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amenities last won the day on September 26

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  1. Michael’s penchant for both defensibility and sociability combined such that he would have been the Lenore weaving through others to greet a target individual in most situations; but here and now it was only with the first motion of another administrator that Michael homed in on the widowed twin. Whether it was his golden eyes— a familiar quality to more than one individual whose existence on his timeline was the most difficult of any to cope with— or Tori’s inability to understand what, if any energy emanated from Paralios. “You may have heard of me -- or may have not -- “No, I haven’t!” Michael responded as they grasped hands firmly, his mind speeding to process a response on the moving, speaking surprise man who, for all intents and purposes, had just appeared before him. “—I wanted to speak with you myself—” All of the Major’s inward confusion manifested as a smile, a grasp of the hand, and a few steps to follow Lenore into the conspicuously clear corridor as their introduction concluded. Afternoon sunlight from an extremely far-off window caromed off the linoleum tiles to cast an annoying gleam right in Michael’s eye, so he shifted a shade to the right while Lenore talked. Lenore would sense it at first, but if the witty brother had but the wit to continue on to his conclusion, he would see Commager’s expression relaxing and coming around to understand what he was getting at, how it would help these last infected and Casper in the long run. It was honestly exactly the key. “To save my people, I accept.” He extended a hand to shake on the deal that would ultimately save this last few individuals and help protect Casper from the influence of Zenghi in the future. “Let’s do it,” he said, looking over to Li’El and then back to Lenore. “We will need a couple days to get what both sides need for Eridianus’ expansion, but it’s worth it.” For the first time as he spoke, looking through the observation window at the few-dozen infected still lumbering in pain and spiritual decay down there, Michael was stricken with a pang of guilt. What if he had been here when all this went down, could he have done anything more? Hardening himself, though, he determined that he would find a cure to their disease and a shield against anything like it in the future. “We will meet back here with the necessary people and resources in three days,” he said.
  2. If he dies, he dies

  3. 'What... What have I become...' So fucked up on ayahuasca, swimming so far away in the miasma of his hundred-thousand souls and their memories, Cain noticed a glitch in his ceremony. It was not as Michael arrived, though— it had been twenty minutes earlier when Michael arrived within Cain's fully extended Dialectic. 'Like a nightmare,' Michael had thought as he traversed the dark bracken between him and the cursed glow encapsulating Cain. The nightmare feeling had, in fact, been Michael's misconception of the very grid of Cain's Dialectic across which he moved mechanically like a mere knight against a Queen. It was so hard to focus, so hard to bring himself back to the surface from the depths of his dreamlike, torturous-but-orgasmic absorption of the remaining infected souls of the lost Tia, that the waste-layer was barely able to bring himself to in time to create a passable façade for the Major to stumble upon. Truth be told, the story of Michael and Cain was as old as they were. Linked by one ultimate deathliness known to virtually nobody as Faustus, Cain and Michael had studied under the seed apparent of good and evil for years simultaneously. It was fate, and an amazing one at that, that sent them catapulting in opposite directions; catapulting so far, that one day they might inevitably crash on the other side of the world. Were this not a simple nightmare of peripheral interest, it could have been the ultimate clash; instead let us for now call it a penultimate clash. Were there not more pressing matters (for which he also had more preparation), more pinnable a threat than Cain Rose, Michael might have made now his time to steal away Cain's life. Of course he would try here, but as soon as he happened upon the clearing and certainly furthermore upon his entwisting in the possessed intestines of his enemy, he realized that here and now was a time and place for surviving more than killing. Cain's eyes became a stark gold light that bore into Michael's eyes as the Major flexed his stocky back to manage upward mobility. "Look at you flail," he said in disgust at Michael. It would be the first words he'd ever said to the boy. The kid. Michael stared back in indignation as his mind was bombarded with statistics about all the different magics in play in this environment. The Dialectic was uncertain, but Cain's blood magic and the flow of Maleficence was detectable all around him. One more thing was definitely certain: he had been a madman to come here. The giant knot of gore extending down from their greater net in the trees to have swallowed Michael's legs twisted in order for Cain to examine Michael this way and that. "Look at you," repeated the creature through the mask. Michael felt the gore tightening around his feet, his calves, his quads, his balls. Tightening painfully. Cain was literally going to crush him from the waist down. There was no time to charge his Explaudere and blow himself out of this mess. He had to flash his hand a little bit here. Commager's hand grasped at the air, and within it a brilliance that burnt Cain's very cornea to behold was born within. A blade of light severed the visceral arm that held Michael and in a spewing spray of slimy sinew the saintly son stood, emblazoned in red glory. Blood sprayed against the mask over Cain's face, and beneath it his lips twisted into a sneer at the defiant boy. Fear had grasped the young Major to his core in that moment. Caught by surprise he had been many times, crushed or pummeled to the point of near death he had also been, but Cain's was the most nightmarish demise Michael could imagine that still lived on Valucre. He must, he said in his heart, defy this fear with the strength of a Lion. Michael put his boot against the cauldron, unerring to and unaffected by the fire licking at his heels and the underside of his leg. He kicked the cauldron over and the slop pooled like foolish, wasted grime all over the bloody dirt. "Ruin your lunch?" he said shortly.
  4. "They had elected to be as secret as her, then. That was well and good." Also this line was dope.
  5. Cain's mess of mortal desecration was littered, strewn over, smushed against until it painted the very surface of every ghastly tree in the damn clearing. Horns, hands, bones lay in shredded detachment from bodies lost to the ungodly ritual. Pure wonderment at how many lives, how many races, how much time went into the hunt that concocted this concoction staggered Michael in his nightmarelike state. Dashing over all of it with a radiation was the sick neon hue that paled Michael's face almost the same color as the blood staining the trees nearby. As the gore came into focus, Michael saw the vague shape of seven bodies hanging from the trees behind Cain's outstretched arms. One of Cain's hands was outstretched, fingers spread; the other a rotten crust of fingers clenched around an immaculate silver ring. Attached to the silver ring encrusted within Cain's hand was the Lion's Lantern. Michael's eyes widened in recognition not of the Lantern's appearance but its aura. He began slowly crawling through a space between draping flesh and the ground across the clearing from Cain, eyes locked on the Lantern, when the green glow besetting the clearing suddenly evaporated and the orange of regular flames took its place. 'Wha—' Michael began to wonder what had happened when he saw that, without the rest of his body having moved, Cain's eyes now locked with his. The Hero and the Villain beheld one another eye-to-eye for the first time, a peek behind a multi-faceted dimension of curtains that only Michael could be allowed— and when he must also be the one most dearly denied, too— and from the outset there was a massive canyon filled with fire and rage between them. 'Sir!—' Tori began to tell Michael that Cain's magic was surging, but Michael was already in motion. As he attempted to surge forward he found that the gore through which he had been climbing tightened around him like a muscle. Without moving, Cain had commanded the tightening of the viscera that was dual-parts infested with Maleficence and, by now, his own magic. Twisting in seemingly endless slippery ropes it began coiling around him from the midsection down, raising him from the ground toward Cain as he flexed his abs and back muscles, flailing his arms to keep his upper body vertical and keep looking at Cain.
  6. Tomatoes smell bad. Don't @ me
  7. Ash wore a matte brown robe with matching slippers that looked cumbersome, but whose fit and capacity for agility were surprisingly exceptional. His frame was a stocky, veritable one, but his robe left so little to the imagination that he would not appear anything but a well-exercised young man with a keen eye for the tradition of Gaianism; if not to convert himself to it, then at least to observe— for observation of Gaianism was acceptable even by outsiders, and Ash was as outwardly mundane an outsider as it gets. However he, too, searched for the perfect object with which they could imbue the Totem using their minute-long ritual. While the others and most of the tour group 'ooh'-ed and 'ah'-ed at the inane replica of the dead Saint's mask, Ash beheld the glory of a bronze work of art on the wall opposite. It was as perfectly symmetrical as da Vinci's Last Supper mural. There on the wall was depicted a scene of Jason of the Lions and the rest of his brutal battalion waging war against Zenghi's black, charred force called the Desecrators. Ash was familiar with these tales because, more than Gaianism, his father and then he had always followed the crusades of the Lions to wipe out the forces of evil from the Empire. The Odin Mask was an obvious target, but Ash nodded his head to the side suggestively as the group continued onward. "We should get closer to the middle," he said mutedly as the trio converged inconspicuously amidst the decent-sized tour group. "As close to the lectern as possible."
  8. Actually I know for a fact the initially intended idea was for the below to be the post order: @squid peanut @amenities @The Alexandrian It's your turn! @danzilla3 @Metty @Djinn&Juice @Zashiii @L E V I A T H A N Idk where @desolate is going but I'm sure it will be... legendary
  9. Is this post order one set rotation or does each group rotate rotate freely? @squid peanut
  10. While Nial spoke, Michael considered. The introduction of a third party when deals were almost concluded was always suspicious to Michael. Had an investigation in Last Chance not just come up clean on Argus, he would have immediately probed into them too, but seeing as the events of months prior had occurred with no over-the-table results Michael would settle for examining the TOTEMs on arrival for any malpractice. It wasn't out of suspicion for Argus or The Uriel Group that he would do it, it was out of a sense of duty. It was the same thing he would have done regardless of where the resources were coming from, both for foul play and quality. "I'm not sure if you heard about the water troubles in Last Chance, but they saved a lot of lives there. I'm hoping they can do the same here," came Nial's voice, presumably over speaker now based on the reverberation of his voice. "I did hear about that," said Michael in a conversatorily conclusive tone that indicated he had a new notion to present. "But I'd like to talk payment. I can send over a number and if that number suits you, you can send me proper account information and we can get this ball rolling. There is no time to waste. Can you send me over schematics of the HECTOR and TOTEM-ONE models? Those will be our bread and butter in Aspyn, I think. I will contact you, and if all is well with you then I'll distribute our network of Fauxtons between here and there for physical transfer of the TOTEMs. "Now to cut to a new chase, you said something about your team working on gathering samples of the incident in Treedell. I know something like that might take time, especially in gathering volatile new magics, so take all the time you need to do so safely; but do you have any sort of timeline on how long that might take, and are you willing to part with some of said samples? We've got boots on the ground in Treedell as well, but I could potentially do something useful with as much stuff as possible if I have three or four days to work with them, which means if you agree I could wait up to two-and-a-half weeks for the samples at most."
  11. Cool sports fields, gyms, artificial bodies of water. Maybe a superdome kind of thing. Besides that let your imagination run wild!
  12. Sounds great! Can you make up a neat sounding rec area in your post (we have virtually no established canon for what it should look like yet so you're free to set that up) or you can leave it to me in my next post- but you describing one in your post would certainly move things along better. Responding to your PM now
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