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  • Birthday 03/25/1998

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    A time when cars are flying in the sky; a place where robots talk like you and I.
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  1. Here’s to the ones who dream - clink your glasses and drink up. Legend accepts the man’s handshake and the offer of scotch with a roughshod grin. “I suspected that what the bread was for. I wouldn’t worry about the fool too much. Master though he may be…” The man chuckles and coughs delicately into a sleeve. “Well, I won’t speak ill of my source of employment. The powerful are all airheads and artisans alike, aren’t they?” “Legend. My last name’s irrelevant, and the first is fake as well.” It takes a charlatan to know a charlatan, for the best use the same tricks in the same trade. His behavior, his curious knowledge, and the weapons that were concealed to the public, yet bulged to those with expertise – Legend did not see the point in hiding anything to one who would, in the end, know everything. At least, if he were in the man’s position, that would be the logical course of action – the moment the party adjourned, to case and canvass the whole of the powers that gathered within. “I’ll assume the same for you, and we can go on our merry ways, yes?” He plucks the scotch from Malik’s hands with a something of a salute, eyes crinkling at the corners. There is very active acknowledgement that hung in the air between them, the unspoken language of men who were all too literate in body language. There was no need to speak – the straightening of the back, the disarming expression on the face – every contour of the eyes and curl of the mouth spoke to Malik. We know nothing about each other except the most intimate bits of ourselves – the pride and schemes and lies that layer across our hearts. “But this is ill-suited conversation for so-called servants, no?” The only servitude that binds this man is one motivated by ulterior factors. Some people simply did not serve. Without looking at the other waiter, he takes a swig of the scotch and slips the remainder of it into a pocket, which accepts it without so much as a bulge. “Though I am here on true servitude, it would be good to maintain decorum regardless.” And the two parted ways as quickly as they met, and as abruptly. It didn’t concern the chef – if the man was important, they would meet again. Whether they would meet as enemies was, too, none of his concern. +~+ Capri’s metabolism had recovered all too quickly, but by the time his mind had redirected resources towards conscious perception rather than unconscious regulation of behavior, Rin had returned – much to his chagrin, and this showed in his expression as he stared down the table towards the only other end seat. Although it was faraway, it was very much obstrusive, drawing as much attention as it evaded. A child in the corner, an elephant in the room, a blot in the shadows. Once you’d noticed, you’d never unsee it. The Mongrel was the shadow that hung over all of them, unseen. Capri poked at his salad, occasionally biting down on a crisp piece of lettuce as the chatter went on; a certain “Kiku and Seiji,” regents of some faraway land beneath the floating masses of Athentha, were now airing their generous demands and exchanges. The Seed scowled as he prodded a piece of chicken with his fork. Foreign presence in Athentha was undesirable at the least, and deleterious at the worst. Before they unveiled the islands to the other continents, they had to have some great power at hand with which to negotiate, or kill trying. There was too much imbalance in the arcana of Athentha – so many loose ends to tie off, such a lack of unity across the land. “…assistance to you and your Lyonesse.” “Oh?” The Seed perked up at this, and rose straight in his chair, steepling his fingers to address. “Your Lyonesse, Lord Raven? You don’t mean to say that you have decided to accept the charge after all?” “With, I presume, the Princess’s blessing?” He drawls as an afterthought, shooting another glance at Rin. “If indeed you’ve taken the charge of taking on the mantle of Lyonesse, may I ask you to consider once again my offer of the Seeds’ formidable logistical and support capability for establishing the city? Our organization is quite adept at transitions of power - and we may well be able to pacify the chaos of the city far better than yourself, knowing nothing of these lands. Information is what we have."
  2. This does beg the idea, though - especially given that we have many villains, and many magical girls, what kind of thread are we shooting for, and would it be possible for each villain to lead their own thread? Or something similar in that we have different 'episodes' dealing with different problems? I agree that at the moment, we have a really unwieldy amount of people for a certain plot. If we split things, though...
  3. I mean, I just posted. Sooo....
  4. WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE A CONTRACT? This is the sort of question that one expects from the tight, greedy lips of a banker or the loose ones of a merchant, but Hana was – as she held herself to be – an educated individual. She’d read enough Goethe to know how this one ended; her fingers grasped tightly at her pajamas, teal-and-black striped with panda patterning, and there was a thin film of exhilarated sweat upon her palms that she was wiping off constantly on her pant legs. Two furrowed yellow eyes stared at the altogether Faustian creature that perched like a cat upon the foot of her bed. The creature stared back equally as intensely, and perhaps it wondered whether it had something caught within its teeth. It was decidedly not a banker, and if the salesmen had duped cats into selling stock contracts and equity in young girls’ rooms at midnight, well, there were greater problems afoot in society than the nature of the product. So she concluded that it must be the devil, which was – in her limited experience as a girl of 14 – the only viable third option. Hana chewed her lip and glanced at the lace-lined window, which was across the room from her bed and, more importantly, locked. The moon was a waning crescent, which meant that lunacy was on the decline. “Ah, sorry,” she said mechanically, and adjusted her position on her soft green sheets before smiling sweetly at the creature. “Could you repeat that?” Whatever the strangeness of this situation was, it was nothing that the girl could resolve with her own power. The thought of calling the police proposed itself as a good idea. Her mind stopped there and gave it some serious thought before dismissing it. Her body meanwhile knelt atop her bed and pinned the self-dubbed “Yomigane, Goddess of Contracts” with a wary glare. The animal dipped its chin and cleared its throat, although Hana couldn’t see the indent of a mouth present anywhere on its face. It was smooth and white and furry, save for two beady, unblinking eyes and a button nose which occasionally wiggled, as if to make up for the lack of activity elsewhere. Her gaze came to land on this nose, and it hypnotized her as it wiggled with Yomigane’s every word. “Of course, of course. I am Yomigane, Goddess of Contracts, and you, Koshousou Hana, first and only daughter of the Koshousou family, are to be one of my Hososhi – a Yokai hunter. Yokai, as I just explained, are a supernatural phenomenon currently plaguing our nation of Weland…” “I see,” she mumbled as the goddess ran her lack-of-mouth on her long-winded ramble complete with subclauses and caveats, and when Yomigane made mention of the Koshousou line her thoughts began to wander towards her parents. Her father was an accountant, a satellite member of the well-off Koshousou lineage, and he’d always told her to avoid signing things she couldn’t read or understand. The catlike creature was solidly filed under that category, alongside the EULAs of her otome games and anything written in Sanskrit. Hana wondered if he would’ve been able to make sense of Yomigane’s terms and conditions. Her mother was no-nonsense woman of an older, classier age who wore yukata on a daily basis and, much to Otou-san’s chagrin, practiced with her katana every morning at daybreak. Oka-san would not have condoned her daughter speaking with imaginary friends, which is what Hana had settled on as explanation. She would call it a hallucination, and perhaps it would be her imaginary pet. A few more moments were dedicated to imagining the fun they would have, Yomigane and her. The girl did not have many friends, and while this did not bother her, she was occasionally lonely and very often bored. Life was a tedious thing, and this was the worst sort of thing, in Hana’s opinion, that life could be. “…and in return for these services, I will grant you a single wish.” The animal finished shortly, but the girl’s eyes had already glazed over with introspection, looking deeply into the abyss of the self and slowly falling more and more in a pit of wallowing. It was this last word that startled her from her reverie. “H-hai? Did you say -” “Hello? Koshousou-san? Your answer, please.” “Yes, of course.” Wish. Her heart lifted there, not because she truly expected the granting of wishes or the embodiment of miracles; nor did she believe in hope, nor did she hope to even believe. It was merely because she considered herself an educated individual – a superior thought process, an understanding of the underlying causes of truth and fiction, pains and pleasures; a someone who had spent a great deal of time thinking about that hypothetical wish, and a someone who took great satisfaction in telling others this wish in hopes that they, too, would understand as she did how precisely and exactly dull life was. In certain times of self-awareness, she would wish for friends instead. This was not one of those times. “You know, Goddess-san,” she started, stretching her legs out to dangle off the side of her bed. Her toes barely brushed the floor. “Don’t you think that life’s awful boring sometimes?” The creature cocked its head. Perhaps it wondered what the hell kind of tangent the girl had wandered off to in her mind. “No.” Hana hmph’d at that. “That’s what I’m always thinking about. Everyday life, y’know. It’s so…plain.” Mainichi, mainichi, the same thing. School, studies, my dad wants me to work for the family’s business…” “You are quite a fortunate individual.” “Yeah, yeah, and ungrateful too, right?” The girl crossed arms and looked away, irritated. That was her own response – only, Yomigane had beaten her to it. “But it doesn’t matter one bit. Selfish people will be selfish, and I’ll be me forever and ever.” “Koshousou-san?” Hana threw herself back onto the bed with a plomph, and stretched a hand above her, watching the fingers cut in two by the moonlight. It smelled of home in her room, the thin, warmth of a place lived in, and intending on staying that way for a long while. “If I had one wish, you know, it’d be for everything fall apart. Throw the world up, break something. To close my eyes one day, and wake up somewhere new and crazy.” Didn’t we all? Deep in our hearts, deeper even than that – deepest within the world, there was the dynamo of change that pumped through the mantle and shaped the face of the world: tectonic motion on the scale of continents, or simple spontaneity in the minds of children. Something strange and interesting, full of newness, was what nature tended towards, what she herself desired. “…Wish has been recorded. Granting.” Hana turned over, noticing nothing of the glow that radiated from Yomigane’s fur, and closed her eyes, seeing nothing of the light that washed in the interior of her bedroom. She was thrust into slumber, soporific magics and divine interventions the furthest thing and yet the closest to her mind, and dreamt of on last night spent in this place that she reluctantly called home. The scent of rice, the hot warmth of steamed fish, and the sound of a laughter that would never be; a smile curled across her face as the glowing goddess of contracts nuzzled between her arms and they both vanished.
  5. Question - for the sake of thoroughness. What kinds of Yokai are there? You've already revealed the mindless, brainless kind of grunt yokai, but will they all be wild beasts? Will there be human-level intelligence yokai? (Right now I'm not sure whether Robbie and Puranetto are to be Yokai antagonists, or third-party antagonists, for example). In-betweeners? What about massively strong yokai a la the Witches of Madoka? And on top of all of this, do we have the power to make different kinds as we see fit, or is there a standardization you have in mind?
  6. EM N. FUREIC +VS+ DOVE As Em walked into the arena, he quickly let his eyes roam around, looking for anything he could use to his advantage or anything his opponent could use to his or her advantage. Odd pillars, square canals, several areas with plenty of space. Interesting choice of arenas. Plenty of things he could take advantage of, plenty of things that he couldn't. Standing at a low five feet four inches, his brown eyes would attempt to lock with his opponent's as he checked his equipment to make sure everything was structurally sound. Chain mail chestplate and leather undershirt, check. Leather gloves, check. Iron plate leggings, check. Lightweight shoes, check. And as Em finished his equipment check, making sure to stretch out all of his muscles, he would unsheath from his right side a steel dagger of purest white, and using his right hand he quickly double-checked a metal case strapped to the side of his right leg that had several small throwing knives inside. "I suppose that I am ready for this match," Em uttered in a slow drawl, brushing his long black hair away from his face, and eyeing down his opponent. And from Em's back, two leathery blood-red wings slowly unfurled themselves to their fullest size behind Em as he slid his right foot back into a fighting stance, settling his weight down, bending his knees, squaring his shoulders to his body, ready to spring like a snake at any time. Dove – ah, she disliked fighting. She was of the class that twisted lives and rolled fortunes into tragedies between her fingers with pen. Dictators and kings, gods and demons – that breed that liked to sit back and spin at Fate’s loom and set the threads aflame when the fancy struck them. Chairs were a more familiar sensation to her back than the rigidity of a combat stance. Wouldn’t that be nice? Plush, red leather, neat little armrests for neat little arms that struck with greater force than any armament ever could. One man sentences another to death with the stroke of an axe, but a stroke of the pen was all Dove needed to sentence thousands. Krrrtch. Make that tens of thousands, don’t forget to carry the zeroes. Armchairs were so much more efficient than electric ones; she made those her throne of choice. And yet here we were, and yet here she was, and she looked positively pleased with the circumstance – pleased as punch, the soft thud of a fist into the soft flesh of a face. Correction: she was the face. Judge, jury, executioner. “It’s a role that’s overplayed, don’t you think?” This, she said to the young man standing on the other side of the bridge. Pillars of stone and moats of murky water fell away to either side, though they were shallow enough; the Tactician didn’t expect to have to move from her current position. If the boy was going to have her go to the trouble of killing him, the smallest courtesy would be to deliver his death to her feet. Even the cheapest motels had breakfast-in-bed. Dove furrowed her brows. Or was it bed-and-breakfast? Did it matter? Yes. Likely more than the boy before me, at least. Lives were ephemeral – motels were forever. Briefly, she made a mental note to consider the thought later. For now… Dove uncorked the bottle of rum she’d pulled from the guards, and took a deep drink as they stood there and watched each other breathe – admittedly not the most exciting pastime. Now he could watch her drink a toast to his memory, at least. The liquid swirled about the inside of her mouth as she finished the bottle, and the electrons of the alcohol whirled and twisted in excitement. A battery of calculations ran through her mind, unraveling the mystery of the world around her – and a thin smile drew itself across her mouth. “Ah. So it’s you. Killidia. In a new body, to boot – some poor young dear named Em?” She remembered the dragon that Aria had torn nearly to pieces some months ago, the vessel for some nameless, foul God that was beyond ugly. Her grin widened a bit, and her eyes seemed to take on some dreamy quality that nobody alive in the present era had ever seen. “Well, irrelevant.” “Do I get the pleasure of slaying a god now?” “My, my, I don’t think my heart is quite ready for an ego of that size.” Her scarf glowed a pale red, and slowly sank into the flesh of her collarbone, vanishing from sight. “But I’ll make an exception just for you, darling.” With a wink, the lich loosed all inhibition, all elegance, and crudely tossed the bottle behind her, which shattered upon the stone walls. The crack of glass was silent, however, in the electric aura of power – or hubris, maybe – that hovered between the two. With a careless brush of her hand, throwing careless locks of hair behind her shoulder, she strolled down the bridge with a smile as the tension mounted within her body. Em was doing fine until this lady - Dove, she was called? - mentioned Killidia. At the mention of the name of his mortal enemy, both the fragment of Killidia's soul inside of Em and Em himself perked up with interest. Em was interested in looking for a fragment to kill; the fragment inside looked for a way to gain power. But the choices had been made, and now Em was fully committed to getting this woman to reveal how she knew about the one who called himself God. "I want to know how you know about Killidia, but that can wait for later. For now, this match is what's important," Em declared as he with his empty right hand began to gather magical energies for a wind attack, being careful to refrain from making the effort too obvious. But wait. Em thought about what the lady had said, and picked up on an oddity. She had said that Killidia was in a new body. A new body. She didn't know about that? Interesting. It appeared as though Em had a trump card. But it looked like Em had his hands full. Time to make the first move. Em began to backpedal into the leftmost corner from him, making sure to keep a safe distance between him and Dove. As she walked, the five-million odd strands of soul that made up her scarf dissolved inside her, suffusing throughout her veins – the false flesh was flush with spirit and silk. Dove mused at this state of affairs as she strut across the bridge, an illusory wind billowing at the hems of her dress. Was she not human? This was a soul that was one with a body, false though it may be. It hid beneath skin, it saw through eyes; a pink tongue darted out to run across the side of her mouth. All was full of purpose, brimming with vivacity. She could live, she could love, she could laugh. In fact, Dove was on the very cusp of it now, as Em scurried into his corner, playing mouse to her cat, bearing the fragment of some foreign darkness in his heart that Dove so wished to add to her achievements. So difficult was it to keep the dopamine from overwhelming her mouth, as two eyes watched the numbers run and Killidia’s coincidence became more and more transparent. A chuckle spilled from between tightly drawn lips. “But damn! What crazy odds, wouldn’t you agree? How…absurdly astronomical, to think that we’d meet again as enemies.” “Are you perhaps Avrae’s lovely little brothe – no?” The records of history bowed to her will, and supplied the answer before the question had been asked. “The kid sibling of a being named Ophelia. Another one of Killidia’s avatars.” Dove drew up her hands, and kept moving forward, backing the boy further and further into his corner. The threads in her right arm began to twist and imprint upon the bones, structuring themselves into a counterspell architecture – abras to undo the kadabras, and kazams to reverse the ala’s. Em did not understand that he faced something greater than himself. Time was his enemy, and every second that passed of inaction nurtured victory within her bosom. Dove was a statistician. Future events clarified as she strolled ever closer to them; every free second given her was a second spent on deriving the sequence of events in the immediate future. Already, Em’s delay of thirty seconds gave her exact insight into the structure of the wind spell that he was squirrelling away in his right hand. Events after this key point were unclear. She did not need foreknowledge to capitalize on one mistake, however. And if the young boy continued to delay, there would be many, many more to come. ”I want to know how you know about Killidia.” “Ah. My daughter beat one of your other fragments until he was about ready to die.” A small lie, but not too far from the truth. Dove tilted her head to one side and smiled sweetly, and her right hand in turn began to ready a payload of soul to tear through the boy’s stomach. She knew Killidia’s tricks with Avrae. There was a critical portion in that flesh – a single bit of vital matter that the lich was bound to find, so long as she kept ripping him in two, and in two, and again until nothing was left but the echoes of pain and memories of a demon. “Like rabbits, eh? How many of you are there, Killy? Feel free to subtract one from that count if you wish.” Avrae. The thief. Interesting. She indeed knew. But for a fragment to be beaten? That meant there were indeed people out there who could slay Killidia. At full strength, though, the notion of killing Killidia was up in the air. But fragments? It made Em happy that there were indeed people who could kill the one who had stolen so much from him. He knew Killidia wouldn't let him go down without a fight, however. Plus, Ophelia would be pissed off if he died. So Em couldn't die. "How many of us are there? Besides the thief and the two half-dragons, there's the sword guy, the depressed one, and the psychologist. Those are the ones that I know about," Em replied, before flicking his right hand unleashing the wind blast he had stored up. With the attention he had given to the blast, the wind would twist and shape itself. Within the space of a square with sides half a foot in length, Em manipulated the wind into three different blades forming an equilateral triangle with a circular wind blade containing the triangle. About half a second after releasing the wind blow, Em would spring towards Dove, aiming for a quick horizonal knife slash to Dove's torso with his left hand. Dove enjoyed multitasking, and it seemed Em was a likeminded spirit, as they traded words over the rapidly dwindling space separating their blades from each other’s hearts. “Pleasant. Quite an awful lot of kids you’ve got running around.” “Now if you’d give me names, that’d be just lovely.” With names, Dove would be able to divine everything – locations, histories, combat patterns that were previously opaque to her. With that, her side project of making Killidia squirm would be off to a handsome start. Would Avrae grow stronger as the remaining fragments were eliminated? Would the demon himself come to fruition in the dragon’s body, then, should he assimilate all that he had lost? What a game, Dove chuckled to herself. Details could be left for later. For now – dismantling Em would do, although something deep within the reaches of the heart of the lich felt warmth at his complacency. The loyal and obedient were the closest lovers of the tyrant; Em was the sort of person she appreciated. Or was it something else entirely that drove his answer? Her eyes closed in anticipation of the breeze, and her arm flicked upwards as the wind blades were launched at her exactly on schedule. With a snap of the fingers, Em’s wind spell met its precise opposite in the counterspell that she’d stored in the forearm, vanishing in a rush of air colliding with air. When she opened her eyes, Em was in the midst of a vicious slash with that beautiful blade of his. And the lich threw open her arms in open embrace, letting the dagger sink deeply into her chest as her eyes sparkled with a sardonic kind of affection. When his arm and the remainder of his body came into range, her right arm whipped out in a punch at dizzying speed, arcing around and slamming into the side of his face. Upon impact, its payload of threads – hardened like steel into a hundred slim red fletchettes – exploded into the side of his skull with the force of a shotgun blast. As she recalled, Avrae kept the important bits in the brain. Let’s see if this young lad is the same. “Deepest apologies. Just like you, Killidia, I will not die so easily.” The blow to the side of Em's head didn't just rock his balance, it sent him flying to the other side of the room, a trail of blood following him, as he was caught completely off guard by the blow. Landing hard on the other side of the room, Em's body, against the will of his disoriented and partially lobotomized brain, struggled back up to its feet, the soul of Killidia taking over, as the demonic voice whispered out: "Useless." Em's body, now down one dagger, flicked both of his hands up into the air, his left hand channeling magic. But not any magic. Blood magic. The blood on the ground and on his face began to become imbued with a magical aura, as Killidia poured energy into the blood coursing through his own veins and the ones outside. His left hand touched Em's wound, and with the blood painted a symbol on the wall; the sign magic that Killidia was sure Dove was familiar with. The first symbol he wrote read BLINK and the second symbol read THREE. As he wrote the symbols and imbued them with energy, the blood on the ground lifted into the air, and coalesced into a thousand needles that Killidia launched both at Dove and at the area just behind her, taking great care to make sure that the blood splatters would form another symbol on the wall behind Dove, this one reading LOCK. Some of the blood would begin to trickle into the canals in the arena, allowing Killidia to begin to pour magical energies into attempting to control all of the water in the canals. "But if you won't die, this may be interesting," Killidia would express as he made Em's almost unconscious and definitely dazed body smile in a wicked, twisting smile that fit poorly on the seventeen year old's face, needles sticking out of both sides of his head. For the demon Killidia hadn't been entirely merciful to Em. By using the black ooze that constituted his body, Killidia had attempted to redirect or absorb the force of most of the needles shot into Em's head. The demon had attempted to do this by using the physical black ooze to push the needles so that the lobotomy of Em's brain wasn't immediately fatal. After that, the demon had expended a veritable amount of its own energy to make sure Em wouldn't die; for that would result in his death also. As for the attempts to block the blast, that did not go well. At this point, Killidia was functioning both as a way to repair Avrae's lobotomized brain and attempting to keep fighting. But it could only last so long. Maybe that's why Killidia's attack was weak by even human standards. Maybe that why Killidia was attempting to write "Omega Heal" on the wall in addition to the other two symbols. Maybe that's why even Killidia was having such a tough time holding Em's rapidly fading body upright. Maybe that's why Killidia seemed almost desperate. “Well. Familiar face, hm?” The color in his eyes spoke to a change in management, and an accompanying change in temperament. Dove shook her wrists out with an unconcerned glance towards the body against the corner, rubbing the quickly reforming knuckles of her right hand as if they were sore. It was a jest, she swears. Dove knew nothing of pain. The light smile that plays about her lips lends proof to this promise. When the fletchettes burst from her hands, they’d torn most of the illusion away and left thin, shining trails of ethereal thread behind them – a network that connected the mass of soul that lay interwoven with the bones of her true body, and the threaded spikes that were embedded around the edges of Em’s skull. Killidia had deflected the majority of them, it seemed, as the threads clustered thickest in the non-lethal areas of the mind. “That’s a new trick, but not much of one. I was hoping you could surprise me.” Dove’s shoulders rose in resignation, as if to say - c’est la vie. The statistician had grown accustomed to a life without surprises. Adaptation only did so much to assuage boredom, however. It did even less than that. Em’s attempted blood magic needed nothing of derivation. A child might have watched the slow rise of the droplets and expected as much – another web of threads erupted from her hands, curling and whipping together in a maelstrom of silk, until they’d formed the skeleton of massive kite shield to intercept the storm of blood that hurled itself at her. The threads of the shield were suffused with pyromania; as the blood thundered into it, the weak but nonetheless scorching flames would evaporate or outright disintegrate the blood into mere fragments of rust and iron. A few thicker needles came through the wall of flame; some whizzed past her hair, parting a gentle gap in the illusion in their wake; others flicked through her body, nicking the skeleton and cutting through a handful of threads. It was these latter effects that made Dove wince, feeling the damage to the bone and the soul thrumming through her being. It was not pain, but mere discomfort, though the effects were the same: to alert her of what could potentially kill. The dagger that Em had left in her chest had long since slipped through the gaps and the dust of the illusion, clattering on the ground. The blood that made it through the shield would splatter on the wall as intended, but the majority was reduced to ash such that there would be very little ink with which Em was left to complete his sigils. Of course, the signs that were already present upon the field were a concern – or would have been, if the battle were not already over. The deflection of her fletchettes only delayed the inevitable. They were, after all, magic conduits possessed of her own soul. At any distance, this meant that they lie within her domain. Dove lifted her right hand with a bit of flourish and finality – she sighed and cast away the words that had hovered on her lips, deciding that the time was not worth the platitudes she would spout – and only nodded to acknowledge Killidia and Em once more. The command was issued to the some tens of thousands of threads that made up the fletchettes all at once: SPREAD. They had no choice but to obey, and they dissolved from the thousand tiny needles into another thousand slim, razor-sharp threads of silk as hard as steel, branching into the cranial cavity and eventually, worming their way through the denseness of the black ooze, growing to completely criss-cross the interior of his brain like shards of crystal, or strands of thick mold. Surprises came in many forms in life. This was one of them. Upon feeling the immense pressure inside of his head from the strings doing a jig, Em blacked out. Killidia knew what was coming. Close to death. One last push to finish Em's little trump card. With the fragments of mana located inside the blood on the wall in place, Killidia with a Herculean effort would use the blood in the canals to attempt to finish the sign of LOCK. With his right hand, Killidia would in desperation draw out one last final sign in the air. As Em's body died, Killidia attempted to complete and cast the same spell that had caught the demon off guard so many years ago, using that final sign he was writing: SOUL. Three symbols of Sign Magic. Three. Lock. Soul. Three-Soul Lock. The Trifecta Seal. Designed originally to split the soul and seal it away. But that wasn't what Killidia was going for here. He only needed two. After all, the Trifecta Seal required more preparation time than Killidia had time for. No, he only needed two symbols. Soul Lock. A way to seal the soul of an individual into another. A way to seal the soul. With the backdrop of the Trifecta Spell, Killidia could only hope that it had the effect he was intending for it to have. Hope. What a strange thing for demons to do. As Em's body finally died, Killidia attempted to seal the intertwined souls of Em and Killidia into Dove's body. Granted, this required Killidia to combine the souls of Em and Killidia during the sealing process, a reckless process by any standards. Though he did not know that Avrae had already done this task. This also relied on the signs, so that meant that if the signs were abridged in any way, shape, or form during the sealing process, the counter was over. But desperate times called for desperate measures. The first screw-up on Em's part had caused this. What Killidia was trying to do was find a new host. Someone who was stronger than Em. And if that required combining their souls, then so be it. The body may die, but if all went well, the soul would survive. There was nothing left to do but watch a man fold to the ground like a house of cards. Gently blow – a wind rises and one by one the friction fails him, the fundamental forces keeping tendons and joints locked in their right and proper places as befits a living man, or perhaps a tower of aces and spades, collapses. As his brain dims like a lightbulb flickering out before its time, Killidia has one last Hail Mary – the burst of fire that accompanies the blowing of the fuse. Perhaps there is more to it than lightning and glitter, fancy waterworks painted with blood, the rust of drying sigils that glowed upon the walls. Or perhaps there wasn’t. Dove stands stationary and cocks her head, wondering what feeble magic was invented to simulate the mew of a child. A brief moment of calculation pieces together two and two, LOCK and SOUL – her face flushes with understanding, and Dove strolls over to the ruins of a man in a dream. “Well, it was a good attempt.” The period in this sentence is punctuated with her foot and the back of his skull. The squeak of leather on blood is pitched like a dove’s call, and she finds this suitable, so she continues to grind his face into the floor for a few seconds more. Then: “No cigar.” “Smaller people? Maybe lower people, or – oh!” A frown creases her face while she struggles for the words that float in the psyche unused and unacknowledged, before coming to her with a start. “Mortal people! Your trick would have engraved nicely on them.” “But, well. I’ve barely a soul, much less a body. What’s the phrase?” She shrugs with the weight of a man’s dying attempt at living. “You were grasping at strings.” “Nobly fought. I will find you someday, Em Fureic.” A leg crosses over another in a curtsy, the hem of her dress flirting with the floor of the arena smelling of ash and blood, and blackness overtakes them. =====================<MATCH CONCLUDED: Magnolia Victory>=====================
  7. Ooh. A name from a previous age returns. Welcome back!
  8. nice, maybe I'll pop in and be antagonistic sometime but for realz this is p. cool, if you need me for anything hmu
  9. They’d always told him that he was to die in a place that saw no sun. In the farthest reaches of the world, in the black heart of the darkest darkness where everything that was evil lived and thrived, there he would die, head cloven from body and heart rotten. That was his mother’s curse, spat at him fearfully, with wide eyes – that was his gentle father’s great and wrathful and raging frame that bore down upon him, veins throbbing with hatred. It was in the withering looks of the citizens of godless Palgard, who watched him and his ilk stumble through the streets with pity and vicious loathing, and the shouts of the Terrans who leveled rifles at his heart, old, wizened soldiers who had never fired a bullet with such conviction before that moment. The Desecrators had warned him that such a curse was the price to pay for offering one’s life to the cause – and they would talk at their tables and laugh. It was curse, but it was prophecy. When Zengi returned and plunged the world into perfect dark, they would have the keys to the kingdom. And so they would die there, there in the dark and vile evil, and they’d die of old age. That was their joke; to take the barbs that they’d received and wear them as badges. Alan did not mind dying there; he welcomed it. There was only the one thing he feared, and that was the possibility that he might die not as a victim, but as one of the evil there. The man stepped into the factory floor with a sharp intake of breath, and the taste of damp rust coated his mouth. The features of his face, streaked with grime when he’d tripped and stumbled against the wall, resolved into two overwhelming ones: eyes red with tears and hollow with resignation, and jaw set stiffly in determination to kill. The irony, Alan thought, was as pervasive as the scent of rust. The two were not exclusive. Alan seats himself upon a pipe in the middle of the factory floor. Two sharpened daggers, two brass knuckles, and a single revolver are laid out in a spread in front of him atop the pipe, a delicate balancing act between the fresh harshness of the weapons and the old dullness of the pipe, and it is the sway of the farthest dagger that he watches with his eyes. His breathing is calm and matches the beat played out by the wind on the metal. It is a meditation, maybe, or some sort of similar ritual. A man is full of these if he wishes to hold his sanity in the cruel world. The scientist is practiced with such rituals, because he would long since have killed himself from regret, without the ability to reason and delude himself protecting his psyche. He does not realize that his oncoming opponent might pull that veil from him once more. He does not realize that slowly, he falls into the same trap that he has fallen into some fourteen years ago, when life was young and full of an emptiness of virtue and kindness. But of course, he is blind to many things, as he is drawn into the self now, watching the knife balance and thinking about how easily one may plunge this into the heart and twist and suddenly the joys and pains fall away into nothingness. Meditation – the clearing of the mind of all thought. That is a sort of nothingness, too. He cannot hear the whistle of false breezes, or the buzz of sodium lamps hanging from the ceiling far above. Unconsciously, he clenches his fist, and the pulse and beat of his heart joins into his bubble of nirvana isolated from the world but for this pipe and these weapons and his red eyes. He cannot see the world reflected in the shining steel, only himself.
  10. Official statement of interest. Pardon me while I go browse through pages and pages of magical girl images until I find the one just right.
  11. “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up – like a raisin in the sun?” Dove mused this to herself, and the words rang clearly in her ears for a second before the boom of thunder and the roar of wind swept the poetry into the dust. Perhaps this was the truth: that all the dreams man and woman and child had ever nurtured, tossed away into some forgotten corner of the mind – perhaps they simply dried up, their lifeblood sucked away by the hot shame of despair. How many of those empty husks would there be, then, lying around the collective consciousness of the world? How many eons of dead casings – and the next question has to be: What happens to the liquid dreamstuff? Dove’s flight slowed to halt as she hovered some hundred feet above the wreckage and ruins of Vintel beneath. The woman held out a slender finger, the tip glowing with magic, and watched a single, burgeoning raindrop slow to a heavy pause above it. It was unblemished, smooth as water, swelling and fresh and swirling with ash. The waves of black specks inside were like clouds shaping themselves into animals, evanescent omens of death and life and hints into the truth of everything inside this orb hurtling towards the ground. Maybe, just maybe, Dove thought, the dreams coalesced in the clouds. All the hopes of children, all the prayers of martyrs, all the promises of lovers – maybe they were all there, sky-bound, among the strata beneath the stars. Rain was their great return as they came down to nourish the earth, and the bitter sweetness of old dreams would lay the fertile ground for new, more hopeful wishes. Another crash of thunder; another great beat of her false wings, and the winds swept the droplet from her fingers. The woman watched it fly from her hands, and dull eyes followed it as it spiraled downwards into the city and splashed upon the twin, small twisted corpses of brother and sister, hissing when it struck the burning beam that pinned the two bodies to the ground. A few stray undead clambered around their bodies as they searched for more victims. Black, rotten necks craned into nooks and burning storefronts; the stained brown bones of their elbows were attached backwards as they moved, like a child’s imitation of wolves, about the alleyway in pursuit of the scent of meat. Finding none, they turned their gazes upon the well-done bodies in their midst and seemed to come to reluctant agreement amongst each other. One approached slowly, shying away from the fire while its jaw gaped open; its head dipped to nuzzle the younger boy’s cheek, and teeth – no, it couldn’t be called teeth – the jagged bits of skull that were exposed from within the putrefied flesh closed on his shoulder fatally. The zombie’s neck tensed, and tugged in a single, primal motion, ripping off the flesh that separated his neck from his chest. Dove’s gaze lingered upon this for a few seconds more as the fires crackled and the winds keened and the rain drowned everything in a deluge of wet static. A second undead, spurred on by the first, joined in upon the legs of the girl. Snap, crack, tear – her imagination supplied these sounds as she hovered there, shaking her head in the midst of falling dreams. So much for that idea. Dove cupped her hands together, letting the rain pool once again into a puddle of ash and fire-warmed water. Romance didn’t exist – because to believe it did was to grow a rose in the ashes of a field of corpses. Delusions could only be so small before one had to acknowledge reality, or the truth beneath the glamour we cast. What poor fate it was that awaited people – those who lived, or died trying. “One…two…five million, two hundred twelve thousand, seven hundred seventy-two.” She let the water drip through her fingers, finished with her temporary calculations; they sieved through her fingers until only a thin coat of ash was left on her palms. 5,212,772. This was the number of threads of soul she had at her disposal. Of those, half were devoted to the wings that channeled aeromana and kept her afloat at the present. As for the other two million… Three shimmering threads of silk came down from the sky like silent, glimmering bullets, and cracked the pavement where they hit – little puffs of dust where the ends of the silk struck. The threads with the hardness of steel curled upwards and pierced the three undead through their other eye socket; they wound through the rotting brain-flesh into the stem, and threaded through the length of the spinal cord. Leaving from the pelvic area, they came around to rejoin the initial thread in a loop. And the loop tightened, and tightened, and tightened, until the bones split and cracked and the zombies exploded, collapsed in on themselves. A coiled cord of several thousand threads came down with a rush of air and swept into the side of the alley. The stone cracked, the wood snapped, and the walls came tumbling down upon their corpses in a rumbling landslide. Dove smiled grimly at the remains of the alleyway. “May Fate be kinder to you in another life.” She would not, but let us see if Dove could catch the fickle Lady’s attention long enough to slap her across the face. Her false wings began to beat once more, and the Tactician continued her journey towards the gaping ruins of the Spire and the crowds of undead that crowed and howled in the grounds of the gardens surrounding.
  12. The earth was silenced by the sigh of the rain, the splash of water on leaves and their trickle in the channels in the bark that clung to old giants. So absolute, so deafening was the thick shroud of quiet, punctuated occasionally by rumbles and the sparks of skybound static, that even the squelching of the trio’s boots in the mud went unheard. Lay to rest the caw of crows and the rustle of owls perching upon rain-laden branches, the great creaking groans of the earth as it shifts and stretches plates tectonic; nothing stirs but for the sweeping curtains of water whispering into the soil. The three proceeded in silence: they traded no secrets, no words, no thoughts between them. Dove coughed quietly, uninterested eyes weaving through the trees as she led them on a jagged path through the forest. The lace umbrella bounced gently upon her shoulder with each step forward; her delicate leather shoes reached over roots and ripped through hedges with the soft glow of red coating them in thin mist. The road ahead was circuitous, and Del Graz, Dove imagined, was patient enough to await their arrival while being hand-fed grapes by his slave-girls. Who knew? Dove had no pretensions into the mind of hedonists and megalomaniacs. “So. Miss Esteemed Bladesong, Kenshi-dono.” She paused a moment to fall into step with the swordsmen of her choosing, and let the pace slow to a gentle walk – as gentle as a walk could be in the midst of a storm. There was always the edge of some hidden urgency riding their steps, but this was a breather from the pressure of it all. Thought could flee from them, because when Dove opened her mouth, there was no need to think. Only obedience was required when commands were issued. It was a sort of subservient freedom, and something that the Lich had craved all her life, yet never received out of pride. It would be so easy to obey the whims of Fate and say nothing, do nothing that was original and born of her own will. But that was the choice of lesser men. The greater must struggle. “We’ll reach the camp briefly,” she began, as her feet took them arcing around the camp by a distance of half a kilometer. They had been coming down from the north, and Dove intended for them to enter Del Graz’s encampment from the East. “I will conceal myself and observe, while you two take the lead. We are, thus far, unaware whether they are enemies or allies.” “Because I am rather delicate – both of you are far stronger than me,” she lied, apathetically glancing at the swords Athena carried by her side. “I’m going to have to ask your forgiveness in sending you in to determine first whether it is safe for me to appear.” “Enter with weapons drawn, and intend to show no weakness, as that reflects poorly upon Koji. If they are allies, then they would be only too thankful to join our forces. If they are enemies, then we will cut them all down.” The beginnings of the encampment began to show through the distant cracks in the treeline. “My limited intelligence suggests that it’s a demon that takes residence there. Do not use our true names when speaking. Names have power, and to the demons of contract, it is a power they can abuse.” “Otherwise – enjoy yourselves.” Dove slapped the two of them in the center of their backs with a grin, and clambered clumsily into a tree. “I’ll be watching.”
  13. Mag (I) wins the practice round against Sings Through Pain. @Ran Iji @Sings Through Pain
  14. THE CAST DOVE, THE TACTICIAN CELINE LIAN HONORE MINA, THE SHINOBI MAIDEN CASSANDRA, THE SERPENT SHALIA, THE LOST FLAME OF LONDOR ATHENA BLADESONG THE SYNOPSIS So somebody (read: Dove, the head of this operation) thought it was a good idea to take out the Emperor's entire prospective Harem out on a nice dinner date to the site of absolute Whispernight-based destruction, Vintel. The general idea is to instill a sense of teamwork, togetherness, and not-hating-each-other's-guts in the jealous ladies, as well as attempt to absorb some of Whispernight's incredible destructive power through one of the Lich's hare-brained schemes and counterspells. This would be simple, save for the massive army of undead tearing through the city, the prelude-to-Whispernight lightning, dust, and firestorm that's raging through the entire rainforest, and the entire collected Wintergreen Guard that's slaughtering and being slaughtered by the undead en masse in the streets of the forest nation. Is it even possible for the lovely ladies to make it out alive of this Girl's Night Out gone awry? But hey, it isn't all bad. There's a plane involved, and it's crashed with no survivors. So at least we get to make that joke.
  15. Nice post! Love the intro of a picture before the story ;P