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Wade

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About Wade

  • Rank
    E for Idiot
  • Birthday 08/27/1996

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  • Gender
    Cowboy
  • Location
    Texas, probably
  • Occupation
    Student

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  1. Wade

    Like.. Haha.. What! Christmas reactions request!

    I volunteer Echo for Confused or What? (especially What?) because she’s my poor man’s Rick Sanchez <2 Notable features are her blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair, with an emphasis on the strawberry; often kept in a ponytail. Christmas costume optional Gracias
  2. Wade

    Let's Make A Deal [Stormlands]

    “Storm’s getting real bad, Darnell. We oughta turn back.” Aksis stares at the terminal’s radar. It has been exactly one hour and a half since the HSC Mace lifted off. In all that time, the green line has worked itself clockwork, over and over without complaint or success. “No,” Darnell says firmly, holding onto a railing. He remains steady despite the winds barreling against their ship. “We keep going. The Mace can take it. Storms like this are the reason we built the Hulks in the first place.” Radio transmissions reach out into static silence. They are looped, like the radar, and speak of things like safety and shelter. No one has responded them yet. The hope that someone will is thin. Doomsday weather makes communications difficult, and people out here are wary of strangers. As they should be. “Ordinary storms, sure,” Chad replies. “But storms like this? That’s stretching it a little. You remember what happened the Archipelago?” “We’re not the Archipelago.” “You say that now.” A metallic groan forces Chad to pause. “Give it another hour, though, and I think you’ll be ready to change your mind.” Footsteps clang throughout the bridge. Aksis turns, and watches Darnell approach. The man reminds him of a tall mannequin, with his plain features and pale skin, belying a stiffness in his shoulders that makes his walk awkward but a little intimidating. “Aksis.” Darnell grips the back of his chair. “What do you think we should do?” Aksis looks Darnell in the eyes. There’s a certain expectation there that worries him. “I-“ Bleep! Aksis stops. An alert flashes on his terminal. Not a blip on the radar, but rather a communications request from a vessel named Casimir. Chad moans. “You can’t be serious.” Aksis swivels to face the screen, then accepts the request. Darnell speaks before he even thinks to. “This is Captain Will Darnell of the HSC Mace,” he declares. “Greetings, Casimir. To whom am I-“ “Hi, Will,” a feminine voice interrupts. “My ship crashed recently, and now there are rock people attacking us. I don’t really have time to discuss the specifics, soooooo...” A set of coordinates suddenly appears in the upper right corner of the screen. Aksis doesn’t waste a second, and traces it to a ravine northeast of their location. “Come save us, you fucks.” The connection blinks out. Aksis and Darnell are both left staring at the screen, puzzling their feelings. “She seems nice,” Aksis finally says. Darnell nods. He doesn’t really seem to hear. Instead, he pushes a button on the keyboard that transfers the coordinates to Chad’s screen. “You hear that? The golems found them first.” Chad studies the coordinates, then whistles. “That’s way closer than they were last week. Baron’s not going to like it one bit.” “Agreed.” Darnell pulls back from Aksis’ chair. “Turn us around.” “What?” Chad cocks his head. “I thought you wanted to keep going. We just got their location.” “Which is why we can go home,” Darnell says as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “No point in us risking our necks for them when we can come back as soon as the storm blows over. By then, they’ll be dead and the golems will have moved on. That’ll make it easier for us to claim the remaining salvage without any problems.” Chad nods his head appreciatively. “I guess that’s not a bad idea.” “Then we’re in agreement.” Darnell flops into the nearest chair. “Get us back to Freestone-“ “No.” Chad and Darnell both frown, then look at Aksis. They clearly forgot that he is sitting there, judging by the surprise on their faces. “What did you say?” Aksis meets their gazes. The tension he feels, thankfully, isn’t properly conveyed through his mechanical posture. “No,” he says, more forcefully this time. “We will help them. It is why I am here.” He is tempted to call their plan cowardly, to discredit their honour for even considering it. But then he remembers that honour means nothing to barbarians like these. “The Baron wants these people alive,” he lies, knowing the Baron merely indulged the surgeon in him. “They are worth something to him. Information, maybe. I would not have been allowed to come here, otherwise.” Darnell studies him. Something works in his jaw; spite, potentially, or a convincing retort. It’s hard to tell with this man. Maybe he sees through the lie. Aksis continues, regardless. “Fleeing would go against his wishes, Captain. Explaining that to him might be difficult, yes?” Darnell slowly cracks a smile. It looks unnatural on him. “Yes,” he says, lingering on the word, lingering on Aksis. “I suppose you’re right. Thank you, Aksis.” Aksis nods. It is all he can think of to do in the face of such thinly veiled hostility. “Chad, take us to the Casimir.”
  3. Wade

    Let's Make A Deal [OOC]

    Sorry for the wait but I'm actually going to extend my turn until Monday; I'd rather not skip my turn and leave you guys hanging without plot advancement for 1-2 weeks. The weekend's more hectic than I thought it would be, so I'm running a little late on my promises. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to have my post finished by tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.
  4. Wade

    Donations 9.0

    Transaction ID: 3181-4075-6868-7604 Cheers
  5. King

    Let me know if you ever open up them Oathsworn ranks to players. 👀

    1. Wade

      Wade

      I very much intend to. You can expect a PM from me soon 👀

      Edit: thanks for the like

    2. King

      King

      My body is ready. 👀

      PS: You're welcome. Good stuff, as always.

    3. supernal

      supernal

      I’m very excited by this merger 

  6. Wade

    Swornbreaker

    i. Walter Crowley, First of the Oathsworn, spun between the first two rebels, sweeping Onrenmir in a wide arc. The Oathblade passed through them with an ease that was almost uncanny, as if the weapon itself hungered for their existence. The third and fourth he dispatched with his shades, razor-thin as they lashed out from the edges of the torchlight. Both men fell to the ground, useless, screams cut down the middle; they stilled once their throats had wept puddles into the dirt. “What the hell’s going on down there?” Crowley was already gone. By the time the sentry rang the bell, he’d slaughtered nine other men. Pointless. He sprinted past a tent, long legs aflutter, shadows concealing him so as to make him a featureless blur. Under the moonlight, the war camp stirred. Men and women who’d just been sleeping filed out of their tents. Those that crossed his path, he killed without warning, appearing one moment before vanishing into the next. Up ahead, the castle gates marked the edge of the camp. Soldiers formed ranks in anticipation of an attack. Many of them carried swords, others spears, while the rest were archers positioned high up along the walkways. Crowley counted several elves among the latter group. A smart decision. Their skill with the bow was unparalleled in all of Ursa Madeum. Many of their people had fled here, hoping to escape genocide, and he felt a deep regret knowing their efforts had been in vain. “I see something!” one of the archers yelled. “Over there, by the wagon!” Crowley started pooling shadows into his own. Everything around him suddenly brightened. It was as if they’d turned transparent, allowing light to snake around impossible corners, while he stole off with the dark at his feet. “Fire! Fire!” The dark worked its way up his leg, past his chest, until it practically melted off of him in thick, oily rivulets. He had taken in enough. It was time to let go. He felt like he would implode if he contained the energy boiling inside him any longer. The first wave of arrows whistled past his head and he had to suck in a deep breath, willing himself to mold the darkness into four independent wraiths. They vaguely resembled his own figure, both in shape and size, with two arms and two legs that shared his nimble stride. However, where Crowley was solid black plate, they seemed a mix of liquid and gas. Even their footsteps were silent, slick murmurs barely above a whisper. The soldiers, meanwhile, were very vocal about their panic. Too few had the wit to react before the wraiths knifed out into their ranks. Their organization crumbled, their focus wavered, and men stumbled over one another as they tried to recover their footing. Taking advantage of the chaos, Crowley made a beeline for the gates, slowing only to slash at one spearmen who had the nerve to charge at him alone. He accumulated speed. Arrows trailed at his back. One of them actually managed to score a hit on his helmet where his eyebrow should’ve been. It was in moments like those that he was grateful for Orenmir’s strength, as it allowed him to wear special plate that would’ve normally been too dense to move around in. Arrows rarely had any purchase on it, they mostly left dents and scratches. He’d seen the armour survive a few swings from an axe before eventually shattering. CRACK! Crowley crashed through the gates, wood splintering around him. He suspected the sound also had something to do with a section of his pauldron. Pain lanced up his arm and shoulder, reverberating throughout the right side of his torso, then ebbed away into a persistent throb as he tried his best to ignore it. He looked up then, fixating on the castle’s main building. It was walled off by even more soldiers who hadn't been expecting him to burst through. Move. Crowley obeyed. Shock and awe were his bread and butter. He couldn’t afford to lose momentum if he wanted to keep these men afraid. With a lunge of his sword, he cleaved the nearest soldier in half, then followed with a gauntleted backhand that crumpled his companion’s face. Shadows writhed from his feet at that moment, twisting like a storm of vines, skewering indiscriminately in a show of savage force. One of them launched a carriage into the air. It fell onto an escaping group, then tumbled into another few people who’d been trying to get out of the way. Parrying a blow, he leapt at the swordsman in front of him. Two effortless swings took him down in a heartbeat. The others nearby instinctively took a step back, clutching at their weapons. They were like children with sticks prodding at a lion. “Devil,” one of them spat. Crowley accepted this with a nod. It was what they called him now, and he’d come to terms with that fact long ago. “I know.” He fell into stance and swept his Oathblade in a horizontal slash. The death released from its tip was black and soundless. He moved on to the next soldier, and then countless more after that, a ribbon on the wind tiring as it killed and killed and killed. Pointless. Crowley eventually stood at the castle’s doorstep. He glanced back at the field of corpses, spotting one of his surviving wraiths still dealing with the remaining archers. It was on its last-legs; he could tell by the way it flickered and smoked. Almost like the hellish inferno raging in the distance. So, they’ve finally made it. Crowley looked up. A gleaming shard of orange arced through the sky. It had the distinctive curve of a missile bracing for impact. He watched its descent until he was sure it would land in front of him, and he cursed his luck softly. Why’d it have to be him? The shard struck, and Crowley stepped towards it, not the least bit thrown off by the subtle shockwave rippling through the ground. At the centre of a tiny crater, a figure greeted him with a raised fist; he wore burnt orange armour made of smoothly interlocking plates. It was similar to Crowley’s, yet bulkier and more intimidating, with massive gauntlets and shoulder plates that were almost shields in themselves. “Crowley, you sly devil!” The bear of a man lumbered forward. Cometfall materialized in his hand and came to rest on his shoulder. “Decided to go ahead of us, eh? Eager to get the job done, is that it?” He rubbed the chin of his helmet playfully. “No wonder you were made the First.” Crowley was in no mood for the man’s jests. “Go away, Theodal. I can handle this on my own.” “Sure, you can!” Theodal looped an arm around Crowley’s shoulder. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a friend around to watch your back. Nice work over here, by the way. You really cleaned this place up good. Don’t think I could’ve done it better, if I say so myself.” The way he’d meant it made Crowley’s teeth clench. “There’s nothing nice about a massacre.” “Perhaps not,” the knight conceded. “But at least we’re on the right side of it.” Crowley had to shrug the man off. He made him sick. “Where are the others?” “Thel and Elyse stayed back. Everyone else is out there fighting right now. Can’t say they were too thrilled about playing catch-up, if I’m being honest.” Theodal looked at him. “You want to tell me why you came here alone?” Crowley didn’t meet his gaze. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather just get this done and over with.” He prepared to stalk off, but a strong hand clamped his shoulder. “Crowley, I know this is hard for you-“ “Get your hand off me,” he snapped. “-but you can talk to us,” Theodal finished, unwavering. “We’re worried about you. I’m worried about you. Syrah says you haven’t been sleeping at all lately.” “And that surprises you?“ He swung a hand to the battlefield, towards the screams of the dying. “After everything we’ve done? After all this? Honestly, I don’t know how any of you can sleep.” “We’re Oathsworn,” Theodal said firmly. “We have a duty to uphold.” “Yes, a duty to slaughter thousands of innocents. To hunt every Elf, Pered and Shifter down to the very last woman and child.” Saying the words out loud tasted like poison. “How noble of us. I suppose I should feel pride leading Damien’s legendary death squad.” Theodal was quiet for a moment. He was clearly holding something back, judging by the shifting of his feet. Crowley broke the silence first. “Go help the others. I’m fine over here. One lord and his royal guard isn’t anything new to me.” Reluctantly, Theodal let go of his shoulder. Crowley turned and disappeared into the castle. It took him less than half an hour to kill everyone inside.
  7. Wade

    Let's Make A Deal [OOC]

    @ourlachesism skipped, currently my turn. Feel free to post late should you wish to. I think I’m going to extend my turn to 4 days if I can’t bang out a post by tomorrow. @sapphyrelorelle is suspended from the thread until further action on her part. I’ll add her to the posting cycle if she decides to make an appearance. As for @SweetCyanide; he reached out to me to let me know he still intends to participate. Life’s just been a little hectic for him recently, hence the diminished activity. And @Grimmholt, we’ll be following that new post order from now on, excluding sapphyrelorelle. Thanks for putting it up, my guy
  8. It’s Swornbreaker. Thanks for checking up my man, I appreciate it 👍
  9. Wade

    Walter Crowley

    WALTER CROWLEY BASIC Race: Human male Age: 28 Birthplace: Ursa Madeum Occupation: Undecided Alignment: Neutral Good PHYSICAL Height: 6’5” Weight: 183 lbs Hair: Chocolate brown; short and messy Eyes: Hazel Skin: Warm beige Build: Lean and wiry, taut like a rope Voice: Amiably mellow, though not entirely placid ORENMIR Crowley’s Oathblade, a unique longsword of alien make, crafted from a void-black substance that seems to drink in ambient light. It grants him enhanced physical capabilities, most notably those of endurance and strength, and allows him to manipulate shadows in a variety of ways. This includes (but is not limited to) altering their shape and density, creating other shadows, giving them physical form, and absorbing them. THE FIRST Crowley was the First of the Oathsworn, an order of ten elite knights. He acted as their de facto leader until an event known as the Break. His life as a common gladiator changed when Orenmir chose him as its master. The incident saw him inducted into Queen Analea’s forces, though not initially of his own free will. He was tasked with finding other worthy candidates for the nine remaining Oathblades, a journey that would take him all over Ursa Madeum and which would take him a year to accomplish. During the Tyrant King’s reign, he became infamously known as the Devil. Not much later, he would also acquire the title of Swornbreaker. Currently, he resides in Blackburn, a fishing village on the western coast of Misral. He goes by the name of Reed Waterman and works as a farmer.
  10. My current thread is just backstory for my character. A little pet project for me to develop over time. He’ll make the jump into the present relatively soon-ish, in which I’ll probably run into you folks making all the big plays
  11. Wade

    A Murder of Crows

    ii. The interrogation finally reached a break. They weren’t done - it didn’t seem like they’d ever be done - but the questions had ceased for the moment and that was enough for Crowley. He stepped into the hall, trying to hide his limp, and left the council to its speculations before anyone could corner him. Two escorts flanked him at his back, a reminder that he was more of a prisoner than a guest, though he ignored them to the best of his abilities alongside the stares of passing nobles. Unlike the afternoon of his duel, the clouds hung heavy above the castle gardens. Which was fine. A good thing, really - it meant fewer people outside who might ‘accidentally’ bump into him. There were a lot of those lately. Guards, lords, daughters. Good god, there were a lot of pretty girls in the upper echelons of society. Crowley had initially taken to the attention, possessing an innate knack for showmanship, but at this point it was growing excessive and he simply wanted to be left alone. Most people didn’t realize how busy he’d become, now that he was Oathsworn, and those that did usually weren’t sensible enough to spare him from their litanies. Oathsworn. Crowley still hadn’t gotten used to the title. Ever since he could first remember, people had always called him Walt. There was nothing special to the name, no undue significance; whatever meaning it held, it was the meaning he had given it. All this bowing and reverence, as if he were some fancy lord now, was utterly alien to him, to the point that it made him feel too small for his shoes. Why me? It was the obvious question. Unfortunately, he didn't think he'd be getting the answer anytime soon. The voice he heard in his head at the duel had never made a second appearance, even though he knew it was there, somewhere, hovering along the edge of his consciousness. Whenever someone asked him how he’d done it, how he’d claimed the Oathblade, all he had to offer were a handful of vague remarks, succeeded by even more empty guesses. The one thing that kept people from walking away disappointed, most of the time, was his newfound ability to wiggle nearby shadows, which in itself was underwhelming compared to the titan that had risen behind him. “Wiggle, wiggle.” The guards behind him probably shared a look. “Sir?” Crowley pointed to the shadow of a tree branch. It was waving to them in a peculiar manner. “Tell me, does that look impressive to you?” “Er.” The guard watched as the shadow weaved itself into a crooked circle. “Yes?” Crowley sighed. “Most people say that. I think they’re all idiots.” Crowley focused, and the circle became a crude caricature of a heart. “Except you, Tobin. You’re my favourite. No one skulks behind me quite like you do.” “Tobin’s not working today, sir.” Crowley stopped, pivoting on his heel. He examined the guard with a quick once-over. “Then who are you?” “My name’s Julian.” “Oh.” He frowned. “Where’s Tobin?” “Sick, sir.” “What do you mean he’s sick? Tobin’s not allowed to be sick. He’s the worst wingman ever, and that’s exactly what I need right now.” The guard shrugged. “I’m just telling you what I heard, sir.” “I see.” Crowley considered the man. “Keep up the good work, then. Maybe someday you’ll get a real job.” “Thank you, sir.” “Just like that.” At some point, off the beaten path, they came upon a willow tree near the edge of a pond. Of all the spots Crowley had seen so far, this one appeared to be the best for someone who didn’t want to be disturbed. “Julian,” he began, striding towards the tree. “How much time do we have left on our break?” “Fifteen minutes, sir.” “Twenty-five it is.” Crowley leaned back against the trunk and let himself sink into a crosslegged pose. “If the two of you could hide behind the bushes or something, that’d be great. Anyone sees you, you tell them you’re looking for mushrooms.” “There aren’t any mushrooms growing in the garden, s-” “Shhh shhh shhhhhhhhhhh!” Crowley closed his eyes. “Roll with it, okay? And stop calling me ‘sir’. It makes me feel old.” Julian didn’t move whatsoever. “Understood, sir.” The minutes that followed were spent in blissful silence. If anyone noticed Crowley or his guards, they didn’t approach. That made him wonder whether the willow was truly a good place to hide; a part of him felt an irrational joy at the prospect of having someplace to relax other than his bed chambers. “Crowley!” a voice suddenly bellowed. “Crowley, where are you?” Aaaaaaaand you ruined it. Crowley glanced at his watch. Thirty-three minutes. Somehow, Julian had gone above and beyond his civil duty of bringing him back after twenty-five minutes. Crowley glanced at the guard. There wasn’t so much as a twinkle in his eyes. If he registered Crowley’s pride - or the distressed shooing motion he was making with his hands - it was impossible to say unless you were an expert in dead fish and their facial expressions. “Crowley!” He recognized the voice. It was Desmor, the old knight he’d fought. “I know you’re behind that tree, boy! Come on out! The council’s getting tired of your games.” Julian, do something! Crowley pleaded the words silently. After a long, long, (Oh my god, Julian! What are you doing?) long moment, the guard declared, “Sir Crowley had to go to the bathroom, sir.” Desmor definitely heard the palm-on-forehead slap from where he stood. “You got me!” Crowley stepped out from behind the tree, hands held high in open defeat. “Seriously, you got me. I’d run away right now but you sliced open my leg.” Desmor watched him from the stone path. Outside of his armour, he looked a lot less intimidating. “Funny, I don’t really feel bad about that.” “Funny, I thought you were supposed to be polite.” “Not to brats like you I don’t.” Crowley scowled at that. Despite his eagerness for mischief, he’d grown impatient whenever it backfired. “Can’t I have the day off? You guys keep grilling me like I’m not already past well-done. Every single hour, it’s ‘Oh, do you feel any different? Oh, do you have demon blood in your heritage? Oh, can you summon the Oathblade so I can see it cleave my stupid face off?’” Desmor raised an eyebrow. “Can you summon the Oathblade?” “Oh geez, let’s see.” Crowley stuck his hand out. Nothing. “Guess that’s what happens when you design it to melt into your shadow. Got any tips on how to help with that? No? Of course you don’t. Nobody on this island seems to have a god damned clue on how these things work.” He kicked a nearby pebble, harder than he’d meant to. Desmor let out a breath. The weariness of it brought out his age. “Believe it or not, we’re here to help you.” “Then how about letting me see my friends for once? You don’t think I have a life out there?” Crowley shook his head. “I’m not just going to roll over and give it all up. Not if it means being some bird in your gilded cage.” A pregnant silence fell over them. Julian and his nameless colleague knew to keep their distance. “If I agree to let you see your friends,” Desmor tested. “Will you come with me to go see the council?” Crowley stared at the knight. Something inside of him twinged against his better judgement. “You’re serious?” Desmor nodded. “I’ll talk to them about your restrictions. See if we can figure out a compromise.” He shifted to the side, lingering on the edge of a step. “Does that sound reasonable to you?” Crowley hesitated. The anger inside him wanted to boil over, but the chance at seeing a little bit of freedom… The chance of seeing Han… “If you’re lying,” he said, falling into step. “I will have Julian stab you.” Desmor smiled. “Who’s Julian?” The eminent guard stepped up. "I am, sir."
  12. Wade

    A Murder of Crows

    i. Walter Crowley, son of none, had never felt so out of place in his entire life. “Trust me, you look great,” Han said, not looking at Crowley as he sat crosslegged on the ground. “You mean I look like an idiot,” Crowley grumbled, trying to ignore the nobles crowding about the stands. He was dressed in a boiled leather vest, with a single pauldron cupping his left shoulder, while the ends of a faded brown tunic fluttered lazily around his thighs. Across from him, Ser Desmor traced the ground back and forth, ornamented in a full set of plate the colour of honey. Its mirror-like polish and flowing design made Crowley feel filthy in the comfort of his sandals. “Should’ve just stuck to the Coliseum,” he continued, voice kept down to a mutter. “Everyone here’s so posh, so genteel. I feel like a baboon in an art gallery.” Han nodded. The noise he made sounded suspiciously like an aha! Crowley looked at him. “Han?” Aha! “Han.” Crowley prodded the Welander with his foot. “Han. What are you doing?” “Hmm? Oh, sorry.” Han sheathed the dagger he’d been holding, then held up Crowley’s helmet. There was a series of symbols carved into its forehead. “Luck and good fortune?” Crowley guessed. Han snorted, unable to keep the smile from his face. “What?” Crowley slid on the helmet, feeling its chill against his nose. “It means ‘fuck trumpet,’” Han said. “What?” Han couldn’t contain his laughter any longer. “Did you really think I’d write you ‘luck and good fortune’? God, sometimes I forget how naive you kids are.” Crowley immediately tore off his helmet. He glared at the symbols despite the fact that he couldn’t read them. “Tell me this isn’t real.” Han’s smile was all teeth. “It most certainly is.” Crowley sucked in a deep breath. It took every shred of discipline, every ounce patience, to keep himself from punching the man. “Han, this is my only helmet. It’s too late for me to borrow one of theirs. You understand that, in just a few minutes, I’m going to fight in front of every noble house in Ursa Madeum - including the Queen - with ‘fuck trumpet’ written on my forehead?” “That’s exactly why I did it.” Crowley’s fingers curled on their own. “I am going to kill you.” “Y’know, for such a big guy, you sure do whine a lot.” Han slowly stood up. The Welander barely made it to Crowley’s shoulder. “Walt, listen. No one’s going to be able to read that. I’m not seeing a lot of slanted eyes, except for maybe House Shimazu in the corner over there.” Crowley groaned. Han clapped him on the shoulder. “Just think about the fact that you’re actually here. They never let us commoners into duels like this!” “It’s not really a proper duel.” At least, not in the way Crowley imagined it. In his eyes, this was more of an experiment, a chance for the nobles to test out their fancy new swords. Oathblades, they were called. Ten in total, each infused with powerful magic. Somehow, they had to choose their masters, to deem them worthy before bestowing their powers. The problem was, no such thing had occurred yet. There were no masters, no flashy moments of truth, no nothing besides bunch of head scratching on how to proceed. Personally, Crowley thought it was all a bunch of nonsense. How could anyone attest to the value of these blades if they’d never seen them work, let alone not even know how they were supposed to work? Nobles had tried duelling, praying, cutting themselves on the edge, any sort of ritual that didn’t stray too far into the unethical. Him being here was just another act of desperation. Another futile attempt. No one really knew if fighting the ‘barbarian’ for once would accomplish anything. “I better make my way over there,” Crowley said, stepping towards the arena. “Get this thing over with.” “Yeah, it’s just about that time,” Han drawled. “Crowley?” “Yes?” “Luck and good fortune.” A crooked smile snuck onto Crowley’s face. It almost didn’t feel terrible putting the helmet back on. Atop a podium, a judge with curling red hair watched him enter, while Ser Desmor awaited him on the other side of the arena. The sheen of the knight’s armour almost made him difficult to look at, partly because it was so bright but also because it was so gaudy. Crowley had been offered a similar, if not plainer, suit of armour, though he’d declined through a measure of instinct, as he wasn’t accustomed to fighting in something so bulky. All he’d ever known were the gladiator leathers given to him at the Coliseum, and what they lacked in protection, he hoped they would make up for in mobility. “The combatants shall approach!” Crowley crossed the brick floor to where two servants stood at the bottom of the podium. One of them held his usual armaments, a short sword and a round shield. He accepted them after Desmor took his own weapon - the Oathblade, he realized - and began testing its balance with a few cautious swings. It didn’t look anything like Crowley had expected. There wasn’t anything particularly striking about its design. It just looked like a long black blade fashioned from brittle obsidian, only it was missing the shine and probably the sulphuric aroma. “You will fight until one party lands first blood, at which point the unbloodied will be granted the opportunity to end the engagement!” The two servants, now weaponless, retreated from the arena. “If the opportunity to end the engagement is not taken, the engagement will continue until one party forfeits or can no longer fight. Do you understand?” Two yeses sounded in the summer air. Crowley and Dresmor paced away from each other under the watch of a hundred or so nobles. It was too quiet, too peaceful, to the point that Crowley found it unnerving. Where was the cheering? The goading and the death threats? He would’ve preferred that to the judgemental stares. “What’s wrong, boy?” Desmor fell into stance. A knight’s stance. Crowley wasn’t familiar with those. “You look nervous. Don’t tell me you’re getting cold feet.” Crowley didn’t rise up to the question. It was honest and plain. He didn’t hear the slightest hint of mockery in the words Desmor had spoken. So damn polite. “I’m fine, thanks.” Crowley also fell into stance, knees bent, shield in front, sword at the ready for when the judge gave the signal. He felt the sun at his back, warming his skin. Desmor’s armour must have been a furnace in this insufferable heat. “Begin!” Desmor lunged first. He seemed eager to impress. The way he moved in for the kill lacked the usual preliminary caution. Crowley twisted the blow away, then retreated a step. The sound of naked steel filled the air. It was far louder in the absence of a crowd’s roar, the whiny tin of it still ringing in his ears. He decided he was letting it distract him too much as Desmor’s blade sailed inches from his chest. Focus. Crowley batted away the next blow with his shield. He followed with a slash, leaning forward into the attack, before Desmor rolled with his inertia, pounced, and slammed a plated shoulder into Crowley’s chest. Someone in the stands gasped as he tumbled to the ground, but Crowley ignored them, along with the pain bruising his sternum. He rolled with the motion to get back on one knee, short sword coming up just in time to deflect the seamless black blade. The swipe he made at Desmor’s shins was hasty and sloppy, but it succeeded in putting some distance between the two of them. “Walt, what are you doing?” It was Han, yelling. Someone tried to shush him. “Get up and beat his ass! Come on!” Whether out of grace or showmanship, Desmor gave Crowley ample time to stand up. It was hard to judge the knight when he had that helmet for a face. Crowley nodded his thanks, and Desmor nodded back. The fight was still on, and so they bared their weapons. Crowley took the initiative this time. He went in for a feint. A swing from up high always tended the attract the most attention. Desmor saw through the play and knew to look for Crowley’s shield, but he hadn’t expected the gladiator kick him in the knee, once, twice, before he was forced to dive past a thrust. “Walt! Walt! What are you waiting for? He’s on the frickin’ ground! C’mon, move- oh my god, quit shushing me, lady!” Crowley waited for Desmor to collect himself. He nodded as he had before, and the knight nodded back. “No more favours,” Crowley exhaled, raising his sword. “No more wishy washy honour. You see an opening, you take it.” Desmor stared at him. He seemed to hesitate in the space of the moment. “Alright,” he said reluctantly, hefting the Oathblade. It was darker than Crowley had originally thought, as though it was drinking in the sunlight. “Let's go.” With a grin, Crowley pressed for a new offensive. The speed at which he moved took Desmor by surprise. On two occasions, Crowley very nearly struck him on the shoulder, not feeling any shame whatsoever at the dirty tactics such a feat had required. Desmor’s discipline as a soldier was what saved him from another near-hit. He never panicked nor lost his patience, and there was a certain rhythm to the way he fought. Where Crowley was all reckless aggression, he was steady and methodical, like a dancer going through the motions of a particularly stiff choreography. “Impressive,” Desmor said, lancing forward. “You’re young but you have talent.” He brought the Oathblade in a neat horizontal swipe, missed, then stepped aside to dodge a low jab. The attack would’ve skewered him in the thigh had he reacted a second too late. “You’re insufferably cocky too, but you have talent.” Crowley slashed again at the knight’s legs, forgetting about the nobles in the stands. Every vein in his body was on fire, and it felt exhilarating to just move. “Yeah, you’re real sweet and all but get out of here.” The sword struck air. It was his turn to play on the defensive now. “Usually when you start talking, it means you think you’ve already won.” “That’s because I have.” “Wh-“ Crowley never saw the strike that cut him. He only felt the searing, biting pain of pain of it. “Stop!” Crowley halted, then looked at at his leg. A clean, shallow cut wept blood down his thigh. The skin around it was bright and raw, a little too fierce in its sting; it almost felt like someone had sliced him with a poker straight from the fire. “First blood goes to Ser Desmor!” The red-haired judge outstretched an arm to the knight. She narrowed her eyes on him, speaking in a firm tone. “Do you wish to end the engagement or continue?” For the first time, Desmor lifted his faceplate. Sweat matted his greying beard, and he was breathing fairly hard. “I-“ “I can still fight!” Crowley yelled. The air tasted desperately of anger and shame. It occurred to him that he was breathing just as hard as Desmor. “I can-“ “Silence!” The judge cut him off with a wave. She returned her attention to Desmor, face unruffled by her previous tone. “Do you wish to end the engagement or continue?” Desmor didn’t speak right away. There was a far-off look in the way he considered the ground. Crowley could barely contain himself as the crowd watched them silently, even Han, whose shouting was nowhere to be heard. “Boy,” Desmor said finally. “Show me that you can move.” Crowley stared dumbly. He didn’t understand that Desmor was speaking to him at first. “Oh, sorry,” he muttered, losing his earlier bluster. His face was a shade of red that thankfully didn’t show under his helmet. “Hmm.” Desmor watched Crowley as he started walking about. The whole display felt ridiculous, but he didn’t want the match to end this way if he could help it. The judge folded her hands. “Ser, have you made a decision?” “I have.” Desmor shook his head. “Sorry, boy, but you’re limping. This duel’s over-“ “No!” Crowley charged, ignoring the pain in his leg. Everything was fine- he’d show it to them, show it to Desmor. He could still keep going. He needed to keep going. There was no way he’d lose a fight this big over some trivial cut. C'mon, c'mon, c'mon. He was upon Desmor in one savage arc. The old knight’s Oathblade flew out of his hands. Crowley prepared himself for the next strike, close to the chest, until a backhand across the face spun him around and made him lose his balance. “Listen to me,” Desmor boomed. “We’re done! Stop now before you make a fool out of yourself.” When Crowley steadied himself, he saw Desmor holding his short sword. He must have dropped it in the fall, when Desmor had slapped him. “WALT! THE SWORD! GRAB HIS SWORD!” Crowley didn’t know what Han meant until he noticed a dark spot at the edge of his vision. The Oathblade. It was right there. Just a few feet away from him, basking uselessly on the ground. The darkness of it called to him, beckoned him forward. His feet started moving on their own. “Don’t do it, boy!” Crowley knelt to the Oathblade. Up close, it was unlike any weapon he’d ever seen. Its complete absence of colour made it seem more like a shadow, a void in space itself, trapped in an edged vessel finer than even the thinnest of paper. What he’d judged as simplistic he now perceived as elegant, a sort of beauty that was intrinsic to masterful craftsmanship. Oh, I like you. Crowley plucked the sword from the ground. Its balance suited him perfectly, as if it were made for his arm and his arm alone. He swung it once, then a second time, noting how it didn’t make a sound. The very air seemed to die with each motion, and for some reason that excited him. When he turned around, Desmor’s face was one of utter shock. A newly minted fear ran rampant along his quivering lips. “You… you…” Suddenly, he dropped to one knee, chin tucked in to his chest, holding a fist to his heart in the form of a bow. Crowley eyed the knight incredulously. What had he done to deserve this? The reaction was so unexpected that he didn’t know what to make of it. “Uh.” With a sinking feeling, he realized that everyone, everyone, was looking at him. Not in the imposing way in which they pinned a commoner of his type, but with the same gape-mouthed, wide-eyed stares that Desmor had suffered moments ago. Slowly, he tilted his gaze towards to his feet. His shadow was alive. Alive. Gaia’s tits, it was alive. “Uh.” The shapeless titan peeled off the ground in the manner of ink being drawn from thousand-year-old parchment. It towered behind him, beginning at his feet, writhing as if it had yet to decide what form suited it best. Crowley’s initial instincts told him to run from it, to get as far away as possible, but something in the back of his mind whispered to him that he needn’t be afraid. Oh yes, I can see it now. You and I are going to get along famously. From his seat in the stands, where all the nobles held their silence, Han’s voice thundered righteously. “ALL HAIL FUCK TRUMPET!”
  13. Wade

    Let's Make A Deal [OOC]

    @SweetCyanide skipped. You still in this, squadfam? @Hurttoto, go for it.
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