. The creature turned its blank face toward Kurt for a moment, and hissed in an almost smug manner as the Executor responded calmly.

“Death.” The answer seemed to distress the exhausted fighter, but she remained in stance. Kurt suspected the contents of the illusion that had been cast on her, but did not concern himself with them. One would fall in this standoff, and he was determined to make sure it was this thing. “Close your eyes. If it will help you remember that it's not the real person whom you're fighting, close your eyes. It's all illusion anyway; seeing won't give you an advantage.” The creature sent him an angry hiss. It didn't seem to appreciate interference at all.

“If I-” The adventurer began to protest, but stopped. Kurt guessed at what she had intended to say.

“I'll help you.” The thing wasn't at all happy about this, but since Kurt's mental discipline and shroud were still protecting him too well for it to invade his mind easily, it leaped at the adventurer instead. Blade clashed against blade, and though the creature was surprisingly quick, the exhausted adventurer held her own, countering every slash. Her skills were formidable. “Hang in there.” She was almost there. If she could keep fighting like this, fighting seriously, she would gain the victory. “Remember, it's just an illusion.” Blades clashed once more, and a flurry of blows caused sparks to fly through the air. Then, with a stumble, the adventurer moved to one side. Anyone less experienced at reading the flow of combat would have fallen for the feint, but Kurt saw what would happen a moment before it did as the creature leaped forward. “He isn't your friend. Not the person you know. Just an illusion.”

With that final word of encouragement, the adventurer slipped through the creature's guard, and with a single mighty slash, beheaded it. Kurt watched the thing fall to the floor as the adventurer slumped against the wall in exhaustion. Slowly, he raised his hands and clapped calmly. The adventurer seemed to hear the noise even in her current state, and raised her head for a moment, glancing at the shadows where he stood. “Thanks.” With that muttered comment, her eyes closed and she passed out.

Kurt looked around the cave-like room that they were now in. There was no sign of Hector. He was probably still dealing with that thing from before. Oh well. The man knew well enough what he was doing to handle something like that, and the size of his sword was always helpful against the larger monsters one could come across. Making up his mind to wait, Kurt sat down on a rock nearby and listened quietly for the sounds of someone approaching.

-------------------------

Hector skidded along the ground, his weapon blocking another strike from the monster. He rose to his feet and slowly circled the creature, which followed his movements by twisting its shape. After he moved a certain distance, an appendage grew out of the fungi, and shot forward like some sort of geyser. With expert timing, the man managed to dodge the initial strike and capitalize on it, too; one twist of his arms and overhead swing later and the appendage lay on the ground, easily separated. The monster roared and responded by growing several more limbs almost instantly, firing all of them at the swordsman at once.

Hector, not expecting it to create that many at once, only managed to slice one of creature’s ‘arms’ down before the other two smashed into his chest. “Oof!” he growled as the appendages pushed against him, and launched him into the nearby wall. The fungus that comprised the arms actually seemed to, in a way, fuse into the piece of leather over Hector’s armor. With each second that the arms stayed on him, their ‘growth’ expanded over him. The green-haired man refused to let that happen for longer than it needed to, and brought his sword diagonally upwards to free himself and send two more arms to the ground.

The man’s eye twitched as he looked at the fidgeting body parts on the ground, clearly grossed out by what this thing was doing. He peered back over to the panicking cow, lamenting, “… Is that what happened to you?” His attention returned to the disgusting sentient mold which increased in mass for a moment, as if inhaling, and ‘spit’ out a volley of objects that had become lodged within it over time. Hector was struck with pieces of bone, broken weapons, and maybe even a mug of ale, though the last one might have just been wishful thinking on his part.

The attacks connected, but weren’t really any more than a mild annoyance to the large man. He instead took the opportunity to rush through the incoming objects and swing Ivory like a bat through the centre of the creature. Ivory cut clean through it, of course, but it didn’t seem to do any good. The large open scar in the monster closed within seconds, and Hector was rewarded with the monster spinning itself around, causing the… cow attachment to whip into the man and send him backward onto the ground.

Damn, some form of regeneration. He cursed to himself as he leapt back onto his feet. The swordsman had to begin running around the creature as soon as he got back up, however, as it charged right at him, using the cow as some sort of battering ram. Hector reflexively rolled to the side of the charge, just barely avoiding the mass colliding with him. Seeing another opportunity, he stabbed Ivory deep into the side of the monster, in an attempt to push the cow out of it to safety. It only caused more arms to spawn from it, however, and fired into the man while the stab wound closed in mere seconds. Taking hold of him, it swung him right into the stone floor before trying to drag him into itself. Removing a hand from Ivory, he went for his axe once more and brought it down on the arms one by one to free himself. Working fast, he pulled himself to safety just barely out of the monster’s reach. Scrambling back to his feet, he put distance between himself and the abomination as best as he could; being on the menu for a fungus was not exactly a part of the swordsman’s plan.

His attempt to save the cow wasn’t all for nothing, however; briefly, before the warrior had been knocked away, he had caught sight of something deep within the wound he had given it, red and pulsating. Some sort of organ perhaps… he reasoned. When I cut it, that core seemed to activate some sort of ability for it to regenerate the fungus around it. …All right, that’s our best shot, Ivory! The swordsman repositioned himself, placing his axe back at his side and once again holding his blade in a more defensive position. “Let’s go!” he taunted.

The fungus creature twisted itself once again with a roar, before it barreled toward the man once again in an attempt to consume him. This time, however, Hector knew what he was going to do. Just as the monster got within range, he dashed forward himself to meet it head-on. Using his sword carefully, he pole-vaulted himself just high enough to land on the most solid portion of the monster… the portion attached to the cow. With a careful series of swipes from his massive weapon, the cow soon found itself rolling across the ground once more, free.

Just as the bovine hit the ground, Hector leapt from it and used a heavy overhead swing to cut right down the middle of the fungus, using both the weight and his height to add a high amount of momentum to his swing. The creature, far lighter now with the cow removed from it, nearly exploded into two pieces from the impact. His attack continued however, as he slid the weapon underneath the light mass like a spatula. With a roar of his own, he fired the mass up into the air with all of his strength. As it descended, he sent two full-body swings into it, leaving piles of fungus all over the place. The core finally exposed, it soon found the powerful man’s hand clamped around it before it was ripped away from the remaining fungus.

The red orb of mass pulsated in Hector’s hand; it was like some kind of heart. Each time it pulsated, the fungus around it seemed to react, desperately trying to reattach with it. It was likely that the fungus itself was never really the monster, but merely some sort of protection this… thing was using. “It’s time to end this,” he proclaimed, as he tossed the heart up into the air and grasped Ivory back from the ground. With a single upward swing, the core popped into a gush of red liquid and the fungus around it finally became… docile.

The man grinned from a job well done, ripping off any remaining pieces of the monster that still lay attached to him. “Whew…!” He was taken by surprise, though, when he felt pressure against his stomach. “Huh?” the swordsman questioned.

“Moooooo!” was the excited answer he received, as the cow he had managed to rescue nuzzled its head against the man’s waist, clearly showing some signs of affection toward its savior. Hector couldn’t help but laugh, but accepted the gesture by scratching behind the animal’s ears.

“Heh… Sorry that took so long. …Why the hell are you down here, anyway?” the man wondered aloud, examining the animal. It was largely unhurt, but smelled awful thanks to being stuck to that monster. “Hmm, I’ll have to worry about it later. Sorry little guy, I’ve got friends to help,” he explained, nudging it to go its own way. “Till next time!” Hector explained cheerfully, as he returned to the path to catch up to Kurt and (hopefully) Ben. Unnoticed, the cow simply trotted behind him just as cheerfully, clearly not understanding what the man had said.

-----------------

Kurt could hear the clatter of Hector’s armor before he came into view around the rocks, so he stood to meet the swordsman. “Over here, Hector.” Stepping out from the cluster of boulders that had hidden both himself and the adventurer, he called out to the man as he came into view. “Took you long enough. I was starting to get bored.”

“Sorry, sometimes I have a little too much fun and get distrac-” His voice was interrupted, as the cow rounded the corner and went up beside him, once again nuzzling its head against his waist. “What the... I told you I had to go! Why did you follow me?”

“What is that doing here?” Kurt arched an eyebrow and sent an annoyed look at the creature.

“Moooooo.”

“Ahem,” the man cleared his throat, embarrassed, “It... uh, seems to have taken a liking to me after I freed it from the fungus.”

“Moo.”

“Whatever.” Kurt decided that it wasn’t worth dealing with at the moment. “Just leave it. I found someone. Is this your friend over here?” He motioned back into the rocks, where the adventurer was lying.

Hector looked over toward where Kurt pointed, and rushed over to his fallen friend. “That’s him alright,” he confirmed, kneeling down next his guildmate. He was definitely still breathing, but Ben looked absolutely exhausted; not surprising, considering how long he was down here. “...Thanks.” Hector sighed out in relief.

“Mooooo...”

Kurt noted the use of the male pronoun in Hector’s speech and looked at the clueless swordsman. “Riiiiight. Fine then, are we ready to get out of here, or would you like to take a nap like you friend here?”

“I thought we agreed you were carrying us both out?” Hector joked, flashing a toothy grin.

“Watch your mouth, or I’ll leave you down here with your fan. And you,” Kurt turned to the cow. “shut up.”

“Moo!” The cow seemed to shun the priest, moving over to Hector and Ben instead.

Hector only laughed, and scooped up the sleeping warrior they had come for. “Alrighty, let’s get going.” His eyes fell upon the cow once more, “Uh, stay,” he tried to command. The cow’s face remained rather dumb-looking, clearly not understanding. “...You’re not coming with us, I’m sorry.”

“Moo.”

“Right...” Hector sighed, “Let’s uh, let’s just get going, okay?”

“Fine by me. I think I saw another entrance to this cave in this direction. It looked like it headed straight up.” Guiding the way, Kurt started heading off toward the other cave wall.

--------------

The gentle motion of Ben's dreams slowed, then stopped, the waves ebbing away into nothingness. When at last the motion ceased altogether, the stillness jolted her awake.

Ben opened her eyes. She... this was not her bedroom. This was not any bedroom. It was dark, and dank, and stone, and oh god what happened last night? "Once," she grumbled, "just once, I'd like to wake up under normal circumstances, with perfect recollection of the nothing-of-note that happened the day before. But noooo..." She cleared her throat; her mouth was surprisingly dry.

As she tried to remember something, anything, to shed some light on where she was and how she had gotten there and what was going on, a man in a vaguely-familiar red cloak went sailing over her head, shouting as he went, "SHUT THE DAMN DOOR!" Ben glanced up in time to see a blur of green hair as Hector-- was Hector here, too? what was Hector doing here?-- complied with the order.

A moment after the stone construct slammed shut, a brilliant blue circle lit up on the inside, and energy flickered across its surface. Hector and the other man watched intently, but a moment later the blue field in front of the stone began to buckle inward as ever so slowly a spectral blue face pushed its way into view. “Not good! Hector, grab your friend and head for the back door!”

“Hhhuuup!” Hector grunted as in one swift motion Ben went from the ground to up over his shoulder, the man not even realizing ‘he’ was awake. “Damn ghosts!”

Ben didn’t have time to be surprised at the man’s suggestion, before she was up in the air. “What? I can bloody walk-- Put me down this minute, you giant oaf, or--” Ben coughed; her throat was really dry. Clearly, shouting was not going to help her. Instead she banged on the man’s back furiously, to no apparent effect. She occupied herself with silently enumerating all the painful things she would put Hector through as soon as she was back on goddamn solid ground.

“I can’t believe there’s just an army of ghosts down here!” Hector yelled out to Kurt, too distracted to notice Ben, even as she struck his back over and over. “We should have just gone down the path we came here from.”

“You will be saaaaaaaved!” One of the apparitions yelled out behind them, swinging a blade in its hand wildly. “Saaaaaved from the horror of the King!”

Ben’s head hurt, and with a view of little more than Hector’s back, she really could only guess at the context to what she was hearing. Part of her wanted to respond and ask which king, exactly, was the one under discussion, but the pain in her throat told her it wouldn’t be worth it.

“I think not!” The red-cloaked man shouted back in response as he whirled around, blade glinting oddly as it approached the ghost. Surprisingly, the clash of swords that resounded sounded as though one of them wasn’t just a spectral image. His blade deflected, the man flipped backwards, whirling the counterweight on the end of what appeared to be a steel cable to slice through the flying ghost. A flash of energy lit the air, and the spirit split in half and dropped away as it tried to re-form its body, buying the group some time.

Rushing on through the gradually-widening corridors, they came to a bridge which spanned over dark, murky waters inexplicably running through the passage. Somehow, the ghosts had arrived there ahead of them, and at least a dozen poured from all directions, twisting around above them and dive bombing them one after the other. The man in red dashed back and forth, deflecting one after another from Hector, who had one hand holding Ben. They had almost reached the other side when one of them crashed down onto the centre of the bridge, wielding a staff and declaring, “YOU SHALL NOT PA--”

The spirit was cut off as the other man, dashing up beside Hector, withdrew a vial from under his cloak and splashed the gleaming liquid within into the ghost’s face. “Now!” Hector increased his pace, and with a single charge, shoulder-checked right into the spirit, which, apparently corporeal enough now to feel the impact, was taken by surprise and went toppling into the dark waters below, burning away from the effects of the holy water on it.

“Looks like we shall,” Kurt commented dryly, as the two men dashed the rest of the way across the bridge.

While the remaining ghosts were momentarily occupied by examining their fallen comrade, Kurt and Hector took advantage of the opportunity to round the corner, turning through several passages seemingly at random until they found themselves in a slightly larger corridor. Panting, they leaned against the wall, Hector absentmindedly allowing Ben to slip slowly from his grasp onto the floor.

“See, this is what I was talking about when you insisted on coming. Not much good a blade is going to do us now.”

“You’re the one who decided to lead us down a different path. You just haaad to pick the one with the legion of dead guys.”

“It wouldn’t have mattered. I spotted some scouts regrouping with the main force as we ran. They probably had lookouts all over the place.”

“Suuuure ya did.”

Ben blinked, still trying to make sense of her surroundings, and spied a small bottle of water rolling out of the man's cloak. Water!

She grabbed for the vial, uncorking it hastily. She gulped half of it down in a rush, then poured the rest over her face to wake herself up. Ahhh... Ben looked around again, this time processing things properly as her mind jolted into alertness. The other two stopped their bickering in shock, as they both realized what Ben just did.

“What do you think you are doing!?” the man in red yelled at Ben, whirling on her furiously.

Ben stood, glaring at him. “Exactly what it looks like. Drinking water, because apparently neither of you two goons thought that the dehydrated unconscious person might NEED some!”

“That happened to be in use at the moment, seeing as it was the only thing that was stopping that horde of psychotic undead from killing us! I’ve barely got any left now, thanks to you!”

Ben raised an eyebrow, assuming a cocky expression. “Well, now you’ve got me here to stab them, so giving them a bath is less essential. And as for you,” she continued, reverting to an even angrier tone, rounding on Hector, “What in God’s name is WRONG with you? NOT only have you once again failed to wake me up in a timely manner, but you think you can go around CARRYING me?” She seethed at him for a moment as though lost for words, before finishing, “You’re damn lucky we’ve got those ghost things to stab, or I would be seriously contemplating stabbing you!”

“Stabbin’ them is currently the problem, Ben.” Hector coughed out, trying to just get away from the rest of ‘his’ complaints.

“You might as well go stab the air over there, for all the good that your sword will do.” The second, unfamiliar man snarked, moving around the room they found themselves in and examining it.

“Who are you, anyway?” Ben grumbled at the red-cloaked man. She was dimly aware that he had somehow been involved in her encounter with fake-Alex and co, but that felt like ages ago, considering how badly in need of sleep she’d been, and as far as she could recall, he’d never introduced himself then, either.

“The reason you are still alive, and the reason this guy actually made it down this far to find you.”

“Oh, thanks ever so,” Ben responded witheringly. “Bit of a long name, that. I’ll just call you ‘The’ for short, then, shall I?”

Hector snickered to himself at Ben’s response, trying not to burst out laughing.

“Feel free, just don’t be surprised when I don’t come to bail you out next time around.”

“‘Bail me’...” Ben seethed, knowing that, considering the circumstances under which they’d first met, she could hardly call it an inaccurate assessment, and despising him on principle for having seen her at her worst. “Don’t worry,” she settled for, “it’s mutual.”

“I prefer ‘the’ actually, but his actual name is Kurt, Ben.” The man said, still laughing over his words. “But we still have a ghost problem to deal with for now, we can talk about all this later. How much holy water do you still have, Kurt?”

“‘Curt’. How fitting. And you fight with... water? How do you make your water holy, Kurt? Do you just think pure thoughts at it really hard?” Ben didn’t bother to keep the condescension from her tone. ’Holy water’? Really?

“Actually, it’s through a complex bit of thaumaturgy that I could explain if I felt like it, but somehow I doubt you would understand.” Kurt didn’t bother turning to look at Ben as he answered. “Unfortunately, I’m almost out now because someone saw fit to waste most of what I had left, and I need some fresh water if I want more.”

“Yes, I can’t imagine what kind of idiot would assume water is for drinking. Silly me.”

“Fresh water...” Hector repeated, sounding as if he were in deep thought. In the back of his mind he remembered back when he had encountered Luca not too long ago. The arena for their battle had that flowing waterfall within it. The man’s eyes darted around their current position, trying to see if he recognized their position. While they weren’t exactly close, he could see in the distance the same pipelines that had led him to that room the last time. “I have an idea.” He lifted his hand up, pointing to the pipes trailing the ceiling of the room. “If we follow those, we’ll eventually empty out to a room that runs right under a waterfall. Fresh water from above. If you can bless it, we can lure the ghosts right into it. If we can get there, we’re only a few minutes from the entrance.”

“You want me to bless a waterfall.” Kurt glanced at Hector like he was crazy, but paused in thought. “Wait, if I get some help, I think that might be doable. How long would you say we’ve been down here? Over seven hours if I’m not mistaken.” Hector nodded in agreement on the timeframe.

“Yes, you’re so charming,” Ben commented. “Why shouldn’t you be able to bless a waterfall, through sheer force of personality?”

“Excuse me, could you be quiet while I do something useful?” Turning to Hector, he addressed him. “If it’s as easy to get there as you say, then you head on and find the guards at the door. They should have gotten at least one more capable monk and moved to find us. Lead them back to the waterfall and tell them the plan. I’ll delay the ghosts.”

Ben stared at the man, an eyebrow raised in disbelief. “You’re actually going to say your magic words at a waterfall? And you call that useful[/i}? Right,” she said, turning away from Hector, who, to her amazement, agreed with the plan and went to retrieve the guards they spoke of. “Well, if that’s what we’re doing, then we need to [i]get them there, don’t we?” Without waiting for a response from the obnoxious man, she cupped her hands to her mouth. “Hey ghosties! Why so shy all of a sudden? We’re ready and waiting for you to come and do your worst!”

“Is sssssshe serious?” Ben heard, a ghost muttering in the background to the others.

Kurt cast her a dark look. “Shocking as it is, I agree with the ghosts on this one. What are you thinking? Or are you thinking?”

She didn’t bother to look at him as she gave her reply, instead drawing her sword and stepping forward to greet the approaching apparitions. “You want to try luring them someplace without getting their attention first, be my guest. From my experience, it’s hard for someone to follow me if he doesn’t know I’m there.”

“Well, if you insist on getting their attention before you are ready for it, don’t let me stop you.” Kurt shrugged and readied his blade.

“Hey, you’re the one who wanted to mumble at the waterfall,” Ben pointed out lightly. “I don’t know much about casting holy spells, but I’d imagine it would be more useful if you didn’t arrive at the same time as your enemies. So how about you run along to take care of that while I do some real work and keep them here a while?”

“If you wait too long they will get you surrounded. Start falling back before then.” He turned and slipped his sword back under his cloak. “I don’t know how many you saw, but there are definitely over a hundred still after us, and they can phase through walls, so watch your back.” With that, he turned and dashed off.

Ben positioned herself a few steps into the hallway down which the priest had just disappeared, sword at the ready, as the first of the ghosts began to approach. It glided swiftly down the hall, and she swung the weapon around to slice it under and up. The creature flew back from the force of the blow, scattering into mist before it re-formed at the far end of the chamber she had recently left.

Two more came along, hot on its heels; this time, Ben gripped her sword’s hilt two-handed, holding the blade perpendicular to her body before she thrust it forward, knocking back both ghosts at once. She rearranged her grip in time to slash in a quick diagonal down-and-up motion at the next to approach.

More and more ghosts, or the same ones again, came at Ben as she settled into the rhythm of her attacks. Where she stood, the passage was narrow enough that she fully impeded passage; the ghosts were filling up the wide chamber, but only so many of them could squeeze into the four feet of narrow hallway in front of her at a time. Hack; slash; cut; thrust; she whirled her blade across and up as she deflected ghost after ghost back into the room, sometimes three, even four, at a time.

Of course, her opponents also had a learning curve, and they were adapting to her attacks, forcing her to grow ever more inventive with her swordplay. They’d already learned, it seemed, which angles made it easiest for her to block them, and were swooping in from almost-overhead now, forcing her to stab them from below and allow them to re-form right in front of her before she could send them flying backward once again. She knew that the ghosts’ improved tactics would cost her valuable time; she needed to hold them here for as long as possible, but they were rushing forward ever faster.

Slash; stab; hack; cut... Three at once, four at once, five now facing her... The ghosts were getting smarter again. There wasn’t much space in the corridor to face off against her, true, but there was more space available to them. Ghost appendages began reaching through the walls. In addition to the ones coming up in front of her, now, there were ghosts on either side, ghosts overhead... Ben knew better than to believe she could face off against this many number of enemies singlehandedly, and if she wasn’t careful, they’d use the walls to get behind her, and cut off her only means of escape-- and victory. They hadn’t thought of that tactic yet, and she didn’t intend to give them the chance to do so.

Hoping that it had been long enough-- it had certainly felt long; she had long since lost count of how many ghosts she had pushed back-- she dealt one final sweeping blow to deflect all the ghosts immediately surrounding her, then turned her back on them. Her instincts shrieked at her for allowing an enemy to be behind her, but she repressed them, running as swiftly as her feet would take her in the direction of the rushing water she could hear. She still gripped her sword tightly in her right hand, just in case.

It was with an immense sense of relief that she finally reached the room with the waterfall. Ben’s eyes followed the huge pipes along the far wall to the streams of water gushing from them, staining the rock wall a darker, mottled colour, to the surface, where the waters rushed along in a narrow river which reached horizontally across the room to the opposite wall, where it seemed to vanish into the abyss. There was Kurt, in the middle of the river the waterfall fed, holding an odd t-shaped pendant in his hand, muttering to himself. Past him, on the far riverbank, knelt three men, two armoured and one in black robes, all three chanting in an ominous, foreign language, their voices echoing around the room. Closer to the wall with the waterfall, Hector stood, cradling his sword in his hand as though it were a favourite child.

“Ben!” He called out, “Get over here, we need to stick together!” He encouraged his friend. “Oh, uh, be careful though, it’s slippery!”

“Stick together. Yes, the Power of Friendship will undoubtedly expel all the ghosts,” Ben muttered sarcastically. This had damn well better work, she thought, casting a suspicious eye on the frankly-creepy religious rituals taking place.

“Oh, just get over here, would ya? I’ve had enough sarcasm for one adventure.” The green haired swordsman laughed back.

With a deep breath, Ben plunged into the river, grimacing as the freezing water soaked her up to her knees. Wading naturally slackened her pace; by the time she reached the other end, she had slowed to a walk. Climbing onto the bank with a scowl of disgust about the water now sloshing around in her boots, she turned back to watch the onslaught of ghosts. If this doesn’t work, I will stab that smug, self-important creep... or, well, I would, except they’ll probably eat him or whatever first. Some comfort that will be.

The horde of ghosts came ever closer, too much momentum gathered behind them to match her lightened pace even if they had wanted to do so. Closer they came... closer... Ben tensed, gripping her sword tighter as though that would do anything if this plan failed to work. Well, she could stab the priests. But that wouldn’t be particularly useful or productive.

Grey eyes snapped open. The lead wall of ghosts, of which there were easily over two hundred present, flew over the edge of the far bank and reached the water, their blue, spectral bodies appearing as a tidal wave approaching at ridiculous speeds. Kurt’s voice boomed out, reverberating through the massive chamber as the three praying men fell silent, and the blessing was complete. “Holy Sacrament of Blessing! CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD, YE NOT GUILTY!

The cavern lit up as though the sun itself had appeared before them, and Kurt vanished into the brilliant golden light. Water was hurled high into the air by the force of the spell, shimmering and gleaming with holy power so that in a few moments, the whole fall was blinding to look upon.

When the light died, the cavern was once more empty of spirits, and the water flowed along its original course, though it still seemed to carry an odd light within its depths, as though some of the spell still remained. The red-cloaked form of Kurt stumbled to the bank, barely managing to make it even that far before he collapsed in a wet heap, completely spent from exertion. The two armoured men slumped against a rock nearby as well, which the robed monk was having trouble regaining his feet.

“We did it...” Hector stated the obvious, though it was more disbelief that it actually worked. “I guess you could say... they never had a GHOST of a chance! AAAAHAAHAAHAA!” Hector proclaimed with the biggest grin he had all day.

In response to her guildmate’s comment, Ben very calmly walked over to him, removed her boots, and emptied the sewer water from them onto him. Hector merely let out a small whimper, like some sort of sad puppy.

“Come on,” Ben told him. “The freak show’s over, and now we have to carry all the actors out, since they apparently didn’t think of maintaining any strength to leave under their own power.”

“Don’t... write me off just yet.” Kurt slowly raised himself up on one knee. “Not nearly as bad as the first time I tried that. Though, I’m not really sure you can get any worse than frying all the nerves in one limb.”

Ben evaluated the scene for a moment, before marching over to the now-standing Kurt. “Need a hand?” she asked. “Someone to, ah, ‘bail you out’?” She raised a mocking eyebrow as she offered him her arm for support.

“Sure, I’ll accept this time.” Kurt’s voice was amicable, but the smirk slipping across his face was dripping with smugness. “But seeing as I just bailed you all out again you still owe me one.”

“Well, consider it repayment of my debt by me not just dropping you down the waterfall for being an arrogant jerk,” Ben suggested generously. “That way, I don’t kill you, and we’re both quits.”

Kurt just smiled mysteriously and revealed his hand, which was holding a coil of garrotte wire. As he slipped it back into his sleeve, he answered. “Somehow I don’t think that’d go as well as you think, but I’d rather not end up stuck in the underground with someone I just managed to help out of there, so why don’t we drop this? I’m too tired to deal with it at this point.” Not saying anything else, he accepted the help.

“Let’s go, you two,” Hector called out to the two guards who still looked exhausted, barely capable of standing. “Huuup,” he grunted as he hoisted one over his shoulder, “Alleyoop,” he called out as the other was thrown over his other shoulder.

“Uh that’s okay,” One coughed out, “I can walk.”

“Nonsense! Look at you two, barely holding it together!”

“That’s... ‘cause you’re hurting my baaaack.” the other one complained.

“I’ll meet you back at the church shortly, Brother Konrad,” the Monk called out as the swordsman passed him by, catching his breath. “I expect a full report on this... situation,” he mentioned, giving an annoying look toward Hector.

“You need help out, too?” Hector called over to the man, noticing that he was being stared at. “There’s still some room on my back!”

“No...” the monk claimed, “I’m trained for these situations. I will make sure there is nothing left behind that could endanger the town.” The man rubbed his forehead, regaining his composure from the effects of the spell. Saying nothing more, he walked toward where Ben had entered from, with the intention of investigating.

“Suit yourself,” Ben called back to him, giving a half-shrug with the shoulder not occupied in supporting Kurt. Walking slowly to match her companion’s pace, she followed the guard-laden Hector out toward the light of day.

Hector, upon exiting the Underground, immediately just let go of the two guards and let them flop near the gate. “Thanks, guys! Now back to work, you two,” he laughed.

“... hate you,” one muttered.

“We should seriously ask for a transfer,” the other commented.
Last edited by Sicon112 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Normal people are the easiest to manipulate. Too smart and they have an annoying tendency to catch wind of your plans, too dumb and, in the words of a certain pirate, "You can never tell when they are about to do something incredibly...stupid."
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Sicon112
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Pixelmage on Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:22 am

    Trip Rewards:
  • Qara-Xuan Zenith ~ The ring is now unsealed & Portable Canteen.
  • Adell ~ Weapon Blessing: Zorica.
  • Sicon112 ~ Holy Shroud.

That was some expedition. Things seem to be even more dangerous than last time, uh? That will teach people to avoid seeking the underground dungeon in the future. Hopefully.

-----
Qara's ring offers some illusion disruption, similar to Adell's necklace, it doesn't stop magic but makes illusion-type spells look somewhat off, preventing Ben from completely falling into the illusion. The canteen is pretty straightforward. What? She demanded water, didn't she? :P

Adell's is a blessing on Hector's axe. No special effects come from it, but this means that Zorica can hurt ghosts now as well as the usual fare.

Sicon's mantle is also simple, offering a holy-aura that works like a low level ward. Unlike a ward, it won't completely stop unholy effects or avert monsters, but it mitigates the effects and slows them.
Last edited by Pixelmage on Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:18 pm

Adell wrote this. >_> He really is evil.
Underground Quest: The True Self

Victims: Fade and Anji

Time limit: 2 days from now. (so around 9:00 on friday)

Not the best way to start your day for either of you. Somehow, you're not exactly certain how, you have awoken within some unfamiliar section of the Underground. Vague memories of some sort of struggle is the last thing you remember before waking here. This is bad on multiple fronts; the church, city watch, and the guilds have been trying to form some sort of agreement about entering and leaving the underground for the safety of the city, and you two most definitely did not go down here without anyone’s permission, which is bound to effect relations. What’s really bad, though, is that you woke up in the Underground. Find your way back out, but be wary, the shadows are watching you…

GM Notes: Your shadows are not your own, but some sort of demonic creature. These creatures hide in the shadows of their prey, which allows them to learn all there is about them. Once they probe the mind of their prey enough, they become a twisted physical form of the real individual (Skill/abilities and all), and use what they know about who their mimicking against them, with the ultimate intention of killing them and assuming their role. Expect lots of manipulation of emotions, and revealing aspects of their personalities that the real you isn't proud of. Usually, a monster like this would be way out of the league of adventures this early into the castle, but it seems like these weaker versions were planted on you intentionally while you were asleep… and don't forget the usually terrifying riffraff down here. (Wow the gm note is longer than the mission prompt, whoops)
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:29 pm

Dungeon Quest 6: The True Self.

Anji woke up with a pounding headache. This was unsurprising, as the last thing she remembered was her room in the inn being tossed, as well as several men in cloaks running around, hitting people. “Zi? Where’re you?” Anji called out softly. Oh, crows. Anji jerked into a sitting position, wincing at the pain that pounded behind her eyes. The dank walls were lit every few feet by torches that dispensed inky black smoke. Glancing around, Anji saw Julius leaning against the wall, rubbing a knot on the side of his head.

“No emerald doors.” He said without moving. “Not yet, anyway.”

“If I see those damn doors I might scream.” Anji said, then added. “well, maybe not scream, the way my head is pounding... But you know what I mean... Who jumped us anyway?”

“No idea. Didn’t see anyone suspicious, and the inn is rather busy... Hard to sneak up on someone in there.”

“Well, where are we now? This place isn’t familiar to me, and I’ve been all over.”

“Damp, dark and ominous. Looks just like that underground labyrinth they were trying to map out some time ago.”

Standing, Anji looked around the cavern. “Well, they sort-of left us in the middle of nowhere, the idiots.” Glancing at Fade, she asked, “You okay? You look a little pale.”

“Not too bad, but the ribs aren’t fully sealed yet.” He replied while taking account of his inventory. “Whoever left us here was generous enough to leave all our equipment with us... Anyway, you missing anything? How’s your shoulder?”

“Hurts a bit. I should be fine so long... Ah well, you know what they say about tempting fate.” Anji grinned, looking through her satchel, scattering random trinkets and dull knives as she found something new. “Oh, look, this is new!” she said, holding up a folder of papers with a grin.

“New?” Julius frowned. “Too dark, to read it here I guess... But why give us something new?” He muttered to himself.

“Well they obviously want to see us dead at some point, maybe these papers implicate us in something... Or maybe these people really are stupid and told us who they are, bit of a calling card... Salvantas’ guild maybe? He always struck me as the vigilante type.” Anji said, squinting to read the print under one of the torches.

Julius listened in silence. Her ideas made sense, but regardless of which one... If any of these were the case, it meant trouble. Furies, don’t let this be anything worth dying for. “I think we should move. We can read it once we’re back in the inn... Staying down here seems like a bad idea.”

Slipping the papers back into her satchel, Anji pulled out a few knives, and said, “Want me to move on ahead? If there’s anything too big I can get out of the way faster, and you’re in no shape to be fighting anything.”

“Fine. You’re better at spotting traps too, but be careful and try not to dash away from sight, please? It’s bad enough being here without being split up.” He paused, before adding. “Look out for blue crystals embedded in the walls too. According to the map I read back in town, they are located around the entrance.”

“Since when’d you become the boss, eh? I’ve got this, don’t worry.” Anji said as she began walking ahead, carefully peeking around the edge of each corridor before moving on. “I don’t like this, at all...” she said as she walked through an ancient set of doors, her shadows lengthening and stretching to close the doors with a slam. “Fade?!” Anji yelled, whipping around to face the doors.

He heard the scream almost at the same time as the noise of the doors shutting themselves violently reached him. “Don’t move away! Stay close, we’ll get it open. I’m fine on thi-”

“Shouldn’t say so much without being certain of it. Idiot.” His own voice resounded behind him. He turned to face whatever it was with his sword already drawn, but hesitated to attack. Behind him stood... Himself. But also different. It wasn’t Fade, as he presented himself ever since before coming to the castle, it was Julius, the proud member of the Royal Guard, wearing his white and black tunic, over blue cloth. A proud knight in appearance, but his demeanor was... Wrong. “Oh, no. Not know, Fade not know you.” The second Julius commented in a perfect imitation of Julius’ usual masquerade.

“Anji. Minor problem. Stay around. Talk to you soon.” Julius said, the rooms were close enough that she would hear him, provided she was still there. He locked himself into his combat stance, staring at his imitation.

--

“Yeah, sure you will. Have fun!” the imposter said as Anji stood, speechless. “I supposed you’d be down here in the sewers. It fits a rat like you.” The image flickered, then reformed. It was an Anji who’d never been a thief. She was dressed in a lieutenant's uniform, smiling smugly at the real anji’s ragged, patched clothes and scars. “and to think you had such potential, I’ll be sure to correct that.”

“You- you... You’re m-me.” Anji stuttered, hearing the sounds of Fade talking on the other side of the door. “Now listen, I dunno what you are, or what you’re doing, my friend’s in danger, and you need to get the hell out of my way.”

The imposter gave a manic grin as it blurred, reforming into a likeness of Zi, “Like you protected me? Planning on holding him for ransom too? You’ll have a harder time of it, Fade is not a mage without powers.”

“I’m... I’m not LIKE that anymore! I don’t even...” Taking a deep breath, Anji squared off against herself... sort of. “Alright, if its a fight you want.” Running at her opponent, Anji went to make a slice at the other her’s ribcage. Of course, the imposter wasn’t harmed. Laughing, the lieutenant took out her saber and neatly disarmed Anji, and with a push, slammed her against the wall on her bad side, causing Anji to cry out in pain.

--

Julius stood unmoving. Focused. Much like himself, Anji was most likely facing a similar threat. He wanted to help, but assuming his match could fight like he could, in the same manner that it looked like him, being careless would mean death.

“Always the silent type, uh?” The copy teased, not bothering with the masquerade anymore. “You always pretend to be oh-so-stoic... But you’re an idiot. A bigger one than the one you pretend to be!”

“...”

“Wait, no... Maybe that’s genius! You fool everyone into thinking you’re actually smart with that act! But you can’t do anything, can you, disgraced knight?”

“...”

“You see, it is your bleeding fault that-”

Julius leapt at the intruder, a long lunge was always easy to dodge, but the timing of his opponent’s breathing was off mark. The imposer still managed to parry it effortlessly, rolling to the same safe distance again before continuing.

“That’s what I’m talking about! Never open your mouth during a fight! Ha. Like that’s ever something you can use to beat yourself with.” The imitation flashed it’s teeth. “Jumping on yourself to silence what you don’t want to hear... Could you be more predictable? Pretty please? I’m having a hard time here!”

“...”

“I am your shadow. Your true self. You cannot hide from me, and you cannot defeat me, because you and I are one and the same!”

Still no response from Julius, who only sustained his guard, staring at the self-proclaimed shadow.

“Julius Valerian. Honor shield of the Royal Guard. Knight by merit... Murderer of his liege and traitor of his country.” The shadow smirked. “Still unwilling to fight? Do you finally admit that you killed the young prince? Well... No need to admit that to me, I am you, after all. I kno-”

“Do you have any steak on you?”

“Wha-” The shadow flinched at the interruption for a very brief moment, more than enough for a second attack. This time the timing was adequate, albeit not perfect. The shadow dodged, if only barely, earning a shallow cut to his left cheek in exchange for avoiding a killing blow.

“Less talking, more fighting.” He commented before the shadow could get to his feet.

Enraged at the lost exchange, the shadow complied. Both warriors clashing at extremely close quarters, parrying each other’s blows in a perfect rhythm, for minutes the only sound to be heard in the room was the ringing of the metal blades. Each impact releasing sparks of mixed white blue and black streaks.

The warriors parted, both breathing harder. The shadow broke the silence once again. “It’s pointless... Even if you act like you don’t care... Even if you act like you’re not guilty.” The comment accompanied by a renewed wave of attacks. Julius lost ground, the colored sparks flying with each parry, but still scoring cuts and creating bigger windows in Julius’ guard. “You. Are. Worthless.”

Another ring of clashing steel, the room fell silent and, suddenly, the shadow stepped back. A second erratic step backwards, Julius’ sword attached to his gut. He fell to one knee, looking up at the man whose shadow he was. Julius himself was covered in shallow cuts, his ragged cloak even more ragged and starting to drench with blood. Once again the shadow broke the silence. “How?”

Julius finally spoke. “Yes, the the young prince’s death lies over my shoulders, and yes, I did betray the Royal Guard by teaching him how to use a sword. If he had not fought the three assassins himself, neither of us would have survived. It is shameful for a guard to live longer than his master. It is a betrayal of the oath I had made... You want to know how I could defeat you? Simple, you didn’t fight. You wasted your time spewing half-truths hoping that it would cause me to surrender. But if you were me, if you really were something that understood just who the hell I am, you’d know that...” He pulled his sword out of the shadow “That’s not how I fight.” He whirled the blade, removing the shadow’s head cleanly from it’s shoulder.

He found himself leaning on the wall for a moment. Too... Fast... Too long. Furies, I don’t like fighting myself. The chest pain returned, the effort of sustaining that fight catching up to his accumulated damage. He pushed himself up, picking up the fallen shadow’s sword along with his own and walked toward the doors. The body of the creature was no longer there, his shadow appeared normal. Not over yet. Anji’s still out there... I. Am. Not. Failing. Again.

--

Anji’s eyes narrowed, she had heard the entirety of Fade’s battle, the imposter had made sure of that. Her manic grin of triumph widened as she saw Anji’s will begin to crumble. Then she heard the sounds of fighting stop, and Fade seemed to win. Not safe yet, I dunno who won. The handle of the door shook as one of the Fades tried to enter. The imposter began a slow, menacing laugh, enjoying the fight. “Let me finish up in here! and I’ll let you in.”

Anji and her shadow glared at each other for a long moment. The blade of the saber was at Anji’s neck; a slow trickle of blood oozing as Anji narrowed her eyes. A loud series of clashes sounded in the room before, evidence of a swordfight. That idiot had BETTER be all right. Anji thought as her other self smiled. “Looks like the rats have been caught. It’s what you deserve anyway, people died for you, you know... Such a shame that so much effort.” The monster paused, looking Anji up and down, “was wasted on someone like you.”

Grabbing a pair of knives out of her satchel, Anji ducked and spun away from her shadow, sending knives to hopefully meet their target. The shadow easily swept them away with a single swing from her saber. Grabbing another pair of knives, Anji began sparring with herself, twisting and looping.

The Saber was larger than the two smaller hunting knives Anji used, but the smaller blades gave her the speed she needed to break through the shadow’s guard. The saber flashed though, and soon Anji was covered in smaller cuts and lesions, while her opponent received little harm.

The shadow began to fight seriously, the manic grin replaced by a stern scowl. She pressed Anji back, forcing her to defend on her good side, then feinting and striking her hurt shoulder. Dropping her knives, Anji fell to the floor in a heap.

“You lost everything in a single night, because of a little girl you didn’t have the stomach to off. It would’ve been a kinder fate for her, now she has to live with you. She lost her entire family for a failed mission that didn’t even come to completion. You not only failed your group, but you failed to be a thief entirely.” Anji fell to the ground, quivering, as the uniformed shadow stood up and straightened its uniform back to perfection. “You’re not even worth the effort it would take to kill you. Spineless little cretin that you are, I suppose you’d leave anyone behind to save your own skin.

Anji said nothing, and let the shadow continue to berate her. Then, standing, she looked up to face her demon. “I. Am. Someone.”

“I see that the wall scum has decided to talk.” The Shadow sneered, then waved for her to continue speaking.

Anji began to speak, then faltered. Then she ran at the shadow, and gave it a hug. The shadow reacted appropriately, flailing its arms and yelling, “Hey, you. Little. Creep. GET. OFF.”

Anji let go, and stared at her adversary. “I did mess up. I don’t remember all of it... But you’re right. I did fail. But I’m not going to fail again. I want to be better, and the only way to do that.... well, I’m not exactly sure of how to become less of a failure.. but I think trying helps.”

The shadow looked at her with a menacing glare before it began to shrink and deform, twisting back into a black shadow. Panting, Anji fell against the wall, curling into a small ball.

A quiet knocking began, echoing through the chamber. Anji didn’t move, instead making her self into a smaller ball and yelling. “Go, ‘way!”

Julius was sure the fight was over, and that the lock on the door was on the other side. He wasn’t sure about what to say or do, however. Taking the doors down would both be an awful idea and probably wreck what’s left of my body. Thank you very much for thinking that, brain. He slid down the wall by the door, might as well get some rest. “I guess you heard everything that went on over here, right?”

Anji looked up towards the door, hurriedly wiping away tears, “Yeah... I did... Was it.... Did you really... Did you really let that princeling die?”

“It was my duty to guard his life. But, I disagreed with how I was ordered to do that...” Julius decided to tell her the whole story. “My orders were simple, and the same as every other guard of every other place: ‘protect him’ or ‘protect the civilians’ or... Well... ‘Protect anything’, really. But I don’t think a person can really protect someone else. I could fight for him and die in his place. I’d gladly do that, it was my duty as a guard. But... What if I wasn’t around? Could he always count on someone else willing to be his shield?” The memories flooded his mind. “I’d die to save his life, but without me, there was little he could do. I disagreed with that, I would shield him and I’d be there for him, but he needed to know how to take care of himself... So I taught him how to fight, against my orders and the rules of my kingdom. And sooner, rather than later there was an attempt on his life, three assassins managed to slip past the security... The young prince saved me, his vassal, the one who was supposed to die. If he didn’t fight by my side at that moment, both of us would be dead.” He fell silent for a moment before continuing. “All three assassins fell to my own blade that night. It’s the only reason I wasn’t executed back then. But I disgraced the name of the Royal Guard, betrayed an oath I had made. As a result, I was exiled as a traitor. It’s the reason I lived as Fade for so long... Before coming to this castle, the name Julius Valerian would only draw scorn and misery. No matter how much I tried to atone for my sin.”

Silence echoed throughout the caverns for a long moment before Anji spoke up, “I suppose you heard it all?”

“Yes.”

The aging door opened with a creak. “Well, come on. We’ve still got to get out of here.” Anji mumbled as she began scouting ahead. Julius followed without commenting.

It only took half of eternity to find the elusive blue crystals and, subsequently, the exit and fresh air. It was already evening when they surfaced in the outskirts of town, but at least it looked like they’d manage to get back without further incidents. Weird, there were supposed to be all sorts of beasts and monsters down there. Julius though idly, walking with Anji down the familiar path around the city towards the closest gate.

Arriving there, however, they were stopped by one of the sentries. “By orders of Captain Legias, all who cross the gate, either leaving or entering town, should be registered.”

“Sorry?” Julius asked, he heard about Legias organizing the City Guard into an actual institution, but a census wasn’t among the rumors.

“There’s been lots of trouble with these underground passages lately, the captain doesn’t want any more missing persons... Which, by the way, raises a question... When and from where did you two leave town?” The sentry’s stance shifted slightly, a faint move, but it carried the message that he expected to be taken seriously. Julius traded a look with Anji.

“Oi, now. No need ta be gettin’ all uptight. I’m Anji, and this...” Anji paused, looking towards Julius for guidance.

This castle is not the same as the kingdoms... He took a breath before replying. “Julius. I trust that’s all you really need, right?”

“I’d rather you explained how come you’re returning through this gate when you didn’t leave through it.” The sentry paused, judging his next words carefully and moving his bulk out of the way. “But I suppose that should be enough this time...”

“I trust that you will follow orders in the future, private. I would hate to see this city fall based on one man’s incompetence.” A voice spoke from the top of the wall.

“Captain! My apologies!” The sentry hurried to perform a salute. “I’ll collect all the information necessary immediately!”

“Not necessary.” The woman said, dismissing the sentry’s attention. Nodding, the sentry saluted, and returned to his post. The woman glared at the line of sentries, who immediately snapped to attention. While she reprimanded her cohort, Anji made sure to get a good look at her. She was tall, and willow thin. She carried a single rapier as a weapon, and nothing else. Her blonde hair was tied back probably for practicality’s sake Anji thought as the captain turned a pair of piercing blue eyes onto her.

“Now, explain to me why you are escorting a known coward, Anjali. I thought your guild was better than that.”

“What are you implying?” Anji said hotly. “Am I so incapable that you deem it necessary to insult my crew? Who the hell do you think you are?”

“Anji... Sorry to interrupt but... Could you go ahead and check on the others? I... Think I could use a few minutes to catch my breath.”

Legias flashed a quick grin at the scene, turning to Julius. “Oh, of course. The garrison would gladly shelter you while you... Catch your breath.”

Anji looked from her lieutenant to the captain of the guard, and then back to Julius. “Alright, I need to go see a man about some letters anyway... Captain.” and with a nod Anji calmly walked out of sight. Granted, she not so calmly hid behind a nearby wall in order to see what happened to Julius, but considering the circumstances, she figured that she could do without standing on ceremony.

Julius turned to to the Captain the moment Anji got out of sight. “Two things you should know. First, the castle is not part of the kingdoms. I’m not an exile here. If you know my name to react like that, you should also know there’s no authority over my stay here. And second... Don’t mess with my friends, because I don’t give a damn about how big a name you are. Captain.”

The captain’s wolfish grin flashed again. “Just what I’d expect from a traitor, I suppose. Yes, you’re right, you’re not an exile here, but anyone from the kingdoms would recognize your name, Julius Valerian. I merely intend to reach an agreement with you.” Her face turned serious once again. “To make sure your treachery won’t harm the people who are trying to live here. Regardless of whatever consequences that might have for you... Julius Valerian, you are under City Guard custody for an interview of risk assessment. Surrender any and all weapons in your possession and follow the escorting sentries to your holding cell until I come to open discussion. Any resistance is to be responded to by lethal force.”

He dropped everything he carried on him, almost throwing it to the ground, without moving his eyes away from the eyes of the woman before him.

Legias offered one last comment as he went inside. “How long you stay is only up to how willing you are to cooperate with the City Guard. Besides, if you really would pick a fight with me, I’d be happy to detain the rest of your guild. I do not need troublemakers in my city.”

Anji wanted to go scream at Fade for his idiocy. Unfortunately for her, a shuriken struck the wall inches from her head, glancing over, she saw a hood disappear over the side of a nearby roof. Well, this is awful. I don’t suppose the captain will be in a giving mood either. She looks like she just caught the canary as it is, I’m sure she’d love to arrest me for lyin-woah Anji ducked as several more shuriken flew her way.

Taking off at a sprint, Anji weaved through the city’s traffic, eventually ducking inside a local tavern to hide. Why are they even after me... The papers! Quickly, Anji dug through her pack and located the manuscript. After finding the pages correct order, she began to read. nonsense about the kobolds, this doesn’t help! The church had gotten all the information to the guilds any-... oh, the guild’s only got copies, and this looks legitimate, I wonder who... Kurt.. Of course. With a sigh, Anji started running through the darkened streets, being careful to avoid trouble.

She was feet from the cathedral when a cloaked figure stepped out in front of her.
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eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Pixelmage on Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:39 pm

Quest closure by Adell.
Quest: The True self

Successful!


Rewards:

Fade: (Replica) "Prince Slayer" : A momento of your greatest failure, this is the sword your shadow created to fight against you with, the same sword you used the night the prince died. There is a stain of blood on it that never seems to wash away. Otherwise, it functions identically to your normal sword. (hope you can get this back from the city guard!)

Anji: The satisfaction of hugging your enemy into defeat... and by that I mean your encounter with your shadow has also brought back some older memories, and has rekindled some of your forgotten thieving techniques. You recall the ways you use to sneak by your targets undetected, letting you swipe all their stuff like 1, 2, 3. In general, Anji's reward is her skill at sneaking has gone up.

Also, one more thing. Underneath all the stuff in your bag was one OTHER addition, a small wood talisman with the symbol of a fireball on it. While holding this object, you suddenly seem to have both the knowledge and the capability of using a simple-level fireball spell, but that knowledge quickly dissipates when you let go of the talisman. Once used, the talisman will break, becoming useless. (in otherwords, you get one free cast of the basic 'fire' element ability, then its gone forever)

For some reason, you both expected tarot cards or something to show up after your victory, but no such reward seems to have manifested. Better luck next time!
"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 - Underground Floors

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:35 pm

Quest: Highway to Heaven
Victim: LordXana0
Time Limit: 00:01 am 04/23/13

While searching for your parent's murderers, you find a curious waterfall deep within the underground cavern system. The waters glint and shine like crystal, and the green of the moss slowly fades into wildflowers. You come upon a veritable paradise on earth. A menagerie of people and animals roam through the forest underground, houses merging with tree trucks larger than the city itself. You wander around the city, looking for further clues, enjoying the peace of the wonderful city, when you notice the black ink spots marking every sentient being in the woods of paradise.

GM Notes:

Right so. The entire paradise is a no-kill zone. No matter who you see, or what happens, no being can kill another in the cavern beyond the waterfall. This includes, but is not limited to, nagas, vampires, annoying little trolls, the bastards that murdered your entire family, etc.

Another thing, you can't eat either. No killing means no meat. no killing also means no carrots. So, you can live for eternity in the city of Paradise, but you can't eat. But yet you still seem to get hungry. I'm sure there are some VERY ravenous sentient beings by now.

And one more note... the ink spots on your skin. You might notice that you have more than some, and less than a few. That ink shows your misdeeds. Any wrongs you've ever done (judged arbitrarily by the magic fountain of blessed waterfall outside), are plain for all to see. Going to be a lot harder to search for clues when the entire city knows exactly what you are.

Goal: see what you can find, and get out of Paradise, and back to the hell that is the floating castle
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eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Lordxana0 on Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:11 am

Salvantas made his way carefully through the underground caverns, sticking to the shadows as he hunted the trail of Kreiger, the giant of a man who had assisted in the murder of his parents. He didn't know exactly way Tenzami would send his strongest soldier into the underground he would never know. What he did know was that if he had the chance to take out the muscle of the ground while the other two where off doing whatever he would take it.

Salvantas had left Smoke at the Second Floor, mostly because he didn't want to bring the wolf into the Underground and partly because the magic that had been cast on him when he was still a pup by the Beastmaster Kobold was causing him to age a bit faster and he was at the point where it would be a good idea to allow him around the pack to... best not to think about it actually. Through tracking the massive man hadn't been difficult. He just had to follow the piles of dead bodies the massive brute had left behind.

He eventually found himself in front of a waterfall and noticed that the trail of blood he had been following ended at the small pool that formed from where the waterfall hit. Through the waterfall he could almost make out something... some sort of cave perhaps? He walked to the edge of the water and jumped through the fall and into the area behind it. When he landed his hands went to his coat... but before he could draw his weapons he saw a sight that truly amazed him.

The only true word for what he found behind the waterfall was paradise. A large group of creatures seemed to wander around, talk to each other, and general act like it wasn't weird that they weren't all killing each other. The earth around them wasn't stone like a cave, but rather a large area of green grass.

Some sort of magical pocket dimension if I had to guess, some Mages theorize that with enough power you could create a small world outside of the plane of existence most reside in, where the force that created it could set the rules for how things worked

Sounds about a plausible as a flying castle.

Salvantas looked closely at the creatures and noticed something strange about them. They seemed to have black marks all along their bodies. Some of them had less then others. He came up with an idea and decided to test it. He compared a small goblin like creature to what he assumed to be a vampires (the supernatural strength and sharp fang like smile where a dead give away). The vampires seemed to possess much more dark spots then the goblin creatures, which confirmed his theory.

So then, the black spots represent the sins one would have committed in their lives, and if vampires are living so close to other creatures with blood it is possible that... hm Salvantas took a small knife and cut his finger tip making sure to look at the vampire. The vampire and a few other of his ilk turned toward him and lifted their noses. One seemed like it was about to move toward him but couldn't seem to continue the action. They simply turned back to their work. As I thought, it is impossible to cause harm, this realm must have been created by some sort of holy magic.

If we can't kill, that raises a bit of a problem for taking our revenge.

You don't think I... wait... Blank I have a question for you.

And what might that by Salvantas?

Remember that time we were sent to the insane asylum?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Salvantas explored the small town he had decided to call Paradise central with the look of a disgust and sadness. So many things and people acting as a single unit, not fighting or hating each other, but really coming together to try and create a better world. But it was all just a lie, this wasn't something they had worked towards, this was handed down from on high, forcing them to deny what they were. Real peace came through sacrifice and hard work. Everything this place was went against every ideal he had worked toward. He would be more then happy to destroy this place if he ever had the chance.

His own ideals might match what this placed looked like, but he didn't want to strip away peoples free will to do it. He would educate, assist, and do his best to make a world in which people would make the right decision to do no harm to each other. But taking away someones free will, their decision to do what they wish. That was wrong on all points.

He had of course looked at himself the second he found a mirror, and wasn't surprised at what he saw. Black marks covered both of his arms and legs, and a few on his face as well. He honestly had expected more, but then again he didn't really care about them. He knew that in his life he had killed, cheated, stole, and other things that might be seen as sins. But every sin he committed worked toward the goal of a tomorrow without sin, and he bore these marks with pride. He knew that the other creatures would be afraid of him, so he only talked with those whose marks where equal to his. And they pointed him in the right direction.

Right outside of the small township the man who had helped in the murder of his mother sat on a small rock, his massive battle hammer nowhere to be seen. His entire body was covered in the black of his sins. He looked toward Salvantas without words and simply nodded.

"You helped kill my parents" he stated simply.

The man nodded.

"Do you feel guilt?" he asked his voice firm and steady

The giant looked up and into Salvantas eye. "Yes, I have killed many people, and worse then kill of course, I have never been controlled, and I took a sort of pleasure in what I did, but seeing this... I still believe in the Gods, and this is how they judge me, my soul is truly bound for the darkness, and knowing that I finally feel the weight of the things I have done." tears fell from his eyes.

He can only find his humanity when the weight of his sins are thrust into his face.

Disgusting

"Well I am no priest but I can free you from your sins, forever." Salvantas kept a smile from his face as he looked at the man who had assisted in his parents slaughter.

"You can cause no harm here, so if you mean you can kill me it would be pointless to try" the giant looked at him, the pity he felt for himself revealed in his eyes.

"Oh I won't harm you, in fact what I am about to do will free you from pain" Salvantas smiled and jumped back reaching into his jacket and pulling out a number of senbon needles. He threw them and each one struck the man who fell over without control of his limbs. "Each needle you were hit with was designed to be unable to be felt, perfect for apply small amounts of poison into an enemy, but for now I am using them to hit points on your body that leave you unable to feel, move, or really do much of anything." he put his hand on the giants head. "No harm you see, your body is actually more relaxed then it has ever been in its life, now then, you are feeling a lot of pain, allow me to remedy that" he pulled out an extra long needle and spread the mans eyelids. "Using years of medical texts and seeing this method used in various insane asylums I will be able to free you from your guilt" he positioned the needle so it was touching his eyeball. He felt a slight tug, something that should have kept him back, but the rules of this places were working against it. "You know medical mages have studied the brain and found out that by removing a small portion of the brain you can cause someones brain to remove ones memory and personality, their body still lives so the soul stays within the body, but they can't think or act or move ever again" he smiled. "I do no harm, and I don't kill, what do you think of that?" the mans eyes widened with fear before Salvantas went to work.

About an hour later Salvantas stood up and stretched out. It had been an agonizing process, but a worthwhile one. He had to pick his spots carefully, certain areas would have caused pain, but this worlds magic prevented him from hitting those spots, his work had taken longer then he would have liked, but it was worth it. He looked down at his palm and saw a new black spot had formed there. He looked at his patient and saw his eyes close. Before they did they appeared glassy and without any thought behind them. Salvantas collected his needles and the man stayed the same. Thanks to this worlds magic he would never die, doomed to forever live without anything human inside of him. But he was also free from guilt and the pain of his sins. Salvantas had removed the pain, without causing pain, and the body and soul still lived.

A cold feeling ran down his spine and the message was quite clear. Leave and don't come back. This place was giving him a very clear message and he was going to follow it. He walked away from the village and through the falls again, which removed all of the marks from him, save the fresh one on his palm. He looked at it with a bit of sick pride before Blank claimed the emotion for himself. Salvantas smiled lightly and whistled to himself, ready to return to the city without any guilt.



((so just to go over Salvantas used his knowledge of the human body assisted by the magic that would allow no one to cause harm to perform a pseudo lobdomy on his enemy, not killing him or harming him and thus by putting him down and leaving him to live forever without a mind that was causing him harm through guilt that he felt for himself, if you guys have a problem with this and enough people do I will just use a different idea, but until then yeah, boom))
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 - Underground Floors

Postby Pixelmage on Thu May 16, 2013 4:36 pm

Trip Rewards:
  • Lordxana0 ~ Power: Sin Judgment.

You have successfully completed your assigned tasks within the allocated time. Enjoy the reward you earned.

GM Notes on the reward:
  • The black spot that Salvantas left with is now a permanent reminder of the sin he committed inside the blessed grounds. It does have a small perk to it, however. As long as he sustains contact with another person, the same effect of being inside the blessed grounds apply, so he can cause the black spots to appear in other people. But as far as sustaining contact, it requires direct skin contact, thus, if either person is wearing gloves it won't work. The marks on other people are not permanent, and will vanish as soon as Salvantas lets go.

There is also a new quest going up! :o

Underground Quest: Mirror, Mirror [Written by Qara-Xuan Zenith]
You went exploring Underground in the hopes of finding treasure, but instead, you found yourself in a strange hall, surrounded by mirrors. What's more, your reflections aren't alone; your sister, who should be safe at home, seems to be trapped on the other side of the glass.
Your goal: Find the real one amongst the reflections, and get out of there before something worse shows up.
Quest Victim: Anjali Torvantine (eli_gone_crazy)

Notes: The mirrors function much like a spiderweb-- set by a creature to catch and hold people in their trap until it comes back to devour them-- and you are the flies. Also, the reflections are moving, and not in concert.
Time limit: Friday, May 17th, 23:59.
"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 - Underground Floors

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Fri May 17, 2013 2:27 am

Underground Quest 8: Mirror, Mirror (with a ton of awesome help from adell, who helped... well you know ^^)

Anji had spent the day in the study, looking over some papers another guild had lent her on goblin sociology, which was apparently a thing, because all she had heard about the past few weeks was how truly magnificent and beautiful the wart-infested lizard dwarves really were. Looking up, Anji saw that the sun had nearly set, which was as good a time as any to give up the constant battle of trying to make sense out of Lori’s word choices.

Walking into her room, Anji began looking for her sister. Haven’t had a chance to speak to Zi yet today, I wonder if she decided to go work in the infirmary again Shrugging, Anji went to go back out into the main room, when something caught her eye. A piece of paper peeked out from underneath her pillow. what the... Yanking the note out from where it lay, she opened it up curiously. Her eyes narrowed at the scribbled words, before a pang of fear caused them to spread wide.

Anjali Torvantine,

I’ll make this simple so you can understand. We have your “Sister,” as you like to call her for some reason. Come to the Underground, alone if you value her at all.
Follow the trail we leave you, and we shall discuss things in person. Tell no one, or I promise she will be far from okay when you arrive. We’re watching.

I look forward to speaking with you and straightening out this whole guild business.


Anji crumpled the note before tossing it into the fireplace. Glancing around hurriedly, she picked up a few extra knives and her staff. She needed to hurry, someone had Zi. Reaching for the door, she heard voices in the other room. One belonged to Jules, the other to Marcus. shit If either of the two men saw her leave the Inn, fully prepared for war, they might have a few questions. Awkward questions that would get in the way.

Taking a few steps back, Anji looked towards the window, a grim smile forming as she quietly snuck out of the inn and onto a nearby tree. A few minutes later and she was stealing through the dark alleyways of the town, avoiding all attention. Every nerve ending was on alert as she approached the well that had been cordoned off. Months had gone by since that tunnel had been put to any use, except by the church, and the guards were lax. A few shattered windowpanes later and the way down was clear.

The dungeon was different this time around. All marble and cut stone. Bright, clean torches illuminated the space, and mirrors covered every available surface. None of the normal sounds Anji had come to associate with a dungeon were present either. The hall of mirrors was completely silent, the only noise present was the soft tap of Anji’s boots on the glass and marble floor.


Anji whipped around when she heard her sister’s voice. “Zi...” she called softly, moving closer to her sisters voice, but her movement was cut short as her hand brushed against a mirror instead of Zi’s shoulder. The mirrors were playing tricks on her.

“You won’t find her that way, we made sure of that.” A male voice echoed out from down one of the many winding path of mirrors. “This place is idiot proof.” While it was clear someone else was in this unusual area, only blurry reflections of a hooded individual seemed to show up in every so many angled mirrors. “You’re fast Anjali, we barely had time to set up for this little encounter.” The figure’s reflections shrugged in annoyance.

“Who are you? And what the bloody crows feet are you trying to pull!?” Anji asked the figure, ice tingling down her back. This was all far too familiar.

“Hmm,” The man paused, “You can call me the Crimson Hound.” He shook his head lightly, as if in thought. “As for what I’m ‘trying to pull,’ well times are getting rather desperate around here.” he cleared his throat, “Citizens seem torn on where we’re going, up, down, stay where we are? The guilds want more power, the church wants more power, and the guards are just trying to stop something serious from happening. It’s all a mess.”

“So you intend to detain a medic, someone who’s never done any wrong in her life, in order to...? Make me beg? Plead for her life maybe? She’s a gutter rat, same as I am. Why are you even-”

“I suspect you’ll be doing those things whether I wanted you to or not by the end. ...Do I sound like someone out just to make you suffer?” The man sneered. “...She’s a mage, you don’t need to protect what she is. I know everything about the two of you. Your “relation,” and everything about how you met.” The man answered simply. “But Eliziya is not important here. You are. ...You’re the thing that’s gonna bring the guilds together.”

“Then why not face me like a fighter? Are you a man, or a cow?” Anji smirked. “Seriously, did you attend a theatre when you were young? Oh, I’ve got it, you’re one of those types. The people that leech off of someone else’s hard work. I suppose you’ll be wanting me to give you free food tomorrow.”

“Fighting you would be an insult to a warrior like me.” The man practically spat out through clenched teeth. He sighed, “You’ve got me all wrong, honestly that’s just about the worst kind of human I can think of. But honestly,” He smirked, “I just don’t care what you think about me.” The man gave a nod of his head towards some unseen force. There was silence for a moment, before the mirror with Zi’s appearance shattered quite dramatically, the shards nearly cutting into Anji’s arms.

“Now then,” He spoke over the sound of glass falling to the ground, “Let’s keep this simple, I know it’s hard enough for you keep up as it is. You are currently holding the means of unionizing the guilds, but, you have been on the fence about what course of action to take...allow me to make the decision for you. ...You’re going to do it, you’re going to sign your entire guild to it, and then you’re gonna sign the Severed Claws as well. Fully integrated, under every rule. By the beginning of the early morning, both of your guilds must be contracted to this union...” Another mirror shattered, following a scream from Eliziya, “Or she dies. Simple?”

Anji began laughing. At first a soft chuckle that eventually widened into a manic laugh. “You... ahaha... You really think, after all this time. Knowing me MEANS anything? For all I know you’re a clever magician, using a cheap trick. I’m sorry puppy, it seems you might have to stop chasing your tail.”

The man lifted his hands up, jumping back a bit, “Oh, oh no, you caught me. Saw right through the little ruse. Damn, and here I thought I almost got you...guess you’re smarter than you act.” The figure lowered his arms, slowly. The reflection looked as if it took a step forward, and in that moment disappeared from view. Again there was silence, for only a moment, as a voice cleared their throat directly behind Anji this time. Quickly, she turned to face the figure, only to see three of them. The male stood in front and behind him was a female figure, masked, her arms glowing with some sort of aura of magic as they clenched over a much a smaller individual that Anji would instantly recognize. “Actually, you’re wrong.” Luca added grimly, his voice bitter and cold.

It went against everything Anji thought, but she held eye contact with the hooded man. “Good boy. You seem to know fetch pretty well for a mutt.” She remarked sarcastically.

“You really aren’t very smart with this stuff are you?” He sighed, shaking his head. “Alright,” He shrugged, before reaching at his side and removing a saber from its hilt. “Left or right?” He asked as he held the weapon up to Zi’s ear. “Or, you can stop toying with your ‘sister’s’ life and do what’s asked of you. Last chance. Another smart remark and she’ll never hear your voice again. Or are you really this insensitive to her plight?”

“You really are a bastard, you know that?”

“I am what I have to be.” He answered, nearly interrupting her. The Masked woman behind him remained eerily silent, not even a sound of breath escaping her body. “You have until sunrise, that’s it. I hope you are better at talking with your friends.” The three figures began moving away at that, the mirrors obscuring their movements.

Soon, the only things left in the dungeon was Anji, sans knives, and a nearly empty oil lantern. “Damn it.” Anji began sprinting through the tunnel, heading for the light that shone dully through the well cover.
~~~
“Augh, god damn it.” Luca leaned against the wall, pulling the hood back from his face. Breathing in and out slowly, he calmed his nerves. His head tilted, looking over at the Asha, who still held Eliyza tightly, the mask turned in his direction. “…Don’t look at me like that, would ya?” He growled towards her, “It’s not ideal, but it’s what we need to do. Once it’s done…once we can make this war happen, once we can harness that spell... we won’t have to bother with such despicable tactics ever again.”

Asha’s mask did not move, it stared, judgmental. “I’m not happy with this either, alright? It won’t have to be like this soon…I promise. Soon we’ll be able to change everything. It’ll be land for people like us, and no one else.” His eyes peered over at the girl, who still struggled in Asha’s grip. “A land for warriors, where humanity can be what it truly is.”

“...Your sister will come through for us, Eliziya.”

~~~
Clamoring up and out of the well, she surprised the guards, who still managed not to care much when they figured out that she could run faster than they. Anji sprinted towards home, and collided with a wall that went “oof”.

“Huh?” The green haired swordsman peered around his shoulders, feeling something press against his back. “Uh, oh... hey Anji? You okay?” He asked as the woman fell onto the ground from colliding with the monster of a man.

“Uh... yeah.” Anji glanced nervously at the sky. It was nearly full dark by this point, with some thunderheads moving in, casting an ominous light to the busy city. Hector lowered his arm to help her up, but Anji ignored the effort and brought herself up on her own two feet, dusting herself off. It took everything she had to remain composed, but she had to try. She could not risk anything with Eliziya’s life on the line.

Hector stared at the woman, eyebrow raised. “So...uh...” He began to say after nearly minute of silence between the two. “Guess I’ll see ya later?”

“oh uh... Wait!” Anji called out.. a little too loudly to be casual. Wincing at the awkward looks the crowds of moving people gave her.

“What is it!?” The man immediately turned at attention, expecting the worst. His eyes darted around the area, but when nothing caught his eye he relaxed. He turned his head to the right, and then to the left just to give everything one more look. His eyes returned to Anji, more confused than anything else. “What is it, why are you yelling?” The man smirked, “Did you hit your head or something?”

“Yes, uh.. no.. well not really... uhm.. I need to talk to you? About stuff. I was actually on my way to see you, and then hey look we ran into each other, what a coincidence!”

“...About...stuff.” The man repeated, obviously having no idea what she even meant by that. She must have hit her head, I’ve never seen her act like this before. She’s so nervous. The man thought with a shake of his head, her acting could not mask her nervousness from his keen eyes. “Alright, I can tell whatever this is has got you on edge. Any more shaking and you’ll start digging a hole with your feet. Let’s head back to the Claws and talk.”

Panting, Anji nodded, “Lead the way.”

Moments later, the two found themselves sitting alone towards the back of the Severed Claws. The floor was fairly empty at the moment, with a few fighters sparring towards the opposite end. “We really need more rooms in this place. It’s a little annoying to have the place I eat and drink five feet away from a punching bag, is all I’m saying...” Hector joked, trying to calm his friend down. When it didn’t seem to help the mood any his head sank a little, “Alright, what is it?”

Anji knees were jittering as she glanced around the gym, nearly jumping out of her skin when Hector spoke. “Uh... Uhm... See, there’s this thing. An idea, to sort of bring all the guilds together?” She paused, as if searching for the right words, “Sort of a line of command, in order to streamline aid to where it’s most necessary.” She procured the document out of her pack, and gave it to Hector. “I guess I’ve come to see if I could get the claws help.” She added anxiously.

“Bring the guilds together...really?” Hector lowered his eyes down upon the paper now on his side of the table. His demeanor was blank, like he was getting absolutely nothing out of looking at this thing. “Hmmm...” He grunted, lifting the paper up and examining it closely. “Hrrrng...” His eyes narrowed, scanning every word that was written upon the parchment. Finally, he laid it back upon the table, and raised his eyes back to Anji. “You mind... summing it up for me?” He coughed out embarrassingly, averting his eyes mid-sentence. “Not that I can’t read it or anything...” He denied quietly. “I...just...want to test you? Yeah.”

“Uh.. Sure.” She picked up the paper then said, “You know, I have some books at the Inn... Wanna borrow one? I think I know of a few you’d like. Hell, if you don’t want to sit through the boring stuff, I could uh... summarize it for you.” She offered with a grin.

“I’ll be honest. I never had time for, uh, reading back before I came here.” He sighed, his voice tinged with regret. “I do suppose things are different now...” He sounded distant, “A little.” After a second though, he gave a quick grin of his own, “Sure, why not? What about this proposal, though. Unifying the guilds? That sounds like quite a big change. We all have...a lot of different ideals, I can’t imagine it being possible for us to all work together.”

“Yeah, it would basically reduce the number of guildsleaders on the council to one, with substitutes named in case of death or inability to show up. Each guild would remain separate, If you have a complaint against Storm and Drive, for example, you’d be able to approach the person directly, instead of having to go through me all the time. Or, if you wanted to borrow one of my people for a mission, you could do that without a ton of hassle and wasted time.” she explained.

Hector scratched the back of his head, thinking. “Hmm...I think,” he began to say, “that there is some potential for good with this plan. But if what you’re saying is true, it could also crush the individuality of a guild and it’s purpose. We’re not an army, and we don’t do what we do because people tell us to. My guild helps this town, and keeps it safe because that is what we desire. You start making that kind of work mandatory, and it takes a whole different meaning to me...” As he expressed this, Anji’s eyes lowered to the floor, she could not look. If he did not agree to this what would happen? “I’ll...need to discuss this with Ben. He should be around tomorrow.” Raising up from the table, he gently took the document from her hands, “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he sees it, but it’s getting late now. You should probably head back to your inn.” The man rolled the piece of parchment up, before giving a light pat to the woman’s shoulder, “Rest easy, alright? Everything will be fine.” He said, trying to calm Anji down.

The words struck like a hammer blow. I’m so sorry, Zi. I broke my promise. That dog is going to pay in blood for every harm he causes you, I swear. Tears welled into her eyes as she saw the retreating form of the man. Her hands curled into fists as she stood up, glaring at the green-haired man. “Hector, I have one more question for you.. Does the name Crimson Hound mean anything to you?”

The man stopped in his tracks. “...What did you say?” His voice sounded angry, but he remained turned. Anji leaned back in surprise; the swordsman actually recognized the name. “Nevermind...I heard you. Crimson Hound. How do you know that name?” His head gazed back, and the look in his eyes was perhaps the most serious Anji had ever seen them. Luca...

“I... can’t tell you.” Anji said softly. “Some stuff has happened. I... That bastard took something precious to me, and I need to get that precious thing back. To do so, I have to get your signature by sunrise.” Her voice fell to a whisper, eyes locked with the imposing knight.

The man’s eyes softened as he heard the pain in her voice. He looked back at the note in his hand, “Luca is making you do this...?” Anji could only nod her head at this point. “Damn him! What did he do? …What did he take from you? I can help you get it back!” The man offered without hesitation.

Sniffling, Anji laughed sardonically. “My precious thing is a lot more breakable than some silly rubies or diamonds. I can’t risk her life. It’s stupid of me, I know. But she’s all I have.” She sobered up and wiped her eyes. “They’re watching, if I try anything...they’ll...”

“Eliziya,” He muttered, his head lowering to the ground. “Damn it.” He spat, “This is my fault. I’ve known he was here for weeks now. But I never thought he’d...” The man growled, walking back towards the table. “Luca...the Crimson Hound, he’s become such a different man. Has he really resorted to this?” He took the paper back out, and placed it back upon the table. “This is what he wants? My signature for her life, is it?”

Anji could only nod, curling up into herself. She heard the light sounds of movement next to her for several moments. She wasn’t sure what Hector had done until he spoke up, “Here,” He finally said, gently. When Anji lifted her head back up, the paper was back on her side of the table, a crude and barely legible signature at the bottom. “Whatever he wants out of this can’t be good. But I’ll be damned if I’ll let an innocent life be hurt over it.” His hand once again rested on her shoulder, “...Get her back; I’ll figure out how to stop whatever he’s trying to pull, I promise.” He gave a confident grin, eyes closed tight.

Anji took the paper, then said, “I’m so sorry.... “ Her voice trailed off. “I’ll figure out a way to make this up to you, I swear.”

“You can make it up to me by getting your sister home, safe and sound.” He answered sincerely. “Now dry your tears, you’re tougher than this.”

Taking a deep breath, Anji stood up and hugged the bigger knight. Before either of them could say anything, she ran out of the building, heading through the shadows to the Inn. Peering through a window, Anji saw that the main room was completely empty. Opening the heavy front door, Anji winced as it creaked softly on its hinges. Anji walked carefully up the stairs and back into her room, closing and locking the door behind her. Well that was terrible She thought, turning around and coming face-to-hood with the Crimson Hound.

“Not how I would have handled it. I guess I’ll have to make due.” The man’s voice caused her to jump. In that moment she nearly went for a knife at her side but the man quickly grabbed the arm and expertly pushed the weapon out of her hand. “Easy, now...” He quietly said. “It’s done, no reason for that anymore.”

“There is every damn reason, and you know it just as well as I do, mutt.” Anji glared at the man. “Here to antagonize me a little more? Perhaps this time you’d like me to give you the whole damn castle?”

“No thanks.” The man paused, then quickly rammed his hand against her stomach, nearly throwing her backwards. “Just came here to say...you did a pretty good job fetching for this mutt.” He taunted, bitterness dripping in his voice. “Your sister is in her room. Asleep. Thanks for cooperating.” Luca walked backward, facing the woman the whole time. “What a sad sight you are...” The man shook his head, “Pathetic.”

“Come back and see us sometime, “ Anji said with a grin. “This isn’t over, mutt. Pathetic, my ass. Keep ‘em coming, I like a challenge.” She threatened, eyes sparking silver in the moonlight.

“I’ll keep that in mind...” Luca’s eyes only narrowed, and in a flash of movement he was gone, his blur effortlessly disappearing to the first floor
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eli_gone_crazy
 
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Underground Floors

Postby Pixelmage on Sun May 19, 2013 12:32 am

Trip Rewards:
  • eli_gone_crazy ~ .

GM Notes on the reward:
  • The reward is still open, will be settled soon.

Aaaaand, one more mad person going under! :o

Underground Quest: Dull armory.
Periodic visits are made to the parts of the underground close to the entrance, in order to keep the city dwellers informed and safe. This time, it's your turn. Hopefully nothing bad will happen to you while you're down there. Not even the animated armors, that were long gone and now have just reappeared, newly forged right in front of you.
Your goal: Find their forge and how the armors are getting back to action, and try to run back to the surface alive.
Quest Victim: Darren (Blurred_9L)

Notes: Hollow, mindless and made of iron, they are mostly sentry constructs that will be most dangerous in higher numbers and tend to be denser closer to their point of origin. No clue who or what is bringing these things back, but they're fierce and hard to break. Be careful. :)
Time limit: Monday, May 20th, 12:00. (Since it's going up past midnight tonight, actual 24h clock starts ticking at noon. A little bit of extra time, hopefully you'll make good use of it. :twisted:)
"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 - Underground Floors

Postby Blurred_9L on Sun May 19, 2013 5:33 pm

Dull Armory

Darren stared at the piece of paper in his hand as he walked through the tricky paths inside the forest on the first floor. Even though it was around noon, the light of the sun barely reached the ground, making it harder to distinguish the scribbles and drawings made on the piece of paper that would be acting as his map in his future endeavor.

“You’re kidding, right?” he asked Nestor, who led the way into the forest and walked a few meters ahead of him. He didn’t answer, merely looking back to look at him with a serious expression. The air around the forest felt heavy for some reason, and, as Darren kept walking he found it harder to breathe due to his own fear.

“You’re not going to tell me you’re scared, are you?” Nestor finally asked as they reached a familiar clearing. Darren stuttered as he tried to find the correct words to explain himself, but was cut off by Nestor again. “Listen, you’ve been all jumpy and looking inside the city’s wells when you think nobody’s looking. Well, guess what? I WAS looking. You’re looking for a way in, aren’t you?”

Darren lowered his gaze, trying to avoid the answer. “It’s none of your business.” he finally said, not even bothering to look at Nestor as he spoke those words.

“Well, whatever. In case you want to go inside...” he pointed at the entrance nearby before continuing, “... not that you have any other choice too.” he smirked dryly, as if he didn’t really mean those words. “Besides, it’s a simple enough task. You just need to go inside and check what’s going on at the places marked in your map and go back out again. So far, nobody’s run into trouble, so... why should you?”

“I get it, you don’t have to repeat yourself.” Darren said, annoyed at his comrade, as he walked towards the entrance to the underground. He stared at the stairs, going down for quite a distance before being covered in darkness. ”Stupid city guard... stupid assassins... stupid castle.” he thought as he steeled himself for what was next to come.

“Wait!” Nestor called out as Darren started descending through the stairs. “It is dangerous to go alone... so take this.” he said, throwing a scabbard at him. Darren catched it in mid air, and looked at it unimpressed.

“Gee, a sword. If only I knew how to wield it properly.” Darren said as he continued descending. He secured the sword to his belt. He couldn’t really say it wouldn’t become useful later, but he would rather use something he was more accustomed to.

“You’d better learn soon then!” were the last words he heard from Nestor before the darkness separated him from the forest. He kept going down for a while, before reaching a square platform. Stepping onto it, the platform too began descending towards the underground. ”What am I even doing here, anyway?” he asked himself as he waited for the platform to stop. He took out Wendy’s silver knife and looking at it in remembrance.

”You aren’t going to chicken out, right? This is an adventure!” she would say whenever they found themselves in danger, which, he admitted, was pretty often. But, despite that, they always managed to survive, even after finding that book: the Lorewarden, or so they heard their pursuers call it. As experience had told the two of them, the book’s pages were all blank, unless you presented the book with a desire for information, at which moment it would fill its pages with runes, bestowing the reader with its knowledge... but not without a price. A price he had come to fear, despite his friend’s nonchalant attitude about it, and also... the consequences that would lead him to where he was now standing.

The platform stopped smoothly. The air inside felt stale and the lack of sounds made Darren’s ears hurt. The crystals on the wall shone lightly, barely allowing him to find his way as he looked at the map and began inspecting the corridors of the wicked underground. It was a long boring walk and the lack of sunlight made it hard to tell how much time he had been in there. ”Hopefully, not that much time has passed.” he thought as he reached a long corridor with a door at the end. The place was almost at the edge of the map, revealing corridors to places that hadn’t been explored before. Darren held his breath as he opened the door, ready to react if something came from the other side of the door.

The door creaked loudly as he opened it, revealing a messy study. There were several books laying open on the floor, some of their pages had been ripped from them and scribbled onto with some red ink... or so Darren hoped. All of them had the same message written on them: “No man escapes.”

”Assassins...” he thought as he kept inspecting the room, but aside from the empty bookshelves and the worn down books there wasn’t much to inspect. Darren yawned, barely noticing a gentle pull on the side he keep his knife satchel. He turned his head to see an armor, broadsword in hand, ready to strike at him. The armor slashed downward at him, just as he jumped backwards, perhaps just a moment too late. He felt the sword shallowly cut near his left shoulder, making him stagger, giving his foe another chance to strike.

Darren jumped backwards again, despite the pain on his shoulder. He dodged the slash, but crashed against the wall, hitting his head against one of the bookshelves. The armor advanced towards him, menacingly lifting his sword in order to strike again. He was sure this time he would not miss. ”Now... Move now!” he thought as he grabbed a knife and threw it, just before closing his eyes.

The sound of metal hitting the floor was heard. He opened his eyes to find the armor laying on the floor, its sword by its side, the single knife he had thrown was stuck inside the gap between the helmet and the breastplate. Darren approached it, trying to recover his knife, but desisted as he saw the armor still tried to move, but the knife somehow obstructed its movement. He felt its satchel being gently pulled to the armor again. He opened it and grabbed an itching dagger, one that was given to him as a gift. He could feel the magnetized dagger being attracted to the metal in the animated armor, so he held onto it strongly. ”That’s twice you’ve saved my hide now.” he thought, remembering the mage who had given him that dagger. He looked at the armor again, uselessly struggling to move.

”Disrupted magic flow? he thought as he regained his composure and exited the room, closing the door behind him, forgetting the screech it would make. ”Well, enough exploring for today, I’d better go back...”. The thought went through his mind as he ran along the corridors, fast but silent, just to be cut off my another armor in a nearby intersection. With no place to dodge due to the reduced size of the passageway, he returned from where he came, this time taking a different turn.

He paused for a moment to check the map on his hand. As he expected, he had wandered into uncharted territory. ”Well... damn.” Strangely enough, that last armor didn’t seem to have followed him. He soon found out why. Peeking through the edge of the corner, he saw a long corridor going into the depths of the underground intersecting several roads each one being patrolled by several armors.

His shoulder hurt, but since he wasn’t feeling dizzy yet, he decided to press on. ”Not that I have another choice...” he thought, feeling sick at how easily he had accepted the way things usually went for him. He walked close to the wall, trying to make as little noise as possible, even though he could feel his heartbeat accelerating. Once he reached the intersection, he waited for one of the demonic armor to come close enough for him to intercept.

The knife flew flawlessly hitting the exact spot needed, but, just as with the last one, the sound it made as it crashed against the floor extended through the nearby passages. Two other armors appeared, closing Darren’s way back to safety. He ran ahead, hoping to avoid encountering anymore of them, but just as he turned a corner, he saw another one heading towards him.

With nowhere to run, Darren took out a dagger and waited. The armor advanced, slashing and cutting forward, barely giving Darren a chance to find an opening to attack. Just as they neared the corner, he felt his satchel pulling again, this time backwards. ”Shit, so soon!” he ducked just in time to dodge the sword thrust the armor in front of him made, which went forward and ended up piercing one of the chasing armors breastplates, immediately destroying it.

”Weak spot?” Darren threw the dagger towards the other chasing armor, but missed. Not wanting to stay in such a narrow corridor much more, he fled further inside, not realizing that the amount of crystals on the wall began to diminish and at the end of the hall a light shone dimly. As he approached, he could feel an unbearable heat coming from the direction he was headed, the smell of smoke filled the air, making it even harder to breathe.

He arrived at the room and quickly pressed his body against one of the nearby walls in an attempt to not be seen. It was a huge room, dozens of skeletons of warriors and knights laid on the floor, their armors highly damaged, their swords, broken. The source of the light came from the middle of the room, a fire inside a circular hole. Around it, three one-legged creatures chanted as they took the armors and the swords from the skeletons, throwing them into the fire. As for the bones of the fallen warriors, they devoured them before chanting once again, readying another skeleton. The creatures gazed into the fire with their only eye, watching the flames dance and give form to their creation, just above the hole, the metal scraps began to take shape; repairing the dent-filled armor and the dull and shattered blades of the dead knights.

Darren had to move out of the way when he realized the two remaining armors were about to arrive. ”Don’t these things ever give up?” he thought as he hesitantly jumped inside one of the piles of fallen warriors for lack of a better hiding place. He started shaking uncontrollably, realizing what a bad idea this had been.

The three creatures completed their ritual when Darren tried to find a place to hide. They clashed their hammers on the ground as a sign of excitement, just before the newly made armor was placed on the floor, fully animated. A moment later, it left to patrol the nearby passageways.

”I got to get away...” he thought as the creatures started chanting again. To his right, one of the armors was getting dangerously close to his hiding location, the other one waited by the entrance where others had begun to appear, including the ones he had incapacitated before. They movements were slower than that of the other armors, but they were no longer hindered by the knife and unable to attack. Darren passed his hand across his knife satchel, counting his remaining weapons... one, two, three... six, seven... He had only seven knives left, and with the way things started to look, they wouldn’t be enough if he didn’t hurry up.

Grabbing a skull away from its corpse, Darren threw it just above the nearby armor, distracting it enough for him to clumsily strike the gap in its chestplate with Nestor’s sword. The armor was rendered useless, but the sound of metal coming down on the floor was never heard. Instead, the roar of rage of one of the creatures filled the air, calling the demonic armors to chase after Darren, just before throwing it’s huge hammer at him.

Distracted by the rapidly approaching armors, Darren failed to dodge the hammer, which hit his torso, sending him flying onto the ground, letting out a scream due to the pain. He tried to get up quickly, but the pain slowed his movements. He probably had a broken rib or two, but he didn’t have time to worry about that. He looked around for another exit, but all of them were guarded by several armors. Even so, away in the distance, he saw a crack just big enough for him to fit in, that’s was his best bet. He ran as fast as his injuries allowed him, feeling the gentle pull of Mirae’s magnetic dagger become even stronger as the armors came closer. Another hammer came flying towards him, almost hitting him in the head. Not having any time to slow down, Darren threw his body forward, sliding inside the crack just in time. The armors started hitting the wall with their broadswords, but they were interrupted by the one-eyed creatures’ roar. Lifting them with some kind of magic, they threw them all into the forge and began another chant, a quicker and more menacing ones. After all, they wouldn’t allow any intruder to escape.

Darren kept running across the abandoned corridor, not once looking back. As he advanced through the passage, crystals once again filled the walls, illuminating the road of the lost scout. Finally, he arrived at a room with a platform at its center surrounded by a dark abyss, one that probably extended floors and floors under. As Darren reached the center of the platform, he saw a black-garbed corpse nearby. It laid motionless on the ground, and appeared to be covering something. Clipped on his attire was a small shiny badge with a skull and a scythe engraved to it. “No man escapes” These words were written on the back. Moving him aside with his foot, Darren looked at what was below the man: A familiar book with a blood-splattered cover. Terror and disgust filled Darren as he stared dumbfounded at the Lorewarden, the book he had taken and tried to get rid of by throwing it inside the wells of the city. Its presence on the hands of a dead member of the Assassins’ Guild confirmed his previous suspicions as to why they had begun targeting him.

”They’re after the book.” He dropped to his knees, weak and tired, realizing how hard it had become to breathe. He needed to get out of there soon, but more importantly, he needed to get rid of the book... no, he needed to protect the book. Hiding it away in the underground would just postpone the time in which they assassins would be able to find it. If he took the book, then for as long as they believed the book was still inside the underground, it would be safe. That was what Darren thought. But just as he decided to get up, he felt his satchel pulling in the opposite direction. Thunderstruck, Darren turned quickly to find a huge, headless suit of armor about to punch him with its massive gauntlet, nearly sending him flying out of the platform and into the abyss. His satchel broke due to the tremendous force of the hit, nearly all of its contents falling into the darkness below.

“No!” he shouted as he watched his weapons fall down, but most importantly, the silver knife that Wendy had given him. His only memento of her.

”It’s only an adventure... isn’t it, Darren?” her voice echoed in his mind.

“Like hell it is!” Getting up without thinking, Darren rushed towards the Dullahan Armor, sliding between its legs to dodge another fist. He quickly picked up the Lorewarden from the platform with his injured arm, and unsheathed Nestor’s sword with the other. “You know what I want, don’t you?” he spoke to the book, which instantly opened, filling itself with shining green runes.

”There’s no way I can defeat this thing.” he thought as he approached the armor, ready to strike whenever it lowered its guard. Thankfully, its lack of weapon would work highly against his favor.

The armor punches flew swiftly towards him, but he was able to dodge them and thrust the edge of the sword inside the gaps, that was his best bet for now.

”As long as the book is kept open, there is nothing for me to fear” he had heard somebody said that a long time ago, but he never imagined he would ever be using the book, not after he saw what it did to Wendy. He dispelled the thought from his mind and concentrated on dodging the armor’s strikes and on his own, in order to push it over the edge of the platform.

With nowhere else to turn, the Dullahan Armor punched the ground, shaking the platform they were on. Darren jumped on top of it’s arm and then onto its chestplate, kicking it with all his remaining strength. The armor lost its balance and began to fall into the abyss. Darren jumped back onto the platform, but the strain of using the book to acquire efficient sword skills, as well as his injuries and exhaustion took a toll on him and he too began to lose his balance.

In an act of desperation, Darren let go of the book and grabbed to the ledge of the platform, allowing him to climb back on it. He crawled up to the center and laid down, looking towards the blue crystals covering the ceiling.

”But there is always a price to pay...” he gasped for air as green flames appeared around him, threatening to burn him alive. He could feel how his breath was being taken away as a small blue flame appeared over his chest and started flying towards the abyss in which the book had fallen. And with that, the green flames disappeared, leaving him with a feeling of cold and emptiness inside of him. He closed his eyes for a moment, celebrating his “victory”, even though he could barely call it that.

When he got up, he could barely walk; yet, he could hear the vague sound of a waterfall in the distance; and if the rumors about other daring adventurers were true, then the exit wasn’t far away from there. He looked over the corpse of the assassin on the platform, questioning how it didn’t fall off in the fight. Glancing over at the badge, Darren decided to keep it, just in case. ”Maybe this will keep those bastards away for a while.” He thought as he began limping towards the exit.

----------

Darren climbed the last steps of the stairs before reaching the clean air of the city. Two guards stood dumbfounded at the scout’s sudden appearance on the city entrance to the underground. They asked themselves how could somebody have come from inside, if they had never left their post. Darren just smiled, saying with his remaining strength:

“I’m alive... Hey, I’m alive!” he smiled, content at his success, but deep down he knew that it was an incomplete feeling, because that accursed book had taken its reward from the deal they had made. Each time the book was used, it would eat away a fragment of its user’s soul, eventually leaving them as a hollow, emotionless shell. Such is the price to pay. But for now, Darren couldn’t care less about it, all that it mattered was that he survived.

“I’m alive!” he shouted again to the guards, laughing, a moment before collapsing on the ground, unconscious.
Last edited by Blurred_9L on Wed May 22, 2013 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 - Underground Floors

Postby Pixelmage on Mon May 20, 2013 3:34 pm

Trip Rewards:
  • Blurred_9L ~ Darren: You got an awesome Badge thing. From the Assassin's guild. It's not good enough to fool the smarter members, but it should do as a disguise in a pinch..

GM Notes on the reward:
  • The reward is still open, will be settled soon.

Welp, we're on a roll!

Underground Quest: Triumph of the Vermin Lord (Concept by Lordxana0, tweaked for balance)
A few people who explored the underground have come down with a plague that is being caused by a wizard. Making use of an abandoned altar of an evil god to infuse his rat and insect familiars with the ability to spread the potent disease that is, so far, incurable by the clerics' skills. You are to take him down, before his hordes of vermin are ready to swarm the surface.
Quest Goal: You are tasked with destroying the Vermin Lord and the evil alter he is using, before it becomes to late for everyone.
Quest Takers: Ben (Qara-Xuan Zenith), Tamar (Scarab) and Hector (Adell).

Notes: Okay you are fighting against the clock on this one, getting close enough to fight infects you, and the disease is spreading through your characters body. The Vermin Lord is playing for defense on this one, he has set up an army of large rats (about the size of house cats) and two Massive Rats (about the size of cars) to defend himself. Up front the Vermin Lord is a powerful mage with control over spells that allow him to make armor and weapons out of insects and other vermin creatures. You will need to kill him to end the spell and destroy the alter to destroy the disease. If he gets away then the illness will pass but it will do so slowly and painfully. The illness effects different people in different ways (ranging from a flesh eating disease to migraines like you have never felt before).

Time Limit: Thursday, May 23rd, 23:59 EST. (Three takers, 72h ticking on from the closest midnight)
"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 - Underground Floors

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue May 21, 2013 11:14 pm

Underground Quest: Because We’re Crazy and Xana is an Evil Jerk :P

A large piece of debris fell to its side deep into the underground, pushed away by a familiar green-haired swordsman, clearing the path for him, Tamar, and Ben. The air was thick, and an irritating heat permeated the area.

“This is such a waste of time,” Ben complained, mostly to herself. “Apparently we’re Pest Control now?”

“Come on, Ben, giant infected rats! That sounds like fun.” Hector laughed, cracking his knuckles as he stepped over some of the debris strewn about in the room.

“It sounds like back pain,” she grumbled, knowing even as she said it that the man would have more trouble bending over to stab rats than she would.

“Hector, I think all your ideas of fun involve stabbing things,” Tamar mumbled. “Um... also rats are small, right? And so are bugs. Stabbing them seems like it wouldn’t work very well...” He paused, glimpsing around a bit like a frightened bird in a dark wood. The first time in the Underground always left you feeling as if you were being watched from around every corner. Probably because you usually were. In this case, by the beady black eyes of a thousand vermin, which he was trying not to look as creeped out about as he felt. Seriously, the bear was tougher, right? Nothing could conceivably be any harder to deal with than the bear.

Anyway, the point was, it seemed people were getting ill overground, and everyone who fell into that category had, apparently, been in the Underground at some point or another in the last couple of weeks. Seemed a logical enough assumption that whatever it was came from there. The logical assumption was rats. And there certainly seemed to be no short supply of them.

“I don’t need to stab something to kick its ass,” Hector retorted with a snort.

Tamar visibly resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “Well, stabbing, hitting, or kicking things then. How are we supposed to get rid of them, anyway? Like I said: stabbing isn’t all that good when your target is tiny, and faster than you are.”

About to make a snappish reply, Ben cocked her head. The boy had a point. “I suppose we’ll have to improvise.” She paused. “Please tell me you’re at least wearing leather or something which will keep out bug bites."

Tamar hesitated. “Well... the shirt is. That counts, right?”

“It’s something.” She settled into a crouch, sword ready at a height which should be eye-level for the oncoming rats. “Just... try not to get eaten or something. It would be inconvenient.”

“Yeah, inconvenient for me,” Tamar gulped. When he’d realised he was being dragged into the Underground, as in the place pretty much everyone he knew who had been down there described as one of the most horrible places in the Castle, fighting rats hadn't exactly been what he was expecting. Training, Hector called it. Unnecessary mental scarring seemed a more accurate description to Tamar, but hey, if you had to do what you had to do then you had to do it... or something.

This place didn’t even smell all that weird... That was confusing. You’d have thought that a place presumably housing a tonne of rats and bugs would have smelled worse but instead it just smelled... old. Ancient, even. As if the rocks had been here so long they’d developed a scent all their own.

He mentioned this, and got a strange look for his trouble.

“Don’t worry,” Ben assured him, “The rat smell will come. In about, oh, thirty seconds.” She based the estimate on the sounds she heard, which could only be a swarm of rodents headed their way.

Tamar... did not panic. But he didn’t panic in that very specific way some people have wherein they realise that if they do give into their natural instinct to freak the hell out , they will likely never hear the end of it because that was a lot of rats. He’d been expecting oversized mice or something. These were not oversized mice, these were apparently a species very much their own and not shy about demonstrating it. Ben, however, went for the swarm as if they were just some other random thug in the street. Hell, the swarm practically looked like one being anyway, and Tamar could imagine her picturing that enemy as she struck, the way an actual professional swordsman would. Tamar dragged the sword clumsily from its scabbard and watched it glint in whatever thin light they had. It was going to need cleaning after this.

Wide sweep across, then rotate her blade to deflect another wave with the broad side. Rotate again; sweep across, slicing two-handed through rodent fur and flesh. She grimaced at the thought of having to clean rat’s blood off her sword later, but at least that wasn’t the present problem. Right now all she had to do was keep the pile of headless rats mounting before they got too close.

Hector followed right behind his guildmate, swinging Ivory like the sword was some sort of massive golf club into the pile of creatures that charged down the hall. To say limbs flew in all directions would be an understatement. Unlike the other two, Hector had his usual grin. Plague rats were dangerous, and just what Hector wanted to fight. His companions didn’t seem quite as thrilled by the altercation.

It did not make sense that there were this many rats in such a confined area. Tamar remembered reading somewhere once that you always had a problem when rats started coming into the light. It meant there were just so many of them in the shadows that there was no more room for the others and-- “Ew, ew, ew, stopping that train of thought right now, get off!” He smashed the blade of the sword through another half dozen of the disgusting little things, imagining all those tiny little shrieks were one unified scream. Which didn’t exactly help his current frame of mind. The hilt of the sword (still nameless, but hey, he was working on it) felt hot in his grasp. That kept happening lately. Ignoring it was becoming more and more difficult, but hey-- swarms of rats! Now there was a good distraction if ever Tamar saw one.

“Hector!” Ben remonstrated. “If they’re spreading disease, do you have to try to spray their innards all over us?”

“Oh, huh. Yeah I guess you’re right...” Hector realized his mistake, lowering his head in embarrassment. “I can’t help it. Ivory is one tough lady. Asking her not to smash things is like asking Tamar to stop reading those books.”

“What’s wrong with my books?” Tamar blinked.

“Not enough pictures...”

Ben wished she could bury her face in her hands, but both hands were currently occupied with curtailing the steady stream of rats. “Both of you. You are making me ashamed to be found in your company in the presence of A SWARM OF PLAGUE-INFESTED RODENTS. This is a hint that you are doing something wrong.”

“Oh come on, Ben, I’m sure I can find books with pictures somewhere,” Tamar didn’t sound fully convinced by that.

“The one Anji showed me about the giant egg man was pretty entertaining, until that twist where he fell. Real shame.”

Tamar was obviously trying not to laugh, which would have distracted him from trying to cut rats to pieces with a sharp blade. Sometimes, his life was just this surreal. He had every faith in Hector’s skills when it came to the battlefield, but the more time he spent around the man, the more it seemed like he was going to have to start giving lessons of his own someday. In basic vowels and sentence structure. “It’s okay, I hear there's a sequel. They put him back together.”

“...You know what? I’m not even going to ask. My own brother reads books about potash mining for fun. Who am I to talk?”

Hector swung his sword to his backside, and, with a heave, slid it across the ground, batting the rats it came into contact with to the other side of the room, safely away from the trio. Taking Ben’s words, he tried to hold back a little, trying to prevent the poor creatures from exploding all over them by using the broadside of his sword.

It seemed to take forever, but at some point, the single mass of rats became individual rats, and the individual rats became fewer rats, and the few rats that were left joined their brethren in the foul mess covering the entire floor of the corridor. Tamar swallowed back an obvious urge to throw up. “Ew... okay... so I guess it is possible to stab them to death.”

“It was more like smacking, really.” Hector rubbed his chin.

“Speak for yourself, Hector.” Tamar swallowed, brandishing the bloodied sword in his hand, the gold blade tarnished red and dirt brown. “Hey, maybe this thing's name is Rat Killer.” He paused for a moment, as if actually hopeful of something happening, and slumped a little when it didn’t. “...Guess not. Oh well.”

“I remember fighting a man once who called his sword the ratbane...” Hector paused, thinking back on the unusual circumstances for the fight. “He claimed I was the biggest rodent he had ever seen. Very odd guy, honestly.”

Tamar nodded sagely. “He sounds it...” He paused, seeming to think of something. “Hey, Ben? What did you name your sword?”

Ben raised a gold eyebrow. “I don’t even name my horse; why the hell would I name a sword?

“Uh... still trying to work that out actually,” Tamar laughed shakily and glanced in Hector’s direction. “But it’s important. Right? Anyway, that’s not fair, you should name your horse, otherwise how does it know to come to you when you call it? You can’t just yell ‘horse!’ in a field FULL of horses. You’d end up with a hundred horses all coming to see you at once!” Tamar considered the possibility that this train of thought was slightly hysterical, but what the heck. He had been trying to name the sword they’d gotten for him for a while now; nothing ever seemed to quite fit.

Ben fought the urge to laugh. Hector did not. “If you have to call for your horse’s attention, you are definitely doing something wrong.”

“I don’t know, I think he’s got a point there, Ben.” Hector grinned. “Besides, naming things is a great way to feel an attachment to them.”

“Which is another great reason not to do it. Lances shatter; swords break; horses get injured and die. If you get to thinking you can’t carry on with a replacement, you’ll find yourself in a very tight position sooner or later.”

Hector sighed. “If you don’t have any attachment all, your weapons or horses or whatever it may be will only ever just be a tool. To some that may be good enough, but they can be so much more than that. A little compassion goes a long way. It may not last forever, but you give its moments so much more meaning.”

Tamar watched this debate go on for a few moments. They so rarely seemed to agree on anything at all, sometimes he wondered how they managed being around each other all the time. The heat rose up again directly under his fingers and he frowned slightly. Maybe it was a sign he was getting closer to figuring out its name... or maybe it was just static from the metal, who knew. He shook blood off the sword and shuddered. “I-I dunno, Ben, I’m feeling pretty attached to him right now. He’s keeping the rats away.”

“‘He.’” Ben shook her head. “You’re both crazy. More importantly, we should find where these beasties came from to get to the bottom of things.”

“Come Ben, it could be fun...” Hector edged closer to his friend. “Let me see your sword, maybe it’s a He?”

Ben gave Hector a Look. “Maybe its name is Hector Is An Idiot Who Talks Too Much. Or would you like to see it very close-up?” she threatened.

“... Sounds like a boy’s name! Hey, maybe I was right after all--” His sentence was cut off abruptly as Ben smacked him with her gloved hand. “Ye-ow! Okay, okay, sorry.”

Tamar stepped gingerly through the mess that remained of dead rats. Ben was right. Now the tunnel really did smell. A few shapes shifted in the remaining pile and he hopped back, watching as a few remaining rats scattered into the corridors up ahead-- all of them seeming to spread out, before suddenly veering back into a group, and turning to run in the same direction, vanishing into the darkness beyond.

Tamar frowned. That wasn’t right. “Hey... did you see that?”

Ben matched her line of sight to his so she could see what he was commenting on. “Looks like we’d best follow.”

Hector nodded along with the others. “I’ll lead the way.”

~~~

They had been walking for only a few minutes when there was the sound of an explosion.

Well okay, not an explosion. A sneeze. But coming from Hector, it sounded like an explosion. “Aaaachooooo!” The sound echoed throughout the hallway. “Augh.”

Tamar pointedly tried not to let on how close he had just come to jumping out of his skin. That was less a sneeze and more of a concentrated explosion of sound that made his ears ring. The thunderbolt he had gotten hit with once had made less noise than that. “Um... bless you?”

“Shut up,” Ben hissed.

“...Thanks, Tamar.” Hector pouted towards Ben. “Anyway...” he went to say, before clearing his throat of some accumulated phlegm, “I think the tracks are leading over there towards the right path. It’s weird though... some of these tracks are definitely not like the rats we were fighting before, the footprints are far too big.”

Tamar shuddered. “Don’t say that, they can’t possibly get any bigger than they were... Did you see the size of those things?”

“I don’t know...” Hector challenged, “I’ve heard a myth of a type of rat so big, it’s nearly the size of a cow.”

Tamar blinked, purple eyes wide in the darkness. He glimpsed downwards at the tracks vaguely visible in the torchlight that seemed less a source of light, and more a way to break the world up into varying degrees of shadow. “Seriously?” he whimpered.

Ben snorted. “Cow-Sized Rodents? I don’t believe they exist.”

“Well one thing’s for certain, these tracks are not just the ones we were following, they must have met up with other swarms.”

“Question is, where are they going?” Tamar asked.

“My guess... towards whatever is causing that sickness,” Hector reasoned. Suddenly, however, Ben and Tamar would be surprised to see the man swat at the air almost randomly. “Ah!” he called out, flailing his free hand around his face. The man looked around, annoyed. “Something just flew by my face.”

Ben pinched her temples. “Something winged and carrying disease, or something imaginary causing you to twitch?”

Hector looked around, clearly upset. “I know it’s in here. I hate bugs.” The man clenched his fist, showing an an unusual amount of paranoia. “... Always crawling around and doin’ THINGS. Why can’t they just fight me like everything else?”

Tamar gave Ben a look that even in the shadows clearly stated something along the lines of ‘What the heck?’

“Well, much as I can imagine you’d love to engage in fisticuffs with a fly, right now you’re just going to have to try to not get stung or bitten or something, and go after the things that you can fight. We’ll just... deal with the insects later, okay? Unless they force our hand.” Privately, she felt the same way as Hector; she didn’t like the idea of something too small to fight, while still big enough to cause trouble, but honestly, he was acting so childish about it.

“All I’m asking is for a fair fight,” the man groaned. “Is that so mu... mu... Achoo! Ahhh, I think I’m getting a damn cold here.”

“Then cover your mouth,” Ben snapped. “Last thing I need is your germs making me sick, too.”

Hector just sniffed in response. The three remained silent for a moment, before finally starting down the path once again. Every so often a squeak was heard, or the pitter-patter of little rat feet on the cold stone, but nothing approached them. “Come on, CSRs...Come ooooon, CSRs,” Hector chanted quietly to himself, with a hint of excitement. “Wouldn’t it be great if we found out they were real?”

“I don't think they’re real, Hector,” Tamar muttered, perhaps slightly hopefully. “I don’t think ANY rodents grow that big.”

“That’s not even--” Ben broke off, trying to find a way to explain to Hector why his statement was completely insane. She considered, and came to the conclusion that Hector’s skull was thicker than most walls, and to argue with his silliness would be an exercise in futility. Also, she was cut off by the appearance of some truly massive rodents.

“Hey-hey! Look!” Hector beamed, nearly jumping with excitement. “Those look pretty big... aah, not cow-sized though...” The man’s enthusiasm left him as the creatures got closer. While still big, they were about half the size he was expecting.

“Bigger than a breadbox,” Ben observed, remembering childhood word games. “...Much, much bigger than a breadbox.”

“Can we discuss that later, please?” Tamar snapped, sword out again, seeming more than ready this time for the onslaught of rodentia (maybe he was learning, after all). “Giant rats attacking NOW.”

“On it!” Hector charged forward, intercepting the closest one with a heavy kick to its face. “Hyyaah!” he yelled, as he punted it across the chamber the trio was in. It bounced to the back of the room and out over an exposed wall, falling down into the watery abyss far below.

Tamar... coughed, seeming perhaps just a little disappointed that the other rats had clearly decided this was not the way they wanted to go out, as they changed directions almost immediately, retreating further into the underground. “Um. Okay... that works too. I guess.”

Ben just stared at Hector, her face totally deadpan. “What. The hell.” The rats were... turning tail and running now, scarpering back down the corridor. “What the absolute hell.”

“Did I do something wrong...?” He looked at the other two, a little confused. Another heavy sniff. “Augh... come on, we need to follow these things quickly.” The man took a heavy step forward, before stumbling a bit, woozy. “Damn...” He groaned, balancing himself against the nearby wall.

Tamar visibly flinched. “Hey, you all right?”

“I... ” He shook his head, visible beads of sweat forming toward the top of his head. “I’m not sure.”

Ben passed a hand over her forehead again. “Can we please cut the talking? Whatever it is, I’m sure it will pass; let’s just get a move on already.”

Hector lifted his head up, a stern look as he fought back the sickness that was affecting him. “Right, we have a job to do.”

~~~

Ben took a heavy swig from her canteen. What was it about this place that she always ended up with headaches? Last time it had made sense, at least; sleep-deprivation does that to a person. This time... not so much.

Huff. Huff. Huff. Huff huff huff huff huff huffhuffhuffhuffhuffhufff ARGH.

“Can you STOP that?” Ben snapped.

“Uh...”

“I have a migraine the size of this entire Underground and you are breathing SO LOUDLY. Both of you! Can’t ANYONE breathe at normal volumes these days? My GOD, I can’t even hear myself think! Just... just be QUIET, okay?”

“Achoo!” Hector flailed as he let out another colossal sneeze.

“Ben, don’t you think you’re being a little unfair?” Tamar argued. “He’s not feeling well.”

Ben growled. “I JUST mentioned I have a headache; WHY would you go and sneeze like that? And no, Tamar, I don’t think it’s unfair to request that we just have an OUNCE of quiet, maybe once in three years or something. God knows things are loud enough at the moment!”

“... Yeah, with all your yelling,” Tamar muttered sheepishly under his breath.

Ben whirled on Tamar, an angry glint in her eye. “For God’s sake, my head is being used as an anvil to beat out blocks of ore into bleeding FOIL, this is NOT the time to-- hang on...” She broke off, listening to the reverberations of her voice bouncing back from the passage walls. “That echo didn’t sound right.”

Hector sniffed. “Something about the chamber that way... bleh. The sound is being blocked on the way back somehow.” The man pointed out as he wiped some of the accumulating sweat on his head. By this point the spikes in his hair were starting to fall, making his large clump of hair start to interfere with his vision. “Stupid green hair...” he muttered.

“Your own fault for not tying it back.” Ben glared at Hector for being a source of noise yet again, as she peered into the chamber, trying to see past the spots that were starting to invade her vision to make out what was there. “Ugh.”

Tamar looked between the two, worried. Clearly they were being affected by something, and if it was anything, it was probably the same sickness that the other adventurers had gotten recently. Of course, that didn’t explain why he was, so far as he could tell, completely fine. Jumpy, sure, freezing, also sure, but hey, they were in a really scary place Saints only knew how far beneath the ground. Fear, in such a given situation, was pretty natural.

He opened his mouth to say something, but... really, what would he suggest? That they go back? That they come back later, or send somebody else? Okay fine, so nobody had actually died of this yet, but the way the priests on the surface had been going on, it was only a matter of time. Oddly, the people who were getting off more lightly amongst the infected seemed to be the kids, and...

...Oh.

Well. That made a nerve-wracking kind of sense. This was age-related. Which meant pretty much everyone here was on borrowed time for how long they were going to be able to function. “Damn it damn it damn it, where’s Marcus when you need him?”

“So... so there’s something back there.” One hand tightened on the sword hilt while the other reached out to touch Ben’s arm very gingerly, as if she was a skittish cat that might bolt at any second. “Ben? A-are you sure?”

“If I wasn’t sure, I wouldn’t suggest it. No going back either way.” The voice was cold and snappish.

“I don’t think that’s such a good... I mean maybe you should, um...”

“We’re going. And what part of BE GODDAMN QUIET don’t you understand!?” Ben stopped walking to lean against the wall for a few moments, holding her head in pain. “My bloody head...”

Breathing heavily, Hector struggled a bit to lift his sword up against his shoulder. “Ben’s right.”

...Yeah, the odds of them listening to him were fairly low when they were both fully coherent, much less now. Tamar glanced at the sword in his hand, because it was sinking in now that he was going to have to use it, and probably well at that.

And neither of his teammates were in any way close to peak physical. Tamar had actually never imagined he’d see the day when Ben would double over in pain. “Okay, look, maybe--”

“Would all of you shut up over there!?” A fourth voice echoed back from the chamber further ahead. “I’m trying to work, damn it!” The trio all paused, looking at one another confused.

Not wasting any more time, the three entered through the archway into a large open room. The back area was open, like some of the other rooms, revealing the foggy innards of the underground. The floor around the room had pipes and other such plumbing materials to pump the ever-flowing water out toward that abyss. Columns held up a balcony, which served as the roof for the area, with two sets of stairs leading down it toward the first floor where the trio of heroes stood.

The light stood out among the other details. Dim green and silky, it coated everything like a thin layer of grime in the darkness. One wouldn’t have thought it possible for light to look dirty, but this light was, and they could recognize the source of the age-old smell now-- it was coming from the balcony. Atop the platform lay an altar, reflecting the light against its obsidian stone.

“....What in the Saints...” Tamar started, before trailing off in obvious disbelief. Then his brain put two and two together and rapidly came up with four. Magic. Of course it was magic. It’s always friggin’ magic.

Insects swarmed around the large open area, and on the ground floor were two rats. Massive in appearance; one might even say cow-sized. “Heeeeeey!” Hector called out in excitement, slowly turning his head over to Ben.

“Don’t even think about it, Hector!” she growled, still clutching her head with one hand, and her sword with the other. She had a full visual aura now, and was blinking rapidly as though that would help her see.

“Are you kidding me? I told you guys to shut up!” a whiny voice called from next to the altar. It was a lone man, scrawny in appearance, covered in a puke-green robe that fit perfectly to his body. Which was kind of a shame, because most of his body also had the appearance of somebody who had been living underground with rats and bugs for company for a long time. And said rats and bugs were everywhere, crawling across every wall, beady eyes shining from every crack in the ancient, rotting stone. “Augh, for real? More adventurers? Really? Really. What’s the matter with you people!?” The man threw his hands up in frustration.

“More adventurers?” Tamar snapped. “What do you mean, more adventurers? Who the heck are you?”

“Ohhh hoho ho! Aaaah hohoho.” It wasn’t quite a laugh when they could actually see the vowels forming. “Don’t know who I am?”

“Uh...” Tamar frowned.

“I hate this guy already...” Hector sighed.

“The other mages, they called me crazy! Fire Magic, Ice magic! That was the way to go, why the flub were you learning magic over the Vermin!?” The mage threw his hands about in frustration.

“Um...” Tamar repeated, feeling sure the rest of the sentence would form at some point.

“Because I’m the Vermin Lord, I said! Ya know what they did when I said that?”

“Ummm...”

“They laughed me out of the friggin’ palace! Buncha dicks.”

“Uhhh, but...”

The mage gestured again, and the stone behind him shimmered ever so slightly. Tamar tensed. Okay, so odds were they were dealing with a lunatic, but those rats were huge, and that thing clearly had power. And a lot of it. Enough to keep affecting people across an entire city. Tamar knew lunatics. He knew not to underestimate them. Even when they had an affinity with rats.

”No one on the surface ever respected my talents. They wanted the streets CLEAN of vermin. Can you believe them!? Up here, though, in this castle, vermin are everywhere for me to control. Rodents, Insects, BIGGER Rodents, BIGGER Insects!”

“Oh god,” Ben muttered under her breath. “Can’t he rant and rave more quietly?”

“Really, there’s not much else besides those two categories, is there...?” Hector groaned out.

“I don’t need anything else! Didn’t you hear me!? Veeeeeermiiiiiiiiin Looooooooord!” He stomped up and down. “I’m not gonna be some two-bit mage here; with this altar, my control over the creatures of the dark has grown exponentially. And with the plague I’ve infected them with, even the strongest of warriors fall to my knees! Aaaaahohoho!”

...Of course, there is such a thing as overestimating the intelligence of your opponent. By this point, the entire room seemed to have started... swarming around the edges, nothing but rodent and insect for as far as you could see in the dark. Seriously disgusting, but not half as disturbing as the giants that hovered around the altar, alien light glowing in their eyes. Tamar glanced back and forth between Ben and Hector for a moment. “...So, altar, right?”

“Of course the bleeding altar,” Ben snapped in response.

“Alt-CHOOO!”

“Um... yeah, I’ll get the altar.”

“All right. We’ve got... we’ve got...” The man held onto his nose, trying to let the moment pass. “Whew... we got the CSRs.” He pointed over toward the large creatures, which looked ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Tamar ran ahead toward the steps. At that moment, the Vermin Lord commanded the Rats to charge him, but Ben and Hector stood in the way of the two massive creatures, and Tamar slipped between them, only stumbling slightly, ignoring the way the entire floor seemed to be swarming with the creatures. ”Altar, get to the altar!”

The mage wasn’t the cleverest of foes they’d encountered, but he wasn’t a total idiot. He knew exactly where Tamar was going the moment he dodged between the rats the size of farmyard animals and made for the stairs.

He had seemed such an anticlimactic idiot when he first appeared, that Tamar really hadn't expected him to be any good at wielding any kind of weapon, even compared to him. It was a bit of a surprise then, when a strike to the side knocked him off his feet. At first he seemed to be using a whip or something, but then the cord disintegrated on contact, breaking into a thousand insects all at once. Tamar tried not to yelp in disgust as he shook the things away from his sleeves. “Okay, leather shirt, definitely good move!”

He could just about see Ben dodging out of the way of a giant claw below, before the mage was between him and the altar, and this was where it started to get really disturbing. The insects swarmed in what might have been a nice display if they’d been, say, butterflies, or something, gathering around their host in a virtual living shield, so when Tamar tried to strike again, the insect swarm forced the blade away. The man laughed like a schoolgirl as he danced about. When Tamar went for another strike, the man threw his hands forward, firing the insects off at him in a swarm. Too many of them to possibly have a prayer of blocking.

And honestly, Ben and Hector weren't being all that helpful.

“Don’t fall over!” Hector yelled up from the bottom floor. “Remember your balance training! Cut through and catch him defenseless!”

“No! Don’t listen to him, duck and roll!” Ben countered, as the two, fatigued from the sickness, rolled across the ground, nearly getting trampled by the two large rodents. “Go around them and strike!”

“Oh for the love of...” Tamar winced, staggering away from another explosion of insects this time aimed directly for his face.

“Duck and roll!? You want him lying on the ground for this guy!?” Hector retorted, as he attempted to block a mighty blow from one of the CSRs, but in his current state was easily flung upward. Tamar hesitated when he saw it, and that was enough for him to miss the next strike coming. He barely caught it in time. “Just like the bear, think of it like the bear, they’re just BUGS, treat them like what they are!”

“You want him standing up and getting devoured by bugs!?”

“Guys, seriously, mixed messages here!”

“Do the thing... hrrng, with the thing!” Hector attempted to advise, but his advice had gotten a bit delirious from the sickness. Honestly, Tamar didn’t think that advice would’ve made much sense anyway. He managed to control the next swing enough to throw the insects back, but they dispersed well before they got anywhere near the Mage.

“Auuugh! Look, if you’re going to die, just do it quickly and quietly!”

“Ben, we’re trying to support him here, that’s not help-ACHOOO-ing!”

“What? I do NOT want to hear someone screaming in agony for twenty minutes with this godforsaken migraine!”

“Well, next time you get this job!” Tamar ducked beneath another strike, almost ending up on his hands and knees as he skidded toward the altar. The sword in his hands flared with a brief burst of pain and he flinched, wondering where it came from for one second too long. That was all the mage needed. The swarm leapt up between Tamar and the altar, a solid wall of movement, crackling with the magical energy that controlled them. A visible aura that practically screamed “You-do-not-want-to-walk-into-this.” Tamar took a step back, swearing. No getting through there, not like this.

When he turned, the mage was walking towards him, smirking. At least, it was probably a smirk. Hard to tell, what with all the bugs. Tamar lifted the sword, mage to one side of him, wall of bugs which he really did not want to walk into on the other.

“ Are you getting bored of this, pipsqueak?” The mage chuckled. “I’m getting bored of this. Nowhere to run. Like a peasant like yourself could even harm the masterful Vermin Lord.”

“...That name is moronic!” Ben yelled upward, moments before being blindsided by a rat the size of a cow.

“OH shut up!” The Lord flailed at the insult. From there, it didn’t take long before more advice was being shouted Tamar’s way.

“Don’t give him a chance to use that magic, stay on the offensive!”

“No, get behind him and attack him where he’s weakest!”

“That’ll never work!”

“Why the hell would your plan be any better!?”

...Honestly, neither plan had any hope of working. The Vermin Lord lifted a hand toward Tamar almost lazily, and what could only be described as a solid whip of insects slashed forward. Tamar blocked, a rush of anger bursting in his chest as the sword struck...

And... smoldered.

The second attack came too fast for Tamar to have the opportunity to wonder about this, and this time, when he blocked, Tamar could actually smell smoke, could see the spark as sword collided with a whip of exoskeletons. The hilt under his hand was burning again, hotter than before. The Vermin Lord shrieked, as if he himself had been struck.

Now that pissed him off.

“Stay light. Movement is key, your body needs to move with your strikes; he’s off balance: use that!”

There was no way to avoid so many insects all at once, so Tamar didn’t try to. He blocked instead. The Vermin Lord, whatever his name was, struck again. Tamar grabbed the whip and pulled the attack toward him instead, ignoring the flash of pain as he tugged the confused figure. This resulted in a brief tug-of-war between them before the insects thought to disperse, and this time, Tamar was forced off balance.

”Can’t avoid falling, so fall RIGHT.”

He rammed his elbow directly into the Mage’s neck. He fell backwards, his swarm of insects going with him, all of them humming as if in one united shriek of anger as the mage crashed to the ground. The sword hilt was still burning under his hand, and, suddenly, something in Tamar’s brain clicked.

Or... no, it wasn’t a click. It was more like.. the feeling of a page turning. Of something being there that hadn’t been before. Inside of his head. When he sucked in a breath, it burned in his throat. He could hear Ben yelling in rage as the creature she was fighting tried to tear her throat out, could see the shape of Hector in the corner of his eye being knocked off his feet, and that seemed to be the push Tamar needed.

Tamar looked down at the sword. There was fire creating a sickly stench as it burned away the blood. That was what fire did, right? Marcus had told him. They used fire to cauterize wounds on battlefields. Fire purified.

Tamar turned to the virtual wall of insects still blocking him from the altar and swung the sword. The air hissed with the sound of burning exoskeleton and shrieking insect as fire leapt and tore through them. Tamar didn’t wait to think, or wonder what the hell he had done or where this fire was even coming from. He went for the altar, lifting the burning sword and bringing it down to the obsidian surface. ”Thank you, Marcus!”

Tamar didn’t expect to get blown back by the swing, mostly because he didn’t expect the altar to explode from the release of energy within it. With a flash, it split open from his attack, releasing whatever magic the mage had been using to bolster his power.

“NOOOOOOOOO!” The Vermin Lord shrieked out as he saw his precious relic destroyed before his very eyes. He took a moment to catch his breath, and then another, “NOOoooooOOoooOOoooooo... Ooooo! Hah...hah....oooooooooooo! AAaaah, what the hell did you do, you little brat!? Aw, I can’t believe this! My altar! Do have any idea how hard it was to borrow it from that succubus!? Awww, crap, I promised to give it back to her! Seriously. Worst day EVEEEEEER! Thanks a lot!” The man stomped around once again, clearly having recovered from being smacked in the chin, and Tamar would have had a witty comeback, probably, but his ears were still kind of ringing and it was just starting to sink in that ”Oh god, I just set a sword on fire how in the name of every saint of the Bloody Veil...”

Finally, the man came to a stop and glared at the boy. “Grrr. No one puts Vermin Lord in a corner. You’re going down, kid, right here!” The man proceeded to extend his arms outward, as if to call the insects to him once again. The moment never came, though. Awkwardly, the man’s eyes shifted to the left, and then the right, before he swung his arms back again to try to activate the spell. However, the altar destroyed, his control over the creatures had gone completely haywire. “Come oooon, damn it! Why the hell isn’t it working? You worthless insects, would you do something USEFUL for a change!?”

At that, the creatures decided to respond, and swarmed the man. This time, however, it was far from pleasant for him, as he yelled out in fear and pain as the insects attacked his body, rebelling against their master. “”WAAAH, oh spirits does that HURT!” The body flailed around, almost comically at this point, until finally it fell from the balcony and collapsed onto the bottom floor. He remained there, motionless, as the insects continued feasting upon his body. He had been killed, done in by his own power.

Hector found himself still pinned by the gigantic rodent above him, however. When the mage’s body landed with a thud, though, something happened. Hector felt his energy surging for a moment. A second wind? Perhaps, with the mage defeated, his sickness was leaving his body. At this, Hector grinned toward the beast as he felt his strength returning. With a yell outward, he pushed his arms against the creature’s belly, managing to somehow lift the beast off the ground, even while he himself lay on the floor, and, with a mighty toss, launched the monster right off the floor and out into the fog like the last rat. “Now we’re talking.” Hector chuckled as he rose back to his feet.

Ben was having a much better time as well, as her migraine faded from being skull-burstingly distracting to a mere irritation which continued to dissipate. A few blinks and the spots in her vision were ebbing away, leaving her with a clear view-- finally-- of what was actually in front of her. With a carefully placed kick to the neck, the massive rat’s head was forced back before it could bite at her, giving her enough time to pull her sword arm free and stab it in the chest. The creature struggled for a few moments, but the injury quickly claimed it, and it, too, died. Hector helped push the massive creature off his comrade, and the two finally took a moment to catch their breath.

“Uh... everyone all right down there?” Tamar had meant to yell, but it came out a little muffled. “Hector? Ben?”

Hector looked himself over; none of the wounds were anything serious. “We could certainly be worse...” Looking up toward Tama,r he waved for him to come back down. “Nice work, Hotshot.”

Tamar would have smiled, but he was still a little bewildered. He looked around to find his sword, lying where it had fallen. The hilt was cold beneath his fingers, no sign of the earlier heat that had surrounded it. “Could... I have imagined that?”

“Your legs stop working or something?” Ben called out, as the two waited.

Tamar shook his head, reclaimed the sword, and made for the stairs, taking them two at a time. He hadn’t even realised the malaise was lifting until it actually had. When he finally reunited with the others, Hector grinned and gave the gray-haired boy a thumbs up. “Nice work following my advice.”

“Be serious, the only reason he’s alive is because he knew how to fall like I taught him,” Ben challenged, the two narrowing their eyes at one another.

“...Um, if I say I followed both of your advice, can we leave here any faster?” Tamar shuddered, glancing back at the... well, body, of the former Vermin Lord. It was... not a pretty sight, and he had to look away after a moment.

“Hmm...” Hector walked up beside Tamar, and looked over at the body, insects still all over it. “Man, this guy sure was sad, wasn’t he?”

Tamar opened his mouth, possibly to ask exactly what had just happened, then thought better of it. “I don't think anybody deserves to go like that... I didn’t kill him.” He remembered at the last moment that pointing this out might be a good idea. “It’s just... the altar was broken, and they all went crazy...”

“It’s all right, I don’t think either of us started believing you could control giant bees all of a sudden.” Hector laughed, patting the boy on the back, the force of which nearly knocked him on the floor. The status quo was clearly restored. “What a way to go, though... falling from up there, a lot like that egg-guy, huh?”

“...Um... I don’t think Humpty Dumpty came with quite that many rats.”

“You’re both idiots. Can we go now?”

“Yeah, yeaaah... looks like everything’s back to normal, at least. If you can really call anything here normal, anyway... Let’s get back and see if the other infected adventurers are okay.”
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Qara-Xuan Zenith
 
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