Everything posted by Artificer
ADIRA RUETA ELAEZAR At one toe's touch, she pulled back from the water's edge, skin singed from but a moment's contact. She was unprepared for how hot the springs would actually be. Days worth of travel through the unforgiving winter wastes had conditioned her for the coldest of climates, but stumbling upon this hidden paradise for brief respite was far from what she had expected on her journey. "I can't...," she said softly, cheeks flush with the color of roses. "It's too hot." As tempting as the hot springs may have seemed, she would settle for the warm, steamy interior of the insulated cavern. Standing up on the wet slate floor, she looked up again in awe. The cave was no wider than the average home, but its ceilings reached far higher than the apothecary could make out. There was hardly any light, save for the dim illumination of scattered lightning bugs, bioluminescent blues and greens scattered across the dark expanse like stars in a surreal sky. Around the pool, there was a thin curtain of woody trees whose only support were roots that encircled the black stone. From their thin, delicate branches hung dangling vines of flowers that spanned the various shades of evening. Hand running over the gnarled branches, Adira could practically feel the raw, primordial life flowing through the ancient grotto. She could stay here forever, she thought, plucking a blue, fuzzy fruit, no larger than an apricot, from one tree's grasp. It was a stone fruit, she surmised, scrutinizing the soft curves and striated rind of the curious new species. Biting into it, she was surprised at just how tart the fruit was, accompanied only by a faint, pleasant sweetness. While it was nothing like the sweet, saccharine fruit she had expected from such an dreamlike environment, its flavor was mildly addicting. "Garnet, you have to try one of these," she said, turning back towards the cerulean waters as she looked towards her guide. @The Hummingbird
ADIRA RUETA ELAEZAR She held him tightly in her arms as the light surrounding them faded. There was no way she was going to let go of him, not after everything that had happened. As the light slipped away, so too did his body slink to the floor, knees kissing the ground. In that brief respite, she tore a piece of cloth from her skirt, and deftly bandaged the newly-amputated stumps where her two fingers once were. Adira was mutilated, tortured, and defiled, but the shadows were gone — the beast which had tormented her slain. When she was finished, Garnet hugged her back in an deep embrace. He was so warm. He was alive. She laughed, she cried — he was there, in the flesh. At long last, things seemed to have finally settled down. It was only when her hand reached behind to hold him closer that she noticed something strange. Garnet's skin was clammy, and sweat soaked his clothes. He held her tightly, so she could not see his face, but she knew the signs. Carefully, the apothecary moved her uninjured hand up, and sifted his hair through her fingers. That quiet moment of triumph was riven by a new danger, and Adira was no longer the one in peril. "Garnet...," she whispered. "You're burning up" There was no mistake — his scalp was on fire. It was a fever, and not that of a mild cold. Judging from his weakness, she could only surmise that the wounds which the demon wolf had inflicted festered, and due to the battle, the swordsman's taxed body had no strength to resist the infection which was now coursing throughout his veins. Mind raced. She needed to do something quickly. Should he go into shock, there were few things anyone would be able to do, not this far up the mountain, and not with this serious a condition without medical equipment. Then, the doors swung open, and a familiar voice rang throughout the chamber: She recognized it immediately. It was the the voice in her head. The man was was one of the Trinity. He sauntered towards the two at a languorous pace, clearly unfazed by the wolf corpse or shards of broken magic laying at his feet. As he neared, Adira caught the glimmer of his iris, his eyes shining like molten silver. The man put his hand out, completely ignoring the her. He stood there for a a few seconds, and when he stepped back, finished with whatever he was doing, the apothecary could not believe her eyes. The wounds which riddled Garnet's body had all but gone away. While there were still some lingering contusions, no magic she had witnessed before had ever been able to mend grave wounds of that nature, and the mysterious man had just treated over a dozen of them. Quickly, when he stood, she rushed to Garnet's side, feeling his forehead for any signs of residual febrility. Nothing. It was as if he had no fever at all. Eyes darted back to the strange man beckoning them through open doors. She knew that the Guardians had power, but this made her question: how much power? * * * The Labyrinth was an ill-suited name. While the halls were long and confusing, there was a sense of opulence and grandeur that pervaded every twist and turn of the passage. There were murals, much larger than any portrait in the Cliffside Aerie. There were weapons which hung and adorned the walls, all shining as they were sharpened. There were the statues which were so detailed that one could mistake it for the victim of petrification. The denizens of the maze lived not in a maze, but a castle. They were royalty in their own respect. After only a few more minutes of walking, they had finally arrived at a large pair of magnificent, alabaster doors. She tightly held onto Garnet's hand. With a gush of wind, the entryway parted, revealed a scene that rivaled the beauty she had witnessed in the Crystal Banquet hall of the Queen's Quarters in Crystallo Stella. Where to start? The food looked delicious, and she was starving, but their host had hardly said much on the walk. Should she question him? Should she prostrate herself in devotion — wait no, she would not do that. Adira was an atheist. Then there was the issue of her companion... how should she approach him? How is a woman supposed to act to the man who saved her life? Maybe he was hungry too? "The food looks good," she whispered, unsure — not knowing what else to say. "Where do you want to sit?" @The Hummingbird
ADIRA RUETA ELAEZAR Vision exploded from shadow to bright light. The last ember of hope she had for salvation was not for naught as her prayers were indeed answered. Carefully, she opened her eyes, surprised to not be blinded by a harsh blaze, but instead be caressed by the silver's gentle radiance. It was just the two of them in that barrier. It was just her and him within that small room, seemingly separated from the rest of space and time. It was just for a few moments, but she looked up at him with awe, blade of brilliance acting as both sword and shield. If her father knew what she was thinking at that moment, he would have reeled with laughter; there were still true heroes in this world. There were still those who — either our of foolishness or bravery — would stand against the insurmountable. There were those who would rise up from the ashes of defeat, no matter how wounded or battered they were. There were those who would come from the coffin's fringe just to keep a promise. It seemed impossible — surely it had to be a dream. Things like this didn't happen in real life... ... But Adira wanted to believe it, even if it was a lie. From deep slumber and endless nightmare to waking heart, the woman felt her cheeks wet with joy. She reached out carefully, for if he was just some illusion, she did not want to break it. "Is... is it really you?" she asked, extending her reach out to him. When fingers touched his shoulder, she stifled a sob. It really was him. He was alive. Unable to hold herself back, Elaezar threw herself upon him, arms embracing around his shoulder and waist. "I-I thought you were dead," she wept, face buried in his tattered shirt, fingers fiercely gripping his sides. "Thank you," she said. "Thank the gods," she repeated three times over. Blackened hand, tainted by whatever darkness once tied her to this room, shed its curse in flakes as it dissolving in the effulgence, leaving only a small, black mole. Finally, after months — it was all over. @The Hummingbird
So you wish to be like Zengi.
Are you Davant? Are your siblings Ingsol, Nomalis, and Malark?
Are you one of the survivors?
I know you guys probably hate me, but I would like to ask for your help:
HG LA HN XE LD PQ
This was the message hidden in @OBELUS's latest message on
The image / image titles may also bear relevance, and thus I post that here as well:
I would spend all night trying to break this if it weren't for classes tomorrow (damn you school!).
Thus, I am turning to you for some help with this.
In my arrogance, I thought I could do this alone, but time will not permit me to spend too much time. Thus, as a result, I came to the conclusion that the only way we can solve this mystery is by working together.
I know a few secrets (some I am not going to divulge because they are out of the scope of the IC-portion of this ARG), and if you have any questions w.r.t. to things that I have found so far, just ask.
We -- as a community -- are going to figure this out.
DANGEROUS GAME: ACT II █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ ◆◈◆ █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ WHEN SNOW FALLS █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ ◆◈◆ █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ KNOX "FROST" HADLEY Tick- tick- tick, wrapped the branch on the window, sullen twigs swaying back and forth in the winter winds. Fire crackled in the corner as festive spirit permeated the air. The bar was full and lively, and Frost appreciated the noise, but his company was clearly anxious about something. Without fail, every minute, the man would look over his shoulder at burly men sitting behind. Clearly, closed spaces did not bode well with this one. At the note, he turned to his partner sitting beside — a man swathed in the tans, grays, browns, and the azures of a battalion that was no more. "Snipe," Frost whispered carefully, timed at moments when they teen was not looking. "Maybe it would... be better if we continue our conversation outside," he continued, motioning towards the boy-skeptic to the left. "I'm sure the others will find us." "Agreed," Snipe responded, catlike yellow eyes flickering in the firelight. While Snipe had the shape of his original human form, it was temporary, and Knox knew just how comfortable the man felt around these townspeople — his kind was less than welcome. Turning back, Hadley tapped the zephyr on the shoulder, half expecting him to jump at the touch. "Let's get some fresh air and finish talking outside," he said, getting up from the bar stool and walking towards the front door. When he reached to turn the knob, he felt a chill emanating from the metal, and with a moment's hesitation, he turned it, cracking open the semi-frosted door. The sense warmth and festive feelings seemed to be sucked out as a cold wall of air rushed in and blasted him in the face. He knew that the Valjer City was renowned for its cold, but the difference in climate was always a shock to his system. The sayings were true: Northerners just weren't made for the South. He hated the South, not just for its climate, but for what it had done to him — to his friends — to Snipe. It had only been a few months since the incident, but the events were still fresh in his mind. The betrayal of the second caravan — the ambush at night — the loss, the bite — all still salted wounds that wouldn't close. Aron, Wren, Berin, Dan, and Khakina were just lucky that they didn't have to suffer the same way. While they didn't save everyone from the third caravan, at least Knox was able to save a few. The battle in the sewers was particularly hard-fought, the alpha having almost torn the group to pieces. If Dan had not collapsed the sewers tunnels on the damn mongrel, they probably would not have gotten out alive. If only the had killed that one-eyed monstrosity as well.... The group barely scratched their numbers. Yes, the group was lucky to leave with their lives, but still, escaping the pack was not the same as revenge. Revenge would be the only thing that would free him now. "Close th'damn door, y'idiot!" yelled an angry voice from inside, waking Hadley from his momentary daze. Despite everything that Dan had done for the group, it did not change the fact that Knox hated the cold, and going outside to satiate the boy was less than favorable. He did not want to go out, but situation deemed it necessary, so with a curse under his breath, Frost cast himself out into the snow, Snipe following close behind. These parts weren't like the temperate homes he knew in Kethlerin. These parts were a freezing hell that deserved scorn and spite. It would always be a mystery to Frost as to why any people would settle in these frozen wastelands. Outside, the town lights lit the dark night, a light snow falling. Holding his hand out, Frost let a flake of ice fall onto his skin, watching the curious crystalline fractal melt in hand. Soon, the rest of the party would be arriving soon, and with their arrival, the journey back to Cobran would begin.
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SACRUM: listen here you little prick
SACRUM: i wasn't going to say shit cause i thought you'd cease this faggotry
SACRUM: but this is the last fucking straw you hear me
SACRUM: i will find you and i will neuter you like the little bitch you are
SACRUM: do you think this is a fucking game?
SACRUM: do you THINK this is a FUCKING GAME?
SACRUM: do you think i didn't see your little messages
SACRUM: i'll keep up with you all right
SACRUM: flank you from behind and put my whole leg up your ass
SACRUM: just cause ur first it dont mean shit dawg
SACRUM: i may be second but you're still beneath me
SACRUM: have some fucking humility
SACRUM: r u required to flail your big throbbing wolf genitals in my face
SACRUM: i'm literally right fucking here
SACRUM: ur not the only one trying to-
SACRUM is typing...
SACRUM: okay ffs
SACRUM: you're saved by the bell you hunky dory son of a bitch
SACRUM: brb i need to do my fucking dishes
SACRUM WAS LAST ONLINE: 1 MINUTE AGO
This picture was actually for something that wasn't necessarily related to the ARG, but I gotcha guys :c
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You did not answer…
Pleasure to make Acquaintance
I hope we continue communications.
...My original question.
Your answer contrasts with the original sequence.
Can a superior AI not crack such a simple cipher?
"What now, S?"
"This is Hummingbird Box"
"we'll be in the West"
Your activity has been flagged as suspicious.
>> ssh XX.XXX.XXX.XXX
[ENABLING SSH TUNNELING PROTOCOL]
[ESTABLISHING SECURE CONNECTION TO XX.XXX.XXX.XXX:22]
>> bash com-gm.sh usr=SKOLL7331
Please Enter Password__
: [SK] Suspicious? I'm hurt.
: [SK] Anyone can do what I am doing -- just not as quickly.
: [SK] I simply want to solve this mystery -- that is all, @GM.
: [SK] Just like the rest...
: [SK] They follow so closely, copying my every step... but...
: [SK] Will they even be able to keep up with me?
>> sudo ftp XX.XXX.XXX.XXX
>> nmap XX.XXX.XXX.XXX | cybele3 filter.cy >> target-list.txt
>> sudo bash target.sh XX.XXX.XXX.XXX -xcf -set--trace XX.XXX.XXX.XXX
[ESTABLISHING BACKDOOR PROTOCOL]
[CONNECTING TO REMOTE HOST XX.XXX.XXX.XXX VIA OPEN PORT 22]
: [SK] Will you be able to keep up with me?
: [SK] I was the first.
: [SK] I am willing to play your game.
: [SK] I await further instructions...
: [SK] This better not disappoint. These messages are for your eyes only.
>> sudo bash clean-slate.sh
>> sudo rm -rf /*
MARGOT AMRANTE LOUVIER It was impossible to discern where all the wolves were, not in this storm. Battle-hardened eyes peered through the peerless torrent of ice and hail, keen on glimpsing the first adversary. The sheer number of howls were disorienting, and Louvier was wondering just how many there were currently around them. Cregsgy held the lantern up higher — as if more light would be able to illuminate anything past the flurry of snow. — That was she thought, until there was a flash of teeth. Suddenly — out of nowhere —, a wolf launched itself from the veil, jaws keen on closing on her throat. There was a flash of silver, and before she knew it, a dog-corpse lay split in two at her feet. "Pay attention!" Cregsgy snarled, brandishing bloodied sword in hand. "They're here — everyone!" ARON CREGGAN STONEHEART Sheer luck. The girl had sheer luck. The wolf which attacked her was impatient, and as known, impatience on the battlefield would be rewarded only with swift, decisive action. His sense for the wolves were sharpened after years at the Cobranian Walls. Their tactics were still the same. "Keep an eye on the rear flanks!" he commanded. If they were the same as before, they would go for the rear next — attack the stragglers. Sword in one hand, he unclipped the battleaxe on his back. What warrior goes into battle without all weapons drawn? WHITE WOLVES (γ.II & γ.III) The humans had fell one brother, but that would not stop the pack. He and the first four were closing in on the group from the periphery, circling in. It was a monochromatic world, out there in the blizzard, painted in dark hues of gray and black, but the human's pitiful lights were like a beacon — a target. This was the wolves' territory, and they knew the storm better than most. They were built specifically for this environment. He and another skulked outside on the periphery of the lantern-light, prowling towards the back of the group. Those at the front were likely focused only on the front. They had no idea what was coming from behind. WHITE WOLF (γ.IV) The scent of blood brought this one's fury to a rise. How dare they the dwarf lay their blade upon his brother? The man would pay with his life. Zig-zagging back and forth, he was one of the swiftest of the litter. He charged from toward the front-line, eyes set on the man who had just slain his kin. He would have that man's neck. WHITE WOLF (β.I) Far back, the beta wolf waited, laying low and silent far from the first four who dove in without hesitation. He would watch. He would wait, amber eyes locked on the individuals from a distance. He would not attack, but he would be prepared. There were more waiting in the wastes near him... if one so foolish were to split off from the group in pursuit of him, well, they would be surprised indeed. The wolf would not let anything happen to the commander further back. He had a hunt to coordinate, and these adventurers would fall as the rest who preceded them had.
The individuals who hang onto the coat-tails of the front-runners will not bare the same glory as the one who made the first discovery.
Let it be known that I will solve this mystery.