Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

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

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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby agoraoptera on Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:18 pm

Day was transmuting to dusk, the orange rays of light splashing across their faces. Wood crackled merrily in the fireplace as tongues of fire licked the logs. It had been a long day, and they were all thankful for the rest they now enjoyed.

Except Luca, of course.

He sat there and fidgeted uneasily. His dull green eyes scanned over at the other side of the table, looking over the young girl who sat there, kicking her feet with idle enthusiasm as she silently waited with anticipation. The man raised an eyebrow and shook his head, it was like she had forgotten all they had done to her once before, and it baffled him. The air in the room was making the whole thing incredibly awkward to the swordsman, who cleared his throat just to get some sort of noise to break the silence.

“Food,” He mumbled under his breath, “... the food should be ready shortly. Are you... uh, hungry?” He sighed, regretting having said anything at all. Why was he bothering, it’s not like any of this really mattered. Perhaps, though, there was some guilt for what he had to do back at the beginning of his campaign.

Zi nodded happily, saying, “Yes, Papa. Ma’s cooking, right?”

Luca gagged. The man rubbed his hand against his forehead as he tried to find the right words. “If you mean Asha, yes, she’s cooking. Now stop calling me that.” He growled.

“Sorry, Pa,” she blinked apologetically, “what did you do today?”

Incited more fights in the town. Increased the usage of the rage spell in the area. Probably caused the deaths of several people. “...Work.” He avoided the conversation, nothing a kid should be hearing about. “Haaaa... where is that food?” He tapped on the table awkwardly.

Just then, Asha drifted in calmly carrying a large pot of steaming spaghetti, slathered all over in tomato sauce. In a strangely matronly fashion, Asha began portioning the noodles for the two, then sat down quietly without a word.

“Thanks, Ma!” Zi smiled, and Asha lightly patted her head in response. “Pa, eat. Ma, eat.”

Luca looked over at the masked woman with a look that just screamed don’t encourage this, saints damn you. The man stabbed his fork into the food roughly, swirling the mass of noodles around the sauce. He watched the other two; Asha sat patiently with clearly no bowl of food for herself while Zi watched in anticipation for the man to start eating. “You know, you’re both putting a lot of pressure on me when you watch like this.” A soft laugh left the man’s throat, reluctant as it was.

“Sorry,” Zi said again, before digging into her own food wolfishly, almost as if she hadn’t eaten for days. In fact, from the way her skin draped her bones, she looked malnourished. But it wasn’t likely that she hadn’t been eating; the only other case where he’d seen such a thing was when Asha over-exerted herself, back when.. back then. Zi paused, cocking her head curiously at Asha like a young sparrow.

Wiping her mouth, she asked, “Ma, why aren’t you eating?” Asha’s mask flinched in response, darting towards where the question came from. Silently, the hooded head shook ‘no.’

“Yes Asha, why aren’t you eating this delicious meal?” Luca grinned devilishly, a chance at revenge perhaps. “She needs to eat like us, right little Zi?” The man laughed, causing Asha to dip her shoulders downward in some form of a pout.

“Yeah! Ma, you cooked for us, so you have to eat too,” Zi asserted with the child-like confidence of her non-sequiturial logic. Lifting her bowl and fork to Asha, Zi stood and began lifting her scarlet fork to Asha’s porcelain-white mask. Trying to feed her. “Come, Mama, take off the mask, or you’ll get it dirty and then you’ll look funny.” Asha flinched away, trying as politely as she could to nudge Zi’s fork away from her mask.

Luca held back a laugh as the fork collided with the mask and spaghetti soon found it’s way around its details. “Pfft, That’s a good look. That’s enough Zi,” The man finally decided to explain, if only to save his friend further embarrassment, “Asha isn’t like us, she doesn’t need to eat at all.”

“Oh...” The way her mouth curved into an ‘o’ of surprise and remorse was endearing and Zi began wiping away the red stains carefully, her hair falling into her eyes as she did so. “There, perf-” The young girl paused as Asha took out a jade hairpin and pushed it into her long hair, keeping it out of her eyes. “Thank you Ma,” she said, her eyes brimming over with tears of gratitude. “I’ll treasure it, I promise,” she said solemnly, fingers lightly brushing the length of the pin.

Luca looked over at the two. The whole thing was incredibly uncomfortable to him, perhaps partially to Asha as well... yet he could feel the emotions Asha was feeling, and she was happy to have the company of the young girl. It was hard to comprehend, but even Luca felt a bit bad for the kid. Uncomfortable he was, yes, but still there was something innocent in this child, or at least an innocence that she wanted as bad as they did, and there was a connection there; it allowed him the patience to get through the meal with her.

But patience beyond that was a question to be asked. Asha and him were attempting world-altering events, and they could not necessarily spare the time to take care of some child; and what of when they succeeded? “Asha.” The man said sharply, getting the mage’s attention, he motioned her to get up from the table and two moved briefly to the side of the room.

“You know what I’m gonna be asking.” The man began, quietly. The Mask tilted, blankly staring into the man’s eyes. To Luca, however, it seemed he got quite the reply. “I know she stabilized you, I’m thankful for it too. But for how long can we keep this up? She thinks I’m her damn father.” He waited, as if giving her time to speak as well. “Bringing her back... isn’t an option. Apparently Kavros’s shadow was more than she could handle. Julius too. Yeah, I didn’t think either would fall so soon...” Another pause, “Look, I get it, you feel some sort of obligation but she is not our problem. We need to focus on our goals, we can’t let a little guilt get in the way...”

The two silently continued their argument for some time. Zi looked at the pair quietly as she ate; she could not hear what they were saying but.. there was something. It was the way Asha moved, the energies that came off of her; it had drawn Zi to her unerringly like metal to a lodestone, how she’d found the pair, and it was still there now. Just being near her was like swimming in magic, and it was having some sort of effect on her. As she stared at Asha, she could swear she was feeling what the masked woman was conveying to Luca. None of her speech had words or sentences; Flashes of memories, emotions. That was how she ‘spoke’.

Those memories led to the experience Asha briefly had with Anji in the underground, the one Asha had considered returning to. But as Luca explained, she, and apparently Julius, had fallen to the leader of the rebellion. As the memory of Anji flashed past Zi, her entire body seized up, rigid as rigor mortis, and the spaghetti sliding down her throat abruptly stuck as the walls of her throat pressed together tightly. Zi began gagging in panic, unable to breathe, unable to think, terror crowding over her mind and fire began sprouting all over her as she convulsed agitatedly.

The two adults turned their heads towards the unexpecting noise behind them to see quite a sight. “What the hell!?” Luca shouted. The two looked back at each other briefly, before nodding in silent agreement. Luca edged closer to the flames while Asha slowly suppressed them with a spell of her own, a soothing wind that seemed to snuff the flames out. “She’s choking, what do I do?”

The Mage looked on silently.

“The what maneuver? Who the hell is Heim?” Luca barked, confused. Asha stomped her foot down in annoyance. “Right, right, I’m on it!” The warrior returned his attention to the ailing girl and follow the “instructions” Asha gave to him, he was able to successfully free the food from her throat. The man let out a light sigh of relief, before adding “How the hell do you choke on spaghetti...?”

In Luca’s warm, if a little rough, embrace, Zi began breathing again, eyes no longer bulging in suffocation, and, comforted, hugged him as well. “I’m.. sorry, Pa. Thank you for saving me.”

The red haired swordsman winced, his eyes darting around the room in flustered annoyance as the young girl embraced him. “I’m not your... augh. Just sit down, would you? And please keep the flames to a minimum.”

Zi returned to the task of eating, though now in silence, and she soon found her bowl empty but just as quickly saw another being pushed her way, it was Luca’s. She looked at him curiously.

“Aren’t you hungry, Pa?”

“No.” He replied simply, stepping away from the table, “... You need it more than I do anyway.” He turned himself away, preparing to leave the area and return to other duties he had. “I’m heading back out there. Asha, I guess... take care of her for now. Not much else we can do.” The mage nodded in agreement, and allowed the warrior to be on his way.

“Bye Pa! Come home safe, okay? Love you!”

“Auugh!” The man growled, throwing his arms up in the air in frustration as he left.

“You forgot to give Mama a hug!”

A yelp and the sound of a man tripping down the steps were heard.
If you can make it better, don't make it sentient.

agoraoptera wrote: :| Shane just because I'm Asian doesn't mean I get to be Godzilla


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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:14 am

Rachel walked among the trees of the third floor. Several weeks on the castle and she was still amazed by the place. All of this is just one floor of the place, how are these people not constantly overwhelmed by that fact? Of course the experience had not been wholly positive, when she had arrived several men had insisted that she join up with an 'Anti-guild faction'. This had seemed absurd to Rachel having been trained by a guild and she had said as much to the men.

They had reacted badly and attacked her.

While she had no idea why the men would have a problem with the Bard's guild, Rachel wasn't as helpless as most of her contemporaries. Some quick saber work had driven them off without much problem but the bard felt it was best to disappear until she had a better handle on the situation. Since then she had gathered the answers from guards, tavern patrons and some wanted posters. So civil war raging, Rachel had moved up to the third floor and began playing and singing at a new tavern for employment. It was a simple job but it payed well.

Now she was coming back from the market with some food for home when she spotted a man in ragged clothing, missing a boot and limping. Is that one of the guild members? Rachel hoped not, the last thing she needed was more idiots like the men who accosted her when she arrived. The man was leaning up against a wall and stumbled, falling to the ground. Fine I guess I should help him.. She walked over to fallen man who was struggling to get back to his feet.

“Excuse me sir. Can I help you?”

Rachel gasped as the man turned his face to look at her.

“Marcus?!?”
----------
Marcus had been ready to tell the woman to go about her business. Of course that had been before he turned to see his childhood friend. He suddenly found himself wrapped in a tight embrace as Rachel began speaking.

“I can't believe you're here! Its so good to see you! How did you get here? Did you know this Castle is floating? Have you been-”

“Rachel” he interjected. “Breathe for a second, its good to see you too but right now I need your help. I need you to help me get to the Loreknights.”

The bard turned her head to the side and gave him a quizzical look. “The who now?”

Marcus quietly seethed to himself before he said anything.

“Rachel, how long have you been here?
“About a week.”
“Okay so then how much do you know about the civil war?”
“Only that they don't like guilds much, especially one in particular....Driving Storm I think?”

Marcus seethed some more.

“Storm and Drive, my guild. I need to get to the LoreKnights because my guild leader is there, shes wounded. I might have just won a contest to save her life but I don't trust the healer at all.”
“Wow big talk coming from the failed doctor.”
“Not the time, Rachel!”
“Look Marcus calm down, you might be stubborn as all hell but if you saw someone trying to go somewhere in your condition would you let them?”

Dammit I hate it when she has a point, nice to know that hasn't changed. Rachel gave him a lopsided smile and offered her hand out to him. Marcus grabbed ahold of it as the bard muscled him into a position that she could help the warrior along.

“Damn Marcus, you put on some weight.”
“Really? Because I'm fairly sure I've had some removed quite recently.”
Rachel looked over her friend's wounds. “Yea some of that just looks flat out nasty.”
“Yea just get me somewhere moderately clean and I'll walk you through patching me up. Then I'll introduce you to the Librarians.”
“I thought you called them the Loreknights.”
“The fact that they gave themselves a fancy title doesn't mean they aren’t librarians.”
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby RussetDivinity on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:40 pm

The False Princess and the Bastard

(About three years ago)

"And Liko fled her father's castle, nevermore to be a princess."

To resounding applause, Likovya bowed, unable to control her grin. She loved telling The Tale of Princess Liko, and audiences loved hearing it, even if some small children cried when the three princes died. Relishing the applause, she crossed the stage, wrenched her knives from the necks of three well-dressed dummies, and vanished behind a curtain in time for Master Weston to announce the next act: Lotus and her band of dancers from across the sea.

She slipped through the circus, quiet now that most of the performers were either preparing for their acts or watching their friends onstage from within the audience. After she changed into some normal clothes and replaced her stage knives with an ordinary one, she would join them. It was a good night for the circus; the air was clear and crisp, with thousands of stars in the sky. There was no wind to disturb the fires lighting the stage, and the town they had settled by was prosperous enough to pay to see them. They were even prosperous enough to pay a little extra, as the tumblers had noticed when people began tossing small coins at their feet.

As she passed the lions' cage, someone's arms wrapped around her waist. She froze for a moment, wondering who could be back here, but then a voice whispered in her ear, "You were brilliant tonight."

"I'm brilliant every night," she said, turning and flicking the man's cheek gently.

"And this night was no exception," Fitzroy said. He ran a thumb down her jaw, and she hurried to kiss his palm before it vanished.

Fitzroy was the circus juggler and the only one she trusted to use her knives besides her. He also believed he was the son of a king, though the details of precisely which king were somewhat shaky. No one in the circus questioned it, and some even helped him prepare for the journey he would take someday to find his father. Likovya was the only one who hesitated when he asked her for help, but not because she doubted his story. She simply didn't want him to leave without her.

"The Princess Liko, beautiful and glorious," he said, smiling. She could make out his face by the stars and the candles some of the more foolhardy circus members left burning by their tents.

"Only on stage," she said.

"Not for long." This was part of the plan he had sometimes brought up. "I'll come back, and you'll be my princess. Princess Kovyasha." He touched her cheek, and this time his hand lingered.

"Suppose the king won't make you a prince?" she asked. It felt strange to be the realist in any group, as she had grown up having her mind filled with stories and characters and acts to be performed, and she couldn't tell whether she liked it or not. At least she didn't dim his enthusiasm when she brought this up.

"Duchess, then, or marchioness. The Marchioness Kovyasha, and the Marquis Fitzroy." He glanced up, momentarily lost in thought. Suddenly, he glanced down at her. "We'll have to use your family name, since I haven't got a proper one of my own."

"I don't know that it is my family name," she said.

"It will be."

She couldn't tell who started to move, whether she grabbed his shoulders first or he bent his head to meet hers. She only knew that they were kissing, and it wasn't a furtive kiss stolen behind the lion cages or under the stage, but one that anyone could see and she wouldn't care. When she lowered herself to catch her breath, she asked, "If you leave, how will you find us again?"

"I'll find you," he said. "No matter where you go, no matter how far it is, I'll find you. Death... well, that might stop me, but not permanently. Possibly."

And just like that, the sensation that they were on a stage vanished, and they were two performers embracing behind the lion cages. Likovya couldn't help laughing, and Fitzroy joined in, their only care in keeping quiet so they wouldn't distract the dancers.
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Krika on Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:06 pm

What Happens When You Stay Too Long At The Library, Or How Fern Became A Loreknight

(Sometime shortly thereafter the reported deaths of the main leadership of Storm and Drive)

The largest (and main) library structure in the known Castle was run by the Loreknights, who treated the information it contained with a reverence that most people reserved for deities and soulmates. Strictly speaking, any other library-like structure invariably had at least one Loreknight on staff at all times, even if it was not owned by the organization, so it could be said that the Loreknights controlled all of these buildings. What this boiled down to is that if somebody wanted to do some research, it was a near certain bet that at least one Loreknight would be aware of it happening. And if you wanted to find somebody who was researching something, the main Library would be a solid bet for where to find them.

Which brings us to said Library, and in particular, one person in it, surrounded by several piles of books. He (for it was a he) was wearing worn traveling clothes, which were caked with dust, and in some places (especially the cloak hanging on the back of the chair, and the remnants of a backpack laying underneath the table) torn. His hair was matted and just as dirty as the rest of him, with the wild unkempt look of one who has not touched it in several days. His eyes had a similar look, and every so often they would start to flutter shut, causing him to rub them, and blink rapidly to clear the sleepiness from them for a little while longer.

He turned the page on the tome he was currently reading with an hand that was visibly much cleaner than the rest of him. If one were to read over his shoulder, and were able to grasp the material in it, it would be apparent that it was a book concerning fixed-teleportation circle theory. In fact, several of the books were on similar, or tangential topics, while others concerned the ritual magic of several ancient civilizations. A few of the piles still had some dust on them, indicating books that had yet to be touched. Both piles were plentiful.

(About 2.5 days prior)

Fern was not happy at the moment. He shouldered his way down what appeared to be a main thoroughfare, at least judging by the amount of people moving through it, many of whom were giving him suspicious glances as he passed by. Fortunately, nobody accosted him, as an incredibly dirty young man muttering angrily to himself with occasional wild gesticulations did not seem to be the greatest person to try and interrupt. In fact, though he himself was unaware of this fact, people shied away from him, leaving him with a good yard of distance between him and the nearest person at all time.

“Stupid secretive secret-keeping old man....Go on an adventure, he says! Go explore some ancient ruins, he says! Oh, and do not worry about any possible guardians, oh no, they will all have either had their matrices corroded and faded, or we will be able to handle them! Go look at their religious temples to evaluate the use of magic in their religious practices!”

Having reached a small square, at the intersection of several roads, he paused in his muttered monologue, and appraised the situation, before turning, and grabbing the arm of the nearest passing person. “Where is the big library place?” The person, ever so slightly terrified at being accosted by someone as scruffy looking as Fern did, silently pointed down one of the roadways. “Thank you kindly.” Letting the person go, he stomped off down the indicated roadway, resuming his muttering.

“Oh, fine, you want to run away from the giant stone golem...spider....thing, take the passage, it was fine, we would have gotten out! No need to try alternate means, on the off chance that they even work, in which case we would be dead right now, so why would you even try that in the first place instead of doing the same option and running away! The kind of crazy it takes....”

Several instances of asking for directions later, he stood in front of what very much appeared to be a library, and what he had been told was the main library. If somebody had not had a very Nutter-like sense of humor, and decided to play a massive prank on him.....

As he entered, some part of his brain noted that the people in the lobby room did not look at all the part of librarians, their demeanor and appearance being more akin to those of well-armed guards than of book keepers. He ignored them, however, and homed in on the nearest person who looked like they worked here, a short-ish blonde young man reviewing a scroll.

“This is where the books are, yes?” The librarian gave an affirmative grunt and gave Fern a quick glance, before doing a double-take and giving the extremely dirty young man with a very wide grin that seemed to be fixed on his face his full attention. “Oh, ah, what can I help you with?” “Well, I would very much like to sit down and do some nice, light reading. I have had quite the tiring and busy day, you see.” The librarian looked Fern up and down, doubt and worry clear on his face, though it went unnoticed by Fern. “Well, umm.., you see.....you aren't really dressed properly. We generally require a certain amount of....cleanliness when inside. And I’m afraid you don’t really fit the, ah, the requirement.” Fern nodded. “I see. In that case, the nearest washroom would be where, precisely?” The librarian indicated the appropriate room, and Fern strode off toward it, disappearing into the room.

The librarian returned to reviewing the scroll, content that the situation had been dealt with. A couple of minutes later, however, he was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder. Looking up, he found himself looking at Fern, still smiling broadly, but this time displaying an immaculately cleaned hands.

“Errr....that’s not exactly what I meant, but alright. Follow me.” He stood and walked over to the entrance to the library proper. He paused in front of the door, and leaned over to whisper for a moment to whisper to one of the guards in front of the door. The guard nodded, and discreetly fell in behind the duo as they entered the main library.

The library was much larger on the inside that it appeared on the outside (which was still large), partially due to how it had a few basement levels, and partially due to how close the stacks were. Thus, the first impression of one entering the stacks was an utterly massive amount of books. It would not be exaggerating much to say that Fern shivered happily at the sight of the books.

The librarian turned to Fern. “What do you want to read, specifically?” “I think information on ancient magic practices of the Skidri, or similar cultures in addition to theory on teleportation magic would be excellent, I do believe.” “Alright then, if you’ll follow me....”

About 10 minutes later, the librarian had become thoroughly tired of Fern. First of all, he seemed to be unable to stay on the task of finding the books he actually wanted, and secondly the amount of books he wanted was absolutely ridiculous. Both the guard and him were heavily laden with books (he had politely refused to allow Fern’s still very dirty self to carry books). Where would he even need this many books? It would take days of straight reading just to get through all of these, much less ferret out the useful bits of information, for whatever he needed it for. He gave a mental shrug, and dumped the books he was carrying off on a table, indicating to the guard to do the same.

“Alright, you can use this table for your....research. If you need anything, my associate here will be nearby, so let him know if you do.” Gods, he was going to owe Martin for this. He nodded to Martin, the guard, who rolled his eyes with a sour expression on his face, and took up a nearby table, not quite out of sight of Fern’s position, but far enough out of the way that it wouldn't be immediately obvious at first glance that he was watching Fern instead of doing a thorough indexing of several papers and books. Hopefully this guy wouldn't be here for that long, or would find what he wanted with relative ease, and leave.

(About 2.6 days later.....)

“Do you make a habit of sleeping on books? Or is that reserved for special occasions involving priceless literature.”

Fern raised his head sleepily off the book that he had apparently fallen asleep on. Standing over him was an older woman, glaring at him with an expression that combined annoyance and anger. “Errm....generally when I spend too long reading them, history has shown.” He stretched a little, standing up as he did so. “I am....sorry for doing it. I did not intend to do that.”

“Well did you end up learning what you needed to know? Or did you annoy my keeper for nothing?” Lori glared at the man, looking him up and down slowly, searching for another flaw. “Did you even take a break? You look like you are half-stone by this point. I assume you are here seeking refuge and got lost in the light reading?”

Fern sighed, slumping back down into the chair. “No. I did not find what I was looking for. I figured it would be pretty simple to find the various rituals that the Skidri used in their religious practices, or at least find details that could help me get out of here, but no, there is not anything helpful beyond sort of second-hand descriptions here, even when I cross reference it with theoretical teleportation rituals there is not anything that matches what I am looking for...” He trailed off as he realized that he was talking perhaps a bit too much. “....erm. Sorry Ma’am, I did not mean to ramble. No, I do not believe I took a break. And I guess it could be said that I took refuge here? I did not, and do not really want to think about how I am apparently stuck here, wherever here is.”

“Ah, I see. Well the Skidri are actually listed under a different section entirely, though I’m afraid I've been using the tomes for my own research. These books are more casual than true research. I will get my aide, Tavi to fetch them to your lodgings... Where did you say you were staying again?” Lori said rapidly, picking up a few of the books and rifling through them.

“Ermm....I do not actually have a place to stay. When I...arrived, I guess, I did not think about that. I was rather focused on finding a way out, rather than possibly staying, but I guess that is not going to happen any time soon....”

“Well, that is problematic.” Lori said, tapping a finger to her nose thoughtfully. “Are you familiar with the seven treatises on sapiens and their relation to the four great thoughts composed by Rhodes?”

“Errr...yes, I think so? That is the one where he wrote about the development of the various mindsets, and the psyche in general, if I remember correctly.”

“How do you feel about waterfalls in deep caves? Mainly being tossed down them?” Lori said excitedly, grinning maniacally.

Fern leaned back slightly, the women’s excitement appearing to be....worrying in nature. “Errmm...I have fallen into one while trying to cross a river, but I can not say that I have ever been pushed into one.....May I ask why this would be relevant?” Hopefully she wouldn't take offense to him trying to figure out what was going on here....he felt like there was an important fact here that he was missing.

“How would you like to be a Loreknight?” Lori asked, calming down mildly.

“A....what?” Yes, there was definitely something he was missing here.

“Oh right you did say you teleported. You are on a castle. One that flies, as luck would have it. There are several factions, all exploring the surrounding areas, though the general consensus is to explore upwards until we reach the top. The Loreknights are one such faction, documenting and researching the flora and fauna of the area and the people and adventurers we come across. We also do science, because science is amazing and wonderful and we sometimes enlist other guilds to help with our science. Would you care to join us in our endeavor?”

Fern sighed, and dropped his head into his hands, tiredness and the full realization of exactly how far away from pretty much anything he had known hitting him again. “I....I just want to go back home..” he commented to the room in general. He sighed again, and stood up, facing the woman. “You know what, sure. As long as I am stuck here, I might as well do something here, and that sounds pretty much ideal, I guess.”

“Great! I’ll send Tavi down with a proper uniform later, for now though I need to go see how to heal a statue from a fatal wound.” Lori grinned once more, then all but sprinted down the aisles, heading deeper into the labyrinthine library.

Fern sighed, and sat down, putting books away, and restacking them in order as best he could. If he was going to be waiting here, sleep seemed like a very good idea, at least for the moment.

“Well, looks like I found something to do.....”
Krika
>Narra has tiny jerk people in her socks.
>We are affirming our collective jerkhood by committing genocide on them.
Guyshane
>I'm going to read the logs and pray that that sentence makes more sense in context
>No
>No it does not
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:25 am

Just This Guy

Ben sat in the main room of the building that had become Severed Claws' headquarters. She was nursing a cup of tea rather than ale, because without someone like Ian or-- or another drinking buddy, there wasn't much fun in drinking. Still, at least she could pretend to be sociable while she sipped the headache cure that apothecary had sold her.

She hadn't been there long when a young man made a beeline for where she was sitting. Always happens. She supposed it came with the territory of being guild leader; if people had questions or concerns, she was the person to bring them to. She sighed.

Ben put the mug down and stood up, rather than drawing a chair out for him, when the man approached. There was something about him that looked naggingly familiar, but still...

These days, only two types of people ended up in this pub: members of Severed Claws, and anti-guild people looking for a fight. The boy had too much of an air of ease around him to be a crazed fighter, but Ben kept files of her guild members to compensate for her poor memory for faces, and she was sure she hadn't signed this fellow on. Now hardly seems a sane time to join the guild, either...

Everything about him was, well... average. Average build, average height-- taller than Ben, but not by much-- sandy blond hair and an unsightly beard of the same colour covering half his face.

"Ben," he greeted her, grinning.

Ben gave a polite smile. "I'm so sorry," she said, "I'm terrible with names..."

"It will come to you," he added, still wearing that idiotic grin. "I'm just this guy, you know?"

Well, if he's going to be like that, it would be embarrassing to press the issue... Ben sighed. "Anything I can do to help you?"

"Oh, I don't know," he said, both hands stuffed in his pockets, "I've been thinking of joining your guild one of these days..."

If he's not part of the guild, then why does he think he's already on a first-name basis with me? she thought, furious in her frustration. Aloud, she said, "I'm sorry, do I know you from somewhere?"

His smile only widened, blue eyes dancing wickedly. "Wow, Ben, I'm wounded-- how soon you forget!"

That voice. I know that voice... goddammit. "Kevin?" she half-asked, half-shrieked.

"Who else?"

"Not that I'm complaining, but how the hell did you even get here?"

He looked smug as he answered. "I got bored waiting around, surrounded by all the lovebirds... and, after all, it's not like I didn't have a map." He dangled something from his fingers for a moment-- a gold locket, hanging from a fine chain, then flipped it back into his closed hand before Ben could snatch it away. It wasn't the first time the magical focus had led him to her, after all, and it probably wasn't the last time the thing would come in useful.

In any case, it looked like Ben had more pressing concerns than beating the dead horse of her dislike for the focus, which had already saved her life once. Before the locket had disappeared back into Kevin's hand, Ben had her hands on his forearm and had dragged him halfway down the corridor.

"Uh... where are we going?"

She didn't answer as she towed him up the stairs and down the hall, instead commenting, "I have an arrangement with the innkeeper that he'll give priority to renting rooms to Severed Claws guildmembers. You should be able to get rooms near mine fairly easily-- I don't think anyone's taken Erastus' old room yet, so that one's free."

When they reached her rooms, she dumped him unceremoniously on a low stool in front of a washbasin. "Somewhere in those packs of yours, there is a razor," she told him. "Use it."

Kevin chuckled, already rummaging in his bags for the razor as he protested. "I thought you didn't care about public appearances!"

"I don't," she replied, implacably. "But if I have to look at you, I'll do so without that godawful thing in the way, please and thank you. We can talk once you've shaved."

As he slowly began removing his facial hair with the small blade, Kevin asked, "What's wrong?"

Ben froze. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, come on, Ben. I'm not one to flatter myself; you'd never be this happy to see me unless things were pretty bad in comparison."

She sighed. "Finish what you're doing. Then we'll talk."
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AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:57 am

That Part Where Julius

There were several bright flashes. Pain was among them, she thought, longing for that sweet silence that came before. Noises chirped annoyingly in her ear, calling her away again. Groaning in frustration, Anji tried to move her arm over her eyes to block the searing light. She was rewarded with renewed pain in her middle. Confused, she tried to remember the events that led up to her taking a nap, in the middle of the day, during what was, if the level of shouting was any indicator, a festival.

Willing her eyes to adjust, Anji opened her eyes to slits. Immediately closing them again as the daylight filtered into them. The moment of clarity had brought back memories, mostly painful ones. The pain in her torso ached with renewed vigor as she attempted, somewhat slowly, to arrive at a sitting position and tell off the two idiots that woke her up.

Gasping in pain, she found the will to open her eyes and glared at the combatants fiercely. “I don’t know what’s wrong with either of you, but you better be damn happy I don’t have any knives with me.”

One of the men turned away from the other as soon as he heard Anji speak. He was dressed in simple clothing, and carried a green sword with him. “I told you I’d be here when you woke up,” he said, his voice brittle, still carrying the anger of the preceding altercation along with gentle concern for the wounded girl.

Confused, Anji looked between the two men. “Am I missing something here?”

“Yes,” began Julius tensely, while at the same time the other man spoke, smirking at the look on Julius’ face.

“Nothing at all, my dear girl. I believe I will take my leave now, Valerian. Remember our agreement.” The man winked at Anji, and, with a pop and a twist of purple light, he disappeared.

Anji looked over at the angry man, and said, “Who are you? What am I doing here?
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:47 pm

New Kid

The young man leaned against the gate, passing a few more moments in friendly conversation before the guard lazily waved him through with a word of thanks.

He ambled on in, stopping every now and then to chat briefly with a librarian or guard passing through. Eventually, he reached his apparent destination, with help from a few points in the right direction from his conversational partners.

This is... probably not the person I’m looking for. Still, here was where he’d ended up, so he might as well say something. Kevin cleared his throat. “Uh... hi.”

He was addressing a woman that was slowly trying to put away a stack of books. She had several bandages around her arms, and stopped to catch her breath at increasing intervals. At the moment, there seemed to be a three-way war between the girl, the shelf, and the stack of books.

She slowly turned to meet Kevin, and said, “Uhm, hi. Can I help you?”

“I hear you’re Lori’s personal assistant,” he said blandly.

“Unfortunately for all of us, you’re right.” Anji said softly, turning back to the books and their shelves. “Did you just come to gawk at the new kid? Or did you have something you need done?”

He caught a pile of books on their way out of her arms, slotting them carefully onto the shelf and steadying her with his hand when it came back empty. “You don’t by any chance know what happened to her last assistant, do you?” His eyes flickered over to hers, serious for a moment, before easing back into a mask of ease and blandness.

“I don’t remember.” Anji lied. “It’s been a bit of a weird week, first job and everything.”

He nodded sympathetically, pulling out a chair in front of a nearby table and plopping himself into another on the other side. “New boss push you off anything yet?”

This brought a smile from the girl, who began to laugh, then winced at the pain. “Pushed, no. I don’t think she’s gotten that far down the list.”

“Watch out for her,” he said, a mock-serious tone in his voice. “This one guy, she pushed him off a cliff into a waterfall. Guy already had problems with seasickness, too.” He paused. “Of course, maybe she just didn’t like me.”

“I don’t think she likes anyone.” Anji said, sitting carefully in the chair. “So... You just needed to find that Tavi guy? If you need anything from the library, I can do pretty much anything.”

“Well, it would have been nice to meet him,” Kevin admitted. “But I’m not going to say no to a new librarian friend just because she’s a pretty girl instead of an old man. I’m Kevin, by the way,” he said, offering a hand with his infectious grin.

Anji smirked, then shook hands with Kevin, saying, “I’m... Nova.”

“Nova the new girl. I’ll be seeing you around, I’m sure. Let me know if I can help.”

“Okay.” Nova replied, giving Kevin a genuine smile. “It was nice to meet you.”

“Pleasure’s all mine,” he answered gallantly. He stood, and stretched. “Now, your new boss will probably throw you off something if those aren’t sorted soon, and my new boss really doesn’t need to see me back right away, so... tell you what. Split that stack with me, and you’ll be finished faster.”
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:44 pm

Nova

“Excuse me, I’m looking for Ta-- Oh!” Ben reacted with surprise as the librarian she’d been about to ask for directions turned, revealing a familiar face. “It’s good to see you up and about.” What is it with everyone deciding to become librarians? she wondered.

“I’m sorry,” Nova apologized, eyes filled with confusion. “I’m afraid you have me confused with someone else.” After a few more moments, she added, “I’m Nova, Lori’s new assistant.”

Ben’s brows knitted together, in thought and consternation. Supposedly, Valerian had been the Loremaster’s “new assistant”. Now he was gone and Anji was playing the role? Something was clearly up.

“Don’t worry,” she assured the shorter woman. “You probably don’t remember much from when you were injured, but I was there. You don’t need to keep the act up for me, so long as there’s no one else around to hear.” She glanced about the mostly-empty library to assure herself on that point as she spoke.

Nova began clutching her books closer, stepping away from the knight. “I don’t know what you are talking about. Lori told me that my name was Nova and I had an accident. My name is Nova.”

Ben sighed, about to express her irritation at the other girl’s obstinacy, but something in “Nova”’s nervous demeanour gave her pause. Is it possible that her mind was damaged from the injuries, or the magic? Stranger things have happened. She stifled the sigh, and tried to put a hand out placatingly. “Okay, listen… Nova…” Ben stopped again. “Lori told me that my name was Nova…” Why the hell would the Loremaster do that?

“I’m so sorry for bothering you, Nova,” Ben said. “I actually need to speak to the Loremaster. Could you please point me in her direction?”

“I can actually take you there.” Nova said, smiling softly. “That’s a part of my job here, I’d love to show you.”

________

Several minutes later, Ben was seated in front of the Loremaster’s desk, a nervous Nova hovering by the door. Lori walked into the room quickly, setting down a lance and a pair of dirty gloves on the pristine end table that decorated the side of the room. “Ah, Miss Tannaeon. It is a pleasure to have one such as yourself in my humble library. How may I help you today?”

Ben glanced behind her shoulder at the name, before remembering that it referred to herself. She half-stood at Lori’s entry, as though to bely the woman’s pleasantries. “Lori,” she said, her smile as thin as a knife’s edge, “I have a bone to pick with you.”
“Ah, yes. I do believe that discussions like these require a good cup of tea and some biscuits.” Gesturing to her assistant, she said, “Nova, if you would, please bring up some tea for my guest and I.” Lori waited several moments after Nova left before speaking again. “You were saying?”

“I understand that I am not always the best at understanding why others make the choices they do,” Ben began slowly, ponderously. “That said, I can understand some of your choices. Pushing a close personal friend of mine off a sheer cliff-- that I understand; many a time I’ve contemplated doing the same myself. Lying to an injured girl, who is confused and scared and no longer remembers who she is, about her own identity… that I do not understand. Considering part of the lie involved her being in your employ, I would like you to explain that to me.”

Lori met Ben’s eyes, glinting dangerously in the fading afternoon light, “Miss Tannaeon, I do not need your permission to run my guild the way I see fit.”

“That you do not. You may, however, need Torvantine’s permission to run her guild as you see fit. Or have you forgotten that, despite your many attempts to conscript its leadership into your ranks, Storm and Drive is a guild independent of the Lore Knights?”

“Is a guild independent if their leadership is defeated by an enemy? The girl is a leader no longer, even you can see that. I have only taken precautions to ensure that my efforts in saving her will not be wasted by someone’s idiocy.”

I’m not good for her. What kind of king gets captured so close to his own home? Weak, stupid… defeated.

Ben hissed aloud. “You’re not defeated so long as you’re still standing. You did me, Valerian, and Torvantine a favour by helping to keep her alive; that doesn’t mean you own her now. Soren Kavros didn’t take Storm and Drive’s leadership away, Lorelei-- but by feeding her lies so she won’t know who she is, you have.”

Lori stood very calmly, eyes narrowing. “And what would you have me do, Your Highness? Shall I send out a very confused and injured girl into the middle of a war? Shall I inform her of her identity, only for her to be murdered by fanatics as she tries to discover her identity alone? There are people who would love to harm her as soon as she leaves, and my precautions have prevented any negative occurrences. She seems perfectly happy, now doesn’t she?”

Ben let out a short bark of a laugh as she stood, hands flat on the surface of the desk, knuckles white with controlled fury. “It’s funny-- my friends tell me I tend to see things in black and white, but even I know it’s not so sharp a dichotomy as you paint it, great Sage. Perhaps instead of telling her to fetch your tea or leaving her to the wolves, you should tell her who she is, and work with her to recover her memories. I’m sure your power’s enough for it, if you only had the temerity to use it.

“If Anjali Torvantine isn’t well enough to defend herself by the time she chooses to leave your library-- and I do fully expect, Sage Lorelei, that whoever she thinks she is, she is capable of choice-- I will personally send her an armed escort, to dispel your totally selfless fears of your helpful assistant being knifed as soon as she leaves your custody.”

Both women turned to face the door as it slowly opened, Nova wincing under the weight of it. Carefully cradling the tray of tea, she said proudly, “I got the tea all the way up from the kitchen without stopping.”

Ben cast a recriminating glance at Lori. “You want to make the guildmaster of Storm and Drive your personal lackey rather than help her regain her confidence and her self,” she accused quietly, pitching her voice not to carry. “You’re happy to replace Anjali Torvantine with this. ...That’s your choice, Lorekeeper. But it isn’t hers.” She strode across the room to meet the girl.

She took the tea tray out of the other redhead’s hands and held it out behind her, not really caring if it landed on Lori’s desk or on the floor. “What do you want, Nova?” she asked, replacing the tray with her own hand.

Nova bit her lip nervously, crossing her free arm over her chest. “Who’s Arjami Torrantin? What happened to her, and why are you upset at the Loremaster?”

Lori glanced at Ben, “Do what you wish, but don’t expect my help in any of your endeavors. I’ve done what I can.” She began to walk out of the room, stopping for a moment to face Nova. “I am not upset, Nova. You are free to do as you wish, just please avoid dying. It would be a waste of potential.”

The door shut softly behind the imposing librarian as Nova faced Ben, “Who are you?” she asked, green eyes sparking with curiosity.

Ben’s anger seemed to deflate as the librarian left the room. “My name’s Ben. I’m leader of the guild the Severed Claws. And Anjali Torvantine, guildmaster of Storm and Drive… is you.”

“Hi Ben.” Nova said, smiling. “I still think you may have me confused with someone else. I’m not really sure that I’m leadership material or anything.”

Ben rubbed her temples, fingers running through flame-coloured hair. “The Loremaster told you that you had an accident,” she reminded Nova, grey eyes serious. “You remember that? The ‘accident’ was… not accidental. You were badly wounded, and a very dear friend of yours asked my help to bring you here. The Loremaster cast a spell on you to keep you safe until proper medical attention was available; it seems that that spell deprived you of your memories. When you woke up… the Loremaster lied to you.”

“Oh.” Nova said softly, shakily finding a chair to sit in. “Why would she lie to me? I wasn’t dangerous or anything, right?”

“No,” Ben assured her, “but you were in danger. So rather than keep you properly informed of the situation, she chose the selfish option, and ‘protected’ you by lying.

“Now, as I see it… you have about three options. You could stay here and continue to work for Lori. You could go back h-- to Anjali’s home. Or, if you like, you could stay with me until you’ve sorted out a little better exactly who you are.”

“Do you know who I am?”

“I know who Anjali Torvantine is. There are others who know her-- you-- better than I do,” she admitted ruefully, “but it’s a starting point. We can find them to talk to them, if you’d like.”

“I think I’d like that.” Nova said, smiling. “So… Ben? Can I help you or anything? I don’t want to just sit around doing nothing.”

“Don’t worry,” Ben assured her. “People in my company rarely end up sitting around doing nothing. But first,” she said, draping an arm around the shorter woman’s shoulders, “let’s get you settled in.”
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:58 am

Memento

Timelime note: A few weeks in the future

Marcus entered the tavern, still moving gingerly from his wounds. Okay time to get some food and then I can go see if that damn spider kept up his end of the bargain. Recovery had been a patience trying experience for the warrior but eventually he declared himself well enough to travel and had left Rachel with a promise to come back and visit.

He ordered some mutton and waited for his food.

A young man approached, all sandy hair and shining blue eyes and friendly anonymity. “Room at this table?” he asked.

Marcus began sliding his hand down to his weapon. “That would entirely depend upon the company.” he replied. “Who are you?”

“I’m Kevin,” the man replied, noting the defensive motion but making none in kind. “I’m just this guy, you know? But I have a friend who would like to meet you. I think you already know her, actually.”

“Uh-huh” Marcus glared in reply. “Your setup is much less convincing than the last guy’s.”

Without waiting for more invitation than that, Kevin slid himself into the seat across from Marcus, gazing across at the other man earnestly. “You seem really upset. I know things have been… complicated for Storm and Drive lately. You’re friends with Anji Torvantine, right?”

“And what of it?” I can kick the table on top of him and bull rush past anyone who tries to stop me. It’ll increase my bounty but at least I know what’s safe to eat in the forest, Shame though. I was looking forward to mutton.

“Hey, uh… don’t let anyone take these chairs, okay?” Kevin got up and sauntered around the corner.

“It’s going to be like we talked about, Nova. He remembers Anjali Torvantine, even though you don’t know him. He can talk to you a bit about the Anjali he remembers, and as soon as you want to leave, we’ll be out of here. You’ll be all right?”

Nova nodded, face pale. She opened her mouth to speak, then thought better of it. One hand cradled her stomach as if she felt ill. “He…. He looks a bit scary.”

“He won’t hurt you,” Kevin assured her, putting one hand on her shoulder and the other on something tucked in his belt.

Nodding once more, Nova stepped out into the main room, carefully picking her way through the dirty inn, attempting to avoid the worst of the drunken mess on her way to the table. Once she had reached the table Kevin had pointed out to her, she slid carefully into the seat, refusing to make eye contact with Marcus. “Hi.”

Without preamble, Kevin flopped himself into the chair beside her. “Hi again,” he said cheerfully.

Marcus’ eyes widened. “Anji?” For a brief moment a smile stretched across his face and hope bloomed in his heart. Then he realized what she said.

“Hi?!? Not ‘crow-brained idiot’? Saints, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Nova said squeamishly, rubbing her arm. “I’m Nova. It’s nice to meet you?”

Marcus turned his glare on Kevin again, the air practically crackling around him. “What in seven hells is going on?” he asked venomously.

“What’s going on,” Kevin answered in a voice that was more sad than tired, “is that I have a friend who lost her memories after experiencing some horrific injuries. We’re helping her meet up with old friends, in order to… piece together who she once was. If it’s too difficult for you, I understand. There are others we can talk to.”

Oh no. What have I done? The big man’s gaze fell to the wayside. “It might not be the injuries fault for the amnesia. Rather it might have been the cure. To cure her...to cure you” he said looking at Anji. “I used an artifact we didn’t know much about to try to find a healer for you. Only instead I ended up meeting….something. I made a bet with him or...it and won but it seems there were some side-effects the spider failed to mention.”

“Oh.” Nova said softly.

“Yea, so sorry about your memories. What do you want to know?”

Shrugging, Nova mumbled, “I don’t know. I don’t remember anything.”

“Maybe you can just reminisce,” Kevin suggested. “Talk about how you met Anjali, anything she told you about her background.”

Marcus shrugged. “Seems like a good enough idea.” He sat back in his chair. “The first time I met you, Anji was when I was applying for a job. Specifically a membership to your guild. I came to you because I needed friends and you seemed like the safest bet at the time. Plus I knew you were willing to shelter those with enemies since I saw you walking with a disgraced former royal guard posing as a vagrant. When I first told you about my problems you were unwilling to say the least but I think you warmed up to me after you met my enemies.”

The soldier stopped to take a drink.

“I ended up as part of your guild and everything was smooth sailing for a while. Then the accursed civil war hit and we were scattered. When we reunited you convinced me of your noble intentions despite the fact that you kidnapped a girl.” Marcus thought he saw her pale at that.

“Ben told me I wasn’t dangerous, Kevin.” Anji said, eyes widening. “I kidnapped people? Kidnapping is bad and she told me I wasn’t bad what happened?” The blonde man said nothing, but his hand tightened around her shoulder as he waited, expectantly, for Marcus’ reply.

“No don’t worry you kidnapped her to save her life and took her as your sister, believe me I’m much more harsh of kidnappers than you are. After that I explained to you why I’m here...I guess now that your memory is gone no one knows.” He shook his head to clear those thoughts away. “Anyway where was I?”

“We can call it a day for now,” Kevin suggested quietly. “I think Nova is tired.”

Marcus nodded. “I’m coming with you.” It wasn’t a request.

“I.. I think I would like to go home now. Uhm… I forgot where it is.” Nova’s cheeks bloomed scarlet as she focused intently on the dirty table.

“Home with me or home to Anjali’s home?” Kevin asked gently.

“Anji’s home isn’t safe. The inn is currently in Anti-guild territory and the temple is falling apart now, looked like someone had tried to light it on fire.” Marcus interjected.

Kevin cast the older man a sharp glance. “Thank you, Marcus.”

“....Anti-Guild?” Nova asked, glancing up.

“Not an immediate concern,” Kevin answered swiftly. “Ben can catch you up on it at home.”
Nodding, Nova returned to picking at the tables’ finish.

“Alright then. Where are we headed?” Marcus asked.

“Nova and I are headed home,” Kevin corrected. “You are free to go where you will; I think she’s feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. If I am wrong, Nova, feel free to correct me; Marcus is welcome at HQ if you’re comfortable with it.”

“May-Maybe later? I want to know more.”

Kevin nodded. “We’ll be seeing you, Marcus. Just not right now. Thank you for everything.”

Marcus held up a hand. “Hold on for five minutes.” He took out a piece of charcoal and a sheet of loose leaf. he tore the sheet in half before writing something on each part. He handed on to Kevin. “Elric should have gotten to Ben by now, give him this list and tell him to add anything he thinks can help with amnesia, its a slim chance but it might help her remember.”

He handed the second piece to Anji. “This is directions to where I’m staying from here. If you need me for anything go there and ask for Rachel.”

Kevin shook his head almost imperceptibly. “With this atmosphere, do you think it’s wise to have that in writing?” he murmured. “I’ll be able to find you for her without.”

“Thats so nice” Marcus replied in a fake sweet tone of voice. “Who are you again and why the hell do I trust you?”

“You trust me because she does,” Kevin answered frankly. “...And because of my vast stores of personal charm.”

Marcus smiled at him. “Nope, not as far as Anji could throw me.”

Glancing between the two men, Nova put the directions in her pocket.

Marcus stood up. “Well if that concludes our business, I must be going before an overeager bounty hunter spots me.”

“Oh, uhm…. Goodbye, Marcus. It was nice meeting you!” Nova said, grinning softly. “Sorry about not being able to talk more.”

Marcus grinned back at her. “start calling me ‘crow-brained idiot’ and we’ll call it even...oh and one more thing.” Marcus took his Storm and Drive pendant from around his neck and put it on the table in front of her. “You should have this until you remember where you put yours, guild leader.”

Before either could protest he left the tavern.

“Look Kevin, I got a present!”

Kevin smiled. “It’s your guild symbol. You want to pin it on, or just keep it by for a while?”

Nova clutched the pendant, inspecting every detail. “I think I’ll hold onto it and do something with it later. I wonder if Ben would know what to do with it.”
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby JRPictures on Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:55 am

Butch's Prologue:

I walked into the bar quietly and sat down. I ordered a drink of water, (this wasn't the time to get drunk) and I waited for my latest employer to arrive.

I just got hired for yet another job but this was different. I never get called into bars like these and I always got the job clearly when I'm informed of it. Instead this guy decides to pull some theatrics by explaining it to me in this bar. How grand...

Regardless I removed the goggles off my eyes and examined the people around the bar; all of them were tough and gruff as usual. The weapons were varying and great in my opinion. Swords, staffs, knives, the usual stuff you'd see and obviously I was not gonna pick a fight in here.

As I finished my water and smashed the glass unto to table without breaking it, my employer arrived straight behind me.

"Mr. Butch Advent I assume?" he asked me.

"You assume right. Mr.?" I reply back curiously.

"Mr. Renard. Now I may I sit down?" he stated.

"Be my guest." I replied, hoping to get this over and done with.

Renard sat down beside me and ordered himself a drink as he looked towards me.

"So what exactly is the job I'm being hired for? I dislike ambiguity." I asked.

"Oh it's simple really. No casualties involved. Have you ever heard of the Floating Castle?" Renard asked me idiotically.

"Well yes. Who hasn't?" I reply back.

"Well I want you to capture a relic of sorts for me." Renard states.

"So what you're asking me to do is enter a highly well known and dangerous 'castle' to recover a relic that you want? Seems like this isn't my job." I reply, covering the castle with quotation marks with my hands, aware that it is merely not just a castle.

"Perhaps but from what I hear you're cold, ruthless and get the job done. So I figure you might be my best option." Renard explains.

"Hmmm...well what you've heard is to an extent right...I'll take it but the pay better be good?"

"Trust me I've been saving up for this. That castle has what I want but I need someone with the proper skills to handle it."

"Looks like we have a deal then?"

"Indeed we do." Renard replies to me as we shake hands.

He passes me a notebook with info regarding the relic, but I put it in my bag to read later. I quietly leave the bar, throwing one of the knives nearby dead centre into the bullseye of a dartboard for fun.

As I walked out the bar and headed for the castle I had no idea what to expect. Was this relic real? Is it worth all this trouble? Or am I being screwed over?

I guess I'll find out soon enough.
Last edited by JRPictures on Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Adell on Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:47 pm

Side Story: Monsters.

A dream so vivid that one might mistake it for reality, even if that reality belonged to someone else.

There was a sharp jolt in his chest. It was a dream but he felt this, and that was real enough. Just like the figure with the mask , turning up in every dream he’d had for weeks, of not months. Except normally she was just a shadow, someone standing in the background. Here she took centre stage. Red floated from the open wound on his body, like he was suspended in water, as the masked apparition looked on. What was it feeling, thinking? He wanted to understand, but the mask hid everything from him. He ignored his injury, lifting his hands close to the obscured face if I could just pull it away, I could understand; The mask never got any closer, always out of his reach.

But something pulled him forward, compelled him to learn. Sensing this curiosity for the truth, the woman stepped away even as he floated there in some sort of twisted pain. Except after a moment’s pause, she lifted her own hand to draw the mask upwards. Whatever the face behind it looked like, he never got the chance to find out, before the figure was swallowed up by the blackness of her own cloak, and the dream changed...

Emptiness. Isolation. Tamar was locked in a cage, alone, with nothing to do but wait to be told what to do. Here his thoughts were the only freedom he had .Was this his memory, or .... no. None of this was his; these were the thoughts of another, the emotions of another. This was not his cage, and as such it could not hold him. He slipped through its bars easily, and followed the shape of the figures cloak, vanishing into the darkness just ahead of him.

But the terrain was difficult; there were memories here: decisions to large in scope to examine, too wrapped up in broken, damaged emotions to understand. Only as he grew closer to the end did things become clearer.

Asha and Luca, together. They wanted to change the world and this castle held the key to that. But they needed more than that. They needed something to fuel the magic they were crafting. They needed anger and rage and the fury of people desperate for answers. So they had started the war, and her power was used to fuel it. The damage done to the people here were inconsequential, their lives did not matter, all that was important was the power and the influence they spread. They fought, they killed, but most of all, they manipulated. Hector received his punishment for the wrongs he had committed against them, Julius and Anji were tricked into giving them all the information they needed, and Legias played the hero just the way they had hoped.

These people did not matter. They were a means to an end. That was what Tamar was continuously reminded of in this empty world, The mantra was fed down into his thoughts and it disgusted him every moment he had to endure it. TAnd the girl...[/i[ a voice that was not his own thought. She too was of no importance

...Except she was important, wasn’t she? The shape of her hung before him, all wrapped up in a jumble of feelings. Why was she so familiar ? Her face was obscured, distant, but then the air around her grew bright with the crooked light of fireflies, and Tamar knew immediately who it was. Of course, how could he not recognize her? [i]”Zi.”


The world began to crumble around him. There she was ,ahead of him, held by Asha and Luca. Meaningless. A tool to be manipulated. They would hurt her, they would use her, and they would kill her when they were done. He charged at them, reaching out to help her, but his wound returned to him and stopped him dead in his tracks. There was a scream of pain, perhaps Zi’s, and then the world shattered into nothing.

Tamar yelped and jumped up from the bed his brow dripping with cold sweat. while he slowly remembered breathing. Yes. Breathing was a thing that people had to do on a fairly regular basis. He sat and waited for the dream to fade, for the memories to flitter away ,the way they always did... Except they didn’t.

Slowly his mind began to process exactly what he had just experienced. He knew better than to assume it was just a dream this time. Asha and Luca had Zi; he was not sure how he knew… this, but he knew. It was like a trail of breadcrumbs. The more he focused on the images in his head, he more he understood. It was like a flood of memories were pouring in as he sat there but above it all ,one thing stayed at the forefront of his mind, “I need to save her…”

The sounds of battle echoed in the background of the early morning sky. It always did these days. The city never seemed to sleep. Tamar gathered his equipment quickly, drawing Echo to his side. Then he paused for a moment, however, as he looked over some of Hectors equipment that laid about. His hand lowered to the boomerang amongst the pile. Not a weapon he was completely experienced in, but Hector had given him a few chances to practice with it.

It was better than nothing.

*

By now, Tamar knew the back streets of town better than he knew the main roads, and he made his way back to the Inn without incident

The Inn had burned a few nights ago; the backyards where they used to train were scorched, and the tree where Anjali had been caught napping was a charred cinder, still smoking even days later.

Tamar took a deep breath. Up until that point, he had considered at least trying to seek out other members of Storm and Drive, but the sight of their old home in cinders was a wakeup call. Storm and Drive, what remained of it, were scattered. He had no way of knowing where they were, and looking for them, or anyone else, would only waste time that Eliziya couldn’t afford. He only paused to look at the burned out shell of the Inn for a moment, not daring to stick around any longer. The rats would smell the blood. Anyway, this wasn’t the right place.

It had been, though, at some point. He could see them, like ghosts around the burned out shell of the Inn. Luca. The anti guild. He saw the Inn as it had been several nights ago when the anti faction set it alight. He saw the poor innkeeper who had been so kind to them, struggling in the grasp of two men much larger and younger than himself. Luca had stood there too, watching... But all this had happened days ago. Now it was just a memory.

The memory flickered and died and Tamar took another breath to steady himself. As soon as this memory faded the others rushed in to take it’s place. It was giving him a headache.

Whatever he was seeing, they were memories of Luca. They showed the places Luca had visited, over the last however many week. All Tamar had to do was use that memory to trace Luca’s steps from then to now. The trouble was focussing. There was so much bubbling over in his head, it was almost impossible to tell where one memory ended and another began. “Okay... okay, Tamar, think. Don’t mess up your breathing.

He started walking again. From the blaze of the inn, he moved to the town square, and then to the Blacksmiths. He followed wherever the images led, not caring that he was running around in broad daylight. Finding Eliziya was a pinpoint of focus in his mind, blinding him to everything else. He forgot about the blood that had stained his tunic black, and about the warnings Hector had given him about wandering about alone.

Thoughts that weren’t his own fought for position as he traversed town, journeying to each place the intrusive new memories showed him. Whoever’s memories these were, they had been everywhere in town, and their thought overlapped again and again, to create a confusing jumble he had to sort through in his head. He had to make sense of them, to find a pattern...
When he reached the ruins of the blacksmith, the memories focussed onto something Tamar recognized. He looked at the blacksmith’s yard, or rather, what was left of it: a blackened wreck of burned timbers. But Tamar could see it as it had been weeks ago- with Tad yelling in the doorway. He watched as a young woman sent an arrow flying into the shoulder of an anti-guild grunt. “...Jenny?”

“Not really a plan, but... magic makes people crazy, and that makes them erratic. It’s the same with, say, rabid animals; you can’t tell what they want, because they don’t know what they want. A violent, rational person is easier to deal with than a violent, irrational one. I’m sorry, I don’t think I got your name.”

Suddenly, Tamar understood what this memory was.He was seeing himself, or rather an echo of himself, standing where he and Jenny had been, trying to defend Tad’s blacksmith from the anti guild factions weeks ago.

They had been here...The owner of these memories. They had stood and watched the whole thing.

Tamar felt a shiver at this realisation, but squashed it down, forcing himself to push through that memory and focus on where it took him. Past the square, out towards the edge of town... It was disturbing, yes, but also useful. Until now, the memories had been a confusing mess, but now he knew which ones to focus on. He just had to pick out the ones with people he recognized, focus on them. So he moved throughout town, watching and waiting for the next memory to spark something. Tamar grimaced in frustration, hand tightening on the boomerang. He didn’t feel any closer to figuring out where he had to go. But if they’d been watching him, then they had certainly been watching...

Hector.

The Guard tower. Tamar knew it on sight. The place where this whole civil war panic had begun. And this time the memory came along with a gut churning horror and the screams of the angry mob. Burning rage and spilled blood. He could see the shock of red in the crowd that was Anjali, the glitter of Julius’s sword, fighting in desperation against people they didn’t want to kill, trying to get Hector out of there before--

Tamar nearly buckled right there, guilt and horror and anger hitting him like a fist. For the first time, the shuttered blinkers that kept him angry and focussed cracked enough that he remembered there were other things at stake, other people who were going to be hurt if this didn’t end right now. Luca had caused it. Luca had spread it. Everyone and everything was a tool, an instrument to be played, even Julius and Anjali in that ugly crowd.

The images led, and Tamar followed.
*
Hector walked as carefully as he had ever been known to do anything down the streets of the city as he made his return to the hideout Tamar and he had been using. It was not in Hector’s nature to sneak, but in this instance staying hidden was the only real advantage the two of them had at the moment, and if Olivia had taught him anything it was to use these advantages when they were needed most.

It was hard to tell what state the city was in to Hector, whether it was improving, getting worse, or staying the same. What he did know was that Luca and Asha were still fueling the fires of this war, and he had a responsibility to stop them.
The abandoned house was quieter than it normally was when the man finally entered it. Usually Tamar would come running out to badger him about injuries or to at least ask what was going on out there. A part of him wondered why badgers were used for that term...they never particularly bothered him.

“Tamar?” The swordsman called, looking around the place with his good eye. It was not a long search for him to realize that the boy was not there, “Damn it, why did he leave...” Hector wondered. Ever since that mission he went on with Salvantas, Tamar had been a lot more cautious about leaving the building, focusing more on his training instead. It didn’t make sense for him to just up and leave for no reason. Hector stopped in his tracks when he looked over to where he kept some of his spare equipment, and noticed that much of it had been rummaged through. The place was a mess and clearly left in a hurry. “...He took Emer.” He grunted, somewhat irritated, but the mere fact of it was disturbing. It was clear the boy left with the intent to fight, why else take more than Echo?

It was not like Tamar to do something reckless, but Hector did not need to think about. His friend was out in danger and he was not, simple as that. “... Come on Zorica,” He said with a wry grin as he lifted the axe up from the table.

*

Under the burning anger that had become strangely comfortable over the last hour, Tamar’s mind was working. He appeared more than once in these memories. Hector, Eliziya, Himself. Their faces leapt forward from the memory crowd, and Tamar focussed on them, pushing others aside.

Wherever these memories were coming from, their owner had been watching almost everyone who could be said to be associated with a guild. The question was where were they watching from? The images came from places nobody could possibly be standing. So how were they getting around the town unseen?

‘Tunnels, maybe,’ Tamar thought. ‘Like Likovya said. There are hidden places.

That was when he saw Eliziya. For a moment, she seemed to be truly there, before flickering. It was just another of the memories, but this one had been so clear, it had to have been quite recent. There was a hand on her arm, rough and strong, and her eyes were covered.

The rage leapt into his throat like a cold hand and Tamar practically bolted after the illusion, into the dark streets towards the edge of town, only to turn into...

A completely empty alleyway.

Everything about it screamed ‘dead end’. It wasn’t. The walls towered around seemingly empty buildings. They weren’t. Tamar could have guessed this, even if it weren’t for the memories fighting for purchase in his mind. He walked briskly to the end of the alleyway and tapped at the bricks with the boomerang.

The fifth brick sank beneath his fingertip. In his mind, Luca’s fingers curled around the same brick opening this very doorway only minutes ago. An entire section of the wall jolted, and sank inwards, as if somebody were opening a stone curtain. The corridor beyond was pitch black, even when he lit the blade of Echo and held him into the darkness. The smell was the thing that game it away: the smell of something ancient and untouched by sunlight.

The Underground. They had been hiding in the Underground. Of course. Tamar felt a brief glimmer of fear, before the shape of Eliziya took it’s place, yelling as she vanished into the darkness, turning the fear back into anger. “I’ll find you, Zi. Don’t worry. I’ll find you.”

The boy walked through the almost pitch darkness, passing through several small adjoining rooms. The floor at his feet crunched, and shards of glass littered the entire area. The memories showed that at one time this room had been filled with mirrors, shattered one by one as some sort of scare tactic against... Anji? Yes, that was definitely Anji, looking strangely frightened as the glass around her shattered, one mirror at a time.

Tamar ran right through the faded memories, losing his patience as to the significance of them. For some time the paths continued to twist and turn, with no end in sight, until finally Tamar rounded a corner and heard the echo of footsteps that were not his own. Ahead of him, walking further into the underground corridors, was the man who had started all of this.

Tamar wasn’t sure what exactly he had expected. Rage, perhaps, at even a glimpse of the man who had taken Eliziya, nearly murdered his friend, and torn the guilds asunder. But maybe his anger had become too constant a thing now for Tamar to notice a change in it. So he followed in silence, extinguishing the light of Echo’s blade so as not to be noticed.

The corridor twisted and turned, an underground maze designed to bewilder, but seeing as Tamar had recently explored a building where Up would frequently become Down without issuing a warning first, it wasn’t so difficult. He found his way by touch, and by the echo of memories in which there had still been light, trusting his ears to tell him that Luca was ahead of him. He had no idea how Luca was finding his way in this darkness. Perhaps he’d just memorized the corridor? The darkness was cool and claustrophobic, but eventually, Tamar reached out a hand and couldn’t find another wall. They had stepped out of the corridors into an open space, still dark. At least at first.

A shove came from behind, pushing him forward, and Tamar scrambled back, drawing Echo to illuminate the area. Of course, he already knew what he would see: An unamused Luca staring at him with a dull expression. He had circled behind Tamar easily in the dark.

The man sighed, not mincing words , he proclaimed loudly: “And how the hell did you find this passage, Delaney?”

Tamar held his ground; the light of Echo wasn’t as bright as he felt it should be, flickering red rather than it’s usual gaseous blue, but he didn’t break gaze, even as he reached out slowly to the boomerang slipped into the holster on the other side of his belt. He managed to keep his voice even as he spoke. “You might say it found me.”

Luca’s head tilted, a bemused expression on his face. “Is that so? I have to admit, never thought I’d see you away from Jade’s leash. Rather reckless of you, isn’t it?” He examined the kid’s expression, a sly grin crawling onto his face. There was a spark as Luca struct a flint and lit something which turned out to be a sconce. “Then again, you can only work with what you’re given, right? And Jade never was skilled at forward planning. No, there was only one thing he was ever really good at, wasn’t there? And now he won’t even do that.”

“E-enough. We’ve had enough of this, Luca. Where’s Eliziya?”

“Eliziya…” Luca repeated as he moved to the next sconce, lighting it absentmindedly. “The name sounds familiar...” He chuckled, lighting another. “Hmm, yes I believe I have heard of the name. The daughter your guild leader stole away from some rich family, right? Made quite a stir in town when they learned about it. But what makes you think I know where she is?”

Tamar swallowed, knowing that the explanation wouldn't make any sense. Then again, what did he care if the Crimson Hound thought he was crazy? “I saw it. I know she’s here, Luca, so you can stop playing mind games. Let. Her. Go.”

Luca’s grin faded into annoyance. “You were there…?” He muttered, seemingly to himself . “... Let her go? And give her to who? You? I would not trust her in the hands of the Devil’s successor.” The man’s face turned serious as he finished lighting the last sconce., having circled Tamar entirely “You should know that by now. We didn’t take her she came to us, and we’re the best protection she has now. She’s got nowhere to return to, anyway.”

Tamar opened his mouth to argue, but the remnants of memories were tugging at his mind. They had clung on, even while the others faded, seemingly because of who they contained. He saw Eliziya smiling as she clutched something in her hands, something shining green, and that... didn’t fit. It didn’t fuel the anger the same way the thought of her crying out in terror had. He stepped back, trying once again to ignite Echo’s blade, but it was like trying to light damp kindling.The fire had gone, and something dark and cold was growing in it’s place, tingling in his fingertips like the early stages of frostbite. Tamar couldn’t explain it, nor did he care.

“You have that sword drawn like you’re ready to use it,” Luca commented, “Is that a part of Jade’s code now? You’re certainly not defending anybody at the moment. Zi is safe.” Luca argued, oddly referring to the girl by her nickname. “Or did you come here with a different intention?” The man nodded his head, “Yes, that’s it, I can see it, it’s there. There’s no intention to defend, just the opposite.”

“Some talk coming from you,” Tamar gave up on trying to ignite Echo, whatever was wrong with him, now really wasn’t the time. “How many people have you killed so far? Or are they even people to you? Means to an end, right? That’s what I heard.” And any other time, there might have been curiosity under the anger: the urge to ask ‘but to what end?’ but not now.

“Exactly my point.” Luca explained with a wry grin. “I’ve done so much. Why would you try to give me the chance to escape, or have some higher body pass judgement on me? You’re the people I wronged, so why shouldn’t you be allowed to make things right yourselves?” Luca rested his hand upon the sheathed katana at his side. “Come now, I’m right here.”

‘It won’t be that easy. yelled the rational part of Tamar’s brain; the part he’d been ignoring so steadfastly all the way here, and that was enough to make him hesitate. i He had no doubt that Luca was far more skilled than he was, and even if he attacked Luca now and by some miracle won, he’d lose any chance he had of finding Zi.

“The truth of that matter is, that line of thinking is fading away in society. The actions of the individual can no longer be their own. The age of the warriors is falling apart, replaced by an age of pawns.” Luca said. “Can’t you see how little sense it makes? I killed dozens of the city guard, but Jade would have you spare me. I orchestrated an entire war and he would ask you to find the good in me. I destroyed this city, your guild, your friends. But my life is just as precious as theirs were, if he means what he says.”

“And killing you is going to bring them back?” Tamar snapped. Because if that were the case, wouldn’t Hector have done so already? Wouldn’t that have balanced everything out?

“You’re just wasting your time, Delaney, or maybe I’m the one wasting my time on you,” Luca sighed seeming thoroughly bored by this exchange. “Zi would be in far more danger with you and the man this city despises, than with Asha and I.”

“You kidnapped her!” Tamar could barely understand what he was hearing, and what he did understand, he didn’t believe.

“Yes, well... It’s unfortunate how things turned out, but at least she’ll get to see the world become what it should be. It’s not as if she’ll find that opportunity with Anjali, not anymore.”

Anjali. of course. Tamar had forgotten. If only there had been time to find her, or Julius before the memories faded... “Y-you think you can stop her?” he almost laughed. “I'm finding Eliziya. I’m taking her back. And if you kill me in the attempt when someone else will come. You won’t get away. You think you can keep Anjali from getting to her sister? There’s more than one member of Storm and Drive in this city!”

“Really? You see, by my count there’s only two now, counting you.” Luca countered, his voice deathly serious.

Tamar hesitated, and Luca, who had apparently been waiting to gauge his reaction, frowned slightly. “Delaney... You really don’t know what’s going on do you? Why do you think Zi came to us, why do you think everyone within your guild has broken contact?”

There were answers to that question. Several possible answers, in fact, the most obvious of which was “Luca is a saints begotten liar who will say anything to save his own skin”,. And yet... it didn’t make any sense. Zi went to them? Zi wouldn’t have done that willingly, she wouldn’t have betrayed them like that... and yet in the remnants of memory, Tamar could still see her smiling that small, beatific smile, a contentment in Zi’s eyes that Tamar had never seen before.
“Thank you Ma. I’ll treasure it, I promise."
“Perhaps,” Luca’s voice broke through the ice that was slowly making it’s way up Tamar’s spine, “It’s because there’s noone left to contact.”

“What do you--”

“Oh for goodness sake,” Luca sighed. “You know, I figured that at the very least you had more brains than the Jade Devil. Maybe they’re already dead. Or haven’t you had time to check the notice boards recently?” his eyes flickered briefly to Tamars shirt. “Too busy getting yourself into trouble to realise your leaders had been killed?”

The ice that had been ascending tamar’s spine made an immediate beeline for his heart, and Luca certainly knew how to seize the moment.

There was a flash of movement between the two as Tamar’s sword clashed with Ba’al. Anger seethed in Tamar’s eyes as Luca looked on with his malicious grin, “blocking every strike with an easy parry. “This is what listening to Jade gets you, Delaney. The people you care about die and you’re the one left to pick up the pieces! You act like you’re better than me, like you have some sort of higher ground, but just like me, you’ll take the life of those who wrong you, just as it should be! The truth is we’re all killers in the end, we’ve just tried to suppress it .”

“They died because of you!” Tamar yelled, ignoring the man’s words as he charged again, swinging violently. Any illusion of fire had gone now, and he could feel a dull chill, like ice, crawling through the blade of the sword.

Ice.

Alright, that was... new, and any other time Tamar would probably be stopping to give said newness it’s due consideration but not today. Not with the memories flickering in his mind a notice board, dozens of names, Anjali and Julius standing out in bolder ink, as if somebody had tried to make their deaths all the more obvious. To draw attention to Storm and Drive’s destruction. The sharp pain of it tore through him.

Luca back pedaled, dodging wild swings. “They died because they weren’t strong enough.”

“I’ll kill you!”

“If you can!” Luca laughed. The boy’s blade was blocked once more, and with mastered maneuverability, Luca slid his free arm to the Echo’s hilt and knocked the blade from the boy’s hand before delivering a kick to his chest to send him back to the ground. “... All of Hector’s words, all of Olivia’s, they never meant anything. You see it now, don’t you? How naive it all was? He hides behind those words, because he’s too afraid; because he tries so desperately to prove me wrong when he had already done so much to prove me right.”

“Shut. Up.”

Luca shook his head, “you realise that won’t fix anything by following his path, don’t you, Tamar?”

“I said, shut up!”

The ice burned, and movement came before Tamar was even aware of it. Emer, in his hand, blue light glinting from it’s suddenly crystal surface. Not crystal, Tamar realise. Ice. Ice blooming from his veins, spreading into the bone weapon in his hand. He should have felt cold, Tamar knew, with so much ice all around him, sinking deep into his flesh, but he wasn’t so much as trembling.

When he threw the boomerang, it’s edge had been made razor sharp by a coat of ice, and it struck hard and deep as a blade. Luca’s eyes went briefly wide, perhaps in shock that Tamar had even dared, but Tamar felt nothing. Not even triumph. The ground at his feet was splintered with ice fragments, crawling across the cracks in the damp stone.

The warrior coughed as the weapon embedded itself in his stomach. Luca stumbled backward into the nearby wall, his free hand clutching the oozing wound. His eyes were still shocked and yet... oddly affirmed. He dragged his body backward, distancing himself further from Tamar. “See? N-not so hard, is it? We can all… play the good guy as much as we want…” He coughed up a bit of blood trying to speak, “but at some point we encounter problems that… only have one solution.”

Tamar’s breathing was audible, seething, even as the ice spread from his body across the floor, a spiders web of blue and white. In his mind there was a sharp, piercing laugh. A memory he couldn’t blame on this morning. A memory of a girl, with his eyes, and his face, and the joyous glint of murder in her eyes. A girl, who Tamar knew, would have sympathised very much with Luca and Asha. ”We’re all monsters in the end.”

Tamar’s hand fell upon Echo one last time, grip tight enough to draw blood. Luca was a monster, he made no attempts to deny this. He had as good as murdered Anjali and Julius, and countless others before and after them. He would never have led him to Zi.

And if Tamar let him go, this would never end.

Luca, even while injured, still lifted his sword arm on the defensive. Tamar yelled in rage, a rage that was not birthed from any talisman or spell and certainly not from Echo. He ran forward, blade raised.

“Tamar!”

The disruption came from the darkness behind him; a strong hand grabbed ahold of his arm from behind and yanked him backward, but Echo was still moving, mid swing, and Tamar had no intention of stopping.

The sword came down, but not at Luca. Echo’s edge sank into metal plating with an ugly shriek. The block and the heavy armour the figure wore had stopped the blade before it could reach flesh, but it hadn’t stopped the magic coursing through the weapon. The ice spread, filigree webs of pain and cold lancing across everything Echo touched. Tamar could feel it spreading .

His heart was hammering, still pushing the blade downwards, willing it to hurt someone -anyone. The ice was crawling through the figure’s vambrace, and probably through the skin beneath, but he didn’t move, and Tamar followed the path of the crawling ice, realising there was only one person who could take a blow like that and not even flinch.

When he looked up, Hector was looking back at him.

The rage only abated for a split second. Tamar tried to snatch away and bypass him, but Hector was faster, even considering his arm had been on the way to freezing. His uninjured hand latched around Tamar’s wrist. “You’re not making this mistake.” He promised, holding him back with immense strength. Hector’s gaze, however, had turned upon Luca’, whose face was twisted in pain and anger. He stared right back. Understanding. Knowing.

This was their chance, Luca was down and the two of them could overcome him easily. But there could be no breaking that code, no victory worth violating his promise to Olivia. Between helping Tamar, or defeating Luca, Hector chose his friend.

Luca began to back away into the shadows of the underground, his gaze never leaving Hector’s. So many words exchanged without either man speaking, a silent understanding that this was how it was, how things were always going to be, and that next time would be the last.

Tamar came back to himself with a burst of cold rage. “Let go! Hector, we have to stop him!”

“We will,” Hector tried to reassure, “but not this way.”

“They’re dead!” tamar yelled. “A-Anji and Julius are dead! He took Zi! I can still save her, please!” He pleaded, “...Don’t do this.”

Hector silently lowered his head, taking in what the boy was saying, knowing there was truth in it. . Luca had already vanished into the dark shadows beyond the corridor. “If that’s true then killing him will ensure we won't ever find her.”

“And in the meantime?” Tamar yelled. “How many more people is he going to kill? Have you seen it, Hector? The notice board? Anjali’s on it! Julius is on it! We could’ve ended this!”

“Yes.” Hector answered, simply. And that... that was all wrong. Tamar had expected a denial. Some kind of argument. It wasn’t as if they hadn’t had this discussion in the past, but before now, he hadn’t been seeing the corpses of half his guild in his mind, and this was no longer a matter of theological debate.

In the Veil they didn’t care about notice boards, or obituaries. People disappeared, you made your assumptions about what had happened, and you carried on. If you were fortunate your family would care, but there was no sense in drawing attention to something so easily lost as a life that wasn't your own. He had forgotten that. Until the civil war; he had forgotten a world where people killed because it was simply what you did.

How could he have been so stupid as to forget that? How many more members of the guild were going to die because of it?

Hector’s arm was still shot with threads of ice blue, like blood leaking from a metal wound, and Tamar realised what he’d done. Echo dropped to the ground, the ice retreating as the blade hit the stone floor, and the ice that had begun spreading up Tamar’s own arms in veins faded. The cold stayed behind though, lingering along with the knowledge that over half the people he’d ever felt it safe to care about were dead. He wasn’t trembling at all. That was wrong. People shivered when they got cold, it was natural...

“Have you seen the Notice Board?” he asked again, more quietly this time, voice still pitched with fury and pain.

“I couldn’t read it,” Hector sighed, “I’m sorry.”

Right. Of course. Something else Tamar shouldn’t have forgotten. It seemed as if the things he didn’t know could fill whole volumes.

Hector stepped over to Echo, picking him up off the ground and offering the weapon back to Tamar. “We need to go, it’s not safe in the underground.” He looked over at the boy, no differently than he ever had. “And we should tell the guards about these passages.”

He spoke like there was nothing different. As if he understood where the lines had been drawn, how everyone should and could feel about the situation. A small, furious spark in the back of Tamar’s brain told him to take the sword and leave. To ignore whatever Hector had said or was planning to say, because this couldn’t be fixed as easily as a broken sword.

He could still catch Luca. He wouldn’t get far in these corridors with a wound like that. Maybe the Jade Devil was dead, but how many more had gotten killed anyway in the time since simply due to his unwillingness to make the first blow? The thought was unfair, and Tamar knew it, but the part of his mind that was thinking this really didn’t care anymore. The rest off him was slowly filling with a sick, icy horror. The spell had faded, but the magic of it seemed to have lingered, clinging to him, as if to show off. “Look at what we can do.”.

Tamar stepped backwards. Away from Echo, and away from the hand holding the sword out towards him. He didn’t say a word.

‘... Still afraid of him?“ Hector asked, looking down upon Echo. “You’re getting stronger, so is Echo. How you use that power determines what you’ll be. We’re not weapons, we’re companions, just like Echo. A weapon cuts, it kills. But us? We can do so much more than that. If Olivia didn’t believe that, then I would not be able to show you that… I believe it too.”

A laugh bubbled up in Tamar’s throat, even though he could never have been standing anywhere less funny in his entire life. “It’s not the sword,” he said, looking up and meeting Hector’s eyes. “It was never the sword I was afraid of.”

And as of to prove his point, he took Echo back lightly ,returning it to his belt. The cold prickled up and down the blade. He knew he should’ve felt something. Anger, or pain or, confusion, but the truth was he didn’t feel much of anything anymore. He refused to meet Hector’s gaze again as he turned to leave the corridor from the direction he had come.

And then he was remembering the horrible pressure of a blade between his ribcage.

A dream so vivid that one might mistake it for reality, even if that reality belonged to someone else.

Once again He saw this dream, even as he walked away from Hector. The shattered world was still there, the bits of memories not his own floating, but something was off. He felt nothing this time, his own fury holding him back; for once he was just looking in from afar.

But there it all still was; the feelings of loneliness, emptiness, but most of all , disgust. “People are tools,” a “means to an end.” The disgust was still there, but i they were not Tamar’s feelings, they never were. What he had seen, what he had felt ,was a reflection. The cage was suspended there, and inside the masked woman sat. These memories, these feelings, they floated around her not Tamar.

The first time he hadn’t understood, but now there was more clarity. She had pulled away her mask for him; she was showing him the truth. These two had done terrible things and yet there was…disgust, regret, guilt. And then there was Zi, her arms around the robed figure, helping her out of the cage. Asha escaped its bars much like Tamar had, but only with the help of the young girl.

Asha.

The wound was seeping from Tamar’s chest again, except just when it seemed like the blood would fill his vision a gloved hand closed upon the wound, and the bleeding stopped. The short sword was jerked away and there was the same, familiar burn he had felt when Eliziya healed the injuries on his palms, all those months ago in the hills above town. That was when Tamar remembered exactly what had happened the other night. Salvantas, the mad children, the sword between his ribs. He remembered that same masked visage looking down at him as it saved his life.The memories he had seen while travelling here.. they were all hers.

“A means to an end.” The words were like a mantra in Asha’s mind. Something she repeated to herself over and over, clinging to the words desperately, as justification, or as reassurance... her attempt to convince herself that this would be worth it in the end. Except she didn’t believe it. Not really.

And maybe now he was a means to an end as well. Tamar didn’t know what that end might be.

This flash of memory wasn’t like the others had been. It was just a sudden plunge into thoughts that weren’t his own, followed by a sharp yank out of them, again. Maybe it was Hector’s hand on his shoulder that broke the illusion, because suddenly Tamar was on his knees on a stone floor, the cold still burning in his veins, turning the whole world icy and Asha’s pain echoing all around him.

“Tamar,” Hector called to his friend. “It’s okay.”

This was probably, Tamar thought, the only time Hector had ever lied to him. Unless you counted the Jade Devil. He wanted to explain what exactly he had seen, but had no idea how. So he didn’t. Instead he reached over to grasp the back of the hand that was clutching his shoulder - a hand that was still, incidentally, laced with freezing cold blue where Tamar’s sword had struck him. Tamar tried to focus on that rather than on Zi, or Anjali, or Julius, or the fact that he had very nearly murdered someone.

“We’re not giving up,” Hector promised, and that, at least, was almost certainly true.

Tamar still wasn’t shivering.
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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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Pixelmage on Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:29 pm

The Small Price.
Timeline Placement: Approximately parallel to Memento.

The floor of the old huntsmen cabin creaked. Old wood that hasn't been cared for in god knows how long. It was somewhat surprising that the structure still existed, and that others had made it so far. Still, it was nighttime, and the twelfth floor was cold even with the raging fireplace.

Giving more kindling to the fire could be dangerous, of course, as fireplaces in wooden houses were never supposed to host too strong of a fire. But why care, the cabin hasn't been used for decades and wouldn't be used again either way. He thought over a shiver. No, not yet. He had just woken up, his body still sore. Not yet, he decided. It was best to eat and drink first. And for the hour, the only sounds were the creaking of the isolated housing.

He stood up, looking at the fire. There was no reason to remain there any longer. He ripped out a plank from the wall and tossed it into the fireplace, a bridge to bring the fire outside, to let it roar free and consume all that was until only ash was left behind. Ash, and stone and metal.

Yes… Metal. Unyielding, unstoppable. Unforgiving. He stepped into the cold and dark night, one more step, it was all he needed to do, wasn't it? It didn't matter, he was already there, after all. It wouldn't matter. But it was night, and it’s horrors lurked, with eyes and fangs and claws.

On this night it was another abomination, something that resembled a human but was not. With sharp teeth and a terrifying screech. But the screech didn't terrify the man who walked. He only looked at the creature with his steel cold blue eyes.

“We had a deal, Shard.” He spoke, lifting his left arm toward the creature. Shackles of iron flew from the ground itself to lock it in place. The creature screamed once more. The man was unfazed.

“Didn't we have a deal, Shard?” He took a step closer pulling his right hand up and to the side, and the flowing iron swirled around it, settling over his skin as a claw. The monster struggled against the metallic web that held it in place, but it was futile. The man didn't seem to notice, or care, about the monster’s fight.

“We had a deal.” He flashed his claw at the monster’s neck, spraying blood over himself and the ground, and contemplated his dripping red hand for a moment. “Oh… You aren't Shard…” He let his arms rest, the metal flowing back into a molten appearance. And he continued walking. Just one more step. Always one more step.

They had a deal, after all. Behind him, only a trail of blood remained.
"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 - Side Stories

Postby agoraoptera on Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:44 pm

Side Story: And Men (takes place directly after Monsters ahuuurduuur)

Drops of blood littered the steps Luca climbed, each on getting him closer to safety but each one reminding him just how bad his injury was. His vision was blurring and his coordination was nearly shot but he stepped ever upward, autonomously.

The boomerang still embedded in his chest, was probably the only thing keeping him alive; if he removed the foreign object the blood loss would have surely kill him by now. He wanted to be mad, infuriated with the boy who had injured him, but in truth he was oddly satisfied with the reaction he had gotten out of him; just further proof that his ideals were the right path.

Asha silently, as always, watched Eliziya peering over the books the masked mage had collected over the years. There was a knowing curiosity in the girl’s eyes as she flipped through the mages, mouthing the words as her finger trailed them. It was… impressive, to Asha, that Zi could gather an understanding of the Ether and its properties through such simple reading and she encouraged it with a slight nod to the young girl. It was a peaceful, quiet moment.

The silence was broken however as Luca finally made his return; his body collapsing right as the door was pushed open.

“Pa! What happened?” Zi stared in horror and rushed to his side as the man fell through the door. Asha followed, quickly kneeling before the warrior and surveying the injury. Luca raised his eyes to the two, his teeth clenched in pain; he was too hurt to talk. Asha’s mask tilted towards Zi, who again experienced the strange stream of memories and emotions, a means to communicate to her to gather up the blankets and towels in the building. Nodding, the girl departed with haste.

Delicately, Asha lowered one of her gloved hands upon her friend’s forehead and lightly rubbed it in comfort as her other drew upon the ether in much the same way she had done for Tamar not too long ago. Tendrils of green light poured from the hand as it flowed around the boomerang still lodged in his chest before seeping directly into the wound. Luca twisted in pain, reacting to the powerful magic entering his body, but the firm hand that comforted him seemed to effortlessly keep him in place as well while she worked.

Shortly afterward, Zi returned with the things Asha had ‘asked’ for, and began using them to hold back the blood flow while the magic slowly but surely undid the damage that had been done for him. The two worked tirelessly for several minutes as the weapon was carefully removed from his body and dropped to the ground. Despite the incredible pain of the whole experience, Luca remained conscious, his breathing fluctuating in volume as he fought through the pain. Finally, the tendrils of light exited his body, closing the open wound into a large scar on his chest. What once was a fatal injury now looked like a carefully performed surgery that had been done years ago, but the blood on his body and the towels told a different story.

“Th...” He coughed in soreness, “Thanks. … Thank you.” Luca began attempting to lift his body, but was kept pinned by Zi and Asha, both knowing that it was too soon for him to be moving after that whole ordeal.

“Ma?” Zi’s attention drifted from Luca to Asha, as her form began shaking, convulsing even. “Ma!” Asha’s paroxysms grew in intensity, trembling so much that her mask began to slip.

“Asha!” Luca yelled out, forcing himself back onto his knees.

Zi could feel the pain pouring off her in oozes, liquid sludge of hurt and misery, a suffocating deluge so tangible she was gagging and weeping as it suffused them both. Through the red haze that fell over her vision, Eliziya realised that Asha’s mask had fallen off, revealing her face for the first time.

There was no face.

Luca, now back on his feet he painfully grabbed hold of Asha’s ‘arm,’ lifting the mass of clothes seemingly attached by their own will. His feet dragged, but quickly, he placed the woman upon a nearby bed even as she still convulsed. It was just like the last time, when Zi first came here with Luca, but this time there was more truth to the situation. A realization of why her healing magic had done so little last time.. there was no body to heal. Luca looked around in a panic; he dashed to where the two kept the talismans Asha had made and grabbed as many as he could fit in his hands before rushing back to his friend.

Zi kneeled over Asha, hands ‘in’ her body, attempting to channel her power into the incorporeal lady, but there was nothing, the power simply poured out and dissipated. Teeth grating in frustration, tears poured down her cheeks as she attempted futilely to restore her ‘mother’.

Luca too did what little he could, clenching the healing talismans he had grabbed to grant their knowledge to him, however fleeting it was. “Come on!” He yelled out as the talismans did nothing, just shattering in his hands. “This can’t happen now, not now!” Soon though, the man found that all the talismans he had grabbed had been used all up. In a fury he tossed the bits left over to the ground and stomped back over to where the rest of the magic runes still lay. “There has to be something here… something!”

“... Is she a soul?”

Zi jumped a little as Luca slammed his hands upon the table he stood over. “She lost her body a long time ago...” He growled, throwing useless talismans over his shoulder. “Too much magical energy within it, the ether eroded it all away… All to try and save our old master. All for nothing!” He glared back at Asha’s body, which still squirmed. “I’m not letting the ether get the only part of you that’s left, not when we’re so close!”

“Ma.. no.. you can’t just leave us, not now, not..” In a fit of despair, Eliziya fell ‘into’ Asha and power sloughed off her in immense quantities that would surely leave her comatose if uncontrolled. But anything, anything to help her mother, anything for Asha, everything. “Pa, if.. if she’s just spirit, then.. then..”

“What?” Luca demanded urgently.

“I’ve read,” Zi gritted, “in the books.. Berwick’s Treatise on Metempsychosis, the Grimoire of the Motile Soul.. let Ma take my body. Let Ma inhabit my body. Please.”

Luca looked down at the girl, his eyes showing the disbelief. “What are you talking about… such a thing can’t be possible. She would have… Asha would have said-” He turned his gaze back to his dying friend as he cut his sentence short. “You- you can truly do this?”

“Transmigration, Pa, we’ll.. we’ll need some place quiet but if the receptacle is willing, it can be done easily and I.. I’m more than willing. Please. We have to save Ma.” Zi was sobbing into Asha’s clothes.

Luca was silent, seeming to weigh the options in his mind. He gazed at the crying child… a child, one that would be seemingly sacrificed, one that he had defended as being safer with him than anyone else. The man rubbed his forehead, the subject pressed against his heart…

“Please.”

Grimly, the man lowered his head. “At some point we encounter problems that... only have one solution.” He muttered to himself. Having finally decided, the man gave a silent nod to Zi. “What must we do?”

“Whatever happens,” she replied, “don’t stop me. Even if I scream.”

Eliziya composed herself. This was it. It was all or nothing. She put her head to where Asha’s head would have been, and began regulating her breathing rhythm. In, one, two, three, four, five, hold. Hold, like how she would hold Asha’s soul within her. “Ma..” It was not healing, but a weak magical magnetism she exercised, drawing Asha closer and closer towards her. The clothes outlining Asha’s form were completely shed off now, and to anyone else, Asha would have been invisible. Threads of silver power flared, drawing the broken soul towards the nubile host. Zi’s mouth opened wide, a physical reflection of her opening herself, receiving Asha-

Eliziya Torvantine screamed and shrieked in complete agony as the ethereal substance of two souls struggled to mold and fit inside one body. Her entire being was lit on fire, metaphorically and literally, and she nearly blacked out from the pain, but she had to continue, she had to, for her mother, for Asha. Like a fisherman’s net, she drew Asha in and meshed their beings together. It would have been easier, had Asha entered of her own accord but her incapacitation meant that Eliziya had to draw Asha in herself. In that split-second of an eternity, she felt no more pain, wholly detached from herself as Eliziya willingly- more than willingly- relinquished all control over herself to the foreign being that was her and was not her. They were one and they were two, their feelings diffusing from one to the other, all thoughts shared, individual yet conjoined. Then the pain returned like a hammer blow and Eliziya Torvantine knew no more.

Luca stared at the collapsed body on the ground, the flames finally fading into the ether. The man’s breathing was heavy, exhausted from what he had just witnessed. “Zi…?” He whispered, slowly approaching the body, “Asha? Did it work?” There was a light groan as the young girl began to stir. Her eyes fluttered open; confused, she pressed her hands to the hardwood floor and pushed herself back up. She stopped her ascent immediately, however, when she saw her hands… saw that she had hands.

Zi’s head shook, there was a sense of disbelief. She looked up to the warrior he was approaching her, with a shocked expression. “What...” Zi’s voice spoke, sounding dry as if it had been months or years since she last spoke, “What did you do…?”

Luca winced, not answering. She crawled away from him, clambering back onto her feet and scrambling towards a mirror. She nearly collided with it as it seemed her fears had been realized. Zi was the one looking back at her in the reflection… not her mask. Her eyes closed, not wanting to look at the reflection for another second.

“We had to.” Luca attempted to defend.

“She was a child..”

“Your spirit was crumbling away.”

“She did not deserve this. I did not want this.”

“I did what I had to!” He yelled, “This. Was. The only way! I wasn’t going to lose you, not after we have come so far.”

Asha was silent, but her body language told it all. She did not address him, she did not even look at him. The young body instead quietly walked to where the mask had been dropped to the ground, and lifted it into her hands. Luca stormed passed her, but her gaze remained on the mask. Her eyes looked distant, lost.

Luca stepped out onto the balcony, looking at out at the city. Smoke bellowed out from buildings in the horizon, a half destroyed city that had caused to end up this way. He tightly gripped the hilt of Ba’al, and drew it from its sheathe. He stared upon its metal, the red glow as intense as ever. His eyes narrowed, a deep scowl forming on his face. A horrible rage building within him as he looked deep within the metal… but this was not one caused by the sword itself, but from an amalgamation of everything he had done, a fire that had been burning for some time. The daggers in his eyes cut into the sword, looking for the answer he wanted, prying it out of the blade if he must. We’ve come too far now, show us the source of this spell.. give us the ability to spread your anger!

The red aura of Ba’al intensified, it seeped down from the hilt over the man’s arm and crawled up to his eyes. In that moment, it gave Luca his answer as it showed him the influence the rage spell had over the city. Any area where a talisman was being used let out a beacon, and as more of the city lit up to Luca’s eyes he began to follow these beacons. They all led upward. It was finally time.

The swordsman returned inside, blade still drawn. “Asha.” He called flatly, “We’re going.”

Zi’s body walked into view from where she had been standing earlier, her face now obscured by the mask Asha had grown so comfortable with. It looked at Luca with a genuine emptiness, there was nothing for Luca to see anymore, no memories to see or emotions to feel. All she would give him was a nod.

All that was left for either of them was their goal, the only thing they could do.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Sicon112 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:59 am

He couldn't breath. Gasping and choking on the metallic wetness in his throat, he stumbled through a wall of branches, miraculously keeping his feet. His left arm burned as though submerged from the shoulder down in liquid hellfire. Blood scattered across the greenery, leaving a trail for it to follow.

How had it- it was coming. He couldn't stop, couldn't think. No time. He had to run. The crashing sound that his blind flight made through the brush filled the forest air, but the thing behind didn't make even a single sound. With a final, frantic, off-balance shove, the leaves of the bushes before him split open and he stumbled into clear air... and nearly left the ground behind entirely as it sharply dropped off beneath him. He clutched his knees, gasping in what air he could, and then double over as a fit of coughing scattered more crimson stains across the green blur that was the grass. Black and red cloth were stained alike with faint, but large dark marks, blood seeping from seemingly all over his body. Far more than anywhere else, a small stream of blood flowed out of his left sleeve and dropped constantly from his fingertips, where they hung limply beside him.

He couldn't go on. The only reason he was still alive was because it was toying with him. Batting him around like a cat playing with yarn, but now, it was going in for the kill, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Not like this.

The whistle of air behind him made him turn and stumble backwards, the remnants of old instincts screaming to be obeyed, but even as his eyes caught sight of a black blur before him, his heel caught on the edge of the cliff behind. Off-balance, he seemed to hang a moment, and then felt his battered body slowly tipping backwards. For a moment, his eyes, stinging from the blood leaking into the from the gashes in his forehead, brought a pale hand into focus as it stretched out of the black blue towards him. There was a light pressure on his chest, the gentle nudge of someone's fingers giving him the final, fatal push.

He was falling, and above him, he saw only a final glimpse of white teeth twisted into a grin, and with a roaring splash, darkness fell on his vision.

---

Lurching up from the pile of worn sacks that served as his bed, the man gasped for breath, feeling for an instant the water closing in around him. Blinking his eyes, he looked around at the crumbling walls that served as his shelter for the night. Tossing aside the tattered bit of burlap he had been using as a blanket, he stood up and grabbed a small bowl from the table, dashing a handful of the water within it on his face.

The cold liquid finished the process of bringing him to full alertness. Now free from the dream, he paused for a moment, looking down at the face in the water as though it was a stranger's. Knotted, shoulder length blonde hair surrounding what looked like clouded blue eyes set in a sunken, dirt-stained face looked back at him. Nodding to himself in a satisfied way, he straightened and moved for the door.
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 - Side Stories

Postby Lordxana0 on Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Cloth sat on a throne in his main tent swirling around a glass filled with a yellow liquid in it, holding it away from him as if contemplating it.

Hara brushed aside the tent flap and stepped inside. “You wanted me for something?” she asked in annoyed tone of voice.

“Yes, I suppose I did” Cloth swirled around the liquid in the glass and looked toward Hara. “Tell me, have you ever imagined your life if you weren’t an assassin, what it would be like and what you would do?”

Hara shrugged. “I have amnesia about most of my life. I’m sure at some point I wasn’t an assassin. Can’t say I particularly care who I was.”

Cloth chuckled under his breath. “No, I don’t suppose you would, another question, have you ever thought about having children?”

Hara laughed out loud at that. It was still a horrible sound to hear. “What do you know? You actually are funny.”

Cloth simply looked at her, waiting for an actual answer.

Hara paused for a moment. “Wait you’re actually serious?”

“I never joke… except when I do, but in this case no, it is a serious question, have you ever considered having children of your own?” Cloth’s voice sounded as it always did, manic and disturbing, but there was also something else behind it this time. An emotion that was impossible to pin down.

Hara paused for a moment gathering her thoughts. “I can’t say children don’t have their place, everyone was a child once. But I don’t want to have them.” She paused again. “Then again I might already have them and not know.”

“Sometimes certain things are better not being known” Cloth stood up and walked over to her, offering her the glass he held. “Tell me, what do you think is contained in this glass?”

Hara made no move to take the glass. “Knowing you its either poison or apple juice.”

Cloth poured it on the ground between them. Inside of the liquid seemed to be images of people. “Human sorrow, turned into liquid, this bottle contains the memories of a man who lost his legs and found himself dependent on his wife and children for support, and when they left him he slowly went mad only to die from hunger” Cloth waved his hand. “A normal story, but care to hazard a guess what happened to his legs?”

“If it was both legs then he was probably attacked by a rather large monster.” Hara ventured to guess.

“In a sense you are right, but in another you are wrong. His legs were hurt one day while out working, and the village doctor examined him and determined he would lose his legs” Cloth looked into the liquid as the images followed his words. “The doctor you see was the workers brother, and was madly obsessed with the workers wife, so the doctor had his brothers legs cut off and took his brothers wife and children as he lay in bed rotting away” Cloth laughed. “Isn’t it odd how people like you and me are called monsters because we are open with our darkness, but those who hide it can be called heroes?”

“Never did meet a village doctor I liked. But all the same it doesn’t really matter to me. Most who’ve called me a monster are dead anyway.” Hara smirked under her hood.

Cloth looked at her for a moment before nodding. “You, you I like” Cloth reached up and put a hand on his mask, using his other hand to draw back the hood of his cloak. “When I remove this mask do your best not to scream would you?”

Hara glared at him with unseen eyes. “My pet is a mound of sludge, eyes and mouths. I somehow doubt your face is going to terrify me.”

“We shall see” Cloth’s voice dropped lower than normal, and it sounded different from anything spoken by him before. With a slow and deliberate speed Cloth removed the cracked mask and revealed her face. Under the mask and hood the one known as Cloth was actually a woman with dark brown skin and short but beautiful black hair. Her eyes were both green as gems and almost seemed to glow in the low light of the tent. Hers was a face that would have sent men to war over her. “Tell me Hara, are you surprised?” Cloth’s voice came out in an almost song like tone.

Hara reached a hand under her hood and rubbed at her eyes. This must be some sort of illusion. But when the assassin looked back Cloth was still a woman. “Well this is….unexpected.”

“As are most things in life until we experience them” Cloth held out her mask. “I need you to go up to the city and have this fixed, once it is finished I need you to kill the one who fixed it and bathe it in his blood” the woman smiled pleasantly. “Although I suppose you don’t have to kill them in order to get enough blood, it is always better to be safe than sorry wouldn’t you agree Hara?”

Hara at this point had regained her composure. “Simple enough, who do I take it to so it can be fixed?”

“Oh any silly little craftsperson should do, oh and do take some gold from the treasury for yourself, after I think you deserve a little treat after all of the hard work you have done for me, wouldn’t you agree?” Cloth moved back and sat on her throne, pouring another glass of yellow liquid.

Hara shrugged again. “Fine, bonuses are completely up to you.” Hara grabbed Cloth’s mask and headed towards the tent flap.

“Oh yes and Hara, this does stay between us, just a secret between two of the deadliest females in this castle, yes?” Cloth’s voice still kept the sing song quality, but a hint of malice could also be heard behind it.

“All knowledge between us and our clients is privileged information. Standard policy.” Hara replied without looking back.

“Good, and thank you, your work has brought me much more sorrow to drink” she slowly sipped from the glass. “I do hope you will join me for a drink one of these days”

The hood turned briefly towards Cloth. “I don’t indulge when I’m on a job. Besides, I don’t trust you not to turn me into one of your clowns.” With that the assassin exited the tent.

“Disappointing, oh well, a drink for myself” she raised the glass. “And a drink to you humans…” she grinned darkly to herself. “What comes next is going to keep me drinking for a long time to come”

Two figures entered into the tent Cloth drew her hood up once more. "What do you want?" Cloth asked, the insane and manic voice returning.

"Preparations are complete, the drain system is set up and the Wizard and Strength agents are now fully formed. We await your command Lord Cloth"

"And you will continue to wait for it, remember, ultimate sorrow comes when you finally think you are free from the darkness, only to be caught in its teeth and dragged back down" Cloth stood up and walked past them. "Even still lets celebrate!" the Dark Carnival was suddenly lit up with multiple lights and sounds. "Soon we dip this place in sorrow, and after that" Cloth laughed. "After that we get he world my friends"
Who you going to call? ME!
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:39 pm

Timelime Note: A few days after the boss fight

Rumours

There was no more war, there were no more riots, and as if in response, people were filling the streets, simply milling about in public squares in a show of relief that they could. Nobody seemed to mind the crowds; rather, they took comfort in the friendly human presence.

An elegantly-dressed young woman with long, curly hair turned to the people nearest her, a faraway look on her face. “Do you ever wonder if the stories about this place are true?”

“Which stories would those be, then?” the man beside her asked. He looked flattered by her attention, but baffled by the question.

“The stories about the people who came through the Castle before. About a man named Arthur-- and Millena, his queen.”

She spoke softly, but her voice carried, rising and falling in an alluring cadence. More people turned to listen, and she did not dissuade them.

“They say it drove them mad.” She said this not in the prurient tones of one who relished the sensation, but sadly, suggesting that even the alleged madness of a long-dead stranger was something she found regrettable.

“What did?” breathed one of the new arrivals, already caught in the story’s web.

The speaker’s face was enigmatic. “This place. The Castle itself.” She sighed, her eyes passing over the faces of all those who had gathered to hear before she spoke again. “Sometimes I wonder what they thought about the sights we see. How far they got before they died.”

“What’s to say they died?” challenged a dark-haired woman with a scar down one cheek. “Could be they emerged victorious, blazed a trail for us all to follow!”

There were cries of agreement from those assembled, but Lorinicole shook her head. “Of all the tales I heard of them, one thing remained true throughout: they were doomed to failure from the start.” A sad smile played on her lips; she seemed to pity her audience as much as she did her subject matter. “Perhaps we are, as well.”
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

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

Postby JackAlsworth on Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:59 pm

Don't Give Up

Timeline Note: Two weeks before the events of Floating Castle

She emerged from the forest to find her father already standing outside the cabin door. “I got everything Nolwenn asked for,” she panted. “How… how is she?”

He shook his head. “Worse.” He looked older than usual.

Jenny walked carefully into the cabin. The herbalist looked up.

“Ah, Genevieve, thank you. Lay them out here.”

Jenny dropped the bundle of recently-collected medicinal plants and moved silently to the figure lying still on the nearby bed. A shaking hand reached towards her.

“Jenny.” The weakness in her mother’s voice still shocked her.

“Hi, Mama,” said Jenny, trying to sound cheerful. “Nolwenn’s makin’ another cure. This one’ll work for sure. You’ll be all right, I promise.”

The smile on her mother’s face was missing its usual radiance, but it was still nice to see. “Thank you… for… taking care… of me.”

“‘S no less’n what you’ve done for me. We’ll get you through this, Mama, you’ll see.” The reassurances felt hollow even to Jenny, but it was all she had left.

They sat in silence for a few moments, as Jenny watched her mother breathe in and out and tried to hide her distress. Eventually she stood up and moved over to Nolwenn, who was measuring out doses of herbs.

“Anything I can help with?” she said anxiously.

“I don’t think so,” said the herbalist, concentrating on her work.

There was a sigh from behind them. “Give it to us straight, ma’am,” said Jenny’s father. “How long has Clary got?”

Nolwenn looked at her, her expression mixing sympathy and regret. “I’m sorry. I can help to reduce the fever, but… she has stopped responding to the remedies I have on hand.” She lowered her voice. “I estimate… a few months. Maybe less.”

Jenny wanted to scream in frustration. Never before had her mother’s death felt so inevitable… and she had never felt so powerless. She settled for grabbing her bow off of its stand on the wall and striding out of the cabin.

She went back to near the forest, to the straw bales her father had set up as a training yard for her all those years ago. She picked up one of the practice arrows from the pile, sighted the nearest target, and fired. There was a satisfying thuk as the arrow pierced the bale, wide of the black mark in the center.

Damn. She grabbed another arrow and aimed at the next target. There was another thuk. Wide again. Damn!

“Jen.” Her father had come out after her. She ignored him, setting up for a third shot. This one managed to fly over the bale entirely.

“Jen, you couldn’t hit a sleepin’ bear in that state,” William Hunter remarked grimly. “I could see you jitterin’ all the way from the house. You’re spookin’ the birds.”

Jenny looked down at her hands; only now did she realize how badly they were shaking.

“She’s dyin’, Papa,” she whispered, sinking slowly to the ground. “She’s dyin’, an’ I… all I can do is sit there an’ watch.”

Will had the grace not to say anything. He knelt down beside his daughter and put his arm around her shoulders. She choked back a sob. I will not cry, she told herself resolutely, I will not cry, she taught me better than that.

Instead, she said, “There’s still the rumors.”

She felt him stiffen. “Not the damn castle again.”

“They say at the top, there grows - ”

“That place is a deathtrap, Jen!”

She ignored him. “ - Grows a plant that’ll cure all ills! It’s the only hope she has left, Papa, you know that.”

“There’s a difference between hopin’ and dreamin’. I thought I taught you that already.”

She didn’t respond. After a few minutes, she got up and went back to the cabin.

Nolwenn was administering a new restorative drink to Clary. She looked up when Jenny entered.

“Your mother needs to rest,” she began sternly.

Jenny ignored this, striding over to her mother and clasping her hand.

Her mother smiled again. “You couldn’t…. stay away?”

“Oh, Mama, you know I can’t,” said Jenny, her eyes burning. “I’ll stay here ‘til you’re better.”

Clary coughed weakly. “Th-thank you… thank you for… lending me… your strength.”

“Of course, Mama, of course…” Jenny stopped. Her mother was still talking.

“You might… might get it… back soon…”

Jenny squeezed Clary’s hand tighter. “Don’t say that. Please don’t. Don’t give up, Mama, you can make it, I know you can… Don’t give up, stay with me, please!

“Enough,” said Nolwenn crisply. “She needs rest.”

Jenny stood reluctantly. Her mother’s eyes closed, and her breathing slowed. Jenny blinked several times to clear away the mist clouding them, and turned to leave the cabin.

Her father was standing near the doorway.

“I’m goin’,” she told him. “I’m goin’, and you can’t stop me.”

There were tears in his own eyes. “I know.”

She hugged him tightly. “Don’t worry, Papa. I can take care of myself. I’ll come back, I promise. The huntress and all her dogs couldn’t keep me away.”

“Careful what you say, now,” he admonished, “she takes that sort of thing as a challenge.”

That startled a laugh out of her. “I’ll come back,” she repeated. “I’ll have the cure.”

They parted, and she left without another word.
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JackAlsworth
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:40 pm
Location: Western Washington State

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Blurred_9L on Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:13 pm

Timeline placement… Just before the current round of quests.

”Is this good enough?” he wondered, laying down on the floor, contemplating the cracks on the roof of his room. He had begun getting used to the deep quietness of night time, even though deep down he knew that somewhere in the castle, it wasn’t like that at all. ”What should I do?” The question kept bugging him every time he was alone, every time he tried to sleep.

”What was I hoping to gain from this?, he whispered to himself, sure that the spoken words were low enough so that only he could hear them. Perhaps he was hoping for somebody to answer the question for him. Perhaps, he had grown tired of the string of events that had transcurred since his arrival at the castle. Then again, it seemed like fate had always the last word when it came to matters like that.

“It can’t be helped.” he muttered as he got up from the floor, forcing a wry smile, even though nobody could see him. “It’s not like I have a choice” he pronounced, a bit more louder this time. He peeked out of the window into the street, just in time to see a group of children running through it. ”Just like a child” he thought to himself as he went back to the darkness of his own room, feeling upset at himself. Just how long had it taken him to realize that? Just how long did he intend to keep waiting for others to fix his own problems? He couldn’t wait anymore, with things as they were.

”Trust in your friends” Kevin had said. But he knew this was something he had to do alone. Everyone had enough problems already, and even though he didn’t know what they were, he wasn’t stupid enough not to tell. Staying there, hoping everything magically fixed itself wasn’t a choice. He had to go now.

”But… I’m scared” his mind spoke as he grabbed the door’s handle. His heartbeat accelerated as he tried to twist it open. ”I can’t do it.” He could hear the words over and over again in his mind, slowing his steps, making it harder to walk. But he couldn’t stop, not now.

Just one more step. One more step and I’ll be free it’s what he thought. ”Free from what?” he wondered, but didn’t try to look for an answer. He was sure he would find one later. He stepped onto the streets of the city once again and as he closed the inn’s door, as slowly as he could and as quietly as his shaking hands allowed him, he let out another sigh.

“Good-bye” he whispered, the sound of a creaking door echoing through the night.
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 - Side Stories

Postby Lordxana0 on Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:47 am

Salvantas followed the group of brightly dressed clowns through the backstreets of the slums, backed by two Dark Hero agents carrying short swords. Apparently these men were part of the Dark Carnival, planning to kidnap people no one would notice. Salvantas had hoped that if he followed them far enough he could detect a pattern, but so far the clowns had been moving erratically, meaning they might not have a set target at all. Whatever the case was he wouldn’t let these freaks take another person. Even if it meant burying a few more corpses in order to ensure it.

***


The last time Likovya had seen mountains was when she had passed through some foothills almost a year ago. She had been trying to get somewhere, or perhaps trying to get away from somewhere, or maybe she just wanted to keep moving because she couldn’t bear to think of turning back. She shouldn’t have been so frightened -- it was two years since she had struck out on her own -- but something had terrified her, and she remembered running like she had never run before.

For some reason, these mountains were more calming than the foothills had been. Even if she had been running from something, she wouldn’t have had to panic. There were plenty of places to hide and escape, and most wouldn’t even involve too much danger. There wasn’t anyone chasing her, either, which was a pleasant change. She could explore for once, and she wanted very much to see what there was to see.

What she saw was a man in garish clothes and gaudy facepaint standing some yards away from her.

Likovya froze. “Hello? Who are you?” She supposed he was a clown of some sort, but the ones from her circus had been rather more stylized and less frightening. The man didn’t answer. “You do know that paint’s going to come right off the first time it rains, right? Worse, it’ll smear, and good paint is expensive.” There was still no response, but the man’s hand moved to his club, which was as bright and garish as his outfit. “Right. I’m going to run now.” She turned and found herself very close to another clown.

This was rapidly becoming a very bad day.

A knife was in her hand before the clown had done much more than raise his club, and she managed to stab him in the belly before diving to the side and rolling across the ground. A tree kept her from simply rolling away, and she used it to pull herself up, clambering up the branches until she knew she was out of the reach of the clowns.

The first wasn’t dead, but he would be eventually, and she doubted she had to worry much about him. The other, however, was running to the tree, holding his club above his head, painted smile contorted into a grimace. Likovya didn’t want to wait until he was just below her in case he could climb (and so she wouldn’t have to drop her knife directly into his head), so she climbed down, wiped her knife a little, and threw it. The man didn’t even bother dodging, and the blade pierced his throat.

It frightened her just how easy that had been, and she noticed her hands were shaking as she retrieved her knife and turned to the first, who was still stumbling about despite bleeding heavily.

“You’re not human,” she whispered, and if her knife hadn’t been tucked back up her sleeve, she would have dropped it. “Where are you from? Which floor did you come from?”

The man didn’t answer, so she turned and fled. They were like nothing she had seen before, and if they weren’t native to this floor, then they had to be coming down and would probably continue.

***

Ever since the business with the anti-guilds had finished a few weeks back, the city had been quiet, not that Robert was complaining. In fact, he thought the whole castle could use a little more quiet, and everyone could stand to calm down, especially in his tavern. Despite what some people thought, bad times didn’t mean better business. In fact, people tended to hide during bad times, and only unsavory people stopped by. While their money was as good as anyone’s, he didn’t much care to deal with people who came in covered in knives and dressed like they were ready to kill, so when the girl with three knives and a sword at her belt strode in, he was tempted to send her right back out. She was dressed in stained, ragged black clothes, and her dark hair hung nearly to her shoulders and looked like it hadn’t been combed properly for about a month. There was something sharp in her eyes, and her body was lean, as though she had been running and fighting. She walked up to the bar and leaned forward.

“Listen, miss,” Robert said, finding his voice, but she spoke over him.

“I need information. More specifically…” Her voice lowered. “I need help.”

He frowned. This was unexpected. “What sort of help?”

“I just came back from the fourth floor, and I found… something.” Her voice lowered even more, and Robert had to bend close to catch her next words. “I think the city may be in danger. Who do you know who’s willing to defend it?”

“I’ll ask around.” He knew a few people who were the hero-type, and of course, there was that group of heroes. They’d be willing to help someone, especially if she insisted the whole city was in danger.

“Thank you.” The girl straightened up. “One last thing: do you know where I can get a haircut and a bath?”

***


Salvantas was not a man who took rumors lightly, that was why he paid almost every bar and dive in the city more than they would see in a week to keep him informed on every drunken raving and little secret passed through someone who had taken a bit too much poison. This one was different though. One of his contact had informed him of a woman who was dressed in adventures gear who came in fully sober to inform the barkeep that she needed help with a citywide problem.


“You think its legit?” Elisa asked looking over his shoulder.


“I think…” Salvantas paused. “That it is worth finding her”
***


Not only did Likovya get a bath and a haircut, but she was given a fresh set of clothes that were nearly identical to her old ones, with two important differences: they were clean and untorn. All it had taken was a brief mention of her name for people to insist on “repaying” her. Apparently her notoriety among the anti-guilds had become celebrity in town.

She had taken a small room in an inn and was about to sleep in a bed for the first time in weeks when someone knocked on her door. More curious than nervous, she opened it. “Hello?”

Salvantas stood in front of the door, looking at the woman with a small smile. “Hello, my name is Salvantas, I am Guild Master of Heroes Unlimited, and I heard from a source that you had valuable information that could help me protect the city”

“You certainly don’t waste any time.” Heroes Unlimited sounded like a promising name, so she said, “I was on the fourth floor when I saw a pair of men dressed like clowns. At least, I thought they were men, but they don’t speak, and I don’t think they can feel pain. I don’t know where they came from, but if they’re working their way down from another floor, they could reach the city, and they’d have to go through the farms to get there. Can you lend me some people to guard the portal from the third floor to the fourth?”

Salvantas cursed at the news. “Can I come in, this isn’t a conversation I want to have out in the open”

“Of course.” She stepped to the side and allowed him to enter, closing the door behind him. “Don’t want to scare more people than necessary?”

“Yes, and I don’t want someone to get any ideas to go and play hero, kind of our job” he smiled and walked in, taking off his trechcoat and laying it on the bed so she could see the various small blades in it. “I have other weapons on my person, but that is my main source, I am also very competent with hand to hand, I don’t plan on hurting you or fighting you, but I want you to know that I am no threat to you”

“I wasn’t all that worried,” she said, gesturing to her belt. “I think I can hold my own. Now, I’ve told you all I know. Can you help?”

“Yes and no” he took a seat on the bed and looked at her. “The people you fought are clowns in service to the Dark Carnival, a kingdom based in the Underground run by a man who calls himself Cloth. You see the issue here isn’t that he might come down, it is that he has gotten that far up to begin with” Salvantas lowered his head and sighed. “In truth I don’t want this information to leak to the public, it is too soon after the Anti Guild debacle to let it be known that there is a new threat waiting to attack, but at the same time I can’t ignore it. And with my every move being watched it is a bit hard to deploy extra forces outside the city ‘just because’.”

Of course it wouldn’t be as simple as just giving her a few well-armed people and heading up a few floors. And of course it was something even worse than what she had thought it was. “Then what can you do? Or what I can do, if you can’t do anything?”

Salvantas looked at the women, as if trying to figure everything about her out by just looking at her. “I will answer your question, but first I must ask my own” he took a short breath before speaking again. “How do you feel about the phrase ‘The ends justify the means’?”

“How big are the ends, and how bad are the means?” She knew she was more willing to bend the rules, both official and unspoken, than most people, but even so she had lines she wouldn’t cross.

Salvantas didn’t speak for a moment. “Let me give you an example. Say that there was a man, this man will kill people, there is no way to change that, and even if you lock him up in some way he will kill someone, knowing this would you be willing to kill this man to protect the people he will one day kill?”

She didn’t think it would be wise to point out that she had killed for much lower stakes. “I’d be willing,” she said.

He nodded. “Now lets say this same man would kill a large number of people, but not himself, but through others, would you be willing to do whatever it took to stop him?”

“I’d be willing to kill the man,” she said. “The others… if I knew there was no other way, or if they were threatening me, my friends, or whoever I happen to be helping at the time… I’d be willing.”

“What if in order to stop the killings you had to torture the man, cut off his fingers, starve him, would you be willing to do that to stop the death of someone else?” Salvantas tone was serious and dire, something that clashed with the kind man that had knocked on the door.

Likovya didn’t always kill cleanly, and she was comfortable with knowing some of her opponents bled out for a long time before finally dying. Still, the thought of cold-blooded torture, even for a good cause, turned her stomach. “Only if I really, truly had to, if there were no other alternative, in which case I would most likely leave this floor and never return.”

Salvantas nodded. “Not a lot of people answer like that, and that is why what I am about to tell you is the single best kept secret in this city” he stood up and looked at her. “Heroes Unlimited, as it is known to the public only uses nonleathal combat to take down the bad guys, we work in the public eye so that no one feels we are doing anything worth looking into. In other words we are so clean that no one would question or look any deeper than the surface layer” he leaned in. “I can help you, I can get you the people, but if you hear what I am about to tell you and it seems like you will let it out I won’t hesitate to kill you. So, will you listen?”

“I will.” She still had questions, but interrupting him would most likely not answer them, and the safety of the city would have to come first. “What do I need to know?”

Salvantas sighed. “Heroes Unlimited comes in two parts, one of them the public side which everyone knows about, but on the flip side…” he paused and smiled. “Well on the flip side is the exact opposite, a group made of killers, theives, and con men, who would lie, cheat, and steal to protect the public interest. Any time you hear about some person who causes trouble dropping dead of a knife in the back, that is us. Every time a once noblemen suddenly makes a large donation toward a program that isn’t always something that makes sense for them to connect to, that is us blackmailing him for things he shouldn’t be doing. I want you to join this group. Work as an agent for this side while maintaining a careful cover as a Heroes Unlimited agent who free roams the upper floors to protect others. While at the same time keeping a number of Dark agents following you in order to repel threats I can’t personally reach”

She wasn’t sure which part of his little speech to respond to first. “Well, you’re right,” she said. “I wouldn’t be much good on your clean side. There are a few things I ought to warn you about, though. I’ve been… I guess you’d call it a free agent for the past three years, so I don’t always work well with orders. If I think they’re sensible or I’ll get a good explanation afterward, I’ll follow them, but it had better be a really good explanation. I’m also not sure I’ll need bodyguards. I already said I’d been taking care of myself for the past three years, and I don’t think the future will be any different.” She toyed with the hilt of one of her knives. “If you’re fine with dealing with me, I’ll join.”

“Not bodyguards, they are your own personal force to use as you see fit, loyal to a fault and willing to die for previous sins they have committed, I will have you go through the full list and pick out any four that you want to take with you. That should be enough to protect what you need to, and while I want your public image to be tied to Heroes Unlimited I also want you to have free control, people knowing I have an agent walking around the upper floors will make them feel safe, while maintaining the fact that the bulk of my forces are here” he waved his hand around the city. “You will almost never hear from me, and in the event of my death the people will follow you only, so long as you don’t abuse your power I figure you should be fine” he offered a hand to her.

She took it. “My name’s Likovya, by the way. When do I start?”

Salvantas smiled and shook her hand. “How does right away sound?”

***
Salvantas drew his saber and looked toward the group of clowns he and his men had backed into an alley. “Now then, time to remove you” as soon as he stepped forward a group of three clowns appeared at the entrance to the alley, blocking them in. “Damn it, I didn’t think there was a second group…” the two other men took up a stance behind him.

One of the clowns stumbled forward and fell, a knife sticking from the back of his neck. “I never thought I’d say this,” Likovya said, strolling from her hiding place, a knife in her left hand, “but I think my aim’s gotten better. I’ve only gotten a decent neck hit three times, counting this one.” Her left knife hit another clown’s neck. “Four.”

Salvantas laughed and began to do battle with the clowns in front of him, his other agents moving to take care of the ambush party. “Remind me to teach you some of my mothers lessons next time you are in town, she was one of the best assassins that ever lived, and her specialty was knives”

“If it’s anything I haven’t already learned, then Master Weston didn’t teach me well enough.” Likovya grinned and slipped into the fray, using a pair of the long knives at her belt. “Fighting as part of a team, though, that’s something I could learn.”

Salvantas laughed as he cleaved off one of the clowns heads with a swing of his blade. “I saw your selections for your team, interesting choices”

One of her blades dug into the clown’s belly, and she cursed as she pulled it out. “I keep forgetting to go straight for the kill,” she muttered, this time attacking the upper chest and neck.

“It is odd, fighting monsters that don’t die like humans” he stuck his blade through a clowns heart and quickly switches to his throwing knives as he dodged a mace. “You would think that they would just have the decency to die”

“A challenge is always good,” she said, grimacing. Despite having a pierced lung, her clown was still on his feet. With a glare of disapproval, she reached up and drove her blade through his windpipe. “And it’s not the dying bit that bothers me. I’m just used to people feeling pain. Fear is nice, too.” While she had never made a group of people run just from the sound of her name, she could still dream.

“Fear sometimes just makes them fight harder.” the last clown fell and the two men began to gather up the bodies. “So you will be heading out tonight?”

“Probably.” She could have lingered and spoiled herself with another bath and a few nights in a bed, but there were still mountains to explore. “I may wait until morning and get some rest so I can get through the third floor as quickly as I can.” It still unnerved her, and she didn’t intend to do anything about that. “Is there anything else you’d need me for down here?”

He laughed. “Unless you want to be one of the members with the honor of breaking ground on a new area we are building a second public school on no” he took out a pouch of gold and tossed it to her. “Treat yourself if you are spending the night, I am sending you into who knows where with only four other people, least I can do is offer you that much”

She wasn’t the type to pass up a payment; the circus had taught her that and taught it well. “Thanks,” she said, tucking the pouch into her belt. “You’re interesting. Does anyone ever tell you that? I don’t know that I’ve met many people like you.”

“If I thought there was anyone else like me on the planet I would probably have them locked in a mental asylum” he looked at the bodies and sighed. “Poor souls, they didn’t join of their own free will, but maybe they can find peace in death...or something like that”

“That’s the part I try not to think about,” she admitted.

“For the best, now you go and enjoy your night, me and the guys have this clean up handled. And stay safe, I don’t want to hear anything about you dying while you are part of my group” he smiled. “And remember that Heroes Unlimited watches out for their own, you need me and I am there”

“On the off-chance I do need help, I’ll remember that. So long.” With a little wave, she headed off, pausing only to collect her knives and clean them against her trousers.
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 - Side Stories

Postby RussetDivinity on Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:14 pm

Likovya would never admit it, but she rather liked sleeping in beds. Not that there was anything wrong with camping under the stars, but there was something special about waking up beneath blankets and on top of something soft. She didn’t even have to have a roof or walls, just something to snuggle into.

But then there were mountains awaiting her, and almost a hundred other lands, and she had told Salvantas that she would be heading up.

She woke early, left behind a few coins for whoever came to clean the room -- who needed so much money, anyway? -- and headed downstairs to the main room of the inn. There was a kitchen near the back, and for a little extra money, the cook made her a quick breakfast before she left.

Her “personal force”, as Salvantas had called them, had already headed up to the second floor to make sure none of the clowns were up there. They would be checking the farms next, and she had plans to meet them in the mountains that evening. She wasn’t the least bit used to having power over people, so she had mainly given them suggestions about what they could do before she reached the fourth floor. The only direct orders she had given them was that they were to do their best to keep from dying and not to rush in to save her unless she made it clear that she needed saving.

The morning wasn’t as quiet as she had expected it to be; a group of farmers had come in to trade their goods with some of the local craftsmen. The streets near the podium were so crowded that at first she didn’t recognize the voice that called out above the noise of bartering.

“OH HEY IT’S A PERSON I RECOGNIZE HAI RECOGNIZABLE PERSON”

A gray-sleeved arm shoved its way between a pair of nearby traders and forced them apart, and a tall young man with oddly gray hair and a hiking backpack bulging with supplies slipped through the gap, grinning as he made his way over to Likovya. “Well, hi there! Been a while since the last time I saw a familiar face. How’re things?”

“Fine… I suppose. Do I… Curtiss?” She hadn’t thought much about her adventure into the underground, but now she realized why the man was so familiar. “Holy fire and earth, is that you? You’re not still crazy, are you?” She drew back a little, looking him over. He seemed sane, or at least not completely mad.

“Nope!” he replied with a grin that seemed slightly too large for his face. “Just hyper. Reeeeeally hyper. Like, I was browsing the, uh, the local wares and stuff, and I found this guy who sells these amazing granola bars that give you absolutely preposterous amounts of energy when you eat them. I think they’re bad for you. Dunno. Check later, talk now. Want a candied apple?” He pulled out one of his knives, which was stuck to the hilt in a candy-coated apple. “I think I got one of the farmers angry or something, and obviously he hasn’t met me before because he apparently thought tossing this at me would actually hit me.”

She wasn’t entirely sure that he was sane, but at least he wasn’t attacking her. “Thanks,” she said, accepting the apple. “You know, I don’t think I’ve had one of these before.” She bit into it and nodded in approval. “It’s good. So, where are you headed? Going on a trip somewhere?”

“Well, planning to, at least.” Curtiss shrugged. “Remember how I nicked a couple books and stuff while I was looking around the tower thingy in that city where we met and stuff? Like, I went and got those translated- took a while, actually, so I actually went and took an extended hospital trip in the meantime to get all my old wounds cleared up and stuff and now I am STRONG again wait what was I talking about? Forgot already. How?”

“Maybe you shouldn’t eat any more of that granola,” Likovya said. “What was in the books?”

“BOOKS.” Curtiss snapped his fingers. “Right. Books. Well, there was a lot of cool stuff in there, and I’d talk about specifics but I get the feeling that I’ll forget what I was doing again so I’ll just leave it at COOL STUFF because it was COOL and actually not entirely relevant to the city. Like, there was other stuff. Weird stuff. Haven’t read the whole thing yet, mostly skimmed it anyways, but yeah it’s cool.”

Just how much of that granola had he eaten? “What sort of trip are you planning?” she asked. It felt so strange to be the rational one in a group, and she didn’t know whether she could keep his thoughts on something resembling a straight line.

Curtiss shrugged enthusiastically. “Eh, no clue. Like, maybe head back to the city or something and see if there’s another Fountain of Light, maybe screw around in some other parts of the Underground and explore, maybe check out the new floors or something because apparently there’s new floors we can check out but I don’t know why because I was away at the time- oh! Did you know there was a riot or something the other day? Like, fires and ranting and explosions and stuff. Weird, huh?”

“I think that was a bit longer ago than you think,” she said. Unless something new had come up… no. Salvantas would have mentioned that. “I noticed the new floors, though. The fourth one has a bunch of mountains, but I haven’t heard anything about the others.”

“Ooh. Mountains. I like mountains.” Curtiss rubbed his hands together. “Maybe… Hm… Anyways, yeah, haven’t quite decided where to head off to next- although now I’m kinda leaning towards the upper floors, but you probably guessed that already- so earlier I decided I might as well search for someone I know, see where they’re going, maybe chat a bit… And, well, here we are!” Another shrug. “So, enough of me rambling. What’s up with you?”

“Well… to cut a long story short, I tried to scare the whole anti-guild and succeeded, but not as well as I hoped, since one of them stabbed me. Right here.” She touched her shoulder and hoped she had managed to hit the man who did that. It was very annoying to have to get the same sort of injury she had inflicted on someone. “Then I met this girl who could control lightning, and she tried to keep me in bed even though I was mostly healed, so I had to sneak out of the third floor. I don’t much like that floor, anyway.” She glanced to the podium. “I was about to head up. Care to travel with me a ways?” She didn’t usually travel with people, but Curtiss was amusing, if nothing else, and he seemed friendly enough.

“OF COURSE,” Curtiss boomed, prompting a few glares from nearby traders. “Given our track record so far with working together, I think going together would suit our purposes very well, yessss.”

What have I gotten myself into? “All right. Just so you know, I’ll be meeting with some people when we get to the mountains. They’re… well, they’re helping me out with something.” Hopefully Curtiss would be distracted by something and not ask her to explain. It wasn’t her secret to tell.

Curtiss raised an eyebrow. “More people?” he mused. “Eh, sure, why not? Might as well make our own guild at this rate.” He glanced back at Likovya. “Actually, how does that sound to you? New guild, just me and you and your buddies?”

She didn’t know whether she (or her “personal force”) would be allowed to be in two guilds at once, but then she could just swear the four to secrecy. Besides, she had warned Salvantas that she didn’t always take orders well. “Why not? A traveling guild, out for fun and adventure, with a little hero work on the side?”

“YES.” There were more traders glaring now. “WE ARE NOW GUILD BUDDIES. AND THIS GUILD-” he waved his hand dramatically- “THIS GUILD SHALL BE NAMED…!”

A pause.

Curtiss’s hand dropped. “...I think my mind just ran out of juice,” he said flatly. He looked over his shoulder and glared at his backpack. “The granola has failed me. Wonderful.”

“You’re not eating any more,” she said. “I guess we could be… um… how are guilds normally named?”

“No clue, and I don’t really care that much anyways.” Curtiss shrugged, a vaguely uncertain look on his face. “Starting to regret the… ah, screw it. Sky Chasers. That sound reasonably guild-ish for you?”

“Sure. Henceforth, we six shall be known as the Sky Chasers.” Likovya grabbed Curtiss’s arm and steered him to the podium. “I guess we might as well try to make it to the top.”

Curtiss yanked himself free, giving his new partner a sour look. “I don’t need anyone leading me around by the arm. Just walk ahead and I’ll follow. Got it?”

“Got it. But that doesn’t make me the leader. I’m not good at being in charge of people.”

“Do we have to have a leader? It’s just the two of us for now. Why not just stick with being, uh…” Curtiss frowned. “...adventure buddies. Yeah, that. Just two people who go around exploring and doing stuff.” He paused, then added, “I don’t consider myself much of a leader anyways. Too much micromanaging.” He made a face.

“Fair enough.” She supposed he could find out about the other people later, and she would handle that problem when it came up. “So, then- Sky Chasers, away?”

“Why not?” Curtiss gestured to his right. “Lead away, my friend.”

“...we’re actually going the other way.”

“Oh. Well, still, lead on…”
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Victin on Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:38 pm

Into the unknown
Timeline placement: 2.8 days before "How Fern Became A Loreknight"

Fern was not having a particularly good time. The ceiling was collapsing, water was starting to rush in, the guardian was making a gravely noise that he suspected was born from a combination of anger and pain, and the circle inscribed on the ground was glowing a bright, harsh blue. The blue light spiked, forcing him to both close his eyes and shield them with his arm to avoid being blinded. The light spiked upward, and then the world gave a wrench, sending him stumbling to the side as he felt his bond to Mandora snap. The light faded, and he looked around, eyes blinking as they adjusted to the new light level.

They were in another chapel-like location, that seemed to have some aesthetic similarities to the room that they had just been in, though some part of his brain noted that while both rooms obviously had the same roots, they appeared to have diverged somewhat at some point in the past, as if they had been made by groups that had been separated. Looking down, he noted that the circular platform they were standing on had some lines burned into it that looked similar enough to the ones on the platform they had just been at, but not enough were there to be certain. Other than that, it was completely bare.

He turned to glare at Pliny. “What did you do?”

The man was as shocked as the other, but he had relief in his eyes. “I saved us.”

“Right…Where did you save us to? The supposed sky palace place?”

“I would assume so.” Pliny looked to the temple made out of stone bricks. In comparison with the place they just were, this one looked remarkably better in state, albeit still damage by the passage of time. The carvings on the stone floor were certainly more prominent than the ones of the previous room, and there was a slab close to it. The slab was carved with a simple map and some text under it. “I believe that teleportation ritual was supposed to be one-way only. Seeing as this temple must have been built after someone arrived here, I believe they settled somewhere near, wrote down their coordinates and maybe some instructions or welcoming message. Interesting, don’t you think?”

Fern sighed, and held his head in his hands for a moment. “What I think is interesting is that we had ample opportunity to get out of the chamber, leave the guardian behind, and come back after it had stopped collapsing, and you decided to try an ancient ritual of uncertain properties, with no guarantee of success instead?”

“I didn’t expect the guardian to throw us right in the middle of the area of effect. At least he didn’t come with us.” As to test his own words, Pliny looked to the sides. “See? If anything I expected the guardian to either kill us or to chase us away. I was hoping the latter would be it.”

“And you decided to bet both of our lives on your hunch that this ritual would work?”

The other man rolled his eyes. “Sorry I believed you could protect us both.”

Fern groaned. “It was ten feet tall! It was made of stone! How much damage did you think me and Mandora could have done to it? At best we were able to distract it, I do not know combat magic!”

Pliny took off his glasses and started cleaning the lenses with a piece of white cloth. “I thought you had passed the exam of the Academy on your first try.”

“I did. Which was not, I might say, against mostly mindless ten foot tall stone golems!”

“Didn’t you learn anything from me? How to detect eons old arcane residue? How to destabilize magic constructs?”

“Which is only of limited use if you have to keep moving to avoid being crushed. If you could have done that, why did you not help out, so we would not be stranded who knows where in a mythical location!” Fern’s voice was starting to rise as some amount of panic started to leak into his tone.

“Excuse me if I was busy performing a ritual which, at the end, saved our lives.” Pliny put his glasses back on his face. “Besides, we came here by magic, why couldn’t we get out the same way?”

“Because there does not seem to be any sort of corresponding ritual platform here? Because you yourself said that it seemed to be a one-way ritual? Oh, why do we not get out the reagents and such to see if we can find a link back of some sort? Oh wait, we do not have those anymore because all of our stuff is back at the ruins, while we are...are...we are wherever we are!”

“Calm down. Panicking won’t help any more. If we are in fact at the flying castle it shouldn’t take much work to find the necessary materials and then prepare a new spell. Now… Would you help me take note of this ritual circle? It can be useful to have it in hand in the future.” He said as he took his notebook out of his pocket and started scribbling on it.

Fern stared at Pliny for a long moment, half-starting gesticulations and mouth moving silently for a moment. “No. You know what? No.” He threw his hands up in the air, and started to make his way down the platform toward what appeared to be the exit of the room. “I am going to go find someplace where it’s safe, and where there are not ancient guardians trying to crush me, and crazy explorers sending people to who knows where on whims.” He glared at Pliny as he said the last sentence. “You know, someplace that isn’t here.”

“So your idea of safety is wandering alone into the unknown?” The old man giggled at his own remark. “If you want to meet with me again, I’ll probably stay here for the time being.”

“You wandered off into the unknown by yourself quite a bit, and look where it got you.” Fern retorted. “And thank you for that information, so I can avoid coming back here.” He grumbled to himself as he picked his way to the entrance, looking out at the larger view of the ruins they had landed in. “Thanks for everything, teacher.” The last word carried a heavy amount of anger in it. With that parting remark, he disappeared out of the door.

Pliny sighed and kept scribbling on his notebook. Maybe he shouldn’t have been so harsh on Fern. “Antonius Aurelius, if you want a successor you need him to be in good terms with you.” He sighed again and sat down. His back started to hurt again.
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.
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Victin
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:17 pm
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Victin on Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:29 pm

Timeline Placement: Two days after the sidestory “Lost”

The forest was unusually silent. There was no wind flowing through the air, no rustling of the leaves in the trees, no song sung by a bird nor raging growl by a wild beast. Morionem could only hear his thoughts and his steps on the ground, which occasionally resounded when he stepped on a bunch of dry leaves or a broken branch of a tree. The sun was at its zenith, shining all over the land, piercing through the foliage and illuminating the ground sparcely. ”This is strange. Something around here must be scaring the animals so they don’t come here anymore. What could it be?” The swordsman didn’t draw his sword, but kept one hand at its hilt in case it was needed to fight some wild beast. He walked slowly and wary. His eyes darted around, scanning his surroundings in search of something unusual. That’s when he saw it on the distance.

An open field, painted black a few days ago by ravaging flames. The burnt smell still marked the place, and the ashes had been scattered all around the close areas, tainting the surviving forest with its dull monochrome. Why didn’t I notice this before? Guess I’m just too tired... The swordsman really was tired. He had walked the last two days nonstop, save three short naps, one of them by accident. He probably had slept less than nine hours the past two days. When he finally got to the place which was destroyed by the fire, he stopped and stared at the destruction for a minute. Morionem started to feel angry, at himself, for not being able to help, and at whomever was to blame about this. Calm down Morionem, calm down. Don’t get angry at nothing like this.

He strolled through the wreckage for some time. The fires had burned down a large area. Now that he had found the place he was looking for, he was unsure of what to do. That is, until he saw the same lake he passed by on his first day on the forest. Finally! He thought, as he found freedom once again. He attempted to run by the margin of the lake, but decided to not spend his left strength so fast - he’d rather keep it to until after he had reached the town.

Morionem kept his walking pace until he saw someone strolling by the lake in the distance, though walking towards himself. The person looked like a short, blond-haired boy, armed with nothing but a wooden staff. The swordsman grinned, and ran towards the person very happy. “Hey, you!” He yelled.

The boy paused and looked up, startled badly. He took a step backward and lifted his staff partway in front of him, as though in a defensive position. “Hey, you! Do you know where the city is?”

The boy blinked, lowering his staff a little bit more, and then spoke hesitantly. “...Yes. The city is back that way.” He pointed in a direction somewhere behind him. “If you leave now, you’ll make it there by the end of the day. Though, I can’t say I’ve ever been asked that before...”

Before thanking the boy, the swordsman chuckled as he stopped a few steps in front of him. “Why so? Have you never met a lost person in the woods before?”

The boy shook his head, finally lowering his staff completely. “No, not really. Most everyone who comes in here knows where they’re going.” The boy’s eyes raked over Morionem’s form, taking in the bumps and bruises, scratches, mussed hair and other eccentricities. “What... happened to you, anyway?”

“I wasn’t planning on going very far, but a wind spirit or something similar tried to take my backpack from me.” He remembered with disdain the amount of times he had his bag a few centimeters of his hands, only for it to be taken away again. “After that I got lost for more than a week. Luckily a kinder spirit saved me. I know that because I can only remember waking up in a calmer place with something paint on my face.” He pointed to the now fading mustache. “I saw the fire from afar. I wanted so much to be able to come here and stop the fire, -” The swordsman stopped for a second to tell himself he shouldn’t be angry at himself ”- but I still had to rest. So I did, and then I came this direction. After two days of walking, here I am!” He grinned again, happy to have found his way back to the city.

The boy stared, blinking for a second, before visibly working to restrain a laugh. “Well, that’s-” A snort. “That’s quite the tale. Is this normal for you?”

“I wouldn’t say normal, but yeah I’ve gotten lost sometimes. But I don’t recall having met any forest spirit before. I mean, I didn’t meet these, but you know...” He smiled, and offered his hand to the boy. “I’m Morionem, and you?”

With only the slightest beat of hesitation, the hand was taken in a firm handshake. “Pan. Nice to meet you, Mori,” he added with a grin.

“So, what are you doing by here? I don’t remember seeing sheep neither in the town nor close to it last time I was there.” Said Morionem, partially questioning what was up with the sheepherd wannabe, partially wanting to see the sheep.

“What? Oh, no, I haven’t-- haven’t dealt with sheep since I left home,” the boy said, shuffling his feet awkwardly. “But I live here, in the forest.”

“You do? Did- Did the fire reach your home or anything?” For one second, the swordsman confused himself whether the fire had killed the man’s sheep or not, then realized how that sounded unlikely. Even if there were sheep by here he was sure a worthy shepherd would manage to take them somewhere safe.

“Well, the fire didn’t manage to reach where I was sleeping at the time, no. But the entire forest is my home.” At this point, Pan gazed sadly at the scorched and ruined half of the clearing, his eyes distant.

Noticing his new friend’s reaction, Morionem promptly tried to calm him down. “Don’t worry, it’ll grow again. I think I had heard one could bury the remains of a burnt forest and it would... Energize the soil and the plants would grow back faster. Wanna try?” The swordsman kneeled down and took a handful of dirt with his hand, covered in ash and some burnt wood.

Pan eyed him warily, but after a moment bent down to Morionem’s level to watch. With his free hand, Morionem dug up a small hole and then quickly filled it with the dirt he had on the other hand. “And with this ash buried, we get another, bury it and then repeat.” He smiled at Pan.

The shepherd blinked, taking a moment to breathe, before reaching for another burnt branch and copying him. She scrunched her nose, hating the feeling of ash on her hands, but she soon had a small mound that looked similar to Mori’s. “Like… like this?”

“Yes. Now we only need to bury it.” He swiftly dig up a small hole with his right hand. “Here.”

She carefully placed the mixture into the hole he made, feeling foolish and skeptical all at once. “And you say this works?”

“I think it does. Have you ever heard that fruits that came from trees which bloomed in cemeteries are tastier? Dead things make trees grow faster.” Morionem replied as if he was sure it worked.

Dead things make trees grow faster. Well, that was true enough, in her experience. To apply it to a whole forest, though? “That might work… Though I wish there wasn’t so much damage.” She succeeded in keeping most of the pain out of her voice, though she was sure he still heard it.

The swordsman could feel the shepherd was upset, and felt bad for him. “Don’t worry dude.” He grinned full-heartedly at Pan. “The forest will grow again, and I’ll help it. I’ll go to the city, get a shovel and bury the ashes to make as much trees grow faster as I can. What do you say?”

Pan looked at him for a moment before grinning. “I think I’d like that.”

Morionem then stood up and offered Pan a hand, still sporting a smile on his face. “So, do we go to the town now or what?”

And then her grin fell. Pan’s face paled slightly at the thought of leaving the forest, especially in this state. And into the town? She hadn’t prepared anything, not for a trip into crowds and the noise of bustle and people and carts and what if--

Pan clamped down tightly on her panic. That wouldn’t help anything. Besides, she reasoned, eyes on her new companion’s hand, my forest is worth it.

She took his hand as firmly as she could, ignoring the slight shaking that she couldn’t get rid of. Then she stood up, brushing off her knees and picking up her staff as she went.

~~~~

Morionem and his new friend were approaching the town, to the point they could already see it in the distance. “Great! I’m finally back to the city!” He thought, and a smile formed on his face - a smile which quickly broke down to pieces as soon as he could get a better view of the town. He stopped in his tracks. “What… What happened there!?”

The town was in ruins. Building were destroyed, by force or by fire. Scorch marks tainted it black, while ruins of what were once houses were scattered all around. The few surviving buildings were mostly broken into, abandoned by its previous occupants (either willingly or not). The streets were mostly desert, though one could see people going to their normal lives, while others wasn’t sure what to do now, with their possesions destroyed and whatnot. “Was there another kobold attack!? Or… Or what happened to the city!?”

Pan looked over the town, her face blank. “I don’t know,” she said, feeling dull rage boil in her stomach over seeing the damage. “And it doesn’t look like there’s anyone around to ask, either.”

Morionem wasn’t sure if he was more perplexed or angry at this situation. Just when he happens to leave town, it is over again demolished by whomever knows. He was too far away to do anything, the forest got burnt down, the city got destroyed, who knows what else happened while he was away? “Calm down, Morionem. Even if you were here, would you even be able to help? Oh, I could at least’ve tried to.” He groaned and kicked a pebble far away in a sudden fit of rage.

Pan looked over to her companion at the noise, and she set her jaw. “Come on,” she said, taking a hold of his shoulder and moving towards the town. “I’m sure there are still people here. They’re bound to be meeting somewhere if not already working to fix the damage.”

His new friend managed to calm his anger, at least for now, but he still was disconcerted by this whole situation. “You are right. I guess we should head for the place many people usually go to.”

Pan nodded, even as her expression changed from blank to vaguely uncertain. “That would be… town hall, right? Maybe…?” It’s been too long since I set foot in a town, she thought with a grimace. I sound like I don’t have the slightest clue what townspeople do with themselves. Which she didn’t, but she didn’t intend on broadcasting it.

“Actually…” He said with a puzzled look on his face. “I meant somewhere else.”

~~~~

“And here we are!” The swordsman said vigorously to his companion, as he showed her the local tavern, the Dragon’s Tooth. It wasn’t on its best state - Apparently, either someone thought it’d be a good idea to attack it, or just used the Civil War as an excuse to do so. Still, the holes were patched with planks of wood until a carpenter could be found to fix it. “It doesn’t look as good as I remember though.” Morionem thought, the reminder he was away when chaos took over the town standing in front of him, as if taunting he wasn’t present when the good people of the city would have needed him the most.

Pan looked around the place, nose twitching slightly at the unfamiliar smells. The last thing she wanted was to accidently insult someone because she thought the place smelled worse than a pig sty during the summer, so she focused on keeping her expression blank as she turned to Mori. “So… how do we do this?”

“Well, the taverns usually are full of people, and I expect to find at least one person who actually knows what happened here.” He stared back at his new friend and noticed Pan didn’t seem very comfortable, so he opened the door and entered it. The inside looked about as expected, the same amount of damage seen from the outside could be seen from inside, though the mood of the place seemed really down. The bohemians all drunk with their heads hanging down, almost laying on their tables. Actually, a few of them were in fact sleeping on their tables.

Morionem strode to the balcony and the shepherd followed right away. They sat down the stools and an ankward silent took over the place. It persisted until the bartender attended them. The swordsman asked for a mug of ale, and questioned if his friend would want one too. “I’ll pay for both of us if I need to.” He said with a smile and a wink.

Pan blinked, brought out of her discomfort and torn between bewilderment and amusement. “...Are you actually flirting with me, or is this just how you are when you’re on a mission?”

The swordsman face turned blank for a second, and then bursted into a fit of laugh. The barman was confused too at first, but smirked at the commentary after a while. “That was a great joke, man.” The bad mood surrounding the tavern seemed gone, at least for the duo. “But seriously, are you going to drink anything?”

Pan raised an eyebrow, definitely amused now. So he doesn’t know I’m a girl. Could’ve sworn he did. Oh, well. “I’ll, uh… just have water. I don’t do anything alcoholic. I don’t have any money, though…” Not caring about the town tends to make her not care about the currency, after all. She’d never had a need for it before now.

The bartender raised an eyebrow at the last comment, and glanced over the swordsman to confirm he’d pay for his friend’s drink, to what Morionem replied positively with a nod. As they awaited for their drinks, the swordsman glanced around, in search of someone he could talk to. He did recognize a person he had met while working in the post office, so he simply awaited until their drinks came to go there do so.

After a while, their drinks came and Morionem paid them. He handed Pan his glass of water and took a sip of his ale, the refreshing taste of alcohol being gulped down his throat. The swordsman then stood up and called for Pan. “So, let’s see what people here know?”

Pan drank her water, fortifying herself with the taste of something cool and soothing her throat before she stood up as well, thanking the bartender with a nod. Then she took up a spot a little behind Mori - close enough to be a part of whatever he had planned, but far enough to not be in his way if she couldn’t adapt.

He walked towards a scrawny man, with short brown hair and an unshaved face. The man stared at Morionem as he approached and soon recognized him. “Hey, Morionem, hello.” They waved to each other and did a handshake.

“Hi Jake. How have you been?” He sat on a close chair aside the man, and put his own mug on the table. “This is Pan. Pan, this is Jake.” The man waved to Pan, and she waved back as casually as possible, taking a seat next to them.

“Nice to meet you Pan.” Jake extended his hand over to Pan.

Pan tentatively took his hand and shook. She knew that much at least, and she even remembered to smile as she did. Whether or not it was a nice smile, though, she couldn’t tell, even as Jake smiled back.

“Well, I have been… Okay, I guess.” His eyes spoke more than his words; They spoke of the difficulties he had been facing ever since the war started. “After the post office closed due to all this mayhem I decided to do something and I joined the Anti-Guild.”

“You joined what?” Morionem asked puzzled - he didn’t know anything about neither side of the war. Pan’s eyes narrowed.

“The Anti-Guild. It’s the faction that has been fighting against the tyranny of the guilds. Or well, it should be...” The man took a drink of his mug before he kept talking. “I don’t really trust those warriors anymore. They seem to want to take out the Guild’s power and take it all to themselves. Luckily all I do is paperwork, but some Guild integrants set fire to a whole floor of one of our headquarters…" He sighed. "I'm thinking about quitting, but they'd kill me if I did, I'm sure."

Pan ground her teeth. As much as she felt sympathy for this man, she couldn’t help her blood curdling at the thought of this man being part of the same faction that burned her forest down, voluntarily or not. But she said nothing, letting Mori take the reins and keep her from doing something foolish.

"Don't worry. If they try to do anything against you I'll stop them." Morionem said determined.

“Thanks, but don’t need to endanger yourself.” Jake chugged on the ale left inside his mug. “But what about you? How have you been dealing with this all?”

“Oh, that’s easy…I haven’t.” He took a sip as the other man stared confusedly at him. “I got lost at the forest. I only found my way back today. On my way back I met Pan.”

“You were lost at the forest? Wasn’t there a fire?”

“There was,” Pan interjected, carefully leaving her own issues out of her voice. “Some way or another, Mori here managed to avoid the whole event. He was just that lost,” she added, trying for a bit of humor.

Both men chuckled at that remark, but Morionem quickly became serious again. “Yet I could see the whole thing from afar. I wish I was there to help, anyway I could.” He drank from his mug.

“Could you even have done anything?” Said a voice that came from none of the people who sat at the table. “We were lucky that a rain came and killed the fire. Who knows what could have happened if it had spread more? Name’s Ed, lumberjack.” The man approached the table from wherever he had been before, but didn’t sit down. He did rest his mug on the table, and went on to stroke his red beard with his now free hand.

Pan nodded in greeting to the new addition, hiding her satisfied smile. She knew that her quick thinking saved her forest, yes, but it was good to get some recognition for it.

“Did any of you get hurt?” Asked Jake.

“Luckily not. We wasn’t working by the time it started.”

“Umh… Well… Would you be interested in doing something to help the forest?” Silence took over the table, as well as confusion. Nobody was sure what was that Morionem said. Even Pan had to blink at how blunt it was. “I mean, I think replanting the forest is a thing we could do.”

The red bearded man stared blankly at Morionem for a whole minute before speaking. “You know what, this could be the beer talking, but sure. We can’t go to another floor while this war is going on, and if we did who knows how much of the war spread upwards? Spending the time I’m not working by setting ground for me to work in the future seems a good use of it.”

Pan blinked rapidly, a smile beginning to form. Morionem grinned and took his mug to his mouth, then emptied it. “Can you try to call your friends too?”

“Can’t promise they’ll accept, but I can try.”

Huh, Pan thought, nursing her water as the men rounded out their sudden ‘forest-saving’ plans. Maybe this won’t turn out so bad after all.

“Gentlemen! I propose a toast!” Said a drunk Jake, still without any ale on his mug. The men on the table, eagerly complied and hit their mugs against each other with a ‘thud’. Smiles and smirks suddenly spread over to their faces. Maybe this won’t turn out so bad after all.
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.
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Victin
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:17 pm
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby RussetDivinity on Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:15 pm

Timelime Note: Immediately before Kevin being frantic and mothering and the night before Likovya leaves

Anji sprinted over the rooftops of the city, air filling her lungs like they hadn’t in weeks. She felt like whooping her excitement to the darkened sky. A rattle down below in the alleyway tempered her excitement, as she knelt by the eave of the roof to listen in.

“You got the stuff, right?” said a voice, mild in timbre, still cracking from the stretches of youth.

“Yeah,” said another, higher pitched and reedy. “We jus’ need to wait ‘til that light goes out… now

Anji’s neck snapped up as she noticed several street lanterns going out, nearly simultaneously. Growling with excitement, she slipped down into the alleyway, releasing her knives from their makeshift leather scabbards.

“Well, you look even scarier than I do,” someone said, and a young woman stepped to Anji’s side. “Do you want a hand? I could use the practice with fighting in groups.” She grinned, and a knife appeared in each of her hands as though by magic, but it was obvious they had been hidden up her sleeves.

Anji nearly jumped out of her skin at the woman’s sudden appearance, knife going into a guard position as she faced the unknown person. “Uh… Hi. Who’re you?”

“Likovya. I’ve been around. Don’t know that I’ve seen you.” The woman spun one of her knives around and called into the alley, “Don’t you two start trying to run. If you’ve heard of me, you know I can find you.”

Anji glanced over at the shaking thieves, expression impressed, “Well, I’ve been around-ish as well, though I’ve yet to earn that level of respect.” Anji relaxed her guard, and offered her arm to Likovya, “‘m Anjali Torvan. Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise.” Likovya saluted lazily with one of her knives. “I just know how to scare people. You remember the whole anti-guild business that finished a while back? Coming up on the end, I had the whole lot of them shaking at the mention of my name.”

Anji smiled, “That would have been something to see. I wish I could have been there to help, seems like fun.” Turning to the vagrants, she shouted, “Put down your weapons and the gold you took. Do it nice and slow and I’ll speak to Legias on your behalf.”

“Or do it fast as you please. ’Course, I can’t make you any promises, so you might want to listen to her.” Likovya glanced at Anji out of the corner of her eye. “Anjali… that name sounds almost familiar. How have you been around?”

“I’m uhm,” Anji glanced around queasily before straightening, eyes glowing silver in the moonlight. “I lead the guild Storm and Drive.”
Likovya’s grin widened. “I think your guild were the first friends I made up here. Well, one of them, anyway. It’s great to meet you. Is the guild still holding together? How’s Tamar?”

“He’s fine.” Anji grinned, “Bit lovesick, but hey, he’s a kid. Never told me about meeting my insane double though.”

“Insane double?” Likovya frowned. “Once we’ve cleared these two up, you may have to tell me that story.”

Anji’s smile thinned as she approached the pair of thieves, “You lot should know better by now. Any guild worth half of anything would take you in as apprentices.”

The boys snarled, scrambling away from the pair with knives. “Still, it’s nice to meet you.” Anji said, ducking a punch, “I haven’t seen that knife trick in ages.”

“It’s convenient,” Likovya said. The other boy tried to dart from the alley, but she danced in front of him, blocking his path. “I guess you want these two alive?”

“Yeah.” Anji said, grunting as a fist connected, “Vigilantes are looked down on now.” She grimaced, half in pain, half in disgust, “You have to toe the line.” she mimicked. “It can be inconvenient, but the Guard is better equipped for the judicial side of things.”

“Huh. I wouldn’t have thought someone from Storm and Drive to be the type to be annoyed at pacifism.” Likovya tossed one of her knives into the boy’s shoulder, and feinted with her other until he was pinned against a wall.

“Hm?” Anji asked as she punched the boy in the nose, sending him flying. “Whatever gave you that idea?”

“Well, Tamar and Marcus weren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of me killing people. I just assumed all of you were hero-types.” The boy made an attempt to run, but Likovya kicked at his knee. “Maimed, but alive. Legias will have to deal with that.”

Anji nodded, standing over the unconscious boy. “I think you and I know the differences. I’m against murder in cold blood, but.. when you have to, you have to.” Turning to Likovya, she smiled, cut lip bleeding, “But hey, people have to believe in something, don’t they?”

“I suppose.” Likovya paused, looking lost in thought for a moment, but then she stuck her clean knife in her sleeve again and grabbed the boy’s uninjured arm. “I guess we ought to turn them in. To tell the truth, I’m tempted to just scare them a little, but that could be because the last time I dealt with the Guard I broke into their offices. I don’t think they like me very much.”

“Heh.” Anji glanced at the boy’s bleeding arm, “That doesn’t look dangerous, but it’s still liable to take infection unless he sees a healer. If you help me take them back to the Guard, I’d appreciate it.”

“Sure. Are you going to need a hand with that one?” Likovya gestured idly to the unconscious boy. “I can’t carry him myself, but we can probably get his friend to help.”

“I’m right here,” the bleeding boy muttered, but a look from Likovya silenced him.

“I think that he’s learned his lesson.” Anji said, shaking him awake, “Look now, you are going to choose a profession tomorrow, a legal one. I know who you are, and I have your friend. I’ll be keeping tabs on you.”

The boys were too frightened to fight, and Likovya was able to drag hers along by the arm. “Don’t think of running away with that knife,” she said as they left the alley. “I’m letting you have it so you don’t start bleeding more, but if you try to hang on to it after I’ve given you to Legias, I’ll find you. I don’t like people taking my knives.”

The pair spent the next few minutes working to drag the boy to the guardhouse. After depositing him there, Anji turned to Likovya once more, the hint of a smile playing on her scarred features. “If you ever need any help, just ask.”

“I’d offer you the same, but I’m planning to travel for… well, probably forever.” Her mouth twitched in what was almost a grin, but there was something holding it back. “Still, if Storm and Drive needs my help again, I’ll come running.” A knife flashed into her hand, and she flipped it over her head before catching it and saluting again. “Pleasure to meet you, Anjali. Take care of yourself, yes?”

“Call me Anji.” Anji said, raising her own knife in salute, “Only if it means I can meet my insane double again.”

“Who is this double? It’s the second time you’ve mentioned her.” Likovya did manage to grin this time. “Is she even more interesting than you are?”

“Of course.” Anji said, teeth flashing, “She’s incredible. Has these knives, and she throws them at people. The very picture of a badass.”

“I’ll have to meet her someday. It sounds like we’d get along wonderfully.” Likovya’s knife vanished, and she slipped off down the street.
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:15 pm

Hamsters For Everybody!

Timelime note: About three weeks after Kevin and Anji's fight in the Special Event 3 thread.


“You’re being an absolute stick,” Ben said, going straight for the offensive.

“Hey! Would a stick agree to spar with you after so many crushing defeats and so many better things to do?” he complained, parrying.

Ben rolled her eyes. “You know what I’m talking about.”

“Humour me.”

“Why don’t you humour Anjali Torvan?” she snapped.

Kevin flinched, and the next blow struck home, before he could get his wooden sword back into a proper guard position.

Ruthlessly, Ben went on. “You lost the girl you loved, once,” she quoted back at him. “Are you going to do it again, Kevin? She loves you! What the hell are you waiting for?”

“You of all people should know that it cannot happen,” he told her, blocking a strike.

“Me? I don’t give a damn if you’re with another woman, Kev! We both know our arrangement is purely political. Don’t use me as your excuse.”

“Not what I meant,” he said tiredly. “My father’s throne--”

“Is still occupied by him,” she interjected.

Kevin tried a strike of his own as he spoke; Ben blocked it effortlessly. “But it will be mine one day. I will need to return to bear its burden.”

“But not today, Kevin. Not until we leave this Castle, and God alone knows when that will be. You and Anjali have precious time. Please don’t regret wasting it for the rest of your life!”

“Ben, your situation is different. You have options I don’t have. Can you imagine if I had children with her, and then had to abandon her and them both for Orono? Damn it all, Ben, I’m not that cruel.”

“So don’t have children,” she ordered, impatient. “By God, Kevin, her sister’s a mage! I’m sure she can supply you with an amulet or, or a potion or some such that will keep you from worrying!”

“And what? Take her as a lover? I love Anjali, Ben; I accord her more respect than that.”

Ben attacked again, and her blow hit home as she said, quietly, “So marry her.”

He almost threw his sword in the air in exasperation before remembering why he held it, and struck wildly, with no chance of connecting. “For God’s sake, Ben, I can’t do that! Orono--”

“I’ve been studying the laws of Orono for the past year or so,” she interrupted coolly, “and nowhere does it say that the King’s wife must be of noble birth. Only that she bear him a son.”

“Our alliances--”

“Will stand,” she answered calmly. She struck again, the flat of the weapon thumping against his arm. “You’re family no matter what, Kevin; hell, you’re like a brother to me by now. I am your friend, as is Alex. He will support Orono regardless of whether we are wed; do you really think the future queen of Lamada would abandon her nephew? And the other Allied Kingdoms follow Alex.”

“Ben, I--”

She hit him again as she went on. “Do you doubt her? Anjali’s a fighter, and a good one. She took down Soren Kavros singlehanded while half-mad and afraid; just imagine how strong she’d be as Queen.” She rained down another blow. “I release you of any poxied obligation you think you owe to me.” Another blow. “There is nothing standing in your way but your own bloodymindedness.” Another. “Stop being a dolt, Kevin, and for the love of everything holy, do something!”

She tossed her practice sword aside in disgust and offered him a hand to walk off the practice court.

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

When Anji returned to her rooms, Kevin was there, waiting for her. Kneeling.

Anji stopped at the doorway, empty satchel hugging her shoulder loosely. Her eyes were shadowed with deep purple bags, and fresh cuts littered her pale skin. Frowning through a split lip, she growled, "What are you doing here, Kevin?”

Kevin raised his eyes to look at her, his expression torn between the joy of seeing her and the agony of seeing her hurt. Then he looked down and said, “Anjali Torvan, I want to ask… too much of you.”

“So… Now you want to tell me that you’re moving to the 20th floor with Ben?” Anji snapped sarcastically, tossing the dirty pack onto the bed and stalking past Kevin to build up the dying fire. “Or maybe you want to ask me to officiate the wedding, seeing as I’m your guildleader or something.”

He didn’t move from where he knelt to follow her, just swallowed back his pain and whispered, “Please.”

“What is it, Kevin?” Anji said, turning to face him, his kneeling silhouette cutting into the wall. “What more can you possibly say to make me feel worse?” Her voice thickened as her words became half-sobs. “Is it like a game to you? Seeing how far you can push me until I break?”

Head down, eyes on the carpeted floor, he shook his head slowly, silently before responding. “I want to ask for your forgiveness,” he said, “for being… wrong, for being an absolute stick these past weeks. For hurting you, over and over again. For pushing you away when I should have held you close. For being too blind to see what I should have.

“And I want to ask you for your hand. If you’ll have me, and I know it’s too much to ask. I love you, Anjali Torvan. That hasn’t faded. Will never fade. I love you, and I could ask for no greater joy than for you to be my wife. ...My queen. I’m sorry.”

Anji collapsed, sobbing quietly into her knees as the fire roared behind her, threatening to burn her where she crouched. They sat there like that for several minutes, each suffering in their own private hells.

“Why now?” Anji asked, eyes deprived of any more tears. She rubbed her face with a ripped, bloodstained sleeve, and stared at Kevin, green eyes bloodshot and worn like old leaves.

“Ben… knocked some sense into me,” he muttered, rubbing one of the new bruises she had made. “She made me see that the impossible was not so impossible as I had thought. That I could love you without hurting you. ....I came as soon as I could.”

A peal of laughter rang through the room like a new bell. Anji grinned, “Well, I’m happy someone could knock some sense into you.”

“You’re laughing,” he remarked, daring at last to lift his eyes to her face.

“Well, she could have let me join in,” Anji added ruefully, scooting over to sit next to the kneeling man. “It might have been entertaining.”

“Entertaining…” He tried to read her expression, fear and worry in every inch of his own, and looked away again. “Yes, it could be that.”

“Kevin.” Anji said seriously, her quiet voice resounding through the room. “I really was hurt, that night.” He closed his eyes, shoulders shaking silently.

She paused, clearing her throat, wincing at seeing him in more pain. “But I do still love you. More than ever, I suppose. I know you did what you thought you had to do, but… If I say yes… I need to know you won’t do something like that to me again.”

“Never,” he whispered hoarsely. He paused, then gave a bitter smile. “I will saddle you with unpleasant responsibilities, diplomats to smile and nod to, dump the burden and the weight of an entire country on your shoulders… but I will never, never turn away from you, or push you away from me, again.”

Kevin felt a cool hand pull his chin up until he faced her, looking almost startled at his own raw emotion, face pale, blue eyes blazing passionately. She smiled quietly, drinking in the sight of him, the light in her eyes burning steadily as she said, “Yes.”

His lips met hers, arms reaching around to cradle her as the pain washed out of him like a flash flood. Sometime during the kiss he pulled her up until they both stood, eventually releasing each other to simply bask in one another’s presence, both panting lightly.

Anji embraced Kevin once more, standing on tiptoe to reach his shoulder, holding him tighter than she ever had before, wrapping herself in his essence, sighing softly. "I love you.”

“Don’t thank me,” he murmured, thinking guiltily of the burden he had just placed on her, even as he kissed the top of her head. “My love.”

Anji shuddered at the kiss, leaning her head on Kevin’s chest, listening to his rapid heartbeat. They stood there in silence for several minutes, affirming to themselves that the moment was in fact real.

Anji pulled away, arms creaking from the strain of holding someone for so long. Kevin made a quiet noise of objection, but didn’t voice a complaint, watching her with a sparkling light in his eyes. Anji moved quickly, disrobing the bed of its finery and piling it onto the floor comfortably. Grabbing Kevin’s hand, she tugged him toward the freshly made pallet, pulling away once more to move towards a nearby shelf, filled with dusty and cobwebbed jars, clay pots, and worm-eaten tomes.

Kevin let her drag him over, sitting on the bed a little uncertainly. “Anjali?”

“Mmm.. Yes?” Came the muffled reply as Anji began digging through a cluttered cabinet, facing away from Kevin.

“What are you doing?”

“‘m getting something for your bruises,” she said, wincing audibly as she strained to reach the top shelf. “Something a friend made me as a favour, a while back… I figure now- Aha!- is as good a time as any to use it.”

She sat down on the pillows and motioned for Kevin to lean closer, smiling mischieviously. “For your many, well-deserved bruises.” She pushed the jar in between them.

He sighed, leaning across the space between them to kiss her again, softly, sweetly, before he surrendered, pulling off his shirt. “My bruises thank you.”

Anji giggled, then relaxed onto the fluffy pillow, finger tracing a new cut on her scarred arm slowly. After several minutes of companionable silence, she asked, “So what happens now?”

He draped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close, holding her against his body as he answered. “We should probably talk to people. Our… sisters, for one.” He grinned crookedly, staring lazily up at the ceiling. “Or we could just not move from here.” His hand, tracing its own path down her arm, bumped across something, and he frowned. “You’re bleeding.”

Anji looked down at her torn jacket, edges stained with scarlet, “So I am.”

He stood, mild dizziness from the sudden movement passing quickly. He peeled the jacket off of her and brought a bowl of water from the washbasin, washing the cut with gentle hands. Anji protested quietly, mumbling, “It’s not that important… It can wait until later.” She attempted to push his hand away, teeth grinding in pain.

“Stop fighting,” he ordered, and bent down to kiss her forehead before he straightened. “I’ll go for a healer. I’ll be back soon, love.”

Anji sat up, “No, don’t go. I’m fine, really. I’ll see Zi in the morning anyway, I can talk to her then… Or I can walk with you.”

“Would you prefer I carry you to her right now, or bring you a healer the usual way?” he offered. “Because you are walking nowhere, silly.”

Anji grumbled, “I think it’s adorable that you care so much, but this is like every second Tuesday for me.”

Kevin narrowed his eyes as he slipped his hands under her to swoop her up before her feet hit the floor. “That will change,” he informed her. “I can’t have you getting all ripped up every second Tuesday; it would play havoc with my schedule.” He bent his head to meet hers as they left the room, sighing happily. “I like the carrying-you way better, anyway. I can do this.” He kissed her softly on the lips and headed for the healer.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

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

Postby Lordxana0 on Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:58 pm

Salvantas stood in front of the Storm and Drive base with a mild feeling of nervousness. He really didn’t want to seem insane in front of the only ally guild he had left, but current events were quickly spiraling out of his control, and he really needed help now more than ever. With a resigned sigh he knocked on the door and stood back, waiting to see who would answer.

Anji poked her head out, smile hitting her face as she saw the taller redhead, “Hey, Salvantas. Long time no see.”

He gave her a small bow. “Indeedly so, it seems the foolishness of the Anti-Guild kept a second meeting between us quite delayed” his face turned into a frown. “But I come to you with two pieces of trouble right now, and I could use some advice. On one pat because you are used to handling utter hell by now, and the other because you are a...um… female”

Anji looked around sheepishly for a moment, inviting Salvantas in, “How can I help you?”

Salvantas entered into the building and shut the door, quickly placing a piece of paper with a rather arcane symbol on the front door. “Okay I suppose I will start with the problem that required me to come specifically to you… um…” he put his face in his palm. “I kind of have… issues… with a women”

Anji sat back on a table, legs crossed in front of her. She glanced meaningfully at the symbol, question in her eyes. “The paper?”

“It prevents my mind from being read from afar” he sighed and sat down opposite of her. “I...might have some explaining to do” he quickly recounted the story of how he met Elisa and hired her into the employ of Heroes Unlimited. “And you see the thing is… she has developed a bit of… I suppose crush is the word people would use”

Anji grinned, “So what’s your question? You obviously care for her as well, what’s stopping you?”

“I don’t...feel for her in that way. My heart is already claimed by another… has been since I met her. I was wondering” Salvantas sighed and looked down. “How can I let her down… but without hurting her feelings or having her burn down my base?”

Anji grew serious, “You should be honest with her, and let her know how you feel, and why you are behaving the way you are. Treat her like a person, and be her friend. That’s what you were before, right?”

“Well… friend is one way to put it I guess… person who saved her from a life of servitude to an army of evil clowns lead by an insane person is also a way to put it” he bit his lip. “That actually brings me to a second point. We might have a small problem in the Underground”

“What happened?” Anji winced, “I’ve… been a bit out of it.”

Salvantas nodded. “I’ve...heard the rumors” he nodded toward her. “I want you to know that I hold no blame on you for what happened while you were...not yourself, and you should not blame yourself either...if you do after all…” he sighed. “Sorry, I am not used to talking to others, as much as I act otherwise I have not actually had many people with whom I associated with for long periods of time”

“No worries.” Anji’s eyes glinted in the light, “I’m still here. I… I did what I needed to do, Salvantas. There’s no blame in that. If you need Storm’s help, I’ll give it where I can.”

He sighed. “There is the rub of it through, I don’t feel it is right for me to ask for your people to risk themselves just because I made the mistake of being kind where it might have been better not too…” he looked at her. “If I hadn’t saved Elisa… then this whole Dark Carnival business might have never reached us, it might have just stayed dormant…”

“You did what you had to do.” Anji said, standing. “Now, where’re your weak points, and how can I help get you people where they ought to go?”

Salvantas looked at her and stood, his earlier sorrow gone in the face of her questions. “It is not my weak points I am worried about, it is the cities” he paused for a moment, fortifying his will for what he was about to ask. He knew that once this was out things for his other side would be much more difficult, and the risk of him being caught would rise. But this was about saving lives, and that is what mattered. “The sewers need to be explored, mapped, and blocked off to prevent easy access to the Underground, the Carnival is getting in through them somehow, and right now it is impossible for my forces to move into the sewers alone and protect the city. Also the gate to the Underground should be regulated more strictly until we can determine the true nature of the threat and allow people to explore it without having them run into something they aren’t ready for”

“Have you spoken to Legias? She’s in charge of guarding the entrances to the Underground, as well as the church.” Anji began walking around the room, collecting gear and food. “You’ll also probably want to start working on getting on Lori’s good side, she knows a good bit about the castle already and can help you.”

Salvantas nodded at her suggestions. “I agree, having them on my side in this would be nice… but as far as things with the City Guard go…” he looked down. “I have a hard time trusting other people, and the Guard isn’t always happy with me having my own little force running around the city. It isn’t hostile dislike, but it is sort of like how you have mild distrust for an allied army, even though they fight for you there is always a mistrust that never dies” he turned his head up, following her pacings. “That is why I came to you. Contacts are the one thing you have that I don’t”

Anji stopped gathering her gear, turning to face Salvantas headon. “Now, you hear me, Salvantas. You are a guild leader. You’re responsible for your guild. And you, my friend, are going to go with me to the Guard and the Library, and you will start making contacts.”

He nodded. “I am content with this.” he pulled off the paper on the door and closed his eyes for a moment. “Okay, things at the base can survive a few hours without me. Things are mostly calm in the city after the riots” he turned toward Anji. “So where are we off to first, Guard of Library?”

“You pick, Guild leader.” Anji grinned, following him to the door.

He opened it for her and sighed. “Salvantas will do, or if you prefer to keep the nickname that has spread through the ranks of my guild, Sal”

“Right then, Salvantas. Lead on.”

And so he did. Salvantas went in the direction of the main City Guard base, ready to confront the other protector of the city. It was a meeting he had known was coming for a long time, it was odd that it was over them helping each other, and not one of his gambits eventually coming to light.

After a quick meeting where Legias agreed with the rather basic plan Salvantas had set forth they made their way to the Library, hoping to find information on the sewers or the Carnival that was currently making life hell for the city in the dark.

Salvantas stood in front of the massive library and looked toward Anji. “So do we just go in or…?”

“Yeah, she’s crazy.” Anji nodded to the librarians on her way in, calling some by name. “Just don’t eat any food she gives you. Last time I was in here she turned my hair blue after I ate a muffin.”

Salvantas ran a hand through his hair. “Yes, I think I will take your advice and avoid oddly colored hair” he ran a hand along the various books in awe. “I have never seen a collection of knowledge this large outside of the Basafama royal city”

“I’ve never heard of Basafama. Where’s it?” Anji lead him through twisting hallways, each side overflowing with books.

“It is...far away” he frowned and sighed. “It is an island nation far away from the main continents of the world, I can’t name the exact place, or even which sea it is from due to a spell cast upon everyone who lives there. Always so worried about their secrets getting out” he shrugged. “But it is amazing”

“Well, here’s Lori’s office.” Anji motioned to the grand iron doors. “I’ll see you after the meeting, Sal.”

He tipped his head toward her and entered into the office. “Hello?”

A sword flew by Savantas, embedding itself deeply into the mahogany that covered the wall. “Oh you nearly ruined the experiment!” A voice exclaimed irritably as metal clashed behind a curtain. “Just what in the seven heavens are you doing in here?! I’m trying to do some science here.”

Salvantas looked at the sword that had nearly severed his head from the rest of his body and then toward the voice. “I have a problem, and have come to seek help from one who knows many things”

“Well obviously you came to the wrong place.” Lori said angrily as she disentangled herself from a tapestry. “I don’t know anything. That’s why I do science. So get out and let me learn, please.”

Salvantas looked at the odd woman for a moment. “Let me be more blunt” he pulled the sword free from the wall and laid it down on the ground. “I have come because a maniac is draining people of emotions and turning them into an army of evil clowns, and I believe you can provide help in stopping them”

“Oh…. Ooooooooh” Lori’s eyes lit up with interest, “Tell me, do you prefer working in a gymnasium? Or do you just bash imbeciles’ heads together until they start to listen to you?”

“I prefer to ask them kindly, and if they do not listen after my kindness I start to be very unkind until they are paying the full amount of attention that they need to” he shrugged at the odd question. “Now then, I don’t suppose you would have any information on the sewers of this castle, or evil clowns, would you?”

“Oh that’s boring.” Lori pouted, before pointing to a shelf crammed with papers, “Third tome from the left, entitled How to Design Sewers by Yuri N. Idjut.”

Salvantas went to the tome and picked it up carefully. “I see, and how about information on the Underground, someone must have left a journal here at some point about that place”

“Yes, or maybe a very highly trained and intelligent librarian went and documented the sections of cave that she could.”

“I would say I am highly impressed by this librarian’s skills, and would offer her my thanks for risking herself like that in the name of research” Salvantas smiled and tilted his head toward her, guessing she was speaking of herself. “Two more requests before I can be gone. Do you have any information on souls, specifically how one might set up a spell that could catch and place one in a new body”

“That’s an interesting question.” Lori began rifling through papers, producing a nearly clean sheet after minutes of searching. “You’d need to have an incredibly strong mage, and as far as I know, one like it doesn’t exist. You could probably set up a vase or something to contain the spirit, but I’d need to do more rese-Oh! Would you like a cookie? I made them this morning!”

Salvantas shook his head. “I ate before coming, thank you through. Now for my last question” he turned his head toward the door to make sure it was firmly shut. “I need a book on spells that can cause mental disorders, specifically multiple personalities. If the book also had explanation for how to...reinforce such a spell after multiple years of use...then I would be greatful”

“That would be in the general section of the library, speak to Omar, he’ll know.” Lori grinned. “I think you would make a great test subject. Stop by again soon?”

Salvantas laughed at that. “If the book gives me the information I need to where I would feel safe with you messing with my mind I might agree to that actually...after an oath of silence of course” he tapped the side of his skull. “Can’t let all of my mothers baking secrets out to the public now can I?”

Lori grinned, “Of course not. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to work.

Salvantas turned. “The problem was the make of the sword, not the experiment itself. The way it was made has the balance off by half an inch”

Lori’s eyes widened as she smacked her head comically. “Oh of course! How did I miss that!”

Salvantas smiled. “Unless you know a lot about blades it is easy to miss” he exited the room with the book and nodded toward Anji. “I need to acquire one more book before we go, and I need to ask one more favor of you Anji”

Anji glanced up, yawn stretching her face as she asked, “What’s up?”

“With the book nothing, just a personal matter” he handed her the Tome on the sewers. “And for the other matter… which is equally personal… I need you to ask a favor of the current head of the Severed Claw”

Anji nodded, taking the book from the taller redhead. “Will do. I’ll go take care of that now, if you don’t need me to escort you everywhere.”

“No, I believe the day is done in that regard, your company has been appreciated through… as for the favor I need to ask you” he sighed. “I don’t want the asking to be linked back to me, but there is a women, the one I told you I hold dear to me, named Rose in Severed Claw. I have more then enough reason to believe that if she were in the sewers Cloth would make an attempt on her life due to his grudge against me. I would like you to ask that she not be sent on this mission, but to have it not look like it is simply because I asked” he sighed. “I am pretty sure that there isn’t a pain that exists in this world that equals the silence of someone you love for a number of days, along with a pair of glaring eyes”

Anji’s eyes glittered as she turned to leave, “I’ll do what I can.”

“My thanks” he went toward the person he needed to speak to, a cold chill running down his spine. He had just started something… but it was still too soon to tell if it was a good thing, or a bad thing.
Who you going to call? ME!
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