Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

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Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Pixelmage on Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:31 am

This takes place during Shard's appearance and in the span of the 24 hours of subsequent earthquakes.
viewtopic.php?f=49&t=1081&p=52236#p52236
How did your character react as he watched it? What did you do afterward?

If your character is in the city, the earthquakes have been dampened by Lori. They're still noticeable, but not murderous so long as you stay within the city walls. She set up a ritual circle and put the Loreknights to take turns holding it up to at least tone down the earthquakes, there was plenty of swearing and panicking before she ran out of the door to try and rescue people outside the city walls. Keeping the ritual up for 24 hours is a very draining activity, so anyone magically inclined that happens to be willing to help is welcome to join the efforts in the library. Check in with eli on that front, she's the one keeping track of Lori and the details of the ritual itself.

Legias is spreading the guards to rescue people who are in trouble.

And for the characters who are outside the city boundaries, your mileage may vary in how strong the earthquakes will feel. The update is not intent on killing any Player Charactrer, after all. And as another plus side, all of the floors that had players in it have settled in the vicinity of the city. It would be close enough to see the beacon light and reach it, for some half-meta explanation as to why, Shard's intention is to herd everyone in the same place so as to be easy to keep track of, so even if you went up a few floors, you won't wind up stranded months of travel away from the city.
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Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby narrativedilettante on Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:29 pm

When the first earthquake hit, Giselle was sitting and reading a history book. She wasn't sure where the book was from... possibly another floor of the Castle, possibly an unfamiliar ground nation. It was fascinating, though, and unfamiliar, and a decent way to spend her time while she forced herself to have a day of rest.

The windowpane rattling was the first sign she noticed. A moment later she realized that her chair wasn't unsteady, but the floor beneath it was.

Giselle had only been in two earthquakes that she could remember, but the safety procedures stuck in her mind. She jumped out of her chair, dropping the book on the floor, and ran to the doorway, where she stood until the tremors had passed. When the ground seemed steady again, she picked the book back up and tried to find her place in it.

An aftershock sent her back to the doorway a few minutes later. Nothing fell, except the book from her hands, again, so she began to walk back to her chair. Before she could get there, the ground shook again, forcing her back into the doorway, this time with an air of annoyance. Just how long would she have to spend standing under the doorframe waiting for these tremors to stop?

Eventually, during a few moments of calm, Giselle managed to get back to her book. When the next aftershock began, she held it as she went to the doorway, so that she would be able to read while waiting for the ground to settle. Hours passed without more than a few minutes of steadiness at a time, and Giselle spent most of the day sitting with her back against one side of the doorway and her feet tucked against the other, blocking entrance to the room and reading a strange and compelling history.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Victin on Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:30 pm

Morionem woke up with a heavy thud. Of his face, meeting the wooden floor of his room. He tried to stand up once, but failed and his face almost came to meet again the floor. "I don't remember drinking this much last night. Wait, I don't remember drinking at all!" The world stopped shaking soon, and the warrior was able to stand up. He rubbed his nose with one hand, and after finding out it wasn't bleeding, he proceeded to look around. It seemed that nothing else had fallen down, though the lamp seemed about to do so. After moving it to the center of the table it rested on, Morionem opened the window and stared outside.

People in panic, running aimlessly through the whole street. They came from inside the buildings, and from other streets, but no one seemed sure where they were running to. Another earthquake hit the city, and Morionem used the window as support as to not fall down. Some of the people on the streets weren't so lucky and lost balance. As soon as the tremor halted, the swordsman turned to stand up again and take hold of his belongings. "I can't stay inside while there's a natural disaster going on. I need to... Do something!" Picking up his bag, sword and shield, and blowing off the lamp, he rushed downstairs only to realize there didn't seem to be anybody else on the inn. "Okay, hm... I probably should help people to exit the buildings before any of them crash down and help them find a shelter. Wait, where is safe during an earthquake? Okay, step one find a shelter."

Morionem ran out of the inn, then staggered and fell face first on the dirt as a third earthquake striked. He did his best to stand up, but without anything he could support his weight on the swordsman failed. Only after the earth stopped shaking he managed to stand up. "Damnit!" He yelled in his mind, and the anger echoed back to him. "Calm down Morionem. Getting mad at nature won't help you any bit. Let's try going to the Church, it seems a good place to start out of any."

The warrior tried to ran among the people, but he was being pulled from all sides at once. It was chaotic on the streets, masses of people moving in one direction and carrying whomever they find on their way along, as the tides of an endless sea. Swimming against the water flow was nearly impossible, and Morionem wasn't sure if he felt comfortable pulling people out of his way. He struggled to move without halting every minute, with an earthquake preventing everyone from going anywhere every now and then. At least, when he could already hear the toll of the brass bells, a relieved smile came to his face.

After finally arriving at the church, the swordsman realized he wasn't the only one who had that idea. The crowd could be seen from the open doors, alongside a group of priests and nuns who tried to calm the crowd down and keep (or rather, install) order in the place. There were also many soldiers from the city guard, one of which seemed to talk with whom Morionem assumed to be a head priest, because of his fancier robes. As he tried to enter the church, the warrior passed by them, overhearing small bits of their conversation:

"I assure you, this cathedral is fierce enough to withstand any cataclism."

"Pontiff Aurum, this ancient building can hardly be called cathedral when it's rather a church."

"Still our Lord will surely protect us from any apocaliptic event these devils may cause."

"Ahhh... Why didn't you say before you had a spell protecting the building?"

"We don't."

Entering the building itself, Morionem found his way into a corner, from where he could observe most of the chamber. Nuns and priests took care of the injuried while the common citizens knelt down in prayer. He decided to offer help in taking care of the sick, and some other people apparently followed. Despite the situation, this was enough to make him grin. Still he wondered about what devils the priest had refered to, but concluded it didn't refer to any being in specific.

A few minutes after the warrior started aiding the healers and doctors, the same priest from before stood at the altar at the center of room, alongside the very same guard. The cleric asked for silence and the crowd slowly settled down, eager to hear what they had to say. The priest thanked the silence and let the guard speak: "Attention everyone! Guildmaster Lori of the Loreknights has set up a ritual to protect the city from the earthquakes. Even though the manpower of her guild won't be enough to keep up the arcane shield for who knows how long this cataclism will last. This is why she has sent through us the plead for help: anyone with magical abilities of any sort, who believes they can take a large amount of arcane strain, please come with us in order to aid the maintenance of the ritual. Decide quickly: we will be leaving in five minutes."

Taking the opening, the cleric spoke. "For all nuns and priests under this roof, please stay here. I know you wish to help, but we must stay here to both take care of the injuried and support the others with faith." Both men left the altar, and commotion quickly surged on the church again. Some retook the same tasks they had before, while others already left the church. Morionem wondered for a few seconds on which option would be better, but decided it was foolish to even have doubt on the matter. "To help the injuried or to help the whole town? I know what I must do. Loreknights, here I go!"
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:41 pm

Lori glanced up from the tome she was poring over. Glaring at the view outside her window, she stood abruptly, making a few hasty signs as she swore under her breath. Donning her armor, the woman grabbed her claymore before shouting, “Loreknights! Everyone to battle stations! Now.

Fern had been enjoying a rather nice treatise on a particular variant of Aether manipulation, when he was interrupted by another Loreknight telling him that for some reason, Lori was calling all of them to their ‘battle stations’. With a confused nod, he slipped the treatise back where it belonged, and headed toward the spot that he remembered as being his ‘battle station’, approximately half-way between the geography and the history sections.

Meanwhile, Plinny was summarizing two days of studying on diverse runic languages, common and arcane alike, when a fellow Loreknight interrupted him. He was told Lori called them all to their respective ‘battle stations’. He thanked the other Loreknight for the warning and, wrapping the parchment he was writing on in a scroll, he left to where he assumed his ‘battle station’ was. ”What is that crazy woman plotting now?”

Lori stalked through the halls, “I want the gates open, invite any you can into the building. Those with magic are to meet me in the atrium.” Growling, she all but trampled Fern. “And what are you doing?”

Fern jumped out of the Guildmaster’s path. “I was going to my station, as I was informed you were requesting that we all do.”

“Yes, of course.” Lori waved her hand dismissively. “But what are you doing?” Without waiting for a response, she shook her head, mumbling There’s no time. “Look, follow me, if you would.”

Fern nodded, and followed in Lori’s wake as she continued onward. “You know the basics of energy transference as set forth by the council of ten?”

“Yes, it was a pretty standard part of the curriculum for learning ritual-based magic, or I was taught in such a way that it was…” He cut himself off before he could ramble onward. “Yes I do.”

“Good.” The lorekeeper smiled distractedly. “They were banned in Lamada. Too powerful.” She faced Fern, “And we’re going to need to use it today. Help me set up a circle, please.”

Fern nodded slowly, starting to assemble pieces and elements in his head. “And what is this ritual going to be meant to accomplish?”

“We’re going to be experiencing a violent series of explosion of some kind. I mean to seal the first floor.”

Fern tripped, grabbing the wall the steady himself. “What.” He caught up to Lori, head wrapping itself around this pronouncement. “This….do we even have the mage-power to do this? And the space?”

“We’ll use the atrium.” Lori said, chewing on her lip. Stopping a nearby aide, she quickly ordered, “Send knights out to all squares. Bring as many able bodied people as you can.”

“I hope you’re also aware that non-mages can still donate life energy.”

“Errr...yes, although I have no experience in that direction, really. I do know the theory, though I haven’t done any sort of practical casting with it.”

“Well, you will have ample time to gain practical experience today.” Lori grumbled, hastily making a few signs as a sheen of blue covered the atrium.

Fern slowly nodded. “Alright…..” This was going to be a challenge. And therefore fun. Also, the one of the biggest spells he’d probably ever be part of.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Guyshane on Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:46 am

Anji watched as the body fell, eyes wide with anger and shock. A bowl of fruit lay on the floor, shattered into a hundred pieces as apples skittered on the planks. A scream stuck in her throat, and she began sprinting towards the center of the city, eyes narrowed.

Kevin didn’t hesitate before following her.

Anji tumbled to a stop by the body. No no no no no no no no no Tears began to flow freely, and she hesitantly touched the body, warm and thin from hard use. A sob escaped her throat, and she glared up at the sky angrily, before pulling Julius close, cradling his head. Kevin crouched beside his wife, one hand resting on her back, eyes on the body in her arms.

Anji sobbed more, clutching an old pendant as she felt frantically for a pulse, finding none.

Kevin pulled her into the crook of his arm. “We’ll make the monster burn for it, my love.”

Anji pulled the body tighter. “Help me carry him.”

Kevin nodded, lifting the limp shape into his arms. Anji held the dead man’s hand, sobbing audibly as she walked beside her husband to the forest.

Once they had arrived, Anji took the compass rose, tears flowing down her face as she tried to straighten the body’s hair, smoothing out the tangles, before retreating to the back of a nearby tree, shuddering and sobbing at random.

Kevin laid the body out gently, closing its eyes before he walked over to where Anji was, standing a few steps away to allow her her private grief.

Anji stood, eyes red. She grabbed Julius’ shoulders, dragging him slowly towards the nearby creek, her own tears mixing with the spring water as she cleared Julius’ face of dirt and grime.

She dragged the body back to the clearing, smiling sadly before staking the ground around it, murmuring something indistinct. Taking a few steps back, she made a hand sign, careful and slow, eyebrows knitted in concentration to recall the ancient way.

With a deep, shuddering breath, she knelt on the forest floor, staring steadily into space as crows came to the clearing by the hundreds, stripping and clearing the body of all its small reserves. The sun was setting by the time the last crow left, and Anji made a second sign, head bowed in respect.

Standing, Anji’s joints cracked as she began gathering wood, taking care to only remove the dead branches that littered the floor, depositing the armfuls around the corpse into a proper pyre. With a quick nod to the bloodied corpse, she lit a match, kneeling once more to watch the flames, ignoring the tears leaking down her face. Kevin wrapped his arms around Anji, rocking her against his chest as they both stared at the funeral pyre, slowly reducing the body to ash.

It was dawn when the flames had burned to embers. Anji stood, breaking away from Kevin’s dozing form and digging into the earth, pulling up clumps and clods of the stuff with her bare hands, eyes puffy and free of tears. When she had done, she began scraping the embers into the hole, ignoring the burns and blisters that appeared on her hands, whispering silent apologies and farewells in a foreign tongue.

Once the ashes were covered, Anji stood at last, washing her hands in the creek, eyes screwed shut from the pain. She returned to find Kevin holding a flat, wide rock, and a smaller piece of flint.

“I was going to put up a marker,” he said quietly, “but I don’t know if it’s fitting.”

Anji made eye contact with him briefly, nodding her assent as she knelt for the final time by the grave. Kevin carved a blocky “JULIUS VALERIAN” into the wide rock, and laid it wordlessly on the spot where Anji had buried his remains.

Anji stood, bowing respectfully to the clearing before walking away, shoulders slumped. She pulled the pendant out of her pocket, clearing it of grime before tying it around her neck, it’s iron weight holding her down.

“He deserved better than this.” A voice said cutting through the silence. “Maybe there is no justice in the world.” Kevin instinctively threw himself between Anji and the source of the voice. He wasn’t taking any chances, not now.

Anji stopped walking, back straightening as she turned to face the voice, lip trembling as she refused to cry. She stepped up closer to Kevin, gently pushing him aside.

Marcus stepped forward out of the shadows of the trees. “Someone needs to tell people.” he spoke quietly. “Julius deserves a better reputation than he has. People need to know the truth. I’d do it but I have a promise to follow up on.”

Anji looked very small in the woods, covered in dirt, bare feet scratched and bruised. She glanced around the forest, as if looking for relief and finding none. Kevin pulled her close against his side. “Suppose it’s my job, then, since you don’t want to.”

Marcus shook his head. “Not a matter of wanting. When I was trying to get you healed, I used that gem from the temple to go to twenty. I played a game against Shard for your health. I warned him that if he touched anyone I cared about I would kill him. He should have listened.” Then the warrior shrugged. “You can tell them or someone else can, so long as someone does.”

“Let me come with.” Anji said quietly, voice burning with fury.

“If you want.” He said as he turned and began to walk. “I’m certainly in no position to stop you.”

“Wait.” Anji said, “We need to get gear or somethin’. Can’t be running like this.”

“Shard isn’t human anyway” Marcus replied. “I’m pretty sure the only thing that will actually kill him he has with him. He wanted that seven-damned gem so bad, I’ll give it to him one more time. I’ll use it to cave in his head.” He finished, his voice cold.

Kevin waited for a moment, as though to make sure they were finished talking, before he spoke. “Are you both mad?” His blue eyes blazed furiously.

Marcus shrugged. “It is entirely possible. I don’t think my rage works right anymore.” he explained grimly.

“Marcus, your life is your own to throw away, I suppose,” Kevin said, “though I admit that I do think it’s a bit of a waste. That… thing just showed us what it can do. I want to make it bleed near about as much as you do, but this is not the time. Gear or no gear, we are hurting now. This whole world is falling apart. We need to gather strength. To plan. To think, blast it all. Not to go rushing off blindly with a death wish!”

Marcus turned back to the other man and raised an eyebrow. “A waste? For a moment there it almost sounded like you didn’t hate my guts.”

“Any guts my wife approves of can be friends of mine,” Kevin explained with a thin smile. “Though I’d take it rather more personally if you intended to drag Anjali along on your madness with you. That I will not stand for.”

Marcus shrugged. “If you heard what I’m going to do then you know what I said to Anji. Up to her. I’m going regardless.”

“The wife is standing right here.” Anji growled, pulling away from Kevin to stand in front of Marcus, tears in her eyes. “Can’t see you go.”

“Just making myself understood to your friends, love,” Kevin said.

Marcus took note of the tears in Anji’s eyes and nodded. “Fine I’ll make him one last offer. He doesn’t take it all bets are off. That’s the best I can do.”

Kevin shook his head in disgust. “Thing like that, you don’t play games. I pegged you for someone who’d see that by now. Ought to stay the hell away until you’re sure you can beat it.”

Marcus snorted. “Please, Shard is more arrogant than I am. If he wants to kill me he wants me at my best while he does it to show off. I can threaten to crash heavens down on him and he’ll give me a chance to do it before stabbing me in the back.”

“You’ll kill yourself for nothing, Oracon,” Kevin said, disappointed. “You could do some good here, at least.”

Anji abruptly hugged Marcus, hair hiding her face.

Marcus returned the hug and patted her on the head gently. “I’ll come back and visit before the big smackdown.”

“What about Mirae?” Anji mumbled, barely audible.

Marcus blinked. “What?”

“You go away. What happens to her? You die. What does she do?” Anji tilted her head up to face him, tears streaming down her face.

“I-I...Well she’ll-” Marcus stuttered floundering for an answer.

“What happens if Hara comes after her?”

“I-I….I. DAMMIT ALL.” Marcus yelled as he slammed his fist into a nearby tree, the nearby area seeming to shake. “I-I can’t...Not strong enough. How am I supposed save anyone? How am I supposed to honor Julius? I’ve never been able to help before and it hasn’t changed since I got up here.” he finished quietly blood running down the trunk. Anji slid back onto the road, eyes wide as she rubbed her arm.

Kevin watched Marcus’ display with an inscrutable expression on his face, before finally saying, “You helped Anjali. You saved my wife’s life before I even met her. I’m grateful, if no one else is.”

“No one else is going to be, as powerful as Shard is. I don’t think he could have done this without the gem, and I gave it to him.”

“Fine, then,” Kevin said, turning his back on Marcus as he walked back to Anji. “You can carry the weight of the world’s problems on your shoulders. You can blame yourself for every ill, because of some imagined responsibility or inaction. You can kill yourself over everything you do and everything you don’t do. I’ve decided long since that that isn’t a life I can live. I do the things I can.”

“I’m not sure there’s another kind I can live.” Marcus said quietly, fear tinging his voice. “I had nightmares for a year, then when I get up here I find my old regrets following me.”

“Maybe your friend Mirae can help you learn,” Kevin suggested gently, leaning over to give Anji a kiss. “The hardest roads are the ones you walk alone.”

“Alone….” Suddenly Marcus’ eyes narrowed and he spun away from the tree. “Why isn’t Shard working alone? He’s arrogant to high heaven, Why in the hell would he work for anyone?”

Anji rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Marcus. Please. Let it be.”

Marcus looked at her as if she had gone crazy. “Really? You trust Shard to not come back and mess with us again? He’ll be back and we need to have plans, weakness, something. Now why would he ever work for someone?”

“Julius is dead, Mark.” Anji said quietly. “He’s dead and he deserves a hell of a lot more than what I just gave him. I’ll plan and prepare for death tomorrow. Drop it until then.” Kevin flinched, fingers digging into Anji’s arm.

Marcus nodded. “You do that. I’m gonna go to the library, I’ll help some people out on the way or something,” he said, starting to wander off, lost in thought.

Kevin steered Anji further down the path. “Time to go home, sweet.”

Anji rolled her shoulders, before setting out to the bar. “Later.”

“You need sleep,” Kevin said gently. “You need to rest. You’re grieving, love. Let yourself grieve. This won’t help.”

“I’ll see you tonight.” Anji gave him a fleeting half smile before walking through the door.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby RussetDivinity on Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:41 am

For the past few days, Arietta had insisted on giving Likovya lessons in swordplay. For the most part, these lessons had consisted of Likovya standing on the mountain, holding her sword for as long as she could. The thin air raced through her throat, though she was getting better at breathing it, and goosebumps and sweat combined on her bare arms.

“You know, I think you’re my favorite student,” Arietta said.

“Oh?” The quick word was the most she could manage at the time.

“You haven’t started complaining yet.” Arietta walked around her in a circle, correcting her form with a few touches. “Most of the time I ended up teaching rich boys because I’d been hired to kill their fathers, and you never met such spoiled brats.” She sighed. “You’re getting better, too. Do your arms ache yet?”

“Since the second day.” It was all she could do to keep holding the sword up, and her arms were shaking. “I’m really getting better?”

“Oh, yes. I think I can make a swordfighter out of you yet, or at least give you the endurance to survive a battle.”

“Or I can fight with my knives.” Sure, she had been stabbed a few times, but she had never been killed in a melee when she had her knives with her.

“You can’t carry a sword around and not know how to use it,” Arietta said. She likely would have gone on about style and form and such, but the mountain trembled beneath them. Likovya managed to hold onto her sword, but she stumbled against Arietta, who caught her easily. “What was that?”

“I don’t know.” She had never felt anything like that before, but she had heard stories during her travels with the circus. “I think it was an earthquake.”

“I didn’t know those could happen in the mountains.” Arietta looked serious for the first time since Likovya had met her.

“The others. We’ve got to make sure they’re all right.” Likovya tucked away her sword, grabbed her jacket, and set off at a run for the camp, Arietta right behind her.

They arrived to find Lasair, Tsilia, and Isidor gathering up their supplies. “You felt it, too?” Lasair asked. When Likovya nodded, he said, “We need to reach stabler ground. Now that you two are here, we just need to find Curtiss.”

“He was in the city, last I saw,” Arietta said. “Legias needed him for something, and I headed out. Don’t need to deal with the law again.”
Likovya pulled on her jacket. “We’ll have to look for him, though. If he turns up and we’re not here, he might think we just abandoned him.” The ground shook again, stronger than the last time. Likovya bit her lip. She didn’t want to just leave him, since he was sort of a friend, but she couldn’t force all of them to stay there. “Look, you guys head down, I’ll catch up.”

“I don’t think your friend is worth --” Lasair started.

“I told you not to put yourselves in danger unless you absolutely had to,” she said. “I don’t care what Salvantas said. Get moving. I’ll wait for Curtiss.”

The tremors suddenly increased exponentially, and the ground a few meters away exploded upwards in a small shower of rubble. A gigantic, five-jawed worm burst out of the hole, its segmented body covered in dirt-covered scales the color of wine, and screeched at the sky, sending spittle and sky-blue blood flying. Everyone stumbled back, and Likovya’s knives flashed into her hands. “Run!” she yelled, but none of them moved.

The worm wailed again, shudders running down the entire length of its body. It swayed in the air for a few seconds longer, then keeled over sideways and crashed to the ground, jaw segments hanging limply. It twitched a few more times, coughing out more blood and saliva, then was still.

One of the jaw flaps moved, and a tall man in remarkably clean gray hiking clothes strode out, blue ichor still dripping from the knives in his hands. “I think I’m getting better at this,” he said to no one in particular as he looked over the beast that had tried to kill him; then, apparently noticing Likovya’s group for the first time, he turned to them and waved. “Well, this is convenient. Hey, everyone. Sorry I’m late; I had a, um, thing to take care of. For the captain. Yeah.”

“Oh,” Lasair growled. “This guy again. Wonderful.”

Curtiss blinked. “Oh, hey, it’s the guy who blows random bars up!” he said. “How’s it rolling, guy who blows random bars up? Got your arm healed, I take it?”

Lasair’s eye twitched. “Shut up, you asshat. I really don’t want to have to deal with you right now.” He turned to Likovya. “Congratulations, you’ve found your friend. Let’s move.” He slung his pack onto his shoulder. “We ought to pair up. If you get separated from the rest of the group, try to stick together, at least. I’ll go with Tsilia.” The diminutive poisoner stepped quickly to his side, and he set a large hand on her shoulders.

“I’m with Curtiss,” Arietta said brightly, starting to skip over to him.

“Oh, hell,” Curtiss muttered, rubbing his forehead. “Yeah, I don’t think so. I’d rather stick with someone I don’t actively despise.” He looked over at Likovya. “Like, y’know, you, I guess. Could you give me a hand, here, by the way? There’s something stuck to my arm.”

“It’ll have to be quick,” Likovya said, tucking her knives away, but before she could pull Curtiss away from Arietta, the woman released him and went to Isidor. A small chill ran down Likovya’s spine. Arietta hadn’t missed a chance to torment Curtiss, and if she was willing to give up so quickly, then she really was worried. “Right. Curtiss is going to take the lead. Arietta, Isidor, you’re right behind us. Lasair, you’re in the rear. Make sure no one falls behind.” She didn’t care what he had said about them worrying more about their partners. They were going to stick together. “Everyone ready?”

The four she had chosen nodded and murmured assent. With Curtiss in the lead, they set off down the mountain.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Tohrinha on Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:46 pm

Mirae paused outside the house on the third floor, taking a moment to enjoy the quiet. The sun had only just started to warm the air. She glanced over her shoulder, wondering if he would find the note, then shrugged. She would be back soon enough.

She crouched down, looking at the hole where the house didn’t completely rest against the shop next door. A small tuft of fur was poking out of the gap. There you are. Mirae reached a hand out, brushing the tail with her finger when it didn’t move. “Come on,” she said quietly. The tail rose, then disappeared into the crack. A moment later, a set of twitching whiskers appeared.

“Would you like some food?” Mirae asked, hand still held out. She looked uncertainly at her bag. “I don’t think I have anything with me, but come down to the city with me. We’ll both get food there.” The cat padded out to meet her. He sat and stretched in the sun, then sniffed hopefully at her hand. She picked him up and stood, holding the cat until he shifted into a more comfortable position.

“Ah, right,” she said, talking more to herself than to the cat. Cloak as well, then. One that’s not in tatters. Keeping the cat in the crook of an arm, she set off toward the podium.

---

Mirae passed over one of her coins in exchange for a bundle of dried fruit. She’d already stopped by a butcher for the cat, who was now following behind her. He had not stopped purring since demolishing the meat. Nodding to the stall owner, she stepped off to the side as she closed her bag. The owner waved cheerily to her and began hawking to the passersby again.

She began wandering off vaguely toward the edges of the city, glancing at stalls as she went. The cat trailed behind her, pausing occasionally at something interesting in the street. Something flashed out of the corner of her eye.

Mirae had turned before she knew what she was doing, hand creeping down to her belt knife. The woman finished rounding the corner. Her dress swished around her ankles as she chatted animatedly with her companion. Mirae released her knife, shaking her head. Paranoid.

No one in the street seemed to have noticed her movement, other than a man who quickly averted his eyes and kept walking. She scanned the street once before laughing at herself softly and moving on. It wasn’t as if they would be so polite as to introduce themselves again, but she doubted watching for an assassin would be much more effective.

The city grew more disorganized farther away from the center, at least in the route she had taken. Despite herself, Mirae started looking down random sidestreets, wondering where they led. She was familiar enough with the floor not to be interested in staying there, but there were still some places she hadn’t been.

She paused at the mouth of an alley. A cloud drifted overhead, briefly casting it into shadow. Someone was shouting in the direction of the podium. Mirae ignored them; it was probably someone taking insult or another doomsayer. She only started listening after the first earthquake.

Catching herself on the alley’s wall, she raised her head, watching above for falling rubble. A flowerpot crashed to the ground across from her, clay pieces skittering under vendors’ stalls.

Sinking to sit on her ankles, Mirae pulled the cat toward her. He mewed in protest. “Hist,” she murmured, watching people run into buildings as the words “you will die” whispered through the street. “Let’s find somewhere for you to be,” she said, glancing up again at the roof.

She smiled. Then I’m going to see what’s going on.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby JackAlsworth on Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:49 pm

“So, um… how did you say this would work again?” asked Jenny nervously.

Fern glanced up at her from where he was doing something at a point in the diagram where several lines intersected. “You are going to have the energy of your body and any latent magical talent extracted and merged with the matrix established in order to properly maintain the connected barriers surrounding this city to help redirect and absorb the earthquakes.”

Jenny tilted her head. “Sorry?”

Lori looked over irritably, face pale from the strain. “You donate life fo--” She winced, doubling over in pain-- “Get him out!” She motioned to a man who had collapsed, opening a spot on the circle. Fern stood up from where he was, grabbed the man under the shoulders, and, lifting him up as best he could, dragged him out of the circle and leaned him against the wall.

“It’s a donation,” Lori panted, voice shaking slightly. “You give me... Energy. Yours. I use that.”

“Okay.” Jenny examined the strained faces in the middle of the circle and failed to keep herself from wincing. “And… this will help you protect the city?”

“It is going to help us redistribute the energy of the earthquakes that would otherwi-” Fern cut himself off at a glare from Lori. “… yes, it will help protect the city.”

Lori followed Jenny’s line of sight. “You won’t be able to feel a thing, Jenny. I absorb most of the.. The side effects.” Her voice wavered again.

Jenny still looked apprehensive, but nodded. “All right. So I just go into the circle?”

Lori shuddered, and made a hasty sign with her right hand, before quickly stabbing Jenny lightly with a pin, drawing blood. Taking the bead of blood from Jenny, she wiped it on her arm, next to a dozen other stripes. “Go. Go to the circle.”

Jenny hastily stepped inside the circle - still unnerved by the eerie occult symbols dotting the outside - and found an empty spot near the outside. She knelt down and braced herself.

Suddenly she was in an empty field, sun shining into the tall grass. Lori stood in front of her, face calm and even. “Hello Genevieve. Thank you for dona-” Lori stopped, eyes seeming to narrow and widen at an impossible speed. The Loremaster seemed to begin panting, and the illusion flickered, showing gears and steam before returning. “T-Thanks, Jen. For the power.”

Jenny blinked. “Lorekeeper? Is that… really you?”

“Sort of.” Lori said. “I’m… projecting. You aren’t physically in a field, and neither am I. But this is a lot more… Peaceful.” She glanced around the field, a distracted smile growing. “And it makes keeping people calm and conscious a lot more easy to accomplish. Are you feeling all right?”

Jenny looked around as well; there didn’t appear to be anyone else around. “I think so.”

“Got any interesting questions?” The lorekeeper shrugged, wry smile on her face. “I mean, you’re basically stuck with me until either you pass out or the spell is broken.”

There was a slight buzzing feeling in Jenny’s hands and feet. She wasn’t in pain, but it was mildly uncomfortable. “I… I guess I can start with the obvious one. Who was that… that man? In the square?”

Lori’s eyes darkened. “I’m not sure. Best I can tell, he shouldn’t be behaving like that. It’s… complicated.” She squirmed on her feet. “I believe him to be some form of Genius Loci, or a spirit protector. I don’t know much else.”

Jenny shivered, remembering the vivid “crack” of the fallen knight’s neck. “Except that he means to kill us all.”

Lori nodded. “I don’t plan on allowing that eventuality to occur.”

Jenny laughed shortly. “I hope not.” She looked around again. It certainly was peaceful. She wouldn’t mind staying here awhile. “What happens now?” she asked.

“Well, right now I’m taking energy from you, in the form of magical potential. Eventually you would have either passed out, or experienced severe pain. In either case, I would have immediately removed you from the circle.”

Jenny shivered again. Hearing it described like that gave her the chills. “Um… I don’t think I’ve passed out… Would I be able to tell?”

“Oh, you’ll be fine, Jenny.” The Lorekeeper dug around in a small satchel that was suddenly there, retrieving a small tome. She tossed it to the scout, warm smile on her face. “You can read it, if you like.”

Jenny looked at the cover. “Basics in Magic-Handling?” She couldn’t help smiling at Lori’s odd sense of humor. “Thank you, but I don’t think I’d find it very useful.”

The Lorekeeper laughed out loud, one hand covering her stomach as she giggled. “My dear, I believe that you may be wrong about that. But, if you’re sure, I can take it back.”

Jenny shook her head. “I’m not wrong. There’s no magic in my family.” There wasn’t much magic in Greenriver, period. “I couldn’t light a patch of dry sticks without a match or move a pebble without kicking it.”

Lori looked meaningfully at the book’s cover.

Jenny rolled her eyes. “All right, I’ll take a look.” She pulled the book toward her and flipped through the first few pages. It supplied many helpful pictures of specific gestures, but used a lot of words she was unfamiliar with. Eventually, she gave up.

Lori was playing with a set of ceramic gears, levitating and rearranging them. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Jenny lied, putting the book down.

Lori rolled her eyes. “Well, miss I-don’t-believe-I’m-magic. Where’re you from?”

“A small town near the border of Valerth and Marlonen,” said Jenny, happy for a distraction from the magic talk. “Never really been anywhere else until I came here.”

“Were your parents protective of you?”

“Aren’t all parents? My father made sure I could take care of myself, and my mother…” Jenny swallowed and pressed on. “My mother was always worried about us. Kept telling him not to take me out too far past town.” She smiled. “Not like he ever listened.”

“Is magic common where you’re from?” Lori let the pieces fall softly to the ground, smiling slightly at the pattern they made.

Jenny paid no attention, staring off into the distance, lost in thought. “No. There was a lot of… superstition and myth build around mages. Most of it’s bad. We get a mage in town from time to time, but they’re usually just passing through. We all had our suspicions about old Nolwenn, but… no one ever said anything. We knew we needed her, so if she had magic, we ignored it.”

“So why do you think that mages are so odd, then?” Lori smirked. “You nearly lost your sanity when I stuck you with that pin.”

“Oh, I wasn’t that bad, was I?” Jenny chuckled, a little embarrassed, before thinking back again. “I don’t know, honestly. But any time magic came up, people in town looked… scared. Like it had hurt them somehow. And there were the stories… the mad mage who nearly burned down Valerth, years ago. Occasionally, word would come of a child-mage who had gone insane, lost control, killed people. I guess I just assumed it was bad.” She was feeling oddly light-headed.

Lori tossed over a small stone, covered in symbols and lines. “Make it float.”

Jenny blinked, then laughed. “I told you, I can’t. Not without picking it up and throwing it.”

“Have you tried?”

“Um, no, but- ”

“Well then, there’s your answer.” Lori smiled smugly. “Give it a shot.”

Jenny sighed. “Okay…” She stared at the rock. It sat in front of her passively.

Float, she thought in its direction, feeling a little foolish.

The rock continued to sit. She looked up at Lori. “I told you, I- ”

“Keep trying.” Lori smiled encouragingly.

Jenny grimaced and looked at the rock again. Float! she thought more forcefully.

The rock slowly began to spin, lines blurring and beginning to glow as it wobbled and rose, ever so slowly. Jenny fell backward in shock. “What -”

Reflexively, she shut her eyes tightly. It’s not real, it’s not real, the rock isn’t actually there, it’s just a dream, it’s not real…

After a few seconds, when her heartbeat had slowed down, she opened her eyes again. The rock was still floating. She glanced at Lori, who smiled innocently as the stone dropped.

“Horribly inefficient, making a stone float.” Lori said, picking it up again. “Magic is more about using your skills to your advantage, rather than being flashy.”

Jenny tried to focus. It was more difficult than she thought it would be. “But… it was you, with the rock?”

“We’re almost through here.” Lori stood. “You will pass out and awaken in a guest chamber. Do not panic, and avoid setting the curtains on fire. I’ll be down to check on you as soon as I get this spell settled.”

“O-okay…” Passing out seemed like a nice idea right now. But she should stay awake; it would help the city. Maybe if she just closed her eyes…

Jenny was asleep before she hit the floor. Lori spasmed with pain as the spell shook. “Fern?!” she called, arms shaking. “I believe that the earthquakes have st-stopped. Will you please… Confirm that?”

Fern nodded, and scrambled for a dark blue crystal with silver inlays in it. A moment of concentration, and it pulsed a faint glow on the inside. “May we have a status update on whether or not there appear to be any more things coming down and whether or not there appear to be earthquakes continuing?”

The crystal fell dark again for a moment, before it pulsed again. “The ground’s stopped shakin’ over here, and the land outside the city seems ta not be moving anymore. Let me ask around a little, see what others say.” The crystal fell dark, Fern staring at it tensely. About two minutes later, it pulsed again. “Everyone says it seems ta have stopped.”

Fern nodded, and concentrated, pulsing the crystal. “Thank you for the information.” Dropping the crystal to hang around his neck again, he nodded to Lori. “They all seem to think it has stopped, or they have not noticed anything to say that it is still going on.”

Lori shook, and turned to face him, eyes bloodshot. “Do you have access to a proper container for this excess energy? It is mildly uncomfortable.”

Fern frowned, as he started to move quickly around the circle, touching points and sending short bursts into them. “It would have to be a fairly significant way to store power, and something that can be implemented quickly, without needing a lot of preparation time or materials…..” He paused. “Condensed Energy Crystal?”

Lori nodded, slipping to her knees. “Can you make one properly?”

“I should be able to set it up easily enough…” Fern finished his trip around the circle, giving it a look over. “All the people have been disconnected, so the barriers should collapse on their own now.” He hurried over to a corner where a large pile of supplies was leaning, and grabbed several pots and jars.

Hurrying over to where Lori was kneeling, he took a moment to breathe in deeply, and calm himself down. ’Just be careful. Careful, precise, and accurate.’ He knelt down, and began to quickly place another layer of circle down, connecting inward to the main matrix while not interfering with, or being interfered by the already present parts, even if some of them were no longer functioning.

Working as quickly as he dared, he eventually made his way fully around the circle, and took the time to go around it one more time, making sure that it was done properly. In total, it looked just like another circular layer of runes, except for where it connected to a smaller, more intricate circle that bulged outward.

“That...should be it. Are you ready?” He turned to look at Lori.

Lori shuddered, and struggled to regain her footing. “What do I need to do?”

“Just let me open the connections...you should feel it pulling, and you can feed the power into it. Just let me know when to cut it off - I did not have time to put in any real regulators, so it could drain away all of your energy if left open.” He reached down, and touched several points, which flared underneath his fingers. He reached down for the last one, and glanced at Lori. “Ready?”

Lori’s eyes were glazed over, and she trembled on her feet. Fern, not getting a response, touched the final point, sparking it open.

The new additions to the circle glowed, and power rushed through them, sending Fern jumping back a little from the rush that went through. The energy rushed around the edges, heading straight for the secondary circle, where it it clashed together. Fern, and anyone else actively trying to sense the magical energy flow, would have to dim down their sensing as the energy continued to grow to extreme levels. He almost imagined that he could feel the force of the magic stored in there pushing him away, repulsing him with it’s sheer strength. ’Come on, keep it together, keep it together...’ It pushed on the edges of its container, shoving and testing, coming closer and closer to breaking out. Fern tensed, getting ready to do...something, spirits knew what, should it show signs of breaking containment.

But more and more, as it grew, the rate of expansion slowed, as the maelstrom of energy began to spin tighter and tighter, compressing inward upon itself, yet somehow continuing to grow in strength, even as it compressed. It seemed to shift its way through the color spectrum, moving through the rainbow and into colors that didn’t seem quite like they should exist. It continued to close in tighter, and finally seemed to stop growing in intensity, as the inward spiraling energy outweighed the rush of energy into it.

Lori collapsed with a thud, slumping over from her kneeling position. Fern dived past the vortex of energy and jabbed at a point, only to be rewarded with what felt like a lightning bolt being sent up through his arm. Gritting his teeth, he focused, and touched it again, trying to ignore the shock. He sent as big a pulse as he dared into it, feeling the flow disrupt and break, only to have the backlash flash up his arm and into his chest, sending him gasping to the floor. He scrambled to try and stand up, an effort complicated by the fact that he no longer seemed to be able to feel his right arm, and his right side was rather tingly. He muttered under his breath, and reached for another point with his left arm, feeling some amount of relief that the massive amount of power wasn’t running through it anymore, and thus didn’t send the same amount of lightning bolt power up his arm. It still shocked him, but this was bearable, and not arm-numbing. Finishing disconnecting the circuit, he stumbled over to Lori, and collapsed next to her, check her vital signs with his working arm. ’Alive. Stable. Good.’

Meanwhile, the vortex was continuing to shrink, reaching about a foot and a half across now. The pulsing was starting to resolve itself into a continuous pushing sensation, and it seemed to have stabilized into a brilliant, shining sphere that was still shrinking, if ever slowly. The light it was producing was lighting up the entire atrium, forcing people to look away from it’s blinding light. If anyone were to be able to look at it, they would see violent ripples traveling across it in all directions, as it trembled violently where it floated in mid-air.

’Almost there, almost there….’

The sphere seemed to shatter for a moment, a layer shedding off of it to slam against the containment. The feeling of pressure began to grow again, strengthening as the sphere began to glow brighter and brighter.

And then, almost anti-climatically, it stopped. Any part of the circle that was glowing suddenly vanished, and went dead, leaving behind the inscriptions and designs scorched into the stone floor. There was a feeling of sucking, of being pulled inward as the world seemed to readjust to the sudden lack of magic filling the air. People blinked, eyes taking a long minute to get used to the no longer light-filled room.

In the center of the secondary circle was faintly glowing sphere, maybe a foot across. On the surface, and around the edges it appeared to a pearly silver-white, but if one were to look directly into the center, they would see a shimmering, constantly changing rainbow of colors that one couldn’t quite describe properly. It sat there, looking rather innocent for something that had been at the center of the business. And yet, it seemed to be surrounded by an aura of power, flicking sparks traveling along it’s edges.

Fern exhaled, venting all the tension and energy that had been built up inside him. ’Thank the spirits...’ He turned his head to look at what people were still conscious, including several other Loreknights who had been relegated to crowd control and watching the edges.

“Can...can you all start getting people out of here? And get the Guildmaster to a bed, she is going to need care.” He tried to gesture with his good arm, but couldn’t seem to find the energy to move it. “Also, nobody touch the sphere. Nobody use magic in here. Nobody do anything to disrupt it.”
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Lordxana0 on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:59 pm

Anji opened the door to the small side tavern, scowl overshadowing the pain blatant on her face. Kevin walked in a step behind her, a silent shadow keeping watch over his wife.

Anji stepped up to the bar, and ordered a round for herself, tapping out a rhythm onto the countertop as she saw a familiar, dark headed man. “Hey Fern.” she called out sadly. “How’s it goin’?”

Fern jerked upward from where he had been staring contemplatively into a cup of liquid. “Oh! Hello Nova! I am…tired.”

Anji’s mouth quirked into a smile. “I think you might just be drunk, Fern.”

“I am experimenting with alcohol. I do not have experience with this sort of thing, and I have heard plenty about how it is useful for coping. I am dubious about that property, but I decided to try anyway.”

The smile slipped from Anji’s faced as she took another swig, grimacing at the taste. “Yeah well, I think all of us are testing that theory.”

Fern slowly nodded. “Apparently? I do not think I have quite as much reason to do so as others, though. My reasons for doing so are more existential in nature.”

Anji nodded, and motioned for another round. “Want another?” She drawled.

He hiccuped, and gestured to the still half-full cup in front of him. “I think I may be fine for the moment. I do not want to take it too fast.”

Anji laughed, and downed her drink in one go. “Best of luck with that, Fern.”

He sighed, and took a sip. “I just spent about fourteen hours unconscious. Prior to that, I spent about 24 hours working harder than I think I have ever worked before to help keep the ritual protecting the city from the earthquakes going. And it was already afternoon when they started.” He took a much bigger sip from his cup. “And now I am starting to think about what I am told went down, because I don’t really have much energy to do much else.”

“Some bastard killed Julius Valerian.” Anji said, grabbing a third drink. “Friend of mine. You probably never met him.”

Fern awkwardly patted her on the shoulder. “I am sorry, and no, I did not know him.” He looked back into his cup, and with a gulp, finished it. “That makes my issues with what went down seem….not quite as bad, maybe? Nobody I knew died.” He paused. “Well, Lori went close.”

“Lori?” Anji asked worriedly. “What happened? Will she be all right?”

“She is fine, she is just….physically and magically exhausted. She was running the entire ritual herself. The amount of power she had to be handling…..” He shivered. “I do not think I would have been able to handle even a fraction of it.”

Anji looked impressed, and drained the rest of her drink. “Glad you could keep everyone safe.”

“Yes….safe, here in this Castle, with no way out.” He gestured vaguely in the direction of the barkeep. More alcohol seemed to be required. “With whoever just did this running around.”

“Yeah…” Anji’s eyes grew dark as she ordered a fourth drink. “Well, you know some combat magic, right? Maybe that can kill it.”

Kevin put a gentle hand on Anji’s shoulder, steering her away before the drink landed on the counter. “Time to go home, love.”

Anji grumbled, “I’m talkin’ to a friend, here.”

“Yes,” he commented, “a blind-drunk friend. Comforting as it is to know that Oracon’s not the only drunk you like to hang out with, it is time for you to come home.”

Fern had looking back and forth between the two of them, his head rotating in a vaguely owl-like manner. “I..” he hiccuped “I take this is a friend of yours, Nova?”

“I am Anjali’s husband,” Kevin said, putting slight emphasis on the word as he pulled Anji into his arms. “I’ll be pleased to meet you on a happier occasion.” Turning to her, he added, “C’mon, sweet. You need sleep now.”

Fern’s expression slowly morphed into a wide grin. “Good for you, Nova, good for you! A toast is traditional, no?” He waved his second cup in the air a little, managing to avoid spilling any large amount of liquid from it. “To...to...happiness? That is what marriage toasts are to?”

Jadas kicked in the door to the bar and came in holding a rather hefty sack of coins in his left hand. “I am here to drink this bar dry and take home as many barmaids as I…” he paused as he saw Anji, Kevin, and Fern in the crowd. “Oh come on!” he threw up his hands and sighed. “I have this body for like a week and I don’t even get to drink it up” he shook his head and walked over. “So hello to you people”

“Sup.” Anji said, waving an arm at the redhead. “Long time no see.” Kevin rolled his eyes and pushed past the man, heading for the door.

Jadas blinked as he realized that his cover wasn’t blown. If he acted drunk enough it was possible he could still avoid having anyone who actually cared try and give Salvantas back his body. Minor miracles. “Indeed” he said with a false slur to his voice. “Quite a long time” He turned his glance to Fern. “Whats with the Lorekeeper?”

Fern waved an arm at the newcomer. “I am getting drunk and talking with Nova! You are a friend of hers?”

Jadas grinned a bit. “Something like that. So how is your boss?” he tilted his head. “Probably has less time to hang around her office and experiment now that this whole Shard thing came up”

Fern hiccuped, and glanced back down into his cup, expression falling. “She is currently unconscious from extreme magical strain and drainage.”

He shook his head. “Crying shame, doing great things for the castle she is… its just that I happen to have forgotten my coat the last time I was there, it had a few silver pieces and it just seemed rude to show up to take it back, might swing by once this mess is over and just grab it all quick like” He stood up and put down the sack of coins in front of the Loreknight. “Use these and get drunk on the good stuff, and find yourself a nice girl to go rent a room with” he quickly exited the bar and took off after the couple, staying in the shadows.

Fern stared at where Jadas had been, head tilted to the side a little. “I suspect that I either need more or less alcohol.” He peered into the bag on the table, and his head tilted even more to the side. “...less. Definitely less.” Despite this, he finished off what was left in his cup, and staggered to his feet, snagging the bag of coins and tossing a few onto the bar before starting to stagger out of the bar, managing to tie the bag onto his belt. “Aaand now to find ways to minimize hangovers...except that is part of the experience, so should I really reduce it when going through it for the first time?” Giving himself a shrug, he stumbled off down the street back toward the Library, continuing to murmur to himself.

**

Jadas dropped in front of the couple from one of the rooftops with his usual flourish. “Hello lovebirds, seems I never got to give you your wedding present” he smiled at the two of them. “Would you like to hear what it is?”

“This really isn’t an ideal time,” Kevin snapped with a glare, shouldering past him.

“That so?” he said with a smile. “Even if I told you said present was one question free request from me?” he turned around. “Say… arranging a bit of death toward someone?”

“That really,” Kevin said coldly, accenting the word, “does not interest us. It might interest the Captain, though.”

Anji’s head snapped up curiously. “He mention killin’ sommun? I know who he coulda kilt all right.”

Jadas felt a smile come to his face. “Oh really?” he stepped forward. “And tell me who this person is.”

“Hush, love,” Kevin said, glaring at Salvantas as he marched on through the streets. “Not the kind he meant. We don’t deal in killers.”

Jadas thought for a moment before turning around. “Pleasant night to you two then, be careful on the streets, never know what is hiding in the shadows…” he paused for a single moment. “Oh yes and by the by try to get some sleep tonight, I know how hard a friends passing can strike” he whistled and walked away. A perfect idea had come to his mind, after all with only one person she could be mentioning there was little doubt who she wished to be dead. Sadly that person was a bit out of his current power grade. Unless he could get his hands on an evil artifact, and there was a person whom he could extract a mass amount of power from. Oh but where would he find that? He continued to whistle and walked into the night.
Who you going to call? ME!
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Guyshane on Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:44 am

Mirae slowed to a stop in front of the library gates and dismounted. Chet still seemed skittish from the earthquakes, but taking him out of the stable might have helped some. She nodded to the librarian on guard. “I heard there was a call for mages?”

He frowned, but slowly nodded in return. “I haven’t heard from them in a bit, but they could probably still use help. In and up the stairs.”

Mirae led her horse through the gate, peering around curiously. Another place she hadn’t been. She noted a couple of side passages that might be interesting, then followed the librarian’s instructions.

Then she noticed a familiar sounding snore from behind some nearby bookshelves. Deciding that the gap was slightly too narrow for Chet, she tied him to a bannister before slipping between the shelves.

Marcus lay on a table, half-empty bottle in his hand. Several books were scattered around him. Sighing quietly, Mirae moved closer. You couldn’t stay in bed for one day, she thought, smiling at the back of his head as she eased the bottle away. She took one of the other seats and pulled one of the books toward her.

She flipped through a few pages, stopping when she saw an illustration of a familiar beast. “So you’re not just a constellation?” she asked the picture of Coyote, glancing at the story on the opposite page.

Marcus woke up to a rather booming voice and daggers stabbing him in the eyes. Saints! What’d I do to earn this punishment? Gradually forcing his eyes open he realized that he was laying against the table and it was daylight. Turning to his other side he saw Mirae reading from a book.

Oh, I’m just hung-over. I think I would have preferred the punishment.

Slowly and gently holding a hand to his head he pushed himself up to look at the mage. “Hi Mir,” he whispered. “When did you get here?”

Mirae looked up from the book. “Hey,” she said. With a pointed look at the bottle, she continued, “Some time after you managed to sneak a drink into a library.”

Marcus winced at the sound of her voice. “Mir you wouldn’t need to shout that loud even if we weren’t in a library. Besides I needed the drink. I needed to focus and I couldn’t with...with….what happened in the square.” he finished in a pained whisper, though it was unclear if the pain was from her voice or the memory.

“Ah.” Mirae did lower her voice, if marginally. “He was a friend of yours, then?”
Marcus nodded sadly. “He was one of the original members of Storm and Drive, before I even got there. Easy guy to talk to, hell of a sparring partner. Even before this castle we worked together once while I was in the army. Not sure he remembered me from that, never got the chance to ask him either,” The warrior stared morosely at the table. “I was ready to do something stupid in his honor before Anji and Kevin talked me out of it. Not sure he would have approved anyway.”

“Sorry,” she murmured, resting her hand on his. “I didn’t realize…” There had been some people in the streets by the end, but the ones who would talk to her only said that a man had been killed. No one was in the square when she reached it, riding Chet. Mirae leaned over and hugged him with one arm, deciding not to mention his failed plan. Still holding him, she gestured to the table. “Escape or research?”

“Research. Shard is the thing I met on twenty. He is arrogant as all hell, so I’m trying to find reference to him and by extension find out why he would work for anybody. Any information against him is potentially a weapon we could use against him. I started with tricksters because...it seemed to fit,” he explained, seeming to be recovering well from his hangover. “But so far I haven’t found anything.”

“Unless he’s the reincarnation of Coyote, I don’t think you’ll find too much here,” Mirae said. “If anything, I wouldn’t think Coyote would be quite as quick to kill.” She shook her head roughly, breaking off that train of thought. “You might try searching for journals, books written about themselves, or something. Actually.” She paused, staring around at the bookshelves. “Do you know if there are any books written in the Castle?”

Marcus flipped open a book on the table and skimmed a few pages as he spoke. “I don’t but the librarians were busy when I got here, all I could ask was the guard...That’s interesting. Not Shard I think but still…” He put the book off to one side. “We’re renting that one. Anyway back to the problem at hand, I don’t need to find much on Shard just a legend he inspired or something.”

Mirae turned the page in her book, glancing at the next story. “And then you’ll defeat him with tar or whatever else you find about him?” she asked lightly. A tail brushed her leg. “Ah, so you followed me in here as well,” she said, looking down at the cat.

Marcus shrugged. “It might be that simple. We certainly can’t just do nothing. Clearly Shard intends to come back, and I don’t want to lose anyone else to him.” He tapped his finger against the table. “I do wish we had some books that were written here, Shard told me he had been beaten before. That means someone figured him out at least once. I mean you think with something that powerful they would have made a point to preserve knowledge about him.”

“With something that powerful, he may have made sure there wasn’t anything left about him. He may have been beaten, but he’s obviously still here.” She raised an eyebrow at him.

Marcus ran a hand through his hair. “That’d make sense but there has to be places he can’t reach. When I asked, he confirmed he could only reach the time gem because I had brought it out of the temple, and it wasn’t the gem itself interfering with is power since he moved it right out of my hands…” His eyes lit up with excitement. “Mir, how would you like to go exploring a temple with me?” He looked out the window at the other floors in the distance. “Once its safe to leave that is.”

She laughed, eyes dancing as she looked back at him. “No earthquakes. I’d say it’s pretty safe.” Mirae pushed back her chair, grabbing his arm as she stood up. “We can find a librarian for the book. Or rather, you can find a librarian. I should probably take my horse out before anyone notices he’s here.”

Marcus grinned back and gave her a quick peck on the lips. “I’ll see if I can’t find a couple other relevant books. You get us some supplies. Edge of the city in an hour sound good to you?”

Mirae rested her forehead against his for a moment, then stepped away. “See you then,” she said, grinning before darting behind the shelves.

Marcus stood there for moment before he turned and went looking for a librarian. As he walked past the table he slipped the book he had set aside earlier into his jacket. If that is the lead I think it is can’t risk the Assassins knowing I took it. Now, where is that librarian?
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:00 am

“This is wholly inexcusable. What were you thinking?”

Lori groaned, and pulled her pillow over her head drunkenly. “Go ‘way.” she mumbled grumpily.

“You aren’t a little girl dressing up her dolls anymore,” Legias said angrily, ignoring the attempt to tune her out. “These are real people you’re playing with, Lorelei!” She paused, critically examining her sister’s condition. “Not to mention your own body, as well.”

“I saved the damn city, Legias.” Lori glared up at her sister. “I did what needed doing.”

"You were leaching people's life-forces, you mean," Legias said. "Don't think that excuse doesn't sound familiar to me."

"Freely given life forces, you excuse for a lawkeeper." Lori was angry now, sitting up against the pain. "I see the city is still standing. What more do you want?"

"Giving you what you ask for isn't the same thing as informed consent," Legias said sharply. "What I want is the paperwork assuring me that my citizens haven't been taken advantage of by an uppity librarian."

"You'll have it. Just... Go away, Gia. I'm too tired for this."

“You never did learn to know your own limits, did you?” Legias asked softly, drawing up a chair.

"Still saved the city." Lori smiled. "Worth it."

“Says you.” Legias sighed, holding a cold hand against the younger woman’s forehead. “Always worth it if you get to play the hero, right?”

"Mmm, make you look bad." Lori grimaced in pain.

Legias made a face, and pulled another blanket out of the cabinet, which she proceeded to tuck in around Lori. “So long as someone’s keeping score. I’ll have to pout at you all week to keep you from jumping right up again, I suppose.”

"Needa go after it." Lori returned to glaring at her sister. "Need answers."

“Isn’t that always the way,” Legias said sourly. “And then the sane members of the family can clean up after you once you’ve abandoned that playground for another. You can seek your answers once you have your health, or not at all.”

"At least I go after answers."


Legias harrumphed. “At least you chase will-o-the-wisps while others take care of practical matters, yes. I shudder to think the mayhem you’d cause if you tried to put your mind to something solid.”

“Oh, and powering a ward isn’t solid? Saving the city in a civil war? Yes, I am such a brainless idiot.” Lori pulled herself into a sitting position, face screwed in pain. “If you’re going to knock my abilities, choose something more viable than my brains.”

“I never said anything about the brains in your head, Rel,” Legias said tartly. “It’s the use you put them to that I’ve a mind to criticize. Take right now, when those brains should be telling you to lie down and stay down a good while-- or do I need to commission a guard detail to make sure you don’t go wandering off?”

“I’ll rest up and then go, Mother.” Lori snapped.

“If Mother were here, you’d be a good deal less headstrong right now.”

A cocky grin flashed on Lori’s face. “She’s the only one that could’ve stopped me.” She stood, wobbling slightly, and walked over to the desk. “I’ve already had Knights chart out the surrounding area, and there are barriers in place over every possible crossway.” Her arm trembled, and she grabbed a stale roll, eating it mindlessly. “Right now we ought to focus on connecting and containing consecutive floors, while researching other ways of killing whatever it is that tried to destroy us.”

“Right now,” Legias said with a meaningful look, “you ought to sleep, whether or not Mother’s here to make you. If you don’t know your own limits, any blind fool can see that you’ve surpassed them this time, Rel. You will rest, or I’ll have to explain to Father why his second child won’t come visit.”

“Don’t bring Father into this,” Lori snapped, before calming. “I’m sorry, Gia. It’s been a long… few days, I suppose. I’m worried, and I don’t want anyone else to get hurt.”

Legias rolled her eyes, putting a plate of fruit on the bedside table. “The rest of us common idiots do have some training in self-defense, dear. People won’t get hurt if you take the world off your shoulders for a few days to sleep. Trust me this time, Rel.”

Lori began inhaling the fruit. “Did you see that spell? Would have taken those idiot sages ten weeks to pull it off.”

“That’s right,” the guard captain said placatingly as her sister got back into bed. “You’re the smartest. Now get some rest.”
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Guyshane on Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:51 am

Marcus knocked on the door to the room. Some librarians these are. ‘Oh we wouldn’t know that, but the Loremaster might.’ Honestly, I’m sure Lori would be ashamed if she knew one of them had said that. Sighing in frustration he knocked again.

Dammit, this is burning daylight.

Lori pulled open the door slowly, eyes sunken as she focused on the man. “And what do you need, Oracon? Are you here to lecture me as well?”

Marcus blinked. He couldn’t ever recall seeing Lori like this. “Umm...no. I came to talk to you about some books that one of your librarians said you’d know about. Besides aren’t you the one who lectures everyone else whenever you get the chance?”

Lori let out a bark of laughter, retreating into the dim room, leaving the door open. “I’ve held the city up for a day. I’m not in the mood. This is a library, what do you need?”

Marcus spoke as he stepped in. “I need books that were written here in the castle. Specifically any journals you might have found that have entries about the higher floors,” he paused as he took her appearance in. “Is there something I can do to help you? You look…..well honestly you look like you haven’t slept in a week.”

“Hm? Oh this.” Lori looked at herself and laughed. “I should be dead right now, all told. You mentioned journals? Are you looking for something specific?”

“Someone, actually. You saw the battle in the square I take it?”

“Yes, though I have been preoccupied since.” Lori began flipping through random journals and worm ridden tomes. Placing an open book in front of Marcus, she explained. “I believe that the entity in question is known as a Genius Loci.”

Marcus leaned over to get a better look at the text. “He’s a nature guardian?” The warrior asked while he read. He glanced up briefly. “Oh and he calls himself Shard.”

“Shardreach, I believe is his proper name.” Lori explained, producing another tome. “Pretty dangerous for a simple nature spirit, but then most of them are.”

Marcus raised an eyebrow at the second tome. Busy since the end of the battle, huh? He began talking as he read the new material. “No, dangerous described him before he stole the gem. Pretty sure we’re in a new order of magnitude now,” He paused for a minute before looking at the Lorekeeper. “I’m not an experts at spirits or magic in general for that matter but shouldn’t knowing his name give us at least some power over him?”

“No, not really. Most I can do is try to summon him…” Lori trailed off, and added, “Seeing as Valerian seems to have met his end that way, I wouldn’t suggest it.”

“Suppose so,” the soldier replied sadly. He looked at her again. “You sure there isn’t anything I can do to help you? You look like you’re gonna fall into a magic coma.”

“Hm?” Lori shook her head sharply. “I’ll be okay. Just a little tired.”

“Alright” Marcus shrugged. “So what else do you know about Shard? If you’ve been busy since the quake and since I didn’t tell you about meeting him on twenty, you must have found several mentions of him in your studies.”

“Dunno enough.” Lori mumbled. “Need more information. Mostly guesswork.”

Marcus nodded. “I’m going with a friend to the temple in the forest. The gem was safe from Shard there, I’m hoping the person who got it from him hid some information there as well. I’ll try to bring back anything that looks relevant for you.”

“Thank you, Oracon.” Lori smiled weakly, “If I am unavailable, please feel free to leave it with Fern. He’ll make sure I see it.”

“Of course.” Marcus responded. “It has legitimately been a pleasure talking with you, Loremaster.” he said before giving a shallow bow and turning to leave.
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Adell on Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:42 am

There was a quite the commotion as Hector reached the outskirts of the city. With a grunt he readjusted the heavy gear strapped to his back, and tightened his grip of Ivory’s hilt as it rested on his shoulder. The district he had entered was not in great shape with many of the buildings showed damage of some kind, some much worse than others. The earthquakes may have halted, but for some it would be too little too late. “Only a few months since Luca caused this kind of chaos, and already its back…” The man lamented as he took the first steps in towards the destruction.

There were orders being yelled in the distance, the sounds of soldiers moving. “Legias’s men, no doubt.” The swordsman thought, stepping over a piece of rubble in his way. It was becoming fairly clear that none of this was natural, what with the blinding light seeping into the sky from the center of town, or the fact that the floor Hector had been on just merged with the ones below it. So it begged the question for him; what caused this and why?

Before he could ponder the question further, however, something caught the man’s ear. It was faint, weak, but there was a voice close by; a call for help. He stopped and waited, hoping to hear where the voice had come from. His good eye jumped from building to building, rubble to rubble. It was when he heard the call for help a second time, that his eye came upon a heavily damaged building; it was unstable and creaking under its own pressure. Narrowing his eye, the man pulled on the strap around his gear, untying it from his back and dropping the weight to the ground with Ivory. “I’ll be right back.” He lightly said to his sword, before leaving it on the street with his equipment.

“Help!” The voice was clearer now, as Hector got to the front of the building. The front had completely collapsed; his only hope of getting in was to pull off the heavy slabs of wall in the way.

“I’m here, hang on!” He yelled back calmly but firmly. With a heave he pulled back on the piece of rock with all his strength and tossed the obstacle out of the way, leaving a hole just large enough for the man to squeeze through. There was some difficulty due to his large size, but with some force he pushed himself inside. “Hello? Can you hear me? Where are you?” The man called. The inside of the building was nearly unrecognizable, the foundation had fallen apart; there were no longer any rooms or upper floor and it was likely the whole place would collapse any minute.

“I’m down here and trapped. Help!” The voice was young, a child’s. Hector pushed more of the rubble out of the way and followed it down into a lower section of the building of what was once likely the basement. A cavity in the floor was all he could get to however, too small for him to enter. Kneeling before it, the man dipped his head into the hole, allowing his eye to catch the injured girl on the floor; she was too little to reach the hole above her, likely her only exit. Her scared eyes looked up to meet his, and when they did the colors seemed to leave her face and she stumbled backwards. “Y-you’re-” She gasped, “G-go away, don’t hurt me!”

“I’m not here to hurt you.” The man calmly answered, lowering his arm into the area “I can get you out of here, just give me your hand.”

“No! My daddy told me about you! You’re that demon from our old home!” She yelled back, huddling away from the man’s aid. “You’re scary and you hurt people.” The ground rumbled around the two as she protested, time was running short.

Hector raised his head, looking up at what remained of the ceiling. A large crack was running across it, and getting bigger by the moment. Darting back down he attempted to reason, “Look, kid-“

“Susan.” The girl huffed.

“Right, Susan,” He corrected himself, “We’re in real danger unless I get you out of here, but that’s not gonna work unless you trust me.”

“You’re gonna hurt me if I trust you. That’s what daddy said.”

The man paused, thinking. “… You listen to your father a lot?”

With a sudden burst of confidence, she replied, “Of course!”

The man gave a light smile, “That’s good; you’re a good kid, Susan.”

Susan seemed to shrink a little after that, stuttering in her fear, “Daddy said he was j-just going to the market to get some food when this sudden shaking happened. E-everything started falling around me! I c-can’t get out, and he could be hurt…”

Another rumble, the cracks were getting larger above. “You’re father is alright, the soldier’s are around the market square. Right now we need to talk about you. Are you hurt, can you walk?”

“Stop!” She yelled back, “I’m not trusting you!”

“Look.” The man started, “I can tell you’re smart Susan, cause you listen to your parents. I can also tell you’re brave… since you’re willing to stand up to a demon like me.” He sighed, “So I know you’re smart enough to realize that this place is gonna collapse soon, and if it does it’ll crush us both. We’ll die here.” He explained plainly.

There was a pause, a ping of fear in the girl’s voice, “I-I don’t want to die…”

“I don’t want you to die either.” Once again he lowered his arm into the hole, “I can’t get you to trust me, but I’m not leaving without you.”

“Aren’t you afraid? What if you stay here and get crushed?”

The man laughed with a hint of nervousness in his voice, “Of course… of course I’m afraid.” He admitted, “But someone brave knows how to get past that fear so they can survive… so they can help other people.” He continued, “You’re brave too, Susan. I know it. That’s why I know you won’t let this place kill me, and why I won’t let the same happen to you. Please, just take my hand.”

The girl edged closer, looking at the scar covered arm. There was hesitation; she looked back up at the man, then back at the arm again. Her eyes were filling with tears when she finally clasped her hands around his. With Hector’s strength he lifted the girl out of the hole with ease and cradled her in his arms. “I got you, don’t worry.” Without wasting another second, the man bolted for where he had entered from, and not a second too soon. As he stumbled out from the hole, the roof above finally began to give way causing the whole building to fall apart. Susan screamed as the two were engulfed in the dust and debris that exploded outward from the home; but Hector pushed her close to his chest, to prevent any of it from entering her lungs or eyes.

Within a few moments the two had emptied out into the nearby street where the swordsman had left his gear before. Exhausted, the man dropped to his knees and allowed the girl to climb back to the ground. “Are… you alright?” He asked through his breaths.
Susan looked herself over, but outside of being covered in dirt and rock, was otherwise fine. “Good…”

The girl stared back at Hector, watching him catching his breath. Finally, she questioned, “… Are you really a bad man?”

Hector stared back, unsure of how to answer.

“Daddy said you were a bad man, and you look like a bad man,” She started to say, causing Hector to chuckle lightly, “But you don’t really act like one.”

Hector just grinned silently and patted the child on the head, “Come on, let’s go find your dad.”

“Okay… thanks, Mr. Demon.”

“Call me Hector.”

“Okay, Mr. Hector.”

An hour past as the two went towards the safer areas of the city. Susan continued to try and talk to Hector, figure out why she was told so vehemently to hate this man when he seemed like a very nice person. Hector remained evasive, but humored the girl with as much idle talk as she wanted which was a surprising amount considering how close to being crushed she had been. Eventually, they came upon an area in the city for the injured or misplaced were. There was quite a commotion as people were coming in and out, calling for loved ones or asking for supplies.
“Do you see him here?” Hector asked. Susan tilted her head to one side of the area, and then the other. Slowly her eyes drifted from one person to the other.

It was a man’s voice that caught her attention; however, “I’m healed! I’m fine!” Her father yelled in protest, “Don’t you idiots get it, my daughter is in danger, let me go!”

“Sir, you took a bad hit to the head, you can’t go running around in your condition!” One of the workers argued, trying to restrain him. “She’s all I have! You can’t stop me!”

“Daddy!” Susan yelled out as she ran towards the man’s voice.

“Susan?” He gasped before shoving the worker out of the way, allowing the two to embrace. “Oh Susan, I was so worried.”

“Daddy, daddy,” She started, “Hector saved me, daddy.” She tried to explain through her short breaths, “The demon man saved me.”

“What?” The man questioned in both confusion, and a slight bit of panic.

“I was trapped in our house and he saved me, daddy,” She tugged at his shirt, “you were wrong about him, Dad, he’s a good man.” Finally she pointed over to where Hector had been standing, “You need to say you’re sorry to him!” However, there was no longer anyone over where she pointed. “Huh? Wuh-where did he go?” She looked around the area, but it was obvious that once she had found her father, Hector had decided to take his leave silently.

“The Jade Devil…really?” The man muttered to himself in-disbelief. “There’s no way that blackheart was the one-”

“It’s the truth! He isn’t a bad man… He was... he was just a little scared, like I was.”

Off in the distance, The green haired swordsman readjusted his gear, and continued on his way.
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 - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby agoraoptera on Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:58 pm

Zi licked the tip of the paintbrush, satisfied that the bristles were suitably moist, then daubed dark crimson delicately onto the canvas. She hadn’t showed it to anyone yet, but for perhaps a week now she had been painting. Smuggling it to Anji’s home had been difficult, though thanks to Numen she hadn’t needed to lift it all by herself. She adjusted her artist’s beret and eyed her brushstrokes critically.

You remember the saying, of course, the voice drifted in.

“Hm?” Her attention wasn’t quite on the voice as she stirred the brush in water and began looking about for a new colour. Perhaps a more vibrant shade of red this time.

The tools do not the master make, it sniggered, and she glared.

“At least I feel more like an arty person,” she retorted petulantly. It hadn’t been easy looking for someone who sold her the painting equipment, and Zi was fond of her paraphernalia, the beret in particular. “Hm.. I need brighter red.”

Why don’t you use your blood? it suggested.

“Don’t be stupid. I’d die, obviously. And when blood dries up, it just becomes rusty and brown. Also, that’s just messed up.”

No, I don’t mean it that way. What happens if you add blood to the paint?

“I.. don’t know, actually,” she admitted, genuinely curious. “What happens when you add sleep-venom to paint? Would a person fall asleep upon seeing it?”

I don’t believe so, the voice said drily. Unless the person actually ate the paint. At which point he would sleep. Forever.

“I’m just being rhetorical,” huffed Zi, cheeks flaring red. “Anyway..”

Locating a needle, Zi pricked her arm with such practiced precision as to elicit only a single droplet of blood. Balancing the droplet, she dropped it into her palette and peered at it.

“Um..”

Maybe you should stir it, it reminded her.

“Right, right, I was just waiting to see if anything happened,” she said, mixing the pigments together. “I.. can’t really tell. It looks a little brighter, I guess?”

Maybe you need more blood.

“Stop being gruesome.”

Well, stop shaking around. If I had a head, I’d have a headache by now.

“I’m not shaking-”

The earth rumbled beneath her feet and Zi fell to the floor, losing her balance.

“What in the pits?” she yelled as the earthquakes intensified, then died away. “What in the world was that?”

Child? The voice was uncharacteristically apprehensive. What have you done to the painting?

Colour flowed, merged on the canvas as if the paint had a life of its own. With manic fury, the pigments realigned and spread across the whiteness, depicting a pearlescent dome. Then it rearranged itself to show two figures standing opposite each other, one covered in writhing metallic tentacles.

“Julius? Papa, that’s Julius!” Zi stared at the painting, then flinched when she heard the booming sounds of Julius’ words echo out from the sky. She looked outside the window, seeing the same thing projected in the skies. “It’s Julius Valerian! But.. tentacles?”

Then Shardreach broke the knight’s neck and Eliziya screamed.

She couldn’t bear to watch anymore and she tore her eyes away, scrambling away from the window, scrambling away from the macabre painting that was no longer a painting.

“No, no, no! That was Julius, that was Julius Valerian!” Zi choked out, hyperventilating. “He’s dead, he’s dead, I don’t understand, what by all the saints was that? Nobody would tell me where he’d gone, I was starting to forget, starting to assume he was dead, Jie certainly acted that way, but now he’s dead dead!”

Stop yourself! the voice commanded, and her entire body seized up involuntarily. Eliziya coughed, rubbing her ragged throat, then continued in a low voice.

“That thing that killed him. Who was that? What’s going on?”

Another series of shaking threw her off balance, and she looked up at the ceiling worriedly. Powder and grit showered down, and if the roof collapsed in..

“I need to get out.

Eliziya ran out in the streets, seeing the same scene of chaos and fear repeated through all the houses as people fled their homes, instead seeking sanctuary outdoors.

“The sky.. it’s opening.. the other floors,” Zi pointed up, unable to properly understand what she was seeing. “Saints alive!”

A house crumbled and debris flew, impacting a fleeing man. He collapsed to the ground, blood flowing from his head and Zi ran to his side.

Why are you stopping, child? Run!

“I need to help him! Sir, are you okay?” she ran a hand against his temple, feeling the wound and focusing her magic to knit the thankfully shallow injury.

“I..”

The rest of his words were drowned out by the voice screaming at her, but the sheer volume made it such that she could not even hear what it was saying either and she backed away, clutching her ears in pain and running down the street.

As soon as she left the no doubt befuddled man, it stopped shrieking at her and Zi slowed to a stop, panting and hitting her fist against the wall in frustration.

“What’s wrong with you?” she demanded. “Just let me heal him, and then-”

Your life is far more important; I can’t have you dead just because you have a kind little bleeding heart, the beast growled.

“I am a healer-!”

And you can heal enough people at the Church or some place else safe. No sense in risking your life over one fool.

Gritting her teeth, Eliziya forced out an agreement and headed to the Church.





They made her lie down as a patient, after her fourth surgery.

“I’m alright,” Zi declared loudly, but the other healers only shook their head, muttering amongst themselves. She could just make out a few words..

“Poor girl… lost it.”

“.. must be traumatised, mental humours out of balance..”

“.. no place for a child.”

Child, they think you’re mad, laughed the voice and Eliziya frowned, folding her arms sulkily.

“I’m not mad,” she said as conspicuously as she could manage without shouting. “I’m healthy. Look, I can help out and you need my help here.”

You say that so convincingly as if they’ll believe you.

“Of course they will,” snapped Zi. “I’m not lying. Sir, please?”

“Dear girl,” a healer smiled comfortingly, “you’ve done enough. Rest now, okay?”

“But I’m not mad!”

I think hearing voices counts as being mad.

“Shut up!”

Zi caught the look the healer was giving her and her gaze dropped low, frustrated and hurt.

“I’m not mad..” she whispered, hugging her legs.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:38 pm

Kevin laid Anji down on the bed, vanishing into the kitchen to return with a glass of water. “Drink up,” he advised her. “There’s too much alcohol in your system. And then you should sleep.”

“mmm, no.” Anji said, curling up on the bed. “Seen worse’n that. Needa go… do sommat.”

Kevin sat beside her, gently stroking Anji’s brow. “Soon, love. You need sleep. And you need to grieve, not like this. I’ll be here for you when you wake up.”

Anji relaxed, and began crying quietly, shoulders shaking weakly. “Can’t do… Can’t do anything.”

“Not true, love. Never seen my wife at a loss, beautiful Nova. You’ll be all right. We’ll get to work in the morning, dearest.”

Anji eventually fell asleep, eyebrows knitted with troubled dreams.

She woke up in Kevin’s arms, but he clearly hadn’t been holding her the whole time because when he saw her open her eyes, he offered her a mug of something warm. “This should help with your head, love.”

“Just kill me.” Anji whimpered, shielding her eyes from the bare light that filtered through the curtained window.

Kevin rolled his eyes, pulling the blind closed before he returned to her side. “Drink it, sweet,” he said gently. “We’ll see how you feel then, okay?”

“On’y if ya stop wi’tha yellin’.” Anji groaned, sipping the hot drink warily. “Wossat?”

“Hangover cure,” he said with a grin. “Passed on solemnly through a long line of… well, passed on solemnly to a young prince who drank to excess, anyway.”

“Think d’rather be dead.” Anji winced at the taste. “Where’d you gethis? A barn?”

“Stables. And it is helping, isn’t it?”

“M’yeah. Can ya jus’ knock me out now?”

Kevin sat on the bed, spreading an arm across his wife’s shoulders. “You can sleep it off more, if you want,” he suggested.

“mm’no.” Anji sat up, cradling her head as she began walking around the room, gathering her things. “Needa go….” Her voice trailed off as she tensed, and began running through the apartment, “Kevin?! Where’s Zi?!”

“Isn’t she in her room, love?”

"No, she is most definitely not." Anji was near panic, and she quickly grabbed her sword before heading for the door.

“She can’t have gone far,” Kevin said reassuringly, tossing her her cloak and tying his own on.

Anji said nothing more, disregarding the cloak and sprinting down the stairs to street level, heading immediately for the church.



Zi stared up at the ribbed vaults which decorated the ceiling of the cathedral, bored out of her mind. Not only could she not help the people hurting around her, but the healers were wasting part of their attention tending to her when she was most assuredly not ill! What a waste of resources. And the voice wasn’t helping either.

Then she caught sight of something red from the corner of her eyes and she turned.

“Jie! Oh thank the saints, Jie, you’re okay and everything and can you get me out, please?” begged the mage. “They think I’m crazy.”

Kevin turned from speaking with one of the healers and bent down, pulling Zi into his arms. “We were worried about you, Eliziya,” he said in a quiet voice as he straightened.

"Zi?! Are you okay?!" Anji sprinted to her sister, nearly bowling over a sour faced priest.

Zi blinked, rearing away from Kevin ever so slightly, face flushing. “Uh.. I.. yeah. I’m okay.. I’m okay. Um.. Hi, Kev-”

“Yes, my dear, lost daughter?” he said, eyes twinkling.

“Shit,” Zi muttered under her breath. “I really have lost it this time.”

Kevin chuckled, nodding to a healer in a nun’s habit as she passed. “They wouldn’t let us near their precious patient until I explained that I was your father coming to bring you home… darling. Don’t give anyone reason to suspect otherwise, or they’ll have me up on charges.”

“Oh come on! Of course I can go through!” Anji glared at the nun, “I am related to her! Let. Me. Through.”

“She’s my wife,” Kevin assured the woman, catching her eye with a smile and nod. “Come, love. I’ve got Eliziya.”

“I…” Zi rubbed her eyes over and over, then looked up at Kevin to make sure he was still there. “This isn’t a dream. Saints. H-Hi Papa.” She hugged him, but her body was so tense, Zi felt as though she were about to explode.

“Papa?” Anji looked confused for a moment, and felt her sister’s brow gently. “You sure you’re all right, Mei?”

“I don’t know. Saints.” Zi shook her head. “Um. Hi Ma.”

Anji looked at Kevin, eyes wide with confusion. “What in the seven hells did you put in that drink?!”

Kevin smirked, and raised an eyebrow at Anji. “You should watch your language in front of our daughter, dearest.” He paused for a moment, enjoying Anji’s bewilderment, before adding, “Our daughter whom we are allowed to retrieve from the church’s custody on account of our perfectly legal parental guardianship.”

“Crows take that.” Anji remarked, taking a deep breath and running her hand through her hair. “You’re trying to kill me, love.”

Eliziya pressed her head against Kevin’s chest, simultaneously embarrassed by it, yet trying to hide her embarrassment by doing so.

“Le-Let’s go home then.” Anji sighed, walking out of the cathedral slowly.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Scarab on Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:14 pm

This is the one where teenagers are awkward and Zi is adorable. :P

The city was in something of a state this evening. Which was no surprise, the city was almost always in some State or another. The only difference this time was that people, against all odds, seemed to be getting used to it.

The earthquake had struck when Tamar was on the very edge of what he was currently talking ‘the Loremasters’ Wall of Death Prevention’. He had no idea what on earth they had done to create such a shield, but it had held the town together like a basket weave. Some odd instinct had told him this, when he reached for Echo after the barrier rose and found there was nothing to fight. The power had shivered across the fields surrounding the town, and something of Asha in the back of Tamar’s mind had helpfully informed him to riun, run as fast as you can because this is not a thing which can be fought with steel.

Tamar figured it was probably best not to ignore the instincts of a woman who had been comprised of magical energy. Whilst Asha was indeed very much dead, it seemed that something of her had remained besides power: something slightly stronger than memory, but not enough to be real. Every now and then it would churn out quasi-useless tidbits of dead languages Tamar knew he rightly should not understand. At that moment, it had been screaming Admonitio, monitio currit: “Warning. Run.”

So he ran. He got back within the walls just in time to feel the pressure of magic: earth and air and the cracking of stone, slam into the ground just behind him, and that had been that. Soon as he figured out what it was, he had volunteered, but there was little they could do with him, what with his entire magical ability being confined to a sword.

So instead of being remotely useful, Tamar had gone in search of people. Anjali. Hector. Pretty much anybody who might have an inkling of what happened while he was outside of the city walls. He got distracted helping people move a bit of rubble about at some point, but most buildings had remained structurally intact, thanks to the barrier of... of whatever that barrier was. Like always. You’re a few steps behind, Tamar.

In the end, he headed for the library. It seemed like the most like place to obtain information, after all. The books were there. The Loremasters, from what little he’d scraped from the locals, had been the creators of the shield. Logically common sense and logic were probably to be found there. Although it had taken him a few hours, what with stopping to help people move stuff and directing them to churches, so by the time he reached the library, evening was closing in, casting patches of black into the streets like funeral shrouds.

When he stepped within the library gates, he didn’t see somebody running right at him until they were suddenly crushing his spine. In fairness, he had been really in the stratosphere that time. Whoever they were they were short, and strong, and dressed in dark colours in the twilight. Also they had...

Oh...

Okay, that was... different.

And they were twitching , too. Just like real ears... like a fox or maybe a fennec. Well, that was certainly a sight right there.

Tamar had no idea who it might be and managed to wheeze out a question. “U-um... hello there miss? Erm... not to be rude but... miss you're sort of crushing me a little, do you mind telling me what the problem is?”

“There are so many problems, Tamar,” Eliziya said, pulling away and staring up at him soulfully. “For one thing, I’m so sorry.”

...Oh you have got to be kidding.

“...I... wait, Zi?” Tamar gawked. He would probably have tried to get a better look at her but she was still latched around his waist. Still, even from this angle, he could still make out her face, complete and pretty and perfect in every way as usual... if with eyes that were slightly brighter than they ought to be. And furry ears. And... yep, that was a swishing tail, right there. “Zi is that you?”

“I admit,” Zi looked away and coughed. “I look a bit different.. But yes, really, it’s me. It.. It’s good to see you.”

Tamar took a second before squeezing back and feeling grateful that the darkness probably hid the lovely shade of red his face was turning. Neither his own dialogue, nor any of the strange, ancient words Asha’s memory had left him with, seemed appropriate to describe this, but ‘adorable’ came pretty close. “Okay... Zi, not that I’m not happy to see you because I’m really happy to see you. But what in the name of the seven saints happened?”

Zi’s face flushed furiously and she tugged on her ears. “I knew it, you’d think I’m a freak. There was some.. accident just now.. I was with Marcus and then there were these little cows the size of my hand and... Tamar, don’t think too badly of me, please,” the girl pleaded, a hint of tears appearing in her eyes.

...And now she’s doing the thing again, what did Kain call it? Right, the ‘low self esteem’ thing. Tamar did not want this. This was the absolute last thing Tamar wanted. In fact the thought of Eliziya considering herself to be anything other than the cutest thing that had ever walked the earth (except now with fluffy ears, which... really just kind of enhanced the whole image when you looked at it) was in his mind, as big a tragedy as the death of the last Fallen Saint. Possibly even more so. Nobody paid attention to saints as people after all, they were just these vague conceptualisations that people prayed to now and then, but Eliziya was... well, Eliziya.

Also fluffy. ’Don’t pet her ears, don’t pet her ears...’.

‘W-what do you mean think badly? Why would I ever think badly?’ He tapped an ear experimentally. It twitched, quivering. “...Those are definitely real, aren’t they? How on earth did you end up with them? They're adorable!”

That last bit wasn’t supposed to come out as loudly as it had. Or at all.

The girl stood rigidly, drawing herself to her full height- unfortunately she was now even shorter than she had already been. “Don’t lie to me, T,” she said suspiciously. “You.. you don’t think it’s.. unnatural? Strange? An abomination?”

Tamar wasn’t sure if she could see his face in the darkness, but he did his best to school his face into an expression that got across just how ridiculous he thought that idea was. “Why would you ever think that? It’s... it’s magic, Zi. Magic’s not an abomination. It’s just... it’s us. This is you, you’re Zi, and you look completely fine.’ He paused. She did not seem convinced by his admittedly inaccurate wording. ‘No, better than fine this is... okay this is actually kind of cool.’

Ah. That was the word he was looking for.

“Really? Do you really think so?” Zi looked up at him eagerly, then hugged him tightly again. “Thank you, T. Thank you. Thank the saints. I’m glad you’re okay.”

...So adorable. Tamar had not had much of a frame of reference for adorableness until the day he met Eliziya. He was glad to have been informed on a subject in which most of the people he interacted with were woefully uninformed. Clearly they all needed more Eliziya in their lives. ‘What, you didn’t think I could take care of myself?’ Tamar smiled, hoping he got the right amount of amusement into his voice.

“It’s not that,” Zi held onto her ears again, then very consciously stopped doing so. It was becoming too much of a habit, and it probably looked ridiculous. “I haven’t seen you for.. for a long time and then the earthquakes and.. and anyway, I’m glad you’re okay,” she finished lamely, then jerked her head to the side, snapping, “Oh shut up you, you promised to shut up!” Then Zi turned back to Tamar and smiled weakly, “Ah.. anyway.. How’ve you been?”

About million times better than I was ten minutes ago. “It’s fine... I’m fine, Hector’s fine... e-everything’s fine. Have you seen the rest of the guild? I was out of town when that... thing came down. Echo was like a tuning fork for a couple of minutes. Was that Earth Stabilisation magic? It felt like an Earth elemental, but I’m not sure, it could’ve been air, or... what is it?” Because at some point the look on her face had ticked him off to something, and her ears were now.. a great deal more expressive than they normally were. “Zi?”

“The rest of the guild…” she muttered. “I.. you didn’t see.. Jules.. Julius is dead. Tamar?”

It was amazing how quickly a sense of joy could drain away from you.

“Tamar.. are you okay?”

The words Eliziya spoke didn’t... make sense right away. Not in Tamar’s language, and not in any other of the dozens of fragments that Asha had left him . It was an impossible thing. Like thunder in the sunshine, or the empty space where Asha’s face should have been. It didn’t make sense because it was about Julius and Julius was not, and could not ever be dead. He couldn’t be.

The message board had made a mistake... “Jules? Zi, he can’t... you must have heard wrong, it... the notice board was wrong, Zi, it was…”

But the look on her face held more truth than anything Tamar had ever seen; the kind of sombre acceptance that you saw in every healer who had seen this pain a hundred times before. It was the same look he saw on half remembered faces the day he’d been forced from the castle. The same look he’d seen on Hector’s face when he told Tamar his former name. “How?” Tamar whispered.

“It’s name is Shardreach, I think. I don’t know what it is.. But Julius had these.. metal.. tentacle.. things.. but even that couldn’t help. Shard.. broke his neck. Then Shard started the earthquakes. Anji buried him and.. Speaking of Anji,” Zi shifted uncomfortably, “did you know she’s married?”

This was, perhaps, the last bombshell Tamar was prepared to take, and it was fortunate that he was still hanging onto Eliziya because if he hadn’t, he had a strong suspicion he would be on the floor by now. The guilt was boiling up inside of him, but with the dullness of liquid ice rather than flame. Julius had died and Tamar hadn’t been there. Twice. The second time for real. Zi had been here, alone and scared and he hadn’t been there. Anji had...

Well, alright Anji had been Anji, and Anji could cope with anything including, apparently, marriage, but that somehow wasn’t helping Tamar one bit right now.

He hadn't been there. ‘Can... can we go inside or something?’ he mumbled.

“T? You don’t look okay..” Zi tried to feel his forehead, but she could barely reach it. “Do you want to sit down a while? I think we should go back home.”

He was not alright. Julius had died and he hadn’t been there. He hadn’t done a damn thing about any of this. He was very much not okay. The resonance of his own failures was like a gong pounding inside of his head. But feeling that and admitting it to Zi who probably... really needed him to be okay and fide and not a complete screw up, were two very different things. “I’m fine...” he swallowed, and tried to say that again. “I’m fine, just... inside, please?” Now?

Zi didn’t say a word, instead embracing him as much as she could, even going so far as to curl her tail around his back. Pulsing fire magic interspersed with healing radiated from her and seeped into him, soothing and comfortable.

Tamar had no idea how she did that, but it always worked. Even now it deadened some of the pain and terror that had merged together in his chest and were trying to escape... somehow. He had no idea how a feeling like that would ever get out. But the worst things about it was, perhaps, that it wasn’t entirely grief. That there was something worse and selfish burning underneath it that he knew he deserved.

He found himself clutching Zi like a lifeline as she turned them in the direction of the library gates, seeming eager to get away from the building as soon as possible.

“T?” Zi spoke up after awhile. “Could you come with me to a tailor tomorrow?”

The change of topic threw him completely, but perhaps that was exactly what he needed. Probably, that was exactly why Eliziya had said it. ‘I... yes?’

“I need umm.. new clothes.” Zi shook her tail. “It’s a little… uncomfortable, with the base pressed up like that. But any lower would be.. indecent.” Again, aside, she snarled, “Stop giggling!” Then she turned back to Tamar. “Do you know any tailor who could help, any seamstress?”

Tamar thought about this, dim memories of Hector dropping the cape, practically on his head. He sought for the name he had given him, for the place. It was all a bit muffled in his head. “There’s... there’s Kendall. In the main square. I think...or near the church? One of the two. She made this,” he tugged the side of his too-long cape with a free arm.

“Oh, so she does custom work, goody. I.. saints, I’m embarrassed even thinking about showing myself there like that.. Praise the saints it’s dark now. I feel soooo furry,” she said, scratching her own ears. “The ears- my ears- are so soft. Oh hush you, I’m adorable, shut up, you promised.”

Tamar blinked. It took another long moment to catch on. ‘Um... I... promised what?’

“Sorry, um, I don’t mean you, T. I um.. I.. I er…” Zi lapsed into awkward silence, then abruptly burst out. “I’ve avoided you for so long because I was scared, T, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have.”

Tamar stopped dead in the middle of the road, pulling her to a stop with him. He was not all that sure (or in all honesty caring) where they were. Had she been scared of him? Of what had happened in the mountains? ‘...Scared of what?’

“I didn’t want you to see me like… well, not the ears, that was just today, but I.. there’s..” Zi stumbled over her own words. “Ever since I returned Anji’s memories, I’ve had this.. I’ve had a… I’ve got this.. this thing.. in my.. in my head.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “I’m not crazy, Tamar. Please believe me.. they all think I’m crazy, I know they do, I’ve seen the way they look at me, but I’m not, really, please believe me, I’m properly sane, I’m in my right mind, I’ve got all my humours together.” Glancing at her tail, she laughed wryly. “Though I can’t say that this tail isn’t quite mad..”

...Honestly, the tail was probably the least insane thing about all this. It was also very stabilising right now. Suddenly it made sense why animals had them. Voices in her head now... well, that wasn’t so strange, was it? What was different between the silent voice of Asha whispering from the past and a living thing whispering in the here and now? Perhaps he should have had more questions but... somehow Tamar couldn’t think what those questions would be.

“Zi,” he rasped. “There’s nothing... you could say that would make me think you’re crazy, okay? Nothing... L-look, my best friend is a reformed mass murderer with a literacy problem and... And I think he may quite possibly have a death wish? I just... I don’t know, but I really feel I kinda deserve the benefit of the doubt here. You’re not... crazy. Not unless I am too.” Stupid stammer, why did it happen at the worst possible moments?

“You.. what?”

“We’re not crazy,” Tamar whispered. Somehow this felt louder than if he were yelling it. Neither of us...” the words came. He spoke them without thinking. “Condemnant quod non intellegunt.”

Zi stared at him, her ears twitching. “I.. I’ll just repeat myself. What?”

...Okay, switching to dead languages, clearly not a clever move. “I don’t know it just...felt right. It means... they don’t understand it. People don’t understand, so they call it crazy, Zi. It doesn’t fit so... so they call it crazy. It’s... easier.” He paused.

“Uh….. I don’t.. think.. that’s quite it. I mean, yeah, they don’t.. they don’t understand what’s going on but.. hearing voices is kind of.. I know what crazy is like, T, I’ve been there before, remember? You hear things sometimes and you do things that make sense, but after you brought me back to myself it didn’t make sense and.. Look, the point is, this is a bit different. Something like crazy, but not.. quite. The voice- one only- is in my head and it’s.. Shut up, damn you, I’m trying to concentrate, please shut up! Ugh. S-Sorry T. Yeah… It’s kind of like that, except that it doesn’t want to leave, and I can’t afford to have it leave.” Zi’s mouth twisted into a grimace.

Tamar stayed silent for a very long moment. “Sounds pretty real to me... also, noisy.”

“Saints, oh yes, it is so damn noisy and so unfortunately real,” Zi agreed fervently, tail waving from side to side. “T says you’re noisy,” she glared at nothing, “and he can’t even hear you! Saints, won’t you just shut up?”

...Tamar hesitated. It felt as if somebody has shoved an army in his head and sent them to massacre something. He wanted to tell her that he hadn’t meant for this, that what he had been doing all these weeks had been important and yet what did it matter how important it had been? Julius was dead, and Zi had a voice in her head that wouldn’t shut up. What could have possibly been more important than that? Getting to floor six? Screw floor six... But why would he have known? Tamar thought bitterly. Exactly how much attention had he been paying to Storm and Drive in the first place?

And Zi... Zi was the most important thing he had ever known. During the brief period she had been completely catatonic, he left her alone because Anji had seemed to think that was important and because Anji was his Guild Leader and who else would know better than Zi’s own sister? But still... he had left her. She needed him and he hadn’t been there, and now he just wished he’d stayed there every minute, to hell with whether Anjali or Kevin thought it was a good thing.

And if he’d done that, if he’s stayed close by, then perhaps he might have been there to stop any of this happening.

Well, maybe he hadn’t done all that, Tamar thought angrily. But Saints be damned, he could accompany her to a crow begotten tailor, and he could at least try to make the thing in her head stay quiet for a while. He was shaking like a leaf but he took her shoulders and turned Zi around to face him in the darkness. Her eyes were shining like a cat’s. He wondered if she could see in the dark.

“Seriously,” he said, looking right through Zi as best he could. “She told you to shut up. You’re going to shut up now.”

He said it with the same calm quiet tone that he had heard Julius use so many times. He was briefly struck with the pain that they would never hear that again.

Kissing her this time wasn’t like the last time. It was more of an instinctive thing. He pulled away just as quickly, briefly worried that he might have just terrified her or made it worse but... it had seemed the right thing to do at the time.

Even in the dim moonlight, her cheeks were a very obvious scarlet and Zi hesitated between kissing him again and hugging him. Tiptoeing, she realised she couldn’t kiss him without him bending a little, and decided to just hug him instead. Zi buried her head against his chest and shivered.

“You.. You looked like you were gonna kill me,” she squeaked after a long silence. “Don’t give me that look before you kiss me, damn it.”

Tamar held onto her tightly. “Sorry....” he mumbled. “I’ll... I’ll let you know the next time, if it’s not you I’m really talking to.”

“Am I crazy for shouting at a voice in my head,” Zi asked, giggling slightly. “Or are you crazy for talking to a voice in my head?”

Condemnant quod non intellegunt, Tamar thought again, running the words over in his mind. Perhaps it was true, perhaps it wasn’t, but he wasn’t entirely sure if that even mattered, not for this exact moment. Perhaps, in the end, nobody ever really understood anything. “I... I honestly have no idea,” he mumbled. “Why don’t... let’s just find the Tailor tonight... and we can figure it out in the morning.”

“T…” she put her hands on her hips, ears flicking. “Don’t you think it’s a little late for tailors? I can bear a little discomfort. At the worst, I can always bare a little..” Zi laughed delightedly at her little joke, then pulled him on by the hand. “I can’t believe I waited two months and in the end, all you really wanted were my lips,” she teased, eyes glittering with mischief.

And in spite of everything, in spite of all the voices, both present and remembered, in spite of all the deaths, Tamar found that he could laugh as well.

“Come on, T, let’s go. You should meet Anji’s husband and besides,” she smiled wickedly, “we should pull a trick on my sister for leaving us out from the wedding. When we get to Anji’s place, pretend my ears and tail were always there.”
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby Blurred_9L on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:06 pm

“Run faster!” the member of the City Guard yelled at him from the road ahead. The forest trees shaked and waved wildly, as did the very earth they were stepping on, trying to knock them off balance. The guard held firmly onto the ground, merely being slowed by the strong tremors that were felt all across the second floor. Hearing a rustling sound behind him, the City Guard moved just in time to evade a falling tree. “Goddamn earthquakes…” he muttered, annoyance in his voice as he tried to find a glimpse of the scout that was following him among the leaves and branches.

“I’m… I’m trying!” Darren shouted a few meters away from the guard. The constant tremors made it hard for him to even be able to move. He struggled against both, the shaking ground and the falling trees, all the while trying to unstick his cloak from a nearby branch. “Just go! I’ll catch up or something!”

“Just hurry up, dammit!” the knight shouted back, as he turned towards the main road and kept running towards the light that had appeared on the distance.

The next few minutes would have been silent, if it weren’t for the creaking of the falling trees, the rustling leaves and panicked birds. The earthquakes did not stop for a single second. All they could do was advance towards the exit of the dense forest and find their way back to the podium.

“What…?” Darren heard Nestor’s voice from vaguely heard ahead of him, finally leaving the forest behind.

“Wha… what happened?” Darren stuttered, as he tried to keep his balance, a familiar feeling suddenly seeping into his heart once again. The shining beacon, its blinding light that reached even through the forest thick, they had been nearer than they thought a while ago.

“...Is that… the city?” Nestor questioned, eyes wide, being unable to move a single muscle from the shock. Darren too, felt as if he had taken a heavy blow, and if it weren’t because the earth was already trying to throw him off balance, he would probably have felt as if the ground was shaking.

“How…?” the rogue’s words came out as a mere whisper, not loud enough for them to be heard. Not that there was somebody who could hear them and provide a plausible explanation. ”Not that anything plausible ever actually happens.”, he thought, trying to compose himself to keep going towards the city.

“...S...Shit!” Nestor gritted his teeth and dashed off without thinking.

“...Hey!” Darren quickly shouted, but the guard had already gained a considerable distance from him. He had no choice but to follow him again, secretly hoping that whatever had happened in the city was already over. He ran as fast as he could, constantly tripping and falling to the ground head first. Then again, as the distance between him and the city shortened, he could feel the familiar feeling rising up from within, tearing up from inside his chest and making him run faster. He pondered the futility of the situation. ”Isn’t it always like this?” he thought as he jumped over a small ledge, almost falling again once he hit the ground. He knew this feeling too well for him to confuse it.

Fear

The earth shook once more.

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

“Finally… caught… up…” Darren said, grabbing Nestor by the shoulder to make him stop. The quakes were stopping, but a feeling of danger filled the air. The city’s gates were empty, the City Guard was probably going all over the place trying to keep order.

“No time to talk.” the guard said coldly, brushing off Darren’s hand. A moment later, he turned back, trying to hide a concerned or maybe anguished look on his face. Without even a drop of hesitation, he grabbed Darren and threw him into the limit between the gates and the outskirt of the city, and then he ran inside as well.

“Ow… What the hell!” Darren yelled, as he got up from the ground, rubbing his injured head. Not long after he complained, he noticed that something was different. He walked off toward the gate, holding out a hand in front of him. About halfway through the entrance, he felt a pulse of energy passing through him, extending towards the outskirts of the city. ”W…What?”, he looked at his hand, which seemed unharmed, but, at the same time, became stunned. He felt as if he had been stung by something when he… touched whatever that thing that passed through the gates was. He looked over to Nestor, who was already going off again.

“Hey! What’s going on?” Darren asked on instinct. The guard didn’t even bother looking back.

“Take a guess, because I don’t know.” he answered, his voice still cold and his serious tone hinted at his annoyance. “I’m off. Don’t get in the way.” The guard headed further into the city, leaving Darren at the gates. He looked towards the outskirts again. They seemed perfectly normal, as if nothing had happened. The earthquakes had stopped. ”Now what?” he thought, as he wondered inside the city, hands inside his pockets, suddenly finding the cold feeling of a familiar badge. He ignored it, thinking not now..

After wandering for a while through the deserted streets, he found himself in front of the guild’s building. Despite the earthquakes, it still stood, but Darren couldn’t help but wonder for how long it would remain like that. He thought about going in, but he stopped just as he reached for the door.

”I’ve been gone for too long.”

He desisted, looking towards the beacon of light coming from the place the podium should be, all the while a voice whispering inside his head: ”Run away.”. He contemplated the idea momentarily, but there weren’t many places he could run to. He wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of finding out who could have caused the earthquakes.

As he walked back the way he came, his hand stung again. The city had been enclosed by a barrier. Who could do such a thing?

“...Lori.” what had been intended as a whisper, probably echoed farther away than he had expected. Where could everybody be? He looked at the beacon once more, before deciding to go to the library, his left hand slipping into his pocket and gripping a circular badge, letting its cold touch comfort the nervousness swelling up inside.
Last edited by Blurred_9L on Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Why should we do the right thing?
-Well... because it's the right thing to do, there's no other good reason.

Am I a bad guy trying to be good, or a good guy trying to convince himself that he's not the bad guy?
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Re: Floating Castle - Special Event 5: Continental Shift

Postby JackAlsworth on Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:33 pm

“I don’t want to seem ungrateful,” said Jenny, sipping her tea slowly. “But I get the feeling there was another reason you wanted to see me.”

She sat in Lori’s office in the library, across from the Lorekeeper herself. Lori’s invitation to afternoon tea had come as a mild surprise, considering how drained they both were, but not an unwelcome one.

Lori smiled and grabbed another sandwich. “Actually yes, but I figured it would be more efficient to eat and talk at the same time. I also wanted something more private than the dormitories.”

Jenny nodded. “Thank you, by the way, this is excellent.”

Lori squirmed awkwardly, eyes lighting on a book before seeming to bodily pull herself back into the conversation. “Uh, yes. Anyway… I was hoping I could ask a favor of you.”

“Of course. What is it?”

“There’s a mage running loose.” Lori reached for another sandwich, all but inhaling it. “Want you to help me keep them under control.”

“Um, sure…” Jenny watched Lori nervously. “Are you all right, Lorekeeper?”

“Hm?” Lori grabbed a third sandwich. “I am functioning normally, thank you. Do you have reason to believe I am suffering from an illness?”

“Well, I…” Jenny hesitated, then changed the subject. “You said something about a mage running loose? What makes you think I can help?”

“You are biased against them, and will therefore be able to locate one more readily. You are also one of the few people I can trust in this scenario, as most of the mages here would be more easily swayed by this ronin than my leadership.”

“I...I wouldn’t say I’m biased, really…” said Jenny, uncomfortably avoiding Lori’s gaze.

“Well, they would also be less likely to try to make you do magic you didn’t want to do.” Lori poured herself another glass of tea, smiling softly at herself.

“Fair enough, I suppose,” said Jenny. She looked up. “Where is he? Or she?”

“I expect that they’re in the city, but I am not certain of their location. It is likely--” Lori paused to devour another cookie-- “that they will start actively following you if you try to help me.”

“They can try,” said Jenny before she could stop herself.

“Wonderful.” Lori smiled widely, “I can show you a few quick hand signs to make while you are looking for the mage. If you notice anything out of the ordinary or if you feel... odd. Like if you feel extremely angry or scared, they’ll help protect both you and the people around you. Okay?”

“I… guess so,” said Jenny, failing to keep the confusion out of her voice.

“Wonderful.” Lori slid out of her seat, and knelt by Jenny. “Here’s the easiest one. ‘Fangyou’.” The mage demonstrated, making a claw and thrusting her hand away from her. “It means defense. If you’re ever attacked by a mage, you can use that to defend yourself.”

“Really?” Jenny’s tone carried the unasked question How will that help?

“Yes, really. I’m the Lorekeeper. What do you think I do all day, eat sandwiches and drink tea?” Lori huffed, and made the sign again. “This will protect you. You just need to believe that it will.”

“Okay, if you say so.” Jenny attempted to mimic Lori’s motion, pushing her palm forward carefully. “Like this?”

“Yes, but more forceful.” Lori wobbled on her feet for a moment, and readjusted. “You’ll most likely be about to die when making this sign, so it helps if you know how to do it as forcefully as possible. When the time comes, you won’t be quite so laidback.”

Jenny swallowed, nodded, and made the motion again, treating it more like throwing a punch.

“Perfect.” Lori smiled wider, and sat back on the floor tiredly. “You should also learn to keep an eye out at all times. Look for obvious signs, the wind blowing the wrong way, earth shuddering when it shouldn’t, sudden rain or fire. That should give you a clue of what you might be facing, all right?”

Jenny shivered. “All right.”

“I’ve only got the energy for one more sign, and that’s Baohu.” Lori smiled, and grabbed her sword, gripping the pommel with both hands before slamming it, point down, into the floor. Jenny jumped visibly.

Lori wobbled and fell to her knees, panting as she said, “Means protection. Nothi-Nothing would be able to get past that ward. On-Only use it if you are about to die.”

“...Do I need a sword to use it?” asked Jenny, trying to smile.

Lori laughed, and wiped the hair out of her face. “No. Any weapon you depend on. Just need to believe in it.”

“Okay.” Jenny helped Lori back into her chair. “Are you sure these will work for me? I mean, I don’t…”

“Stop.” Lori leaned forward in the seat earnestly. “That mage, he’ll win if you keep acting like that. Don’t doubt yourself. Just worry about protecting the people around you.”

Jenny nodded. “All right. I’ll do my best.”

“Thanks, Jenny. I appreciate your help.” Lori stood shakily, and added. “If you ever want to know more signs, or if you need any more help, I would be happy to assist in any way I can.”

“Thank you.” Jenny turned to leave, but felt the need to say something else, something reassuring. “Don’t worry, Lori. We’ll find him. I won’t let him hurt anyone.”

Lori began coughing, unable to speak for a long moment before facing Jenny. “Another trick, try meditating. It’ll help you be more quiet. He might not be able to find you as fast, that way.”

Jenny nodded again. Quiet was good. “Are you sure you’re okay?” she asked anxiously.

“How do you mean?” Lori looked genuinely confused, and stabilised herself on a stack of books.

“Well, you, um…” Jenny made a few gestures with her hand before giving up. “Never mind.” I’m sure she’ll be fine, she thought as she left the office. If she thought she needed more help she would’ve asked for it.
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JackAlsworth
 
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