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      Vote for Valucre [January]   01/01/2017

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  1. For a moment, Moreau thought that he might slip and fall off the roof there and then, but Squagison was already running over, and offering a steel-plated hand to help him up. Gratefully, the scholar grabbed on, using the lift to swing his legs up and find his footing again. Part of him wanted to reflect on the fact that he'd almost died, or at least offer a word of thanks to the warrior for saving him again, but he never got the chance. Mere seconds after being pulled up, a fight was breaking out around him. Sprays of blood arced through the air, accompanied by sudden screams and clashing metal, and Moreau was left with no choice but to wrench his focus back to the threats in front of him and focus on survival. He wasn't an expert fighter like the other two, but he was smart enough to recognize where he'd be most useful. Vyne was darting around too fast for him to stand any chance to keep up with, but Squagison fought at a steadier pace, and Moreau used him for cover, keeping behind the larger man and letting him deal with the up-close threats. Though the first gun he'd picked up had been lost earlier, he soon snatched up another from one of the fallen thugs, and did his best to back up the others, taking shots where he could to cripple or distract their opponents. It felt almost like a dream. In some ways Moreau was in a state of shock, numb to all the madness and death around him as he simply fought to stay alive, pulse pounding so hard it nearly drowned out the noise of battle. He snapped out of it as someone grabbed him, and tried to jerk away, only to realize it was Squagison. "What are you-" He didn't get a chance to finish his sentence before they were flying through the air, leaping from one roof to the next. He yelped as they landed, disorientated even more by the sudden change of location. "Okay, okay, put me down now you- FUUUUUUCK!" He could only scream obscenities as he was hurled into the air yet again, this time towards the elf. Knowing what he did of Vyne, Moreau suspected that he might well not be caught, and drew his arms and legs in towards his body, bracing for a hard landing. A jump onto a train had sounded bad enough, but this was just insane!
  2. Once trouble had started, it really never stopped, did it? The rope swung and swayed as Moreau made his desperate way up, the tough fibers of it scratching and scraping against his hands. He grit his teeth, and kept on going. His upper-body strength might not have been the best, but adrenaline pushed him past his ordinary limits- the sound of a bullet whizzing right by his ear to bounce against a wall just a foot away was a damn good motivator. He climbed like all the demons of Athentha were after him, and after a few seconds he managed to haul his body up onto the rooftop and roll over, breathing heavily. "Fu-" He started, then cut himself off and took another deep breath before beginning again. "We should run. They'll know a way up here." Awkwardly, he shuffled forwards and stumbled to his feet, running as hard as he could over the sloping rooftops towards where Vyne had indicated the train station would be. He had a damn cramp now, his muscles burning up after all this punishment he was forcing through. He cursed aloud, spitting through his teeth as he pushed himself a few steps further forwards- -and stepped on a loose tile, that went skidding away beneath his feet. He toppled sideways, losing his balance and rolling towards the edge, his scrabbling fingers finding purchase only a moment away from the edge. His legs slid out into open air, dangling beneath him as he held on with both arms, straining to pull himself back up. "Could use... some help here!" His manners kicked in a moment later, undeterred by the threat of death, and he added a strained "Please!"
  3. The air that had been choked with dust following the Bull's explosive counterattack was slowly clearing, a light breeze carrying away the loose particles and revealing a few lonely figures, standing unharmed amidst the destruction. The drones had a clear view again, as well as the news cameras being set up a safe distance from the scene. The temporary lull in hostilities had given the world a glimpse of a scene going on within Manhattan, many buildings previously blocking their view now leveled, and already journalists and pundits were debating and postulating, gathering all the tiny scraps of knowledge they had to try and understand what had just happened- and more importantly, what was going to happen. The world watched, and held its breath. *** As the Bull unleashed his brief tirade, the officer and his squad stood firm, neither moving nor responding. Neither Violet nor any of her counterparts had the authority to act as a spokesperson, and the officer wasn't interested in chatter. His job had been to contain or kill the Bull, and now he had no job left to do. He looked almost empty, standing there as if he'd been turned to stone in the aftermath of the truce, perfectly still other than his cold eyes, which constantly followed the giant's movements. Its anger was concerning, but it wasn't doing any explicit harm, and to strike against it now would be to disobey orders. The officer was a pessimist, certain in his mind that humanity had to learn how to fight and defeat paranormal threats- but more than anything he was a military man, and he knew his duty. Where the Bull showed his irritation freely, this man kept his mind as cold as ice, stifling any emotions that might provoke a rash action. After loudly laying into him and his race in general, however, the Bull made a request, directed to Violet. She, however, turned to her superior, as any soldier would. Unlike him, her concern was writ clear across her features- but there was hope in there as well, that they might finally have found a way all this. The officer remained impassive, and took hold of his radio. "Relay a message to the commander in chief. The entity demands we feed it energy, says it can leave the planet if we comply. Requesting a decision, or permission to conduct negotiations personally. Over." Even as he spoke, he didn't take his eyes off the Bull. If the offer had been made earlier, he'd have simply responded, but now that the higher-ups were set on intervening he had to let them make a call. A battlefield he could handle, but this was closer to diplomacy, and that was one of the few things politicians were actually any damn good at. *** Mallory frowned, considering. The drone footage had made one thing clear: his orders had gone through, and he'd made the right call. The foreign entity had stopped attacking, and after several terrifying minutes there was finally some semblance of peace, of a situation under control. If that giant- alien, god, whatever it was -had chosen to stop fighting as well, that only confirmed it wasn't hostile. On the other hand, it had been the source of the explosion earlier, and even if it didn't mean to do harm, there was no guarantee that filling it with power wouldn't have even more devastating effects. That team had survived the blast, though, the U-ops squad and the commanding officer. There was a way around this, he knew it, and after just a moment of putting the pieces together, he came to his decision. Too much had been lost already. Any gain his country might make from trapping this entity would come at a cost too great to pay, and removing it from the playing field was the next best option. He spoke into a phone, his orders going to a communications specialist who in turn would relay it to the officer on the ground. "Tell the entity that we will comply. You are to transport it to a remote location- use the portals to get there quickly, if necessary -and then give it what it wants." It was still risky, but at least this way if the thing did blow up again it wouldn't do so in the middle of a major city. With any luck, it'd be telling the truth, and they could send it on its way without losing any more chunks of New York. *** The officer held his radio up to his ear, a voice crackling through it. His brow furrowed just slightly as he heard the President's decision, but his only response was a simple "Roger." It felt cowardly, in a way, to just let it go like this, but then he wasn't the one having to look at every lost life and ruined building as a personal cost. The officer's name and identity were classified, and it would be Mallory and the other top military figures whom the public would question and blame in the aftermath. He didn't envy them that fight. Quietly accepting this turn of events, he lowered his radio and opened his mouth to begin addressing the Bull- A three-foot long tungsten projectile, similar in structure to a harpoon, slammed into the giant from behind. The US military had decided to fold rather than try and stay in the game, but they weren't the only players with eyes on the foreign entity. The cloaked aircraft that had slipped into the airspace over Manhattan had been watching and waiting, silent and invisible, until the moment finally came to strike. It was still perfectly hidden from human eyes and devices- though Bull's senses might be able to faintly make it out -and the bolt it had fired traveled too quickly for even the fastest camera lenses to catch as more than a blur. In that moment, nobody knew what was going on, only that something had just happened, something that would throw all their predictions and orders and plans into chaos.
  4. Still here, of course. Not my turn in the hero thread so I'm focusing on a bunch of other projects for now (got lots of storyteller stuff to do), but I'm keeping an eye on it, and will be ready when the time comes.
  5. There she was, finally coming out of her wretched little dome. About damn time! The moment Elenwen appeared, Osa twisted her own body counterclockwise, drawing her left arm back while raising her right in front of her, unleashing two forms of magic at once to fuck with both her enemy's spells and the enemy herself. The first spell was passive, requiring little attention on Osa's part other than giving the 'go' signal. The biomass she'd built up in her right arm exploded outwards, expanding and hardening around the limb to form a massive, rounded shape. Her right hand and forearm had been buried in a bulging mass of exoskeleton, and Elenwen's 'scissors' would suddenly find a 'rock' between them and their target. Bony blade met bony shell and sliced into it, but Osa herself was safe for the moment. The second magic she'd unleashed was one that required a little egging as it surged forth towards Elenwen in the form of a fast-moving surge of black smoke, homing in on her location. The scissors had cut through a sizeable portion of the net, and a moment's struggle would likely have been enough to shrug it off- but a moment was all the aura blast needed to reach its target. All the darkness was just for effect, really, it wouldn't hurt anyone. Not directly, at least. It could, however, yank damn hard, and as soon as it touched Elenwen it would pull her straight towards the sharp points of Osa's extended nails, which had been exposed as she pulled her left arm back. No convenient shield to stop the fivefold impalement this time! Meanwhile, the bone scissors had actually made some progress against Osa's exoskeletal club-hand. Tough as it was, she hadn't put as much power into it as Elenwen had into her attack, and the blades were slowly but surely cleaving through it towards her arm. Or were they? Had she not been concentrating on murdering the fuck out of Elenwen and keeping herself alive, Osa might have laughed. Of all the things that her enemy could attack her with, she'd chosen bone. Against a biomancer. The blades were sinking through her armor, to be sure, but for every inch they moved they'd become a little less independent, a little more part of her. She already had plenty of osteoclasts within her body, and it cost her little to replicate them at terrifying rates around the bone scissors, breaking the weapons down with supernatural efficiency. The white blades might have been deadly, but they were were biomass, the very foundation of Osa's magic, and this crazy bitch had just fed them to her. Her eyes narrowed, and a terrifying grimace split her jaw and nose, extending wider than should have been possible. "Thanks for that." Already, the bone scissors were retracting into her arm, merging with the rest of her flesh, and now all of it- club, blades, even the meat that had comprised her arm in the first place -was shifting, squirming, moving up towards her shoulder. Whether or not Elenwen had been stabbed five times by Osa's first counterattack, this next one was gonna be a doozy.
  6. As Vyne and Squagison started to voice their plan, Moreau went pale, his eyes going wider and wider with every word. They were insane. They had to be completely insane. All this about climbing around on rooftops and jumping onto trains, didn't they know a thing about proper caution? At this rate they'd die before they even left the city! He corrected himself. They wouldn't die, since they were the kind of people who spent their lives doing crazy things like fighting dragons and dodging bullets. He'd even seen the elf backflip forwards just now- he hadn't even known that was possible! Someone like him, however, was absolutely screwed. He'd never performed anything close to the kind of acrobatics they were talking about. On the other hand, he'd never fired a gun at another person before today, and now he had. He'd also never embarked on a quest for legendary treasures before today, and look at him now! If he was going to stand any chance of surviving this whole endeavor, he'd need to change, and that started now. The elf's dismissive tone at the word humans only strengthened Moreau's resolve: he'd show that scoundrel what he was capable of. Narrowing his eyes and raising his chin a little, he cut in on their conversation. "I'll do it." He glanced at Squagison. "Thanks for your offer, but I think I can handle a bit of legwork." Nodding, more to himself than to them, he turned and began striding down the street in the direction Vyne had indicated. "We don't have time to waste standing around. If there's any other details I need to know, we can cover them as we move." Pride hadn't been the only reason he'd agreed to the crazy plan with the trains. Those thugs who'd been after him earlier had fled a few minutes back, but they'd be returning soon enough, and they wouldn't be alone. He needed to get out of the city as fast as possible, or his enemies would find his trail. They might not have the map, but if they could track him down they wouldn't need it.
  7. TBH I don't mind people tossing Moreau around a bit in physical combat, since he's kind of weak in that aspect anyways. He's no good at fighting so I don't mind too much if people run rings around him in their posts (so long as you don't do anything extreme like killing him without giving me a chance to reply). That said, I will be introducing some more competent and dangerous characters as we go along. I'd advise against taking them lightly.
  8. The knife didn't immediately leave Moreau's throat, and now the warrior with the chainsaws was questioning him too. On one hand, he didn't need to answer that, since Squagison didn't have a blade about to cut him open, but knowing that it was probably best to get on the guy's good side, he answered anyway. "My name's Moreau, Moreau Paxton. I'm just a scholar, an academic- I stumbled upon the map while searching for texts on ancient history. It was a while before I found out what it really was, what it was really worth, and someone else must have figured it out before me, since..." He trailed off. "Well, scholars don't usually end up on the run." Talking helped keep him calm, which proved useful, since as it turned out the thief wasn't going to kill him after all. Greed had won out, as Moreau had suspected it would. He let out a long breath of relief, not bothering to pick up the gun, and caught the wallet at it was thrown to him, glaring coldly but silently at Vyne. He didn't like the man, but at least traveling with that villain ought to keep the... others off his back. After a moment of thought, he held up one finger. "The map shows a cave system, a very specific cave system. To get there, we'll need to leave the city and head south, and the fastest way to do that is by train." He glanced over at Vyne. "You know the streets around this area, right? There should be a station not too far from here, if we head there quickly we can get out of Telvarnu and into the countryside- and from there I know where to find the caves. No one should be able to follow us once we're down there." He frowned. "Hopefully." A small but skilled group, and a way forwards. He was still probably going to die, knowing his luck, but at least his chances were looking a little brighter now.
  9. Moreau froze, gun still in hand, staring down at the blade pressed against his throat. Damn it, he hadn't even seen the guy move. The armored fellow with the green hair still seemed to be on his side, but it was unlikely he'd be able to move fast enough to stop Vyne if the thief decided to cut Moreau's neck open. Only option now was to talk. Talk, and hope that the elf would see reason. He took a breath, throat pressing against the blade as he gulped it down, and spoke as slowly and calmly as he could manage. "Because what's in the bag is useless to you without me. You see a map, but you don't know what it's of, maybe don't even know how to read it." He hadn't wanted to tell the truth, but he was a terrible liar and had little choice but to spit it out. "It leads to treasure. Ancient, powerful treasure, the kind they write legends about. On its own, that map's just a useless piece of paper, but with me to show you the way, and a good band of warriors at our side... we could make history. So if you want a quick buck, I'll buy it back from you for cash. If that's not enough, then you'll need me to reach the bigger prize." He was sweating a little, still breathing fast, but a faint hint of confidence had returned to his eyes. "Good enough? You want anything out of this, leaving me alive's your best bet."
  10. Traveling in a rough arrowhead formation on powerful steeds armored with gleaming metal plate, the riders of the Border Patrol both looked like a knife and moved like one, a razor-sharp blade of mounted figures slicing straight across the plains. Form matching function. Their duty was to cut off this land from the outside world, with all the cold efficiency of the Vakar blades they carried at their sides. A hard and brutal metal, the only thing that could penetrate the carapace of a Suujali- and its wielders had adapted in kind, becoming tough and sharp as their weapons over years in the Wastelands. Such was life here: you grew strong or you died. For the first few miles they were guided in part by a scrying scout, who regularly confirmed they were on track and informed them with some trepidation that even more suspicious persons had shown up. The news was concerning, but there was little to be done, now. The Patrol was already on its way, and in the unlikely event that seven proved insufficient, they just have to make sure they lived long enough to call reinforcements. The awareness of this risk was there, ever-present, but the seven stayed relatively relaxed even as they spurred their mounts forwards- each one among them had been serving at least two years. After a few times staring death in the face, you got used to it. After covering some ground they sighted the outline of a carriage, and then small figures nearby. Looked like three gathered close together, possibly more in or behind the carriage or hidden in the surrounding areas. The riders slowed, their gallop gradually becoming a canter which in turn became a walk, the wide dust cloud in their wake soon fading into the breeze as they approached within speaking distance. Surprisingly, only one of the assembled strangers had come forth to meet them, a tall and fair-skinned young man. Presumably he'd be speaking for the others. The riders stopped, quiet and still, though they remained a little wary, some glancing left and right as if watching for an ambush. The seven shared the same insignias on their dark uniforms, but not all of them were dressed quite the same. Two wore armor, their faces covered by smooth visors. A third was dressed lightly, bearing no helmet or visible weapons at all, and flashed a cheerful smile at Koji. Next to her was a far more dour-looking man with a small scar running through his right eyebrow, also armored but with his visor up. Flanking the lot of them on either side were two soldiers in plain uniform, riding larger and more heavily-plated horses that were also laden down with bags of equipment and supplies. Most notable, however, was the woman at their head. Captain Alkaev, with her ginger hair and wide-brimmed hat and bright eyes that never seemed to blink, with a long-barreled rifle slung across her back and twin pistols holstered at her belt. As they came to a stop, she dismounted in a single fluid movement, coming down hard on her boots and striding forwards until she was about mid-way between her subordinates and the apparent ambassador of these foreigners. Looking him dead in the eye, she introduced herself, a hoarse and broken voice rasping out from thin, dry lips. "Captain Alkaev, Wasteland Border Patrol." She paused, for just a second. "Sir, I am obliged to inform you that this land up ahead of you is off-limits, by order of Terrenus military forces and by extension Odin Haze. Nothing out there for you either, 'cept death and dust." Her arms folded in front of her, as if to reaffirm the statement. "If you'll tell us where you're going, we can show you maps of the way around- but nobody comes through. Not 'less you got military papers." Her voice was weak in one sense, struggling wounded out of her throat, but beneath its uneven tones was a will as unyielding as diamond. This was not a woman who could be bribed or coerced, it would appear.
  11. closed

    Though hardly the swiftest mode of transportation, Jie and its army of his skittering bugs gently pushed Red most of the way towards the extraction point unimpeded. OXY's enemies were thankfully occupied for the moment, and the rank-and-file citizens and soldiers of Predator's Keep were already evacuating or retreating to safer areas, leaving the strange procession free to carry on their merry way, interrupted only by the arrival of Boots. The bugs and birds didn't slow down or seem to notice her at first, though she wouldn't have much trouble keeping up. After a moment, however, a sparrow broke away from the main flock, and landed on Boots' shoulder. It chirped once. Hello. Nestled among the feathers on its back was a tiny, tiny amphibian, barely longer than the woman's little finger. Emerald green, with six limbs and a curling tail, and looking up at her with wide, black eyes set in a round and almost humanoid head that nodded towards her, moving just a millimeter up and then down. You made it out alive. Very well done. Only a few moments afterwards, they arrived on the extraction point itself, the bugs slowly halting and the rest of the birds landing on buildings nearby, as Jie sent out telepathic signals announcing its arrival. The response came only seconds, later, in the form of a sudden stream of wind, strong and continuous yet utterly silent. The air shimmered, and all of a sudden a massive flying vessel could be seen descending mere meters away, turning off its stealth systems to take on passengers. It couldn't stay long, however: if anyone else wanted to take this ride out of town, they'd need to get in position soon, or find another means of escape. The aircraft wasted no time in deploying a ramp, the structure sliding out of its side and loudly scraping against the ground as a door opened in the vessel itself, just large enough to fit Red's sphere through. The assembled bugs gathered for one last powerful push, and the birds (other than the sparrow on Boots' shoulder) took to the air and butted their heads against the ball, helping it roll forwards. This process might be a little uncomfortable for red, since the sphere was now spinning with her inside rather than simply being carried, but they were short on time, and Jie couldn't fuss too much over a woman who was probably going to be tortured soon anyway. Red and her prison would be swiftly rolled onto the OXY carrier, which held its doors open just a moment more, long enough for Jie's gathered birds and bugs to fly and crawl away and for Boots, along with any other operatives or RAPTRs moving out with them, to climb on board and grab a handhold before the aircraft took off, quietly ascending and reactivating cloaking devices to mask it from sight. A few seconds of climbing and it was flying high over the city, heading towards the outskirts. In the air, target is with us and safely imprisoned. A brief pause, then another message, to any OXY operatives still on the ground. I cannot protect you from up here. I am sorry.
  12. He didn't. His post ended with the words " He backflipped forwards off of the ledge, hurling three kunai in a fan pattern, which shot through the air dangerously towards Mr. Chainsaw." He came down from the ledge and threw knives, but did not run away. Furthermore, my character interrupted him by threatening him with a gun before he could run, if he was even going to do that. I'm not sure whether Vyne's player would have him run away or not with a gun pointed at him, but I think we should let Vyne's player decide what Vyne does before we go chasing him into random forests.
  13. Done. IDK about the combat since that was all those two and that's not really my business, but if you have any general plot questions feel free to ask!
  14. The bag was ripped away from Moreau so quickly he barely had time to react. He felt a pull at his bag and yelped, ducking away to try and escape this new attacker. Unfortunately for him, this only made it easier to pull his treasure off him, and he could only look up in shock to see a cloaked figure running away with the property he'd fought so hard to protect. He fired once at the fleeing thief, but missed the shot wildly, and could only give chase, gesturing to the two who had helped him just before. "Please- we can't let him get away!" He still didn't trust them, but even if they had only come for the map, they probably wouldn't want to see it stolen away either. Moreau, who wasn't particularly athletic and had just been chased across half a city, didn't stand much chance of catching up with the fleeing Vyne, and Gogito stayed behind, apparently not interested in a chase. Squagison, however, was both willing to make the chase and fast enough to keep up. The armored man raced ahead, catching up with the thief a couple blocks down and confronting him there. Moreau wasn't close enough to see exactly what they were doing, but he took the opportunity to regain some ground, catching up on them slowly and steadily while they were locked in combat. By the time he was close enough to tell what was going on, however, the fight had temporarily stopped, and devolved into a rather prolonged shouting match- the cloaked thief was crouched on a ledge up above, seemingly yelling down at the silent warrior, who was trying to communicate using some kind of sign language. Now it made sense why he hasn't spoken earlier, at least. Moreau didn't call out immediately, still huffing for breath after all the running, but he was able to make out the general details of the conversation, both in sign language and out, and he gleaned two important facts from the exchange: the armored man was helping for moral reasons, at least ostensibly, and the cloaked one didn't know the significance of the map. Assuming the two strange men weren't lying it meant that neither was working for Moreau's enemies. Vyne didn't keep up the conversation for long, quickly flipping off his perch and flinging a trio of razor-sharp blades at Squagison. As soon as he landed, however, a gunshot rang out, and a bullet pinged off the ground between the thief's feet. Moreau was aiming the gun at him- and this time, his hands were steady. The first shot had been a warning, but if the thief tried to run away again, he wouldn't miss. The fellow was clearly skilled, and the threat of a gun might not be enough to stop him- but hopefully it would make him hesitate, if only for a moment. "Stop!" Moreau yelled at him, desperate now. "Listen- if it's money you want, I'll pay you! Just... don't take that map. You don't know how dangerous that thing can be, in the wrong hands." He couldn't tell if Squagison had been hurt by the knives, but the armored man seemed to be distracted, and Moreau could only hope that Vyne would listen to the offer, and the warning.