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      Vote for Valucre [July]   05/16/2017

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Avvercus

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About Avvercus

  • Rank
    Devil Dog
  • Birthday 02/02/1992

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    kyoichi2292

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Oklahoma
  • Interests
    anime and manga, music in general, reading and writing, video games, visual novels, running, biking, martial arts, playing guitar, drawing, the list goes on.
  • Occupation
    Poor College student

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  1. Moonblade was swift. Her boots echoed down the otherwise stagnant white halls with alacrity, and the two men tailing her made to keep up. She rounded a sudden corner with inhuman grace, and in the half second it took Vergil and Dante to come around she had put down three walking dead. Each wore business casual with ID cards, but the clandestine woman paid the cadavers nor their personal effects any mind as she continued to move. After a few more twisting turns, each taken without a moments hesitation, she approached a black door without a label. One of the three keys she'd taken from security was in her gloved hands, a rectangle of plastic slipped into an electronic slot on the door. No light, no sound, no response. She tried a few more times, and growled with some impatience. Vergil put a hand on her shoulder, gently pushing her aside. With his M4 readied on his shoulder, the Marine bore down on the entryway with the bottom of one boot. His weight slammed into it, sending a loud bang down the halls. However, the door held. Moonblade reached up to grab him by the back of the collar and forcefully yanked the man back and out of the way. With an annoyed huff, she did exactly what he had done, with vastly different results. The door flew inward, crashing off its hinges and screaming into the pitch black room. Vergil clicked his weapon's light on and immediately swept it through the dark like a hot knife through butter. Two short bursts of rounds followed, and after a moment of sweeping the room with his light, the man called "Clear!" Two more zombies lay dead, shrouded in shadows, and Moonblade walked over them without a glance. She made directly for a shelf, ripping one of the servers out of its plastic holders before walking from the room. It was placed on the ground, in the light, and flipped over. A screwdriver appeared from her coat, and the tiny woman took the equipment apart with surprising familiarity. A hard drive was removed before immediately disappearing into her clothing. "Next," she announced with a neutral tone, and the race was on again. A small gathering of the undead waited around the next corner, drawn to the sounds the three had made getting into the room. As they began their sprint, Vergil drilled a glare into the back of the mysterious thief's head. She was really making her way onto his shit list, and fast.
  2. “No, Mr. MacDowell, you are not a prisoner,” she informed with a neutral tone, standing up straight so that her face no longer loomed over the confused stranger’s. She let loose a mighty yawn while arching her back and stretching her arms over her head. The outline of her modest chest pressed tight against the white coat she had buttoned up until it reached her waist, at which point the thing flared out to reveal a pair of short shorts covering her not-so-narrow hips and a pair of dark pantyhose. The lab coat must have been tailored, because it was perfectly form fitting and seemed to exist more for fashion than practicality. The woman yawned more as she walked with a sleepy saunter from the room, a sliding electric door made of two inches of heavy metal marking the entrance. She returned thirty seconds later with a heavy-lidded expression, carrying a bottle of water and a mug that said ‘#1 Professor’ in black letters with the stenciled silhouette of a mad scientist stamped on it. She set the water on a tray within arms reach of Alan and took a sip of the black coffee she’d finally gotten her hands on. “Drink that, and I’ll give you some coffee,” she offered, pointing while stifling yet another yawn. She blinked a few times, wondering why she was still standing there. “Ah, right,” she muttered. “You were attacked by a malfunctioning robot, so I brought you here. Welcome to my lab. You can call me Professor-” “LILIUM!” an angry, bellowing voice interrupted from the next room. A man with short hair the same color as Professor Lilium’s stomped his way into the examination room. The nostrils on his unusually large nose flared as he jabbed an accusing finger in the woman’s direction. “Did you use that hocus pocus on my machines again?” “Ugh...too early for yelling, stop.” “Did you???” he demanded, clenching his fists in front of him and leaning forward. “I gave it an inclination ghost, what of it?” she asked with a bored tone, sipping at her caffeine “Aha! You admit it! How many tim-” “How many times have I told you to fix your shitty AI parameters, Pittermen? For fucks sake man, how hard is it to keep a guardian robot from attacking innocent people?” “It only happens to non-citizens. Who cares if outsiders or batteries-” “Pittermen, shut the fuck up. If this happens one more time, to anyone, I will personally ensure one of my engineers is in your department, installing ghosts on every one of them. Our goal is safety, for every living thing in the city. Now get out of my lab. OUT!” the blond yelled aggressively, spitting ire with every word. The man cowered back, but shot Lilium a glare before turning on his heel. She drained the rest of her mug watching his back disappear, and made to follow with the swishing of her labcoat's tail. “Join me out here when you feel well enough to stand,” the professor waved over her shoulder, her voice back at a normal volume, the anger subsided and replaced with a distinctly gray tone. The area outside the examination room was gigantic. An entire hanger with a 50-foot ceiling, polished black marble floors, and littered with various things to draw the eye. Heavy duty equipment in the form of robotic exosuits, benches holding all sorts of chemical apparatus, transparent cubes made of nigh-indestructible material obviously used to observe experiments. The room could hold easily support 100 personnel all working at once on different projects, but was currently empty. It seemed Lilium was the only one that came in at this time. With another cup of coffee in hand, she stood outside one of the cubes, bent over at a computer and reading over logs from earlier. Her tongue clicked and she sighed. It had been weeks since she had a breakthrough on this particular project...and she was one of the few in this city with enough of a grasp on magical theorem to even consider what the issue might be. She found herself glancing back towards the examination room door. Did she want a distraction? Something in the woman was anticipating his arrival, and the reason was as much a mystery to her as the answer to filtering the effectiveness of the anti-Aldrak field being generated inside the cube right in front of her.
  3. ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

  4. The signs are unexpected. An efficient gesturing with the hands easily discerned over long distance, yet complex enough to cover nearly every word one might imagine. Perfect for silent communication. Perfect for those whose work requires discrection beyond enemy lines. It had been three years since Kyoichi had seen it, and it took him a few moments to realize what he had seen. Long faded memories of high tension covert operations floated by, the days he still found it joyful to ply his trade and spill blood in the name of his clan. But fade they did. Back to the present, where violence was low on his list of priorities and the aged stranger's fleeting fingers self-identified as female. Any confusion he might have had was interrupted by an ingrained skeptism, and a thought process brought about by countless hours of training a younger generation. This was very reminiscent of novice shinobi attempting to put on a face. Perfect disguises rendered useless by poor acting, slip-ups that were casual habits. Perhaps this individual was not who they appeared to be. The blade forming in his mind was resheathed as quickly as it had been half-drawn. This was a masked festival, he was surrounded by people assuming false identities. "Yes, I am familiar with the wordless language. My name is Shishoui Kyoichi, stranger," the man's accent slid smoothly from perfect Terren to one easily recognizable as being from Weland as he spoke his name. His tone shifted, losing its humble edge but maintaining respect. He bowed from where he sat, aware the motion was not something his company could perceive. Or, at the very least, assuming as much. He reached for a mango that was within reach. His palette preferred fruit over meat as he got older it seemed. The scars, a thin and curved line on his shaved chin and a few others like it around the edges of his face, were all faded, and a certain tautness to his flesh was beginning to become more and more apparent as he approached his thirtieth year. As the sweet juices and tender yet crisp texture faded from this tongue, he used it once more. "Are you here alone? Forgive my assumptions, but by my eye you seem to be blind and...uncomfortable," he spoke frankly. Obviously unfamiliar with your surroundings. Analyzing every soul he encountered was a habit that would never go away. Perhaps he was better off for it.
  5. Ebony silk tickled his chest as she loomed over him, a tall and gentle shadow. He could hear the beat of his own heart through her ears, feel the warmth of his chest through her perfect skin and relax into her wonderfully doting thoughts. As she leaves, the world brightening smile and her promise put him at ease, sending him afloat into yet more fluffy dreams. With a stupid smile Kal’to awoke. Nude and wrapped in his blankets like a happy child, he almost didn’t want to get up. Stretching his arm out, he was able to pull the drawstring on the blinds to his window. The dim brilliance of a waning crescent drifted in. Night blanketed the desert, and with it came a celestial sea of stars unabashed by light pollution. After a moment of casual admiration, Kal’to finally managed to heave his considerably large torso upright. The blood caked beneath his not-so-professionally dressed wound cracked, and a sharp pain reminded him he’d been injured. The first of many scars he would earn during his journey, he assumed. With that alone, he could return home with pride. He emerged from the room fully dressed once again, ready to attack the endless miles of the desert once more. He searched for the exotically alluring honey eyes of his companion, but they were absent. Perhaps she was waiting on the pilot deck? Chrysilla where are you… he thought, though not only to himself. His mind reached out through the strange connection the bee-girl had shared with him, tickling her consciousness much like the Queen of her homeworld. An unintentional act on the smith’s part, and one he wasn’t even aware he’d performed.
  6. What sways a man’s path? The call of a lover? The whispers of death? The medley of his own burning passion? Or is it the song of destiny, chains that drag him kicking and screaming no matter how stagnant he wishes to remain? The answer is of course, all of the former and more. A man’s life is not something so simple that it is ruled by any single driving force, no matter how alluring the tune. Today, it was simple. Food, wine, and interesting company. It was one of the most simple applications of ninjutsu. A brief hand-seal and one’s guise becomes shrouded in near-perfect illusion. Kyoichi had no need to obscure his face, and so he didn’t. Neither with one of the masks offered for the event, nor with the ancient technique he claimed mastery over. No, Kyoichi found it necessary to hide the shame of his state of dress. The tattered Gi and Hakama abused by months of travel was not fit to appear at a formal event such as this. His clothing was now pristine white, matching the silver-gray of the long ponytail running down the small of his back as he entered the dining area. Beautiful colors swarmed a sea of well-dressed men and women, the nobles and noteworthy that pushed this world by way of their whims. Any one of them had the potential to be a suitable master for an unaffiliated Samurai such as himself, but each would find themselves hard-pressed to convince him they were more worthy than what already guided his actions. The path of the blade he followed was tireless and winding, its silent orders unending and ruthless. What man, or woman, could bring more purpose to his life than that? Hunger gnawed its eternal ulcer into his stomach, so he made way for the food-laden tables with the familiar feeling of his sheath bouncing against his leg. The sight of a poorly dressed old man drew his eye, an oddity amongst the throng. The body language suggested an angry female, rather than a clearly blind old man having difficulty eating his food. With both a measure of curiosity and respect, he approached the stranger, taking a seat next to him. "Elder, is there something I can assist you with?" he asked with a cautious respect, as though expecting to be shouted at. For a brief moment his eyes were drawn by some unseen force, a feeling that all but compelled him to look towards a pair that danced. A man in blue with a white mask, and a lady of gold. His braided silver-gray hair was no different than Kyoichi's, and immediately the ex-ninja understood something. Tonight was not so simple. Twas Destiny what swayed his path beneath the freshly unabashed moon. @Wanderlost
  7. Her familiar gaze shoved the weight of mountains from his chest. A deflating sigh flowed out of him, and he couldn’t help but smile and joined his friend in her laughter. She was alright, and so was he. This wasn’t like last time; he’d sharpened his blade prior to the battle and protected what was precious. Avvercus lost all awareness of anything around them, as the Doc began to order people to help him move the pair, and the Smith stuck around to help. He’d made a good friend there, it seemed. He reached out. It seemed to be so far away, an arduous journey without much hope of success. But, his stretch was successful in the end. His fingers wove into Antique’s, and he squeezed that soft, warm hand so tightly it was as though he never had any intentions of ever letting go. “They can’t have you...I’ll protect you…” he muttered from his faded consciousness, dreaming now of the first time he’d fought for Antique’s sake. A simple back-alley brawl, easy and mundane days lost forever. But, there would be more to come, one day...one day.
  8. The touch was gentle, reassuring. A meek but comforting presence in a sea of the dark and unknown. Soft creaking of an old home in the breeze and the steady, calm breathing of his savior was all Avvercus could hear. He weezed as he followed along, breathing through his nose and out of his mouth, taking in the nose tingling collage of alchemic ingredients that permeated the air. “A pleasure to *cough* meet you, Abigail. My name is Avvercus,” he began with his usual smile and kind voice. Though it was dark, he did this on reflex without thinking about it. His smile twisted into something wry as he chuckled. “You find me in this state because I tried experimenting. Master magic, novice alchemist at your service, hahaha *cough cough*” the man’s self-deprecating humor reduced him to a fit of coughing that died down quickly. He reached up to put a hand overtop one of Abigail’s, a gesture of gratitude. “Thank you for taking me in. I mixed in this rune with a basic healing potion. I believe the results ended up being too...potent,” he continued, reaching up to draw a rune in the inky black. The glowing green lines gave a faint light that was just enough for the man to see his host’s face. Pretty was his first thought, and he beamed at her. “Can you help me?” he asked in a neutral tone. No hope, despair, or expectation. If she couldn’t, he would be forced to abscond home to Vulaer and seek out a friend there, and quickly.
  9. Shock, anguish, crushing despair. It was all new to Aralyn, a cascade of alien emotions, and every one of them hurt deeply. A hysterical cry bellows out across the mountaintop, rising above the ongoing sounds of combat. The innocent little slime witnesses the gut wrenching fall of her short-lived mentor and friend. Without hesitation, she leaps after him, plummeting through the icy air, a bullet of frantic, viscous liquid. The wind rips at her raincoat, the cold piercing her body and causing her a kind of pain she’s never known. The snow at the bottom of her fall explodes, surrounding the crater she made with mist and powder. As the girl reforms from the puddle the fall reduced her to, her eyes go wide at the horrible truth she wasn’t ready for. Broken, twisted, unmoving, her friend is dead. Suddenly, a man appears, sword in hand. The blade runs through the minotaur’s flesh, and then the man is gone. Her mouth not yet reformed, Aralyn Voxinium can’t let loose the scream of anger and confusion bubbling inside. She is back into human shape again, stumbling through the knee deep snow that fills her boots and sends her skin visibly crawling as her temperature begins to suffer. She trips and crawls the final few feet, brushing her smalt hands against the crimson snow that surrounds him. His eyes are open wide still, forever twisted into their plight for survival. Gone is the stern but kind gaze she had come to know. It will never fall on her again, accompanied by the big, reassuring hand she always wanted to pat her head. “Gruche….” she calls out, melancholy saturating her tone black. As she sobs and calls his name over and over, any that might have witnessed this would have learned a half slime can cry, their tears just as sorrowful as anyone else’s. It is minutes before the cold finally forces her to pick her head up. She understands, Gruche is gone. But her life goes on, and she must live it to the fullest. Her gaze sweeps over the prints left in the strange man’s wake. Questions need to be answered, and so she follows as jolts of angry electricity zap through her, restoring some lost warmth, but doing nothing to soothe the ache of losing her friend.
  10. Aventus nearly jumped out of his skin when things on stage reaching a powderkeg moment. The noise was deafening, and the wall of concussive sound made his knees quiver in something akin to fear. What was that? Was he in danger? When Raven pulled him along, the young man didn't resist. Rather, he willingly trotted after her, throwing a glance back at Varina as they moved. He unconsciously stayed close by her side, gripping her dress and flinching at each new boom firing from the battle of the band(And one metal as hell guitarist). "Um...I'm alone, Miss Raven. Mom and Pops said I was smart enough to go by myself," he answered his companion, looking up at her strangely familiar green eyes. Varina suddenly joined them, leaning on Raven's shoulder. However, she also happened to choose the side of Raven he was already on. The young psion now found himself sandwiched between two strangers, with his head smooshed between their chests as the trio stumbled away. They moved far enough that the noise was a faint echo, booming well off in the distance like fireworks. As if on que at that thought, the crackle and boom of real fireworks ignited, showering the darkened sky with color and spirit. This was a festival! A time to party and be merry. Well, Varina was certainly pleased as a plum it seemed. Aventus glanced up from between the comfortable position his head had found itself in to see her rose tinted cheeks and goofy grin. She gave him a look that asked for some assistance, so he looked around. She wanted to talk, so...somewhere quiet and not full of people? He spotted a small park tucked away from the crowd, with a comfortable looking bench facing a tiny pond surrounded by flowers. Squeezing himself out from between the two, he pointed to the bench and tugged on Raven's arm. "Let's go over there. Miss Varina should probably sit down for a while," he suggested with bright, helpful eyes. These older women put him at ease, it seemed, and he found the trembles had stopped. He reached over with his free hand and tugged the bottle away from Varina. "You've had too much. I'll hold onto this," he said, emulating his mother when she was talking to father on nights where he got particularly rowdy.
  11. "Why thank you, Master Ikol," LaPlace's long arm was perfectly straight as he pointed back towards the entrance. Just to the left of the doors was a series of hooks built into the wall for hats and coats. He said nothing on the matter, certain that his gesture would be enough to satisfy his guest. He then turned his attention back to the young man clad in armor. "You may simply call me LaPlace, Master Kel'Anar. Yes, this pocket dimension of mine is here to meet the needs of the traveling adventurer. Think of it as something of a public guild. As for the Fae...I'm afraid I myself don't have much knowledge on the subject. However, you may feel free to post a notice up on the board. Your fellow travelers, scholars, and beast-slayers will surely be able to help you! Perhaps even those gathered here right now might be able to provide you insight...or even accompany you on an adventure!" LaPlace explained with some zeal. It caused him no small amount of joy to see his hall full of spirited, cooperative folk ready to conquer the mysteries of the world. Suddenly, LaPlace appeared by Kazuhiko's side, with a gilded menu in hand. He offered it with a bow. "A joy to have you join us, Master Kazuhiko. Would you like to order a meal of your own? I have quite the selection here!"
  12. Ephemeral smoke twisted and danced into the sky. A beautiful, fleeting display to draw the eyes away from the cold, ugly ashes it left behind. As it quickly fades into the morning sun, a surprise zephyr blows out the dying embers and sweeps the ashes away to spread and disappear into the streets. Out of sight, out of mind, but never truly gone. The ashes remain, hiding in the corners of the city. Was the evanescent Waltz of the smoke alluring enough to be worth the permanent scar of cinders in its wake? Of course not. But those wanting for will rarely act with the future in mind. Even as the woman’s lungs rebel and plead for fresh air with a racking cough, a flickering flame crackles to life from her archaic lighter, bringing the cigarette back to working order. Before she can draw more tar and abandoned will to quit into her body, the wind picks up again, and her hand reflexively curls about it to keep the fire burning while her shockingly blond locks flutter to the west. With a heavy sigh that bled impatience, she waited, staring at the scene she found herself needing to deal with. Once again, Pittermen’s SHIELD-β series had fucked up. “Good morning, Professor Lili-” “Shut up. What’s your designation?” A deep, monotone voice opened up, and was shut down by a mumbled, it’s-too-early-for-this-shit tone. The floating sphere fixed a single red eye on the woman wearing a lab coat and puffing on a stick of cancer and nicotine. “SHIELD-β-8173, Professor. How can I assist-” “Tell me, 8173. Are you a SPEAR-α?” “No, professo-” “Then why, why in the hell do I keep finding you next to unconscious people?” she glowered as best she could in her morning state, pointing at a blue haired man slumped against the Cryotyne wall of an alleyway while rubbing at her eyes with the other hand. The Guardian robot’s internals whirled at a volume nearly imperceivable as it contemplated the question for a full second. “Professor, this individual was in a suspicious location, and failed to produce a KPD to identify themselves.” The professor actually allowed the guardian to finish its statement while she took a long pull on her self-destructive indulgence. The black, perfectly paved streets were barren at this time. It was part of the reason why she chose to transit at this hour. “Argh...Pittermen. 8173, first of all he’s obviously a fucking outsider. Second, your reasoning is ass. Third, you are a SHIELD, you protect, not...nevermind. Look, pick him up and follow me. You obviously need calibration...again,” “...Authority acknowledged. Complying.” The woman, who looked to be no older than thirty, turned on fitted boots and continued in the direction she had been going. She scratched at her hair while one hand was shoved deep in a pocket on her lab coat. Cleaning up after her colleagues was the last thing she had time for. ~~~~~~~~~ With a click, the bright light shut off just as the man’s eyelid shut closed. No bleeding, no bruising, no concussion, no real injuries whatsoever. How fragile did this individual need to be to get knocked out by something that didn’t even leave a lasting mark? His pulse, body temperature, blood pressure, breathing...it was normal, but...not particularly healthy. He didn’t take very good care of himself, it seemed. At the very least, he wasn’t a bad looker. Not exactly handsome, but not quite unappealing. An appearance reminiscent of her own. She was passable, thanks to the heavy bags under her smalt blue eyes being hidden by a pair of dark, half-moon glasses. Satisfied her ‘patient’ was not dying, the mysterious woman turned to the robot that had caused this kink in her schedule. With deft, delicate fingers that sported short cropped nails she popped the sphere’s access panel open. A magic circle appeared around a strange instrument she used to poke and prod around the things insides, and ethereal sparks went flying as she made her adjustments. The seam disappeared when she shut the panel, leaving the cool silver sphere perfectly round and uninterrupted. She gave the robot a smack and pointed to the door. Without a word, it complied and soon she was left in silence with what might as well have been a corpse. Her cadaver company began to stir, and the professor immediately made her way to the examination bench he lay on. As his gray gaze cracked open, she leaned over him, sprinkling his chest with silken strands. Neither could have possibly known the significance of this first meeting, the effect the warm smile she offered his waking mind would have on the ripples of the future, or the smell of menthol masked by expensive perfume. Destiny was a strange thing, found in the boom of the biggest cannon and the beat of the smallest butterfly’s wings. Was he to be more smoke, a fanciful encounter to quickly fade from sight and memory? How about more ashes, a mistake that would never truly fade? Or perhaps he was that missing ingredient, a pack of gum to help ease the addiction and move on to a future without the soot choking her breath. The future is yet wide open, the paths provided by fate still unchosen… "Welcome back. Can you tell me your name?" The question was bright, the voice light and high pitched. A stark contrast to the grogginess she'd displayed before. Was she simply not a morning person, or was this a mask to be worn around other people? @Mag
  13. @supernal
  14. Jingle Jingle A third bell rang, and a fourth as well! Today was turning out to be a lively one, with many a new face for LaPlace to commit to memory. He gave the young musician and the lady with white hair another of his deep bows. As he straightened back up like a cracking whip, he gave a flourish of his wrist and let loose a snap of his fingers that echoed around the entire tavern. "Fiona!" he called out loudly, looking towards the bar. A set of fast, fleeting footfalls could be heard by all present, drawing attention towards an energetic woman sprinting towards them all with a cart on wheels. The servant's dash came to a halt suddenly as she came abreast the rabbit, and the wheels of her cart locked up. She, however, did not stop, and bounced off the food tray, sending her blond hair splaying out like the feathers of a swan that had been shot. The skirt of her maid uniform hiked up over her knees, and her shockingly blue eyes glared at the ceiling as though it had been at fault for her trip to the marble floor. In a flash, she was back on her feet(which were covered in wonderfully stylish boots), and placing the giant platter she had brought out on the table before the red lamia, and a much smaller one on top of the wall of the booth for the white haired woman. She removed the silver covers from both, before whisking them back to the tray. One hand went to her hip, and the other pointed towards the demi-humans. "Enjoy, peasants! You can rejoice, knowing your meal was brought to you by one of a far nobler blood than your own!" the woman practically shouted with a fierce grin on her face that may or may not have been a grimace forced into something attempting to resemble a proper smile. Suddenly, the girl was yanked up off the ground several feet into the air. LaPlace's white glove had her by the scruff of the neck, and he shook his head whilst removing his hat with the other hand. "Now now, Fiona. That is not how we treat our guests," he tsked unapprovingly, as though speaking to a naughty child. The girl was flipped upside down and seemed to simply disappear into his hat as she kicked and flailed. "Fuck youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu" could be heard, muffled and faint from within the top hat before it was placed back on his head. "For Master De'Adai, one roasted Genesarian elephant bird, a cup of black roast coffee for Master Ikol, and for the mysterious lady, our special for the day. A specially prepared Ombra steak. Worry not, after rigorous and persistent purifying, blessing, and careful cooking, I guarantee it to be a delicious meal!" LaPlace announced with something akin to pride. Before Zepyr was indeed an entire roasted elephant bird, taking up most of the room on the table. The cup of coffee, Ikol would find, had appeared at some point when he wasn't looking and was prepared exactly to his preference, and the Ombra steak was indeed the source of the smell that had Solita so enticed. LaPlace turned to address his newest guest then with another sweeping bow. "Yes sir, LaPlace at your service. What might I be able to do for you?" @Zephyr Adair @Shayda @Valk @Florin
  15. BANG! Avvercus flinched. It was not graceful, poised, or controlled in any sense of the words. His head snapped towards the sound, his body tensing up and his eyes went wide with something akin to anger and caution. Fragments of bone had flown by his face, the shrapnel cutting the flesh and drawing blood as the woman in his arms went limp, her head completely gone. The flash of the muzzle had long faded, but ethereal smoke still trailed from the barrel for a transient moment before fading into nothing. Avvercus’ mind immediately went into analysis of the situation. A weapon. Magitek pistol, full capabilities unknown. Ability to shatter a lich’s skull, known. Direct hit, likely lethal. Avoid at all costs. Enemy count, two. Men, both over six feet tall. Both weighing more than 200 pounds. Both wielding magitek pistols. Status, semi-aggressive. Likelihood of successful negotiations: low. Optimal response options: Aggressive non-lethal takedown for questioning on further enemies in the area. All of these observations, considerations, and decision making happened almost instantly as time seemed to slow down for the magus. He willed a pre-conceived sigil to appear on Dove’s chest. Her head-wanting form stayed floating where he left it as the man dashed left at an angle, eyeing the men with ire in his now glowering green eyes. Shots fired, leaving trails of rippling, distorted air behind the deadly projectiles that missed the swordmage by hairs as he wove and danced to the beat of their trigger happy fingers. Mana trailed from the tip of his left hand, leaving behind a dazzling display of green light that floated in the air for a moment before disappearing from the sight of the guards. A sword flashed into existence, a black and white blade made of a network of runes in Avvercus’ right hand. The mystic edge swiped through the air, bristling with green sparks of ephemeral electricity as it passed through the ambient mana in the area. His target was more agile than he appeared, as the man leaped over the low swinging strike, aiming to tackle Avvercus’ mid-section while his partner aimed for the head. It was child’s play, this checkmate. A simple pivot, a lithe spin on the balls of the feet. The sword disappeared as one hand found its way on the back of one man’s head, the other to his partner’s wrist. The tackle was diverted, sending the would-be grappler rolling into the wall as Avvercus watched and smirked in delight. The same movement sent the pistol’s shot wide, buzzing past the martial artist’s ear, and the gunman’s wrist caught in a small joint manipulation. With a flick of his hand, Avvercus forced his attempted murderer to drop his weapon. The second hand brought that sword back to the material realm, and pointed at his opponent’s throat. As the grappler stood up and aimed his gun, the rune Avvercus had stuck to the back of his face activated. A swirl of green appeared, runic scrawlings in a complex circle surrounding the guard. It all shrunk in as a ball of green gravity bloomed around his head and crushed inward, imploding the man’s skull. His corpse fell to the floor limply, the sounds of collapsing flesh muffled by the clatter of a gun. “You know, I really, really don’t like guns. I also don’t like having my personal time with women interrupted. Do me a favor? Make it up to me. I want to know everything you know that might help me down here. If you don’t, I’ll assume you don’t want to apologize, you want to be rude. That might upset me a bit, and I am a very difficult man to anger,” Avvercus said with a smile, his demeanor and tone cheerful. The look in his eyes, however, and the dangerous swirling of green mana about his person like a caged, hungry tiger, spoke to the contrary. The death of the man’s friend wasn’t messy, all of the blood and gore was compressed into a ball of flesh on the ground next to the cadaver. It was all the intimidation Avvercus really needed. He knew Dove would be fine. In fact, she should be stirring any moment now if Avvercus’ experience with Liches was worth anything. He really hoped this man would spill the info before that woman spilled his guts.