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Mag

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About Mag

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  • Birthday 03/25/1998

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    Take a Guess
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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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    Student

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  1. Greets :)

    Ooh, new blood. Always good to keep things fresh here. Welcome to Val! If you've any questions, feel free to shoot me a PM and I'll do my best to help.
  2. we were the damned. (altissium)

    The bakery was not very far from the restaurant. Alan walked twenty minutes in the gardens along the canal, beside the wet scent of rushing freshwater and the mutter of lovers’ chatter beneath the shade of spreading palms. He had a box’s worth of newspapers stuck in his bag, all flashy with headlines about murders. Garish with news of the dead. ALTISSIAN MURDERS – MAD MAN, OR MAD MEN? or THE “CULT OF THE DAMNED” FIND TWO DEAD IN THE SEASIDE QUARTER or DEATH TOLL MOUNTS, QUEEN REMAINS SILENT. It was another day, in another city, with another chain of murders that would become another footnote in Terrenus’s proud tradition of urban violence. He drew looks from the passerby, because Alan’s bag was small and each and every headline screamed in boldface from over the lip of the thing. They looked wild and violent and jagged and black. They were just doing their job, just as innocuous as that of detectives and bakers; but much like detectives and bakers, it became insidious in the wrong places. Alan threw one in a passing garbage can and spread the next out in front of him as he went. The corners of the paper fluttered in the sea-breeze that roared through the sunken recess of the canal walls. It made everything quiet in its wake, like cars rumbling above a man under an overpass. The walk was long and lonely in this way, and slow as well. The world spun on outside, around him, past him, two steps for every one of his. The gardens were set lower and closer to water than most of Altissium and it was because of this, their being nestled along the edges of the canal that ran through the heart of the city, that it felt so isolated. Main Street was a staircase and a block away, but here were the flowers softly blooming and the whisper of wind through sifting leaves and none of the noise. Brunswick said that he liked it, that he went there whenever he got sick of activity. He said this as he was staring, deeply, with awe, or vitriol, or desperate, or something unknowable, at Alan sort through the newspapers and data he’d been given. “Clears the mind. Sometimes, I think, a man needs to stop thinking about people. Empty out his soul of the stupid things we get up to.” A man had his talents, and Brunswick put people into boxes as hosts all learned to do. Maybe an investigator should learn such a thing, to read people and discern from them the things that drive their action. Desires, habits, motive, all in a glance. Alan rubbed his eyes and threw another paper into the trash. “And now we’re even,” he said to the uncaring air. He was right, he was even, just as informed as the rest of the ignorant masses on the troubles that troubled them. The Queen knew little of what went on in her lands, as all Queens did, as all big people, the self-important, the powerful did. Nobody knows everything, and not everything is worth caring about. Little people care about little things. Big people care about things bigger than themselves almost exclusively, he found. Then he was a little person. He looked up from the last paper, an alarmist piece on the inevitable murder of your wife and children by the so-called “Cult” (Alan thought of Mendal, he thought of Brunswick), and saw a gaggle of young men laugh their way down into the garden from the streets above. Their bodies shone with youth in the dying light, hands and arms dull and caked with grime and flecks of paint. Little people, doing little things. What did they care about? The bakery rose into the sky above the garden, dark and cool like an old lord’s castle. The gentle pink clay steps rose rickety up the wall. There was no longer the sound of Main Street, nothing spilled over into the canal except swathes of cool air as the dusk faded into nighttime. At the top of the staircase, Alan met with the back door of the Mendals’ bakery, and noticed that the walls had already met with vandalism. Crude, painted insigniae and a child’s conception of cool. Little people, doing little things.
  3. Excited to join!

    Welcome to your newest love. You'll never find a more active hive of scum and villainy fantastic RPs and RPers alike. Hope you enjoy your time around. If you've any questions, feel free to shoot me, either with questions or with low-caliber rounds, either works. But I think you'd find better luck for both of us with the former ijs
  4. Your Best Fighter

    Narratively or from a T1-based point of view, it was always going to be Dove. In short words, she can make things happen with a minimum of dependency on environmental factors and cooperation of the opponent in either, and the ease with which she actualizes each goal and idea is extreme. Her abilities are such that she is wildly flexible and unconstrained by any single property except scale. She is the best, among all of my characters, at translating the theoretical mechanisms leading to victory into concrete and effective actions. That is, for her, winning is easy and quick. Of course, possessing multiple artifacts of retarded power and rather creative vectors of expression for each, doesn't hurt in that regard.
  5. Gathering Materials [1/3]

    The car ride was inconsequential. Eleazar grunted and shuffled his body into the back of the SUV and waved dismissively at Mina to do the rest. They – the Poor Sons escort that the businessmen had seen fit to provide – well understood that his secretary was his eyes, ears, and mouth. An old man had to save his senses for the things like sunsets, his children, business contacts – the things that mattered. Hired help and mercenary hands did not. Ser Lhedale drew a cigar from the inner pocket of his jacket and held it expectantly to the side as he leaned into the back of the seat. Mina would light it, because she was a sweet little thing and because she was a passable actor (as all the elites of the harem were) who knew her role well. He closed his eyes and took a long, long draw, filling his lungs with the musky, nutty scent of Renovatian tobacco. The cigar was real; the lungs were not. Minor details. Dove cracked open a cheery eyelid to wink at Mina, and cheeks puffing at the smoke, blew a ring from his mouth. It flew into the faces of the mercenaries, innocuous enough to be unintentional. They did not flinch. (Dove and Mina traded glances, probably. Tough crowd.) Eleazar hacked up a cough that might’ve been a laugh, and straightened up the seat. “Oh, pardon, pardon me. Where is my manner? Could someone open a window?” Someone opened a window. “Thank you.” The air picked up as it fluttered in and out of the car, trails of smoke shuddering in the roaring wind. It roared and roared and roared right there beside the car as it sped down the highway into the heart of Izral. “Ah, this world is so, so dreary. All,” he searched for words as Mina helped him out of the SUV. “Metal and electronics and grey. No bright reds or oranges or yellows, even in this season!” His boots splashed feebly into a puddle and his overcoat acquired the dull matte of moisture amidst the sigh of the rain. It had begun in earnest while they were driving, and now the air was thick with the smell of wet asphalt and steam from a faraway land. The heights of the grey high-rises across the street disappeared seamlessly into the low clouds above; and if those were high, then the building they were about to enter rose to touch the top of the sky. Even the marble skyscrapers of Aureus seemed to be pushed down and pressed low against the ground by the dismal air. It was as if the world bunched in on itself when it rained, like a child in the cold. There was claustrophobia afoot. His secretary handed him a cane, which he snapped straight with a nod. The wood was polished black, studded with rubies every so often as a reminder of wealth. Eleazar did not like overstating things, but certain things had to be stated. “They have class in the cities, but they don’t have love. No love for the Great Mother.” He tapped the end of the stick on the pavement disapprovingly and stared up at the sky at the point where marble met mist. “All hostility, no peace. No wonder. My children are always complaining about the stress. No wonder.” Eleazar waved impatiently at the escort idling its engines behind them, then offered his elbow to Mina with a thoughtful frown. “But that’s the future. Airships and steel, none of this old-fashioned business. Shall we?” Dismissed, the transport peeled away from the curb and sped away towards its next destination. The duo proceeded into the lobby without fanfare. “The Tellus Seed, I’m certain, is kept either in the heights of the building, or the vaults. Maybe the vaults are in the heights, maybe vice versa; I don’t pretend to have perfect knowledge of this building.” Dove scowled as she paced around the elevator. Mina’s technomancy was useful in the ways that mattered – locking elevator doors, freezing all observational devices. It gave them a room to breathe in, when every other room in the building recorded everything down to their breaths. The tactician turned to Mina. “That’s what logic states. Nobody deviates from this rule unless they’re trying to win a bet. Too bad. Logic narrows it down to two places we don’t even know exist. Maybe they’re keeping it in the labs. That’s nice. At least we know where those are.” The auction was to take place on Floor 47, above forty-odd floors of stores and labs and meeting rooms and barracks, and beneath another hundred-fifty of bureaucratic offices. “I could scry its location, but it’d take a long while, and this is an unfamiliar land. I would want weeks for this. But that’s what impulse buying gets you, hm?” It really was for the airship parts at first. A short, quick, diplomatic affair. Then, not 24 hours ago, Dove decided she’d like to grab one of Alterion’s national treasures on top of it. Life was long, and one had to make it interesting somehow. Sometimes, interesting meant crippling mission intelligence and going into an heist blind. Past-Dove thought so. Present-Dove was irritated. The light blinked past a flashing “23.” They had a little ways before them still before Eleazar needed to return. “So, there are a few solutions. Prefer any one of them, Mina?”
  6. For now, we're running pretty free. @Narcissa, @EpicRome23, @sheep, and @Al Sa-her have yet to post this cycle, in addition to you.
  7. Gathering Materials [1/3]

    Dove always liked flying. There was a bit of je n’ais se quoi in it, or perhaps it was just the emptiness of the sky that she refused to name for fear of sounding ordinary. It was the emptiness, at least partially. None of the chaos that followed in the tracks of men on the earth were here; none of the dramas that dog human emotion, no screech of crickets and cicadas, no heady sunlight on the rustling of leaves and the distant roaring of winds through mountain valleys. The sun beat down starkly from up on high. The cottony clouds muted all semblance of sound and shrouded away the surface of the world below. It made it easy on the eyes and easy on the soul. Here she was – alone! She sighed into the rumble of the engines and her seat held her cozy as the ice sparkled on the other side of thick, insulating glass. Flying was a little piece of peace, an iota of idyll. One lived in a world of one’s own possession. You didn’t need the universe to be infinite and vast. You just needed to be able to grasp it all at once in your eyes to be God. It was a fleeting touch of divinity, but nonetheless she was thankful for it. The gigareactors of Izral had grown from specks on the horizon to spires somewhat closer, and already Dove saw the climatic engines’ distortions on the stratosphere. She’d read somewhere that they functioned like great siphons that stretched and pulled at the clouds about the city, and she felt it now as the winds shuddered through the hull of her plane. A beckoning, though not meant for her, towards the agricultural centers of the city. As they went, the air grew heavier with cold and below the clouds pressed together until they were full and grey-bellied. Water beaded on every surface outside the protection of her cabin. Someone had decided that today would be a day for rain. Bare wisps slipped atop the windows. Before long, they were curtained and blind, the plane descending into the artificial cloud layer. “So, Dove. How long till we are ready to dock?” “Not so long. Don’t be so impatient.” Dove closed her eyes and breathed the chilly air deeply. It smelled of leather and metal and the tell-tale whiffs of the city. “Slow down. Enjoy the quiet.” Her voice was deeper, clipped, concise. The well-traveled from the great cities would recognize it as method acting, immersing oneself into a part to be played until the self and the lie was indistinguishable. Ludovico had always been a good actor. He had acted for seven centuries, acted until he forgot all about who he’d been in favor of being who he was. The loss didn’t bother Dove too much. She didn’t esteem the past too highly. But of course, this was not Dove that was speaking to Mina at this point. She still had the old appearance, the hair and eyes and dress, but her headspace was now dominated by an imaginary copy of Ser Eleazar Lhedale, an old and landed lord in new Himmelfestung. Eleazar was a gentle-spoken man who was intent on making the most of the rest of his time and fortune in the world, and he intended on doing this first by making the Lhedale House the pioneer of Himmelfestung’s airship business. To this end, he had personally come to Alterion (accompanied by a female confidant – a secretary? A niece? Need-to-know basis, friend) to negotiate purchase of airship materials that would be necessary for his engineers to begin their designs. This, at least, was the story that was writ on the card that Dove fished from her pocket. She stuck her hand over her shoulder, making it clear that Mina was meant to take it. “This is your briefing on our roles. You know what we’re here for.” Dove turned in her seat and smiled kindly at Mina. “This is the last bit of calm we’ll be getting for a long time. How was your nap, dear? Feeling alright?” “I’d sure hope so. Don’t be too stressed, love.” Dove laughed and spun the controls to the left, letting the aircraft coast on the eddies of the gentle vortex around the city. “We’ll be landing in, what, two minutes? And that’s when business begins. Hope you’ve got all your stuff sorted out.” The clouds broke before them then, and the grandiose Izral sprawled out before them, gunmetal and green, gilt and bronze and shimmering hot where the reactors spun. Dove adjusted the controls yet again, and the plane tilted towards the Aureus Airstrip in the southwest.
  8. So a few notes by way of explanation. I also wrote the majority of that post at [CURRENT TIME], which is around 3:14 AM. (yeyyyy Pi). So I might be dipping into incoherence towards the end. I know I was definitely dipping into this gigantic vat of cookie dough ice cream. Mmm. I've also been/am sick. (Cookie dough cures life, though, probably.) @Bolt Mulaag and @Al Sa-her, you two have free rein to explore the city and do whatever. I didn't see a need to make an entrance for you two. Only note is that all of the original five are still #rekt from starvation and thirst from the journey up to the Valley. I'd say ~80% recovery? Walking is easy, but I wouldn't recommend using powers or doing any strenuous exercise. You might vomit. We've been holed up in a clinic after our bodies were found being the Usain Bolt of dying right outside the city, so that's what we're looking at going forward. @Narcissa, I believe you and @EpicRome23 have your own plans, so I left you out. I still love you guys though <3 @Chouette, @Wade, and @sheep, obviously, Adelaide's encounter happens prior to whatever you guys have planned. It's just a bit of flavor, honestly, so you're free to topically interact with Adelle's wallet or not. Mostly a winky-nudge deal. @SweetCyanide and @Fragile, I hope the shape of our situation came across pretty clearly :3 I took a few liberties, so lemme know if I've overstepped any bounds and I'll rectify it with all due haste. Once I finish this giant-ass tub I'm gonna pass out.
  9. LotE: The Descent

    Humans are governed, much as the world is, by sets of facts. Where, for the earth, facts alter landscapes and shape horizons, denote coastlines and scorch soil, the more emotionally-inclined derive from them thoughts. We are touched by facts not without, but within. In the soul, or heart, or nervous system. Empathy, sympathy – we can feel one another’s pain and loss and happiness and hate and anger and love, even if it is not ours. A mother winces as her child trips, a father smiles fondly at his daughter’s wedding. Two friends drink to a third’s success, and a widow sobs somber once a year. Our faces are mirrors of the world, but not perfect. Each is unique in the way it reflects the histories that have happened, the events that are, and the promises that will be. Nonetheless, for all this individuality, we are still presented with the same set of facts. We all see the same things that move us and shake us. We live with each other, not against. These were the facts that were currently presented to the residents, refugees, and travelers of the Valley: Isore had fallen. Eight hundred thousand dead in a day, the fate of the other 1.5 million, unknown. There was no soul brave enough to venture into the ruins of the Walled City to find out. Many escaped as refugees. Many of those refugees were burnt to ashes by the dragon-fires that ravaged the Isorian forests. The dragons of legend had begun to awaken. Old wives’ tales had become more and less than mere fictions. Children did not know whether to laugh or to cry that their fantasies and nightmares were realities. Those in Isore never had the chance. Casualties of myth – and we once wondered what fate befell those in the flood when God smote the earth for sin, what happened to the men and women of the cities when the Olympians met Typhon in desperate melee. When the sun rose this morning, it was through a haze of inky black that drifted across the eastern horizon. The ashes and charcoal from the Isorian fires were blown wayward to the north and though by now they are thin and feeble and nothing more than a shadow on the horizon, “harmless,” they are still made of homes and bones and the ashes of the dead. A reminder to we who are quick to forget, that yesterday has happened and that tomorrow is no more hopeful. The sunrise is bleak and dark. The end of the night is nothing more than a formality. No great, God-sent symbolism awaits us there. There was no way to flee but to the distant west coast, to the sea. The ships were beginning to fill. Perhaps they were already full. Perhaps they were almost sinking beneath the weight of the frightened. Heavy hearts make for heavy ships that bob on the ocean’s gray waves, and all it’d take is a pinprick to make the tension break into pieces. Nothing more than a pinprick. Perhaps the ships, too, were a myth (it would be a good season for myths). They were spoken of in hushed tones, in bars and taverns full of rabid rumor and hysterics. The Western City-States were across the long and unforgiving Oestean Desert. Hundreds of miles of death for the chance at life – better than the handful past which lay certain death to the East, they all agreed. Could you imagine, what makes a man agree to suffering? And in a place such as the Valley, that knows no such thing. For the first time, in a long time, in a timeless place… The air shudders and shivers and feels alive. With fear, with desperation – all those things that civilization tries to purge from us, the emotions that lurk beneath the conscious and make themselves known only in times when we cast away thought, intelligence, sapience, for the comfort of instinct. Comfort. It hangs on their words as they pretend to haggle with the caravaneers westward-bound, ready to pay any price to bring their families towards the waning light of sunset. If they can’t afford the prices that steepen with every circuit of the sun, then it is the air that makes him consider, for a second, the wallets and pockets of other. And the next hour, he’ll consider it for a minute. A man feels his spine chill as he walks down the alleys after a long day, praying for tomorrow to come take him away, and in the same breath praying against tomorrow. Each midnight is a midnight closer to an escape. One way, or another. In the night, the horses toss and turn sleeplessly in their stables, and the streets are quiet and likewise sleepless. The Valley has a plague upon it, this electricity that makes all our hairs stand on end and robs us of the idea of peace. Even if it is quieter than it’s ever been, even if the air is so still that even the flap of a butterfly’s wings cannot blossom into a hurricane regardless of principle. Because it’s too still, see, because it’s playing dead. It’s forcibly frozen. If one speaks too loudly, it’ll shatter like glass. It’s a hospital, and we’re waiting on someone to die, because it’s inevitable. We are the dead. Tucked away behind and beneath all of this thickness, this atmosphere that feels like a stretched thread that’s given into its fate, there is a little dram of madness. There are teaspoons of it sprinkled among a handful of people. Madness! I could call it hope if I liked, but it’s not hope. It’s self-love, the musings and machinations of the lifeless and disturbed, it’s anger, it’s hate and cat-killing curiosity and resignation. It’s folly, idiocy, the boy who strikes deals with demons because he thinks that his blood and his soul is worth selling for an instrument. It’s madness, it’s lunacy, it’s suffering. But it is neither fear nor desperation. For this, we can call it hope, because we have nothing else. So there in the Valley, tucked away behind and beneath the suffocating tension, despite the horrors and atrocities, despite the deaths of a million and the insurmountable obstacles that face them, despite themselves and damned emotion… The fact is that there are a few people with hope. THE CLINIC RELEVANT PARTIES @Mag The room in which five of these people slept was still. There was one girl and a half-dozen motes of dust in the sunbeams and the distant scent of coffee, and these were all the things that moved, however lazily. Four of five beds were marked by crumpled sheets and an absence of warmth. Not for the weather – autumn afternoons in the Valley, and especially this autumn afternoon in the Valley, were warm and dry – but because Madon, Jinsoku, Judas, and Bolt had left to find greener pastures in the city, somewhere better than here to pass the time that slipped by. Lily, alone and preparing to read quietly beneath her sheets, was unsure what greener pastures were out there. This was her town. She had lived in the Valley her entire life. A five-year-old orphan is found in the desert; what could they do? “It takes a village,” the saying goes, and it took The Valley to raise her. The town was as much family to her as she was kin to herself. She remembered the wild vastness of the desert spreading out between her toes as she played among the dunes. She remembered the streets that were choked with the scents of cinnamon and spice, and food from the farthest reaches of Nar Oeste, and gruff men crowded around gruff fires with laughs like gold and soft fleece. She knew that two steps out from this inn-become-clinic, one could meander down to the left and take the second right, and there would be a bookstore run by a middle-aged woman, Mas Andstromm, who took great offense if you pointed out the grey streaks in her hair that she obviously tried very hard to hide beneath more youthful locks. Lily bit her lip and shifted onto her side, half her face buried in the pillow. The other eye – her good one – traced the whorls and hard lines on the page thoughtlessly, staring blankly at the handy penmanship of Exarch Laslow Steelshield. She could feel the sun through the window warming her bare back through the thin linens. The dull thrum that rustled through the drowsy air was probably the noise of the street outside. It weren’t as loud as that which she remembered, and the noise was a lot closer to white than it was to the vibrant colors it should’ve been. The blue notes of the cellos, the reds of haggling, the yellows and browns and greens and fiery orange that symbolized the frantic welcoming of another massive caravan. This was not her town anymore. It had been less than a month since she’d left the Valley she remembered, at midnight, clasping a dragonstone and a heart so full of vigor and hope and determination. She still had the dragonstone. She still had her heart. Her hand pressed absentmindedly against the bandages covering her chest. It must’ve been the city that changed in the meantime, then, because the young woman hadn’t. There was no one to blame. Those who once brought joys and tales from faraway lands were replaced by those who brought struggling families and haunted survivors who, more than anything else, were interested in abandoning their memories rather than making them. The Valley, once a heaven, was now a haven. A convenient place to hide from the horrors of war for a few days longer, while the flames were as distant as the horizon and no closer. There was no trade except in lives and arms. So what could Judas and Madon and Bolt and Jinsoku be looking for? There was nothing for them anywhere. All Lily needed was hope, and that lived only in this room in all The Valley. Two Seal Fragments at her side. Two of seven pieces of the lethal puzzle. Lily closed the journal, placing it carefully inside her bag beside the two stones, and sat up with a yawn and a stretch. How to Save the World, Seven Easy Steps. As long as they could complete the seal, no matter the sacrifice, disaster could be averted. That was how it was, almost laughably simple, right? “Isn’t it?” She asked to the empty air, rubbing her bare shoulders that were suddenly cold despite the sunlight. The historian knew her histories. She had to believe in the truth, because the truth was in their favor and the truth was good. So long as she had these two fragments, she had hope. All of them had hope. Nar Oeste had hope. There came a knocking at the door, quick and very firm in its insistence. It told her that it wasn’t a request, but a warning. Like trumpets or fanfare, but those were for kings where hard knocks were preamble for hard knocks and people who meant business. “Come in,” she wanted to say, but by then it had already opened. “Coming in,” he said brusquely, and paused when he saw Lily’s half-naked body. She started to raise a hand in greeting, a smile rising on her face as all her thoughts fell away in favor of recognition. “Oh. Charles. Long time, no see. What brings you here?“ The door slammed closed. The librarian’s voice came muffled from behind, sounding every bit as disheveled as he had looked in her memory. “I’ll wait for you to get decent. Get on out here.” Suddenly, The Valley felt a lot more like the home that she remembered. Her eyes brightened for the first time in a month. “Can’t spare any time for a friend you haven’t seen in a month?” “Amusing. I’d rather you not call me that in public. My real friends would question why a middle-aged man is consorting with a twenty-two year old. Barely more than a girl,” he added with a scoff. “You don’t respect me.” “I don’t. I think you’re still nothing more than an impulsive youth, and god I hope my daughter won’t grow up anything like you.” There was a hint of irritation in his voice. Lily’s face fell. “I guess you’ll want to know where I’ve been?” “I have a good guess, but I’d like to hear you admit it. And not just me.” Lily pulled on a thin black cardigan and slacks and stepped into her shoes that had been worn dry by the vast reaches of sand that they’d hiked once the horses had given way to the weariness of the journey. A moment of deliberation later that was full of nothing but a single, resounding yes, the girl grabbed the bag with the journal and the fragments, carefully tucked out of sight, and pulled open the door to the hallway with a careful look on her face. What explanation drove a girl to disappear from her hometown in the dead of night? The truth was felony, but she couldn’t admit this to her friend. Criminals are caught because they make mistakes, and admitting that she’d fled the town because she’d stolen the Seal Fragment – the first of many that she had set her mind to obtain – was, if not the very definition of the word, a very very good approximation. “Fine. Let’s talk.” She stepped into the hall, tasting silver on her tongue as the lies began to spin, and glanced askance at a rather pale-looking Charles. “What’s up?” Something flew into her chest, right at the sternum, almost like a bird; she tried to look down and her eyes didn’t make it halfway before his other hand slammed into her temple and her body fell forward into the support of his arm. One last breath, enough for her to see him unfurling with his other a bag that looked awfully large on the inside – and then Lily was gone again, and a man, just one of a million weary souls in the city, walked out of the inn with a folded-up burlap bag in his pocket, making his slow, meandering way towards the Great Library. THE MARKET RELEVANT PARTIES @Fragile @SweetCyanide @Mag @Chouette @sheep Elsewhere in the city was a knight. This was not a remarkable occurrence, because the mercenary armies of the continent had begun to coalesce at the Valley in preparation of a long march southward towards the fortresses of Glia and Dodon. Like a heart, the Valley pulled the blood of the land, its people, its warriors and defenders, from where they were scattered in dales and hamlets, and pushed them towards the distant battlefronts where they were needed most. One could tell from looking at the soldiers, from their drooped gait and tight-lipped, unshaven faces that they knew they went to their deaths. They camped far apart from the city because they knew this, because they did not want to infect others with their thoughts. The nominal cause of their fatal march was gold, but the true cause was listlessness. Where would they go, if not towards war? Unattached men and women would only drift whether it be on land or sea. The greatest purpose of their lives were here. They knew they were no heroes, and they knew that there were no heroes. But their story is for another, later time. There was a knight in The Valley, and she was not of the free companies, neither was she motivated by things like a lack of purpose. Adelaide Fontaine was full of purpose as she stood there, lost in the midst of the marketplace. Because she was not Lily and was foreign to the city, she did not know what joyful mercantilism looked like. She did not remember coziness and had never seen the full warmth of the Valley. To her, this was normal, this tight-packed alley of shuffling and shouting and fruit-sellers shooting glares at the grimy refugee children whose hands were as red as the apples they tried to steal. Hostility was in the air, and when a man jostled against another he was accused of pickpocketing instead of being excused. The dog-eat-dog world had overtaken one of cooperation. Mistrust had triumphed over trust. But Adelaide kept her wallet locked and on a chain, so to her it was all perfectly acceptable, even if others were brought to tears by what their city had become. There was no problem in the state of things here. The problem was purely personal: she was lost, had lost someone very valuable to her. Some who was fifty-two gold pieces per day of valuable to her. “JASPER!” She crooked a frown and spun to look for the author who had hired her as armed escort. She was tall for a woman; this didn’t matter when there were just as many men of average and equal height choking the alley, and it extra-didn’t-matter when Jasper Gray was shorter than average. Short enough to be a kid. Short enough to be abducted, and although she didn’t know what kind of enemies an aspiring author could hope to make, Adelle was the sort of person who thought of (but clearly did not plan for) all eventualities. “The hell did she go?” Great tarps cast themselves overhead across the buildings to protect the vendors and shoppers from the glaring desert sun. Some would say that the point was to thrust them all into the cool comfort of shade, and it would take a great idiot to bemoan this, but the knight was on the edge of complaining that it was too damn dark. Jasper, at least in personality, was a dark young lady (man? Adelle couldn’t tell, but it was less awkward for the both of them if Adelle assumed that she was a girl – Jasper hadn’t complained yet). So allowing her to come out to the bazaar, shady in so many more ways than one, was the first mistake. One error begets another. There was danger here; not from her fellow men, because all of us are good at heart, but from the air that they breathed in that was full of the things which drove children to steal and integrities to slip. There were men leaning against the walls, lounging at corners and smoking on the curb, ready to walk nonchalantly towards the soon-to-be-less-fortunate. They had their hands in their pockets and in those hands they carried tomorrow. Tomorrow and fists that would buy it for them. If Jasper was assaulted, Adelle would have failed as her guardian. That was the one thing that was to her, unthinkable. A knight never breaks his vow. A loyalty made is a loyalty kept under any duress. “JASPER! Where are you?” They had left their room because they needed to buy groceries, and an author needed to observe the conditions under which people break. Just author things, Jasper told her by way of explanation. A knight and a writer comes to a land on the precipice of being consumed by war – a land in which millions had died in the span of weeks and one where the sun is darkened by the burning corpse of a city, something that disturbed her even then, a thousand miles distant on some other continent – and one of the two wants to ask the other: why? The answer was simple. Novels written in peacetime are not as raw as those written in war. You do not understand what people are like until you’ve watched them at their lowest point, seen evil with your own eyes and lived through hell. It sounded at first to Adelle that Jasper wished simply to die. There was something horrible about it, about waltzing blindly into the midst of widows and shattered lives and saying, “Fascinating.” But the dead needed someone to tell their story, she realized, and it was for this that she accompanied the shadowy, dark-demeanor’d young woman to The Valley. Because although she wasn’t losing sleep or shedding tears for the loss of life in Nar Oeste, many others were and just as many were robbed of that voice. Someone needed to speak to the dead. Earlier in the day, they had spoken to a librarian who’d told them of the First War of the Wyrms. She had not liked it, although Jasper seemed to be interested in the man’s spiel. The war was nothing more than a legend, with almost no literature left of that time period. It was a myth. Something to fuel the imaginations of hyperactive children who slept thinking of riding dragons. Never mind all those who died and those who had to suffer life afterwards. They must be turning in their graves now, knowing that the same grave mistakes had been repeated and all their sacrifice was being trampled into the dust. That the grim pall falling over the land now was bought so cheaply, at the cost of mere forgetfulness. This, she told Jasper after the fact. She would have to write for them, if she lived through it all, and Adelle, ever the knight, would give her life to bring that “if” to a certainty… “And so where the hell are you, eh?” The knight rounded another corner, one she was 90% sure was looking depressingly familiar by now, and sighed. The intelligent course of action for Jasper would be to head back to the room. Intelligent referring to practical, and Adelle felt, with a sinking feeling in the stomach that the author was as far from the knight’s idea of practical as the stars were from the sun. She clenched her teeth. Search until sundown. Jasper was an observer. Someone, in turn, must have seen her. The nearest vendor was a jeweler, cutting as clean and sharp a figure as the gems that she peddled out of her stall. Not bad, Adelaide thought as she pretended to look through the wares – she figured that people helped you more if they thought you might buy something – and unconsciously slipped her wallet out of the chinks of her breastplate onto the table, lost in her examination. How long did she have to look before she encroached on rude and window-shopper? There was a nice emerald gold ring, would form a formidable pair with her eyes, she’s sure. But she couldn’t look up too soon, or else it would be insincere. Or pearl earrings? Something creamy, to contrast with her tanned skin? Sapphire on a silver bangle! Blue-green combination, one-two punch. Adelle frowned at her silvery armor. Maybe she needed some gold to offset? Settled it. Emerald was the way to go. “’scuse me,” she said to the woman whose name Adelle would later learn to be Basilica. The rather handsome knight flashed her most dazzling smile. It’s never disarmed a man, but it’s sure made the uglier ones a bit angry. “Have you happened to see a short, thin little pipsqueak of a…girl…boy? Name’s Jasper, shifty little thing. Looks like she spends all her time indoors?” “Hey, watch it!” Someone said angrily. This was the first indication of an object incoming. “I’ll take the emerald ring, by the way,” the knight said, oblivious. Loud noises were the norm in the cities of her youth. If she looked around for every sign of every altercation, her head would never stop turning. Staggered footsteps were the second signal, swiftly closing in towards her back, and at this point Basilica might’ve noticed a white-haired kid stumbling towards her customer. “It looks lovely,” Adelle added, beaming. And then someone who weighed more like an ultradense something slammed into her back and the knight yelped as her hip struck the table in almost poetic expression of Newton’s Second Law. The jewels shook in their places, but good craftsmanship kept them in their place. The knight’s wallet did not benefit from such a thing. Instead, it slid towards the edge and, with a cheerful jangling of chains, fell into the crack between stalls and bounced to the floor beside Basilica’s feet. Out of sight, out of mind. “Hey, watch it!” The knight, doomed to repeat history, whipped around as the boy muttered something – was it an apology? – and disappeared again into the crowd. “What the –?” “GOD DAMN! MY WALLET!” Adelle’s eyes shot wide open as she came to the (mostly true) realization that her wallet was missing. Her (mostly false) conclusion: “HEY KID!” There was a knight in The Valley who suffered from a great deal of hardship, and for whom being robbed blind was so common an occurrence, that chasing down and tackling street-children was not an idea that was ever alien to her mind for very long.
  10. Cult of the Damned - Genesaris version!

    gonna smite yo ass if you keep smack talking my goddess jk jk my favorite character is my vampy so far, and yeah, usually the vampire tension isn't played up so high - but imo it just makes it far more compelling of a story to have racial tensions hampering your ability to do heroic things
  11. Pictures of Us

    time for the reveal... tfw mag isn't a girl
  12. Greets, welcome to Val! I personally have a great guide for coming up with clever titles, so you can use it in a pinch. Step One: Use all lowercase characters, because that's stylish asf. Maybe stick a hyphen at the end for extra WOWzers points. Step Two: Quote edgy song lyrics (all in lowercase, again). Make sure that it makes no sense out of context, so you sound extra mysterious and clever, like your mind is working on a whole 'nother level. Step Three: If you don't have a sufficiently clever title by now, rip off a not-so-well-known book. Like "War and Peace," who reads that anyways, just name your thread "Whore and Peace." ...Come to think of it, that's not what you'd want to name an introductory thread...
  13. Greets. Welcome to Val. It's good to have you - or have you back, whichever you prefer Your English is pitch perfect. I understand the language decay, though - my first language was Mandarin, but that went zip right quick here in the States. I'm probably lower than gutter trash by now, anyway. But the best part is that English rocks anyway. Anyway, if you need any questions answered, these other people are probably better at it than I am, but I'll see what I can do if you should come to me.
  14. we were the damned. (altissium)

    An arm for an arm, an eye for an eye - I must be invincible. They proceeded, as was Brunswick’s wont, to the second floor of the restaurant. It was as rustic and robust as the first, the interior stucco studded with pictures of Brunswick’s family, his wife perhaps? And of his youth, or his children. Alan tried to avoid looking too closely. Mendal probably had pictures like these too, strung up somewhere visible above the fireplace, gathering nostalgia and dust in anticipation of the day that they’d be dusted off. If the culprit was thorough, they’d be gone now, too, just like his memories and Agatha. “Sixty dollars. Sit down.” Brunswick stood rigidly behind the worn seat at the head of the table, having poured himself a drink. The other hand was gripping the back of the chair. He did not seem as nervous as he must have been, Alan thought. He did not seem as unsettled. “Please,” he added flatly. Alan sat down and tossed a fifty and twenty across the table. They fluttered feebly halfway, then dropped tiredly to the wood. Brunswick sat down after he took a drink. “So.” The word seemed to fortify him. “So.” He kept both hands on the mug, trying to meet Alan’s eyes that remained hammered into the table. “You’re gonna drag a man whose wife just died out into public and make him buy you lunch, is that it? Mind telling me who the fuck you are?” Alan took the words without flinching, without looking up. He stared at the table as Brunswick vented. It was not a very large table, although lovingly done, with lots of notches and knots beneath the lacquer. It was waiting for the familiar weight of “dinner,” with all the fuzzy feelings of familiarities that word entailed. For now it was barren. Two bills were half-crumpled in the center, but broken promises and payments didn’t taste as much like family. “…sorry.” He had kept his hands in his pockets throughout, but now one of them began to shift. “I might’ve done better. Shouldn’t have let Mendal drag me away.” “Sorry? Yeah, sorry, right? Could’ve done better?” Brunwick slapped the empty glass onto the table and barked a single laugh into the air. “Hell, you’re telling me. Sorry! Drag a guy through the mud, sorry! I don’t see old Al for two weeks, I hear his wife’s dead, and now he’s trying to treat a little man in a faggoty getup acting like he’s twenty and alright. I knew Al, you know, I was his best friend.” “I’m sorry to hear that.” “Sorry again! You know how much they loved each other?” He stood from his seat, banging it against the wall, reached over to snatch the bills and waved his hands all mad-like. “Suddenly he’s saying he’s never been married. You think I wasn’t listening? What’d you do to him, eh, what’d he do to you?” “I’m Alan – “ “You’re a cunt, you are.” “An investigato r send by the Queen to protect her citizens.” Brunswick stopped, paused. Craned his neck a couple degrees too far to look at him. His mouth worked for a little bit. “The…queen.” It came out in a whisper at first, almost lost in the white-noised static of the distant surf. “The queen. To protect.” He repeated to himself, a smile crossing his face. “The honest-to-goodness, fuckin’ queen! That’s amazing!” “So you’re telling me that she’s finally gotten off her ass and sent you to fix all of our problems, that it? That it only took sweet old Agatha and Mendal’s sanity and twenty good, broken families across Altissium for her to say, ‘Well, better not do anything real about this, why don’t we send a skinny little bitch-boy playing pretend detective to make it look like we’re doing something,’ right?” “I think the Queen understands the gravity of the situation – “ “Enough to jerk herself off with the Iron Legion while we die, huh? To make sure that nobody does a damned thing while a goddamn cult’s doing human sacrifice with our daughters? I’d rather take my chances with the pirates we had before her. None of this psion murder bullshit. We had a good thing going on before.” Alan put the Scarlet Letter from his pocket onto the table and slid it to the restaurateur. He grabbed it in his fist and ran his wild eyes across, then balled it up and threw it at the investigator’s face. “Take your royal authority and fuck off.” Alan winced as the decree bounced off the side of his head and sighed. Suddenly, Brunswick was seated again. He seemed somber. Still full of righteous rage, eyes still rimmed with the memories of his good friend and a perceived humiliation, but without words to say. There was nothing left to impugn. The plaintiff had exhausted his list of charges. “Mr. Brunswick…” “Yeah?” “…nothing.” “You said something, didn’t you?” Brunswick didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. “How about you give me some peace of mind and tell me about Al. Come on. What’s going on with him.” All he needed was to vent, and this had passed. But Alan needed more than that from the man, and he didn’t believe in leaving questions unanswered – no matter how little he, too, wanted to do with it all. “Sorry.” He shrank a bit more into his chair, turned his eyes a bit more to the side, looking out towards the setting sun, bobbing on the surface of a sea like an apple. Sin, he remembered. An apple as red as blood, carried in the mouth of the serpent for Eve to eat. Did Eve disappear, too, into smoke? Not a trace, not a witness? “Alright, I’ll spill. And I’ve got some questions for you, too. Agatha Mendal is dead, but I’ll make sure there are no more.” Brunswick rose to pour himself another drink. He grabbed a bigger glass. “Of course she is.” “I don’t think Alphonse Mendal is alive either.” “Oh, don’t say things like that to my face.” “I don’t know anything beyond that. His memories are gone.” “He remembered how to talk like Al. He remembered his friends. He remembered me.” The ice in his whiskey broke in two. He paced around, waved his hands sullenly. The bills fluttered in between his clenched fingers. They were very limp, feeble. They knew they were fighting a losing battle. “You said something earlier about a cult? I need that.” “Funny. We sure don’t.” “Sir…” “God damn.” He went around one more lap then put himself into his chair, gingerly, as if reluctant. “Can’t believe Her Highness doesn’t hire a man on the inside. This is the news, Mister PI. Nobody who isn’t nobody doesn’t know all about it.” Alan held up a hand, pencil at an angle between the fingers. “All I need you to do is talk.” “Damn right I’ll talk.” “Everything you share is one step closer to helping the Queen in her duty to protect her people.” “Sure it is.” He fumbled under the table with his legs, then kicked a basket full of old papers towards Alan. “Started in August, I think. Try Week 1.” “Thank you.” “Another thing. Here’s the address for the bakery. Worth looking at. I don’t know if Al’s baked anything in two weeks. Always dark when I swing by. Agatha liked the smell of bread. She’d visit all the bakeries in the city and she’d tell him how to improve. She was a real treasure. Never really used her powers for anything except helping around the store, though. Don’t know why those damned people came after her.” Alan finished flipping through the stack and placed the papers into his bag. “I see. I think – yes, I think that’s enough.” He gathered his things, his wits, his strength, and left nothing behind but the screeching of the chair as he pushed it into the table. “Thank you, Mr. Brunswick. It’s a bit cliché, but I’ll get to the bottom of this. The cult will be cut out of Altissium as surely as the sunset comes.” They walked together to the door, and said their short goodbyes. They didn’t have much to say, because for Brunswick he had nothing left to do with it all and for Alan he had gotten everything he needed. They washed their hands of each other. The restaurateur closed the door and, sighing, meandered mindlessly about the room. The window spread out Altissium in the dying light beneath. “The Queen protects…” He muttered beneath his breath, staring out towards a sunset scarlet as their flag darken into rust. Brunswick spat and threw the seventy into the wind.
  15. Legend of the Emblem: The Descent

    Drumroll. It was a long and hard process, but the decisions have been made. In the end, babes, this continent just wasn't big enough for the 20 of us Thank you, one and all, though, for showing interest, and I will be in personal contact once the next round of recruiting begins. I had fun trying to think and scheme around each and everyone of your characters. Now. Casting call. THE LEGEND OF THE EMBLEM CHAPTER THREE: THE DESCENT "Dreams and drams of wishful thinking: these are the things that keep us alive in times of duress. Everywhere we look, the crowd moves past us, fleeing to escape apocalypse. They move in the thousands, like a river around foolish, stationary stones. And all that will be left, soon, is us. Us and the flames that consume. For some mad reason...we've decided to hold our ground. Maybe it's because we're unable to move. Because our legs are crippled with fear. Or because there is nothing left in our lives at all. Why else do we move towards the precipice so, day after day? There is no intention of stopping. There is no intention of rest or reconsideration. We are the dead." - The Seven Heroes of the First War of the Wyrms Madon, Lily, Bolt, Jinsoku, and Judas arrive at the Valley, a city that is now choked with caravans of refugees looking to escape to the Western Sea-States. The rumors of the war have spread far across the land - the dragons of myth have begun to stir. The old wives' tale of the War of the Wyrms has risen in the imagination, and there is nothing in the hearts of men but fear. There is no more hope left in this continent, the entire East being overrun slowly by the Byrn forces, burning with dragonfire and put under the yoke. The Valley is, for the first time in its long and hospitable history, grim and dark. Yet it is in the Valley that fates cross, that unlikely acquaintances intersect and the mad meet the mad. They come from all across the continent, and they come for all reasons under the sun - it doesn't matter. All it matters is that they are here, now, and that the actors have assembled. Five becomes eleven, and the embers of hope flicker into life.
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