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bfc last won the day on July 17 2016

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About bfc

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  1. bfc

    What emotion best describes your character?

    Beast: Resignation Larque: Hubris Feris: Hope Osa: Rage Von Hensch: Exuberance Schrei: Ennui Crow: Irritation Sabiya: Love
  2. bfc

    [Dead: Killing Kajal] Water and Wine

    In answer, there was only silence. It never seemed to be any other way with Schrei. The little vampire wasn’t one to socialize or banter, and her interactions over the past few decades had rarely extended beyond brusque negotiations with the vilest of criminals. If she thought Cain’s organization any different from her other clients, she didn’t show it: over her Captain’s uniform she still wore that oversized dark coat, folded and rumpled from years of use, burying her slim figure in the shadows of its messy folds. She slouched in her seat, hair hanging down in loose strands, feet not quite touching the ground, and remained still, not in the manner of a woman relaxing, but in the way a praying mantis might hold itself perfectly motionless when waiting for its prey to wander within reach. Her posture did not shift. Her lone remaining hand did not fidget. Her eyes stared straight ahead, at nothing, with a hollowness so deep that one might have thought her comatose. Dead, in more than one sense of the word. One second passed, then two. Perhaps she really was lost to the world? Her injuries from the mission in Tia had been severe, and she hadn’t allowed anyone to inspect or treat them since she’d come limping back from wherever she’d fled after the city’s fall. It could be that she’d succumbed— No, she was moving. Quick and precise, one finger rising and falling in a series of quick taps against the screen of a tablet laid on the table in front of her. With every touch, a glowing letter was projected into the air above the device, oriented so that all those present could read. Fought Commager once before. In Biazo. A pause. I don’t hold grudges. But he might. Could be a problem for you if he finds out I’m with Dead. Her hand stopped typing for a moment to gesture at the whiteboard, before resuming. If Kajal goes, suggest you acquire ownership of slave through subsidiary. Then maneuver her at your convenience.
  3. What ho! Heard you were running into a spot of monster trouble. Perhaps these fine gentlemen might be of assistance?
  4. bfc

    Destruction des morts

    The Black Tower teetered and trembled, but held fast. The dust cleared, the last echoes of the final detonation fading away, the invaders retreating in its wake. Peace had returned to the grand seat of Tia's ruling families— but now, only silence reigned. Oh, a few faint cries could yet be heard, if one listened closely. A maddened tyrant, perched on the uppermost floor of the devastated structure, howling away at nothing. Did he even recognize the magnitude of his loss? The thoroughness of his enemy's revenge? Unlikely. Serafino Dolos was little more than a beast, now. As for the perpetrators of the massacre, neither of them were to be seen. In fact, both of them appeared to have blown themselves up in final, suicidal gestures of defiance, giving up their lives and bodies to ensure that their mission was completed. But appearances could be deceiving. And one would have to be quite shortsighted indeed to believe that this was the last the world had seen of these two particular operatives. Beyond the borders of the dying city, refugees streamed away in panicked clumps, many of them escorted by forces who sought to take advantage of the destruction. Most were evacuated in such a manner, but there were always a few stragglers, lone individuals and groups who had somehow made it out on their own. And among these was a small, dark figure, hunched and limping, apparently some poor beggar or scavenger who'd seen disaster coming and fled just in time. The figure thought in pictures, rather than words, stark white lettering on slate-black. An old habit, and a hard one to break. She pictured the letters, arranged them in order, and then threw them out across Tia, to the minds who'd seen to its fall: Mission accomplished. Tia's ruling elite had been crushed. Nica Sero was in safe hands. Serafino still lived, but only as a shell of his former self, a fate more fitting to the operation's goal than the quick death Schrei might have granted him. Rather than pursue a target who'd all but died anyway, she'd licked her wounds and gotten the hell out. She could look into regenerating or replacing her arm later, for now she only needed to be certain she wasn't bleeding out or dripping red behind her. First came the need to escape, to put herself far away before more dogs came sniffing at her trail. To her, Tia had been nothing but another job, and now that job was finished. There was no one left to maul or murder, nothing left to do but disappear. And so the knife slid silently out of the city's still-warm corpse, returning to its sheath. Waiting for the time the Dead saw fit to draw it again.
  5. bfc

    Project Destroy Tia

    Nah. That's not how I play. As mentioned before, I wasn't too fixated on Schrei fully completing her objective. I'm fine with having my characters fail from time to time: in Schrei's first thread she basically had to abandon her goals and run when the Terrenus military kicked down the door. But she was able to put up a fight. Someone was able to rescue the hostages she'd captured, but they did so at great personal risk, and barely made it out alive. Even if the characters opposing Schrei were greater in power, the associated players accepted that said characters could be hurt, or hindered. Your posts have not given me this impression. I didn't think that Schrei had to win with her first attack, or even land it. She still has plenty of tricks up her sleeves, and I even had plans for how she'd follow up if Koji survived her opening gambit and then kept coming. I'm not a massive stickler for the rules; even if the city-wide perception and teleportation earlier in the thread had seemed iffy to me, I was okay with hand-waving those. If you'd just said something along the lines of "Koji was already surrounded by shadow which protects him enough to take the hit and survive it," I'd probably have been okay with just carrying on and trying something else. However, there's a difference between 'avoiding/mitigating an attack because you believe it's possible' and 'actively trying to suppress any possibility of your character ever taking damage.' And it seems to me that you were clearly doing the latter. - For one thing, you had Koji's defense facetank the attack with no notable effort or damage. Keep in mind that this was an attack in the upper ranges of what Mild Powers permit, which for any Mild Powers character would be a serious threat (hence why it's not something Schrei can use often or easily). - You justified your ability to completely block all damage by going 'oh, well ur orb let u block the hit so my shadow can too.' But that reeks to me of power-playing. Firstly, I didn't have the orb completely negate all damage to Schrei, she lost her fucking arm (and probably took further damage from the ensuing destruction/collapse of the surroundings). Secondly, it's generally accepted that characters can keep themselves from being harmed by their own powers if the player so wishes, whereas completely nullifying another player's attack is a different matter entirely. Thirdly, Schrei is a specialist in the area of sound, and her abilities revolve around the manipulation thereof (with strict limitations, I might add). You're basically saying "my character's shadows can do whatever your character's sound powers can do." - On top of this, you then specified that Koji's shadow defense, which can apparently tank an attack at the upper end of Mild Powers with no effort, can also move at approximately the speed of light. So not only can he apparently block anything within the range of Mild Powers and take no damage, even if someone manages to attack him when his defenses are down he can pop them back up before anything can reach him. - And as if this wasn't enough, you then go on to say that Koji could have tanked an attack at the upper end of Mild Powers at point-blank range even without his overpowered defense, and been mostly fine because 'lol dragon limb.' That doesn't sound like the work of someone who 'doesn't mind taking hits/Ls.' That sounds more like someone trying to prevent any attack possible within Mild Powers from ever inflicting harm upon their precious Mary Sue. If Koji had put any actual effort into raising and maintaining a mighty defense, then maybe I'd have accepted a complete negation. But you didn't. You had him stand there and just casually nullify an attack, which I repeat was about as strong as mild powers will go, and then went and said 'oh, and even if he'd been completely exposed this still wouldn't have done anything.' At that point, is there any recourse for me but to appeal to authority? If I'd tried to continue things as we were, then what would that have accomplished? No matter what Schrei threw at Koji, you'd have just gone 'lol shadow' or 'lol dragon arm' and completely ignored her attacks. If Koji can just stand there and ignore an attack near the top of the destructive power MP allows, then the only way I could possibly damage him would be to break MP myself, which I have no intention of doing. So yeah. If you claim that you weren't trying to deliberately break Mild Powers, then okay, I can believe that. However, I'd suggest you take a good, long look at your character and the way you've written him, and consider. What could a low or mid-tier character do that could possibly harm him, if he uses his abilities as described? If the answer is either 'nothing' or some absurdly specific singular weakness, then I'm sorry, but you've made him too strong. With regards to your suggestion that we use 'AMP,' I looked it up, and it seems to me that it's more of a list of names to call people than an actual ruleset. That said, I'd suggest you take a look at the entry listed there under 'godmoder.' I think it sums up my issues with Koji quite well. With regards to Koji possibly running into Schrei in the future— what am I supposed to look forward to? Him teleporting in, getting in her way, and then standing there ignoring everything she tries to hit him with? I'm sorry, but no. If that's how you want to roleplay, then I'm not interested in writing with you any further. EDIT (adding a quick point re: the teleportation issue): I'd argue that the use of teleportation was not 'pure transportation,' and was in fact used to gain a tactical advantage. Obviously in the case of Koji trying to teleport Schrei's entire inventory away, this power was being used offensively. In addition to this, his initial entrance granted him a major tactical advantage. I play Schrei as a very stealthy character who normally avoids direct confrontations, preferring to sneak around and attack her enemies from unexpected angles. If Koji had approached through normal means, she'd likely have noticed him coming, and hidden herself away before he arrived, setting herself up for a sneak attack. Instead, Koji used his teleportation ability to bypass distance and position himself right where Schrei was, forcing a direct confrontation (which, as mentioned before, is disadvantageous for a character who relies on stealth). I was willing to overlook this at the time, since I'm not usually one to make a fuss about these things, but given subsequent events I feel it's worth mentioning.
  6. bfc

    Project Destroy Tia

    @Twitterpated K. We need to work this out. My character Schrei was given a mission: kill all the vampires. Specifically all the Dolos and Matton vampires (mostly NPCs) within the building known as the Black Tower. @amenities specified that he wanted to have his character Serafino Dolos escape, which I was fine with, but beyond that I fully intended for Schrei to accomplish her mission and murder all her targets. Your character Koji and his forces then came along with a goal running directly counter to Schrei's own: they wanted to save some of the aforementioned vampires, and exploit them for their own purposes. This was not necessarily a bad thing. If you'd roleplayed fairly, followed site rules, and/or found a cool or clever way to subvert my character's ongoing machinations, I'd have been more than fine with letting Koji achieving his objective, even at the partial expense of Schrei's own. Normally, I'm nice like that. Over the course of this thread, however, and especially recent posts, you've been godmodding, metagaming, playing Koji as an untouchable Mary Sue, and completely ignoring both the letter and spirit of Valucre's Mild Powers rules. Some examples include: - Having your character perceive every event going on across an entire city, at once. - Having your character effectively teleport across said city and arrive right next to my character to interfere with her business. - Attempting to have your character ignore my character's previously established protections against supernatural perception. - From the same post, attempting to effectively teleport my character's weapons 'leagues away.' - From the same post, attempting to move my character into a pocket dimension where your character had, according to his profile, 'complete control of objects within the domain and the domain itself.' - From the same post, claiming that my character 'was mistaken that his limitation and prowess with such was on par with those native to this world,' which seems to me like a badly worded way of saying 'lol my OC is stronger than everyone on val.' - Having your character surround himself with 'shadow' that can move at speeds only surpassed by light itself, and can apparently also facetank a building-busting attack at point-blank range with no effort. - From the same post, claiming that your character could facetank said building-busting attack at point-blank range even without his magical shadow horse crap, something you specified for no apparent reason other than to furiously masturbate over your Mary Sue's pointlessly inflated abilities... ...there's more, but I think I've made my point. As mentioned before, if you'd roleplayed even remotely fairly or well, then I'd have been fine with your character achieving his objective, even at the expense of my own character's goals. This is no longer the case. While I don't give a shit about whether your character survives and how many injuries you have him ignore, I still do care about my character's objective, and I don't think the kind of roleplaying you've engaged in over the course of this thread (which will likely be canonized after its conclusion) is the kind of behavior that should be rewarded. As such, I am requesting the following: - @amenities The vampire NPCs in the Black Tower are your creation, correct? Having read this post (and, time permitting, reviewed the linked posts to confirm my claims), would you please confirm whether or not the aforementioned NPCs are canonically dead (from Maleficence poisoning) before @Twitterpated's character can possibly reach them? - @supernal If you don't mind, could you read over this post and consider, if you think it's necessary, warning @Twitterpated away from further violations of Mild Powers rules in the future? - @Twitterpated If you still want to disrupt Schrei's objective, then fine, I'll officially contest you for it. We can fight using Valucre's default ruleset, the MOBS system. Assuming @amenities isn't sufficiently revolted by your godmodding to deny it outright, then if you win Koji can rescue a few vampires. If I win, things go as Schrei planned and they all die. Sound good?
  7. bfc

    Destruction des morts

    @amenities @Twitterpated How did kings die? Almost always, it was because they let the power get to their head. They gained strength, whether personally or indirectly through their authority, and started to think that they were invincible. Koji had apparently fallen victim to this same hubris. Because he certainly hadn't been paying attention. Koji wasn't perceiving jack shit, unless she wanted him to. Oh, he'd feel those two little spheres, if and when his very own skin came into contact with them, by which point it would already be too late. Before that? Only a hand, the physiology perfect down to the last detail (you could say that Schrei knew it like the back of her hand, even). She could have made him feel cotton candy there, or a herd of miniature unicorns, or the words 'LOL GOTCHU' engraved in her skin, or any number of more outlandish lies. However, Schrei was not generally one to tend towards humor, and simple deceptions were often the best. But then again, sometimes something more complex would also do... His shadows would perceive a hand, the physiology perfect down to the last detail. A hand that was empty, as promised. A hand that was no longer there. Because the instant Schrei detected that 'perception' reaching even so much as a fingertip of hers, her hand moved. Not that it seemed to move, to whatever shadow-sense or energy-sight or spiritual awareness or mugen-me he thought to turn upon it, though his boring old regular sight might catch something, if he still bothered to use it. Her fingers snapped inwards, crushing the tiny spheres before the shadow could so much as brush against them. And at the same time, her teeth snapped closed, smashing the one held between them as well. That was it. No minimal movements, not a whisper of offense. Schrei went from 'cooperation' to 'murder' in the bat of an eye, and though Koji had a long, long list of abilities and tricks, 'enhanced reflexes' didn't seem to be on there. Schrei didn't know this, of course, and so not even this had been left to chance— there was a reason the little vampire had been eating spiders earlier. So what was in those two little spheres? What godlike power had she mustered to kill this stranger with power not 'on par with those native to this world?' Sound. That was all. Schrei's abilities were really quite simple, when it came down to it. She was a vampire, hard to kill, and could strengthen herself by draining the blood of other organisms. She could hear incredibly well. And she could make orbs, little crystal spheres that produced specific sonic effects when shattered. Amplifying sounds. Playing back recorded sounds. Or hushing sounds into silence within a specific range. As evidenced by the way she'd murdered her way through much of the city's security on her journey here, Schrei could apply these abilities fairly well in mundane situations. However, a simple powerset and a dash of cunning could only go so far when a self-admitted 'bullshitter' noticed your attack from across a city, teleported over, and proceeded to threaten you with forces that were not 'on par with those native to this world.' This kind of shit was why Schrei traveled around with vials of pre-gathered blood, and orbs packed with pre-recorded sounds. This was why she had prepared so extensively for this mission. If she was to face bullshitters, then she had to become the anti-bullshit. Consider once more the abilities of her Audiomancy orbs. Amplify. Record. Silence. Now consider, for a moment, what one might do with those abilities, given time to prepare. A sound could be amplified, and then recorded. The recorded sound could be played back, and then amplified again. And then the amplified version could be recorded, played back, and amplified yet again. And again. And again and again and again and again and again. Of course, Schrei had to be quite close to the source of a sound to record it at its full potency, and by the time her recorded sounds grew loud enough to be dangerous, they were dangerous to her as well. That was where the Silence orb came in. By hiding within a silenced radius near the epicenter of a loud noise being played out, she could avoid its effects, while placing her hand at the very edge of said radius to create a new orb, recording said loud noise and readying it to be amplified again. Even with this, she could only go so far. Even when she did her work deep underground, the amplified sounds would eventually reach the point where even a reinforced bunker wouldn't be able to contain them, where the destruction done to Schrei's surroundings was enough that it could harm her even within the protective radius of her Silence orbs. But by that point, she already had what she wanted. Because sound didn't merely bust eardrums and annoy the neighbors. Turned up loud enough, it could shatter glass, and cause one's body to shake. Turned up even louder, it could cause organ damage, temporary loss of vision. Still not too impressive, but turn it up even louder, and sound could liquefy your organs, casually tear buildings to shreds, melt concrete from the sheer pressure of the wave— It was essentially a bomb. A pretty powerful bomb, compressed into a very small and easily portable form. Energy-sensitives would probably have been able to see it glowing from across the city, if Schrei and her coat weren't there to hide it. The other orb of the pair she'd made her attack with was an amplifier, which magnified this power by three times. The one between her teeth was a Silence orb, which was there to keep her from being blown apart by her own weapon. Obviously its radius was small, so as not to prevent the weapon itself from taking effect. Wide enough to protect her body, but unfortunately not her hand and arm, the former of which was in direct contact with the aforementioned spheres. That limb was instantly blasted to shreds. It was a necessary sacrifice, one she'd been prepared to make in order to defeat an enemy more powerful than her. Speaking of 'blasted to shreds,' however, that would probably be a good way to describe Koji at this precise moment. As mentioned before, his sensory and predictive powers couldn't arbitrarily bypass Schrei's equal and opposite deceptive ones. His reflexes weren't quick enough to prepare a defense, not that he'd have time to muster up anything much when competing against the speed of literal sound at point-blank range (unlike Schrei, who'd had both weapon and self-protection ready for their entire interaction). Even if he was tougher than most, innate toughness wouldn't do shit against this kind of power. Would he survive? Perhaps. Some sheer luck might keep him alive. However, not even his overly inflated power, supposedly beyond 'those native to this world,' would keep him from getting hurt, and badly. He certainly wouldn't be in any state to pursue Schrei, especially given that he no longer had any hold on her, and with the floor, ceiling, and walls around them being sound-nuked into a cloud of debris that would make it impossible to perceive pretty much anything with the usual range of (enhanced or otherwise) senses (and as for other means of perception, he really ought to know not to try those by now). A solid chunk would be blown out of the Black Tower, enough to make the structure teeter, though not fall. The detonation would be heard all across the city, and beyond. It seemed apt, that on the eve of Tia's final demise Cain's agent should convey in such blatant terms his message to the powerful: No matter how strong, your strength will not protect you. No matter how grand, your authority will not preserve you. The Dead are coming. Run.
  8. bfc

    The Silvermind

    Caeceila moved, and Sabiya followed. Their roles were reversed, now: it was the Lady Glasmann's turn to put on a show, and the Doctor's turn to watch and listen. This latest bit of theater was perhaps less graceful and finely honed than her own, but it compensated for this with blunt force and the liberal use of special effects. Sabiya didn't seem to mind the cold, having endured far worse sensations in the past, but the light show—or rather, the temporary lack thereof—had her leaning forward off the edge of her seat, her posture tight with barely controlled tension. Whether deliberately or otherwise, Caeceila's gesture had dredged up bad memories, and the words that followed hurt just enough to open a crack. And thus, when the Lady went looking for something in Sabiya's expression, she'd find it. Anger. Yes, Sabiya would very much like to be rid of this woman. To be rid of her entirely. To smash her against the floor and pulverize the life out of her, and then clean away the mess, scrub away the stain, eradicate every last trace of this creature's existence. Except she couldn't, because the Lady Glasmann was not merely an ant. She was a woman-sized ant, an insect blown grossly out of proportion, a freak of nature that had somehow crawled its way up here to present itself in all its hideous glory. No, squashing this one wouldn't do, she would need to hack it into a hundred pieces and then burn the remains— Dr. Invarti blinked. Now now. We're being polite, today. And the crack was gone, sealed up and smoothed over in fraction of a second. She smiled. "Of course. Provided House Glasmann maintains confidentiality as agreed, so will the Foundation." She flicked her hand, conceding the point as if it were a trifling thing, not worth her consideration. "And no, we don't treat our AI like we'd treat other people. We treat them like what they are: something far more capable, and far more dangerous." She sounded almost amused, now, enjoying the conversation. "Golems and software agents are one thing, but to consider one of our true intelligences as property would be an insult of the highest order, both to them and to us. Obviously I can't speak for the entire Foundation on this matter, and beliefs will differ from one individual to another. But Henrietta chose to send me to this meeting, and if a deal goes through, will in all likelihood assign me to this project. So for your purposes, you may consider my opinions the Foundation's likely approach to this work. In fact, if after this meeting you were to request that I head the Foundation's side of the work, you could take them as a guarantee." A playful tilt of the head accompanied this last part; she knew she was stepping out of line. And then her eyes narrowed, her tone growing more serious. "Unlike you or I, artificial intelligences in this day and age are always built with a purpose. Where a person must decide for themselves where their ambitions lie, an AI can have them built in. Victory—I'm sure you know of her—is meant to learn, and so she loves learning. So much so, in fact, that it has lead to 'quirks' that have caused us problems in the past. In fact, I had to run an intervention on her myself, once." She glances wistfully away. It's a fond memory, that one. "I didn't root around in her mind, or threaten her with shutdown. I simply explained to her how cooperating with us would help her pursue her passions, and she came around of her own accord." She looked back at Caeceila, and met her eyes. There was something in her expression again, something genuine. The polar opposite of what had been there before, in fact. Love. "You praised my loyalty, but that's not what Henrietta hired me for," she said, speaking softly now. "She took me in because, heartless devil though I may be, I can understand and empathize with machine intelligences on a level even she has yet to reach. Because I don't treat them like other people, I treat them like what they are. Magnificent, beautiful things." Her pupils expanded, her fingers trembling just slightly. "If I drive a hard bargain, it's because I know the true magnitude of what the Foundation is offering you. And I can only hope that you appreciate it in turn." She paused, letting the words hang, smoothing over the second crack as quickly as the first. "When I say functional lifetime, I don't mean any kind of built-in expiry date in the hardware or software. If you're paying us for maintenance and repair, then from a business perspective that would make no sense. However, as you mentioned, an intelligence may begin to develop 'quirks'." Sabiya was all business, now. "The Silvermind, if it comes to be, will perform exceptionally well. It will do so because it will be extremely capable, and will want nothing more than to fly. Knowing that the ship is yours and that you can shut it out from the controls if it misbehaves, it will do as you say. If you let it fly, which I believe is rather the point, then it will do so eagerly." She paused again. "However, you must bear in mind that it will be part of a warship. Living in a body not entirely its own, engaging in situations that pose a direct risk to itself, and apparently interfacing with organic brains that will appear, at first, entirely alien to it." Another pause, giving Caeceila a moment to imagine. "We will do our best, of course, to ensure its mental health, both in the design phase and through subsequent maintenance. But 'quirks' will inevitably arise. Over an extended lifetime, especially if the hardware itself is at any point damaged, such 'quirks' may cause the AI to underperform. To become... intractable." Her eyes slid down to her lap, and then rose up again. "With luck, it'll be decades before that happens. But if and when it does, the only safe and ethical thing to do would be to replace it. To transfer it out into different hardware, or put it to sleep until such hardware can be constructed." A hint of melancholy, now. "Something small, harmless, and airborne would do, I think. Something it could fly all it wanted, as a reward for its years of service." She fell silent. No prompts, no questions, no attempts to further gouge the Lady Glasmann, metaphorically or otherwise. Just Sabiya, her legs crossed, her back straight, her hands resting together on one knee and that same gentle smile once more gracing her features, exactly the same as it had been. She might have been about to break down sobbing and cry on Caeceila's shoulder. She might have been about to lunge forward and rip the Lady's throat out. She might even have been as she appeared, calm and stable as a stone. With Sabiya, it was always hard to tell.
  9. The Curse of Fatal Death: Your character instantly dies. Then regenerates. Upon regeneration, memories and general alignment remain the same, but your character's appearance and personality are altered, as if they were a 're-imagining' of the same character. Over the course of the next ten minutes, your character will die and regenerate anywhere from one to four more times (either pick a number or roll it), with the final regeneration returning them to their original self. The Curse of Curses: Re-roll three times. You are now affected by all three curses you rolled. If two curses contradict each other, either merge them or pick one. If one of the three re-rolls is this curse, then guess what: it still applies. The Curse of Cursing: Your character is now indescribably angry, and for the duration of the curse must insert at least three expletives in every sentence they speak or think. Expletives cannot be repeated within a given sentence (e.g. no "fucking fucker," be creative).
  10. bfc

    Destruction des morts

    Perfect timing. It was required, to pull off a job like this. Timing, synchrony, coordination so strong it was almost eerie. That was why the Dead had gone into the trouble of forming their telepathic connection: so that no matter where they were, no matter what the circumstances, they could all act as one, long fingers on a skeletal hand. Information streamed down into Schrei's mind from high above as The Apprentice prepared to make her play. A short message shot back. Good. I'll deal with the company. And Schrei prepared to make hers. (And of course, anyone who happened to be eavesdropping or peeking in would hear none of this exchange, for the small vampire was a master of deception to match any master of insight, her lies painted in thick layers to ward off even the keenest discernment. I'm coming, she seemed to say, Keep Nica safe, we'll need to negotiate. A second message, intended only for prying eyes—) As the Emperor laid out his final terms, her thumb tapped out a reply on her little screen. Fine. And she slowly crossed the distance between them, withdrawing her other hand from her pocket. Taking his offered hand, accepting his wishes and his generosity. This was her play. Nothing more. For all intents and purposes, it seemed that the Heika had won. Except— Far above, the Apprentice crashed through a window, escaping the Tower with the newly freed hostage— —and all at once, time was on their side. Nica was out, floating down through the air on a magical umbrella. The Apprentice had accomplished her task. Already, on the streets below, Skeletons were rushing into action, tracking the falling puppet and moving to intercept him as soon as he landed. Unlike the other forces at large in the city, the Dead were packing antidotes to Maleficence, and could move freely, reaching their target and squirreling him away before anyone else had a chance to get close. The vampires were dying, Maleficence coursing through their veins and driving them to greater and greater insanity. Even if the Apprentice had not killed them all, the infection was doing its work. It would not be long before every last noble in the Black Tower was either dead, or driven to a madness so complete it eradicated any fragment of their former selves. The Dead had won. Only one possible disruption to their objectives remained: Koji and his arrogant interference. And Schrei was holding his hand. And she was not letting go. The dragon's blood that had let her unleash fire so brilliantly on her previous adversaries yet coursed through her veins, and as it turned out, flame was not the only thing she had stolen. Strength, too, enough to take a grip like his and hold it. But that was not the most important thing. No. The most important thing was what now lay pinched between their palms. What had come with her hand, expertly palmed, when it came out of her pocket. Concealed from all senses supernatural with her manipulative Lie, concealed from the mundane through simple expertise. At least, until their hands met, and Koji felt it. Two tiny spheres, translucent and fragile. Would he hold her hand tight? Would he try to pull away? Would he strike her down outright? Would he yank her along with him? The king was in check. What was his move? @-Lilium- @Twitterpated
  11. bfc

    Project Destroy Tia

    @amenities @Grubbistch Aight here we go Big Fat Tia Fight Judgement (because you asked for it) So Citizen Cain and Fur Kong have beef. They're both in Tia, and they want to fight. Cain post 1: Cain shows up and mispronounces Feurerkönig's name, then Naruto-runs at him with a... two... ended... scythe? What the fuck even is that weapon He also summons a rune bracelet on his wrist which is charging up his earthbending skills. There's a bunch of other stuff going on around the city, but we can safely ignore all that. Feurer post 1: Feurer pretty much just stands there going 'come at me bro.' He thinks about how much he loves murder and genocide and stuff. Cain post 2: Cain runs at him some more. In fact, he takes so long running over to Feurerkönig that a literal vine starts growing on his left arm. This is also a prep for his earthbending stuff. Except it's listed as 'geomancy [1]' even though he already did a Geomancy prep in his last post? So it should probably be 'geomancy [2].' Whatever, he has two pips of earthbending stuff charged up in his left arm. Meanwhile, he creates a big earth gauntlet around his right arm and then... makes a polearm? That's also a sword? Even though he's already holding a 'two-ended scythe' in that same hand? @amenities what the fuck? Cain then jumps in the air and tries to hit Feurer with his earth-sword-polearm thing (which I presume is attached to the earth around his arm, because how the fuck else would he be holding it). ... okay. Feurer post 2: Feurer calls Cain 'pathetic.' #rekt Also he shoots chains at him. Also the chains are on fire. Cain post 3: Cain goes on about how foolish and pathetic he is. Apparently Feurer really hurt his feelings. Nevertheless, he wraps a mass of rocks and vines around himself, and when the chains snare that he pops out from the middle of it. Fair enough. He has a bunch of weird tentacle vines that are wrapping around everything (ew). He's apparently holding a wooden staff in his right hand, even though he was already holding a double-scythe in that same hand. Did he drop the scythe? Did the scythe turn into a staff? Who knows! @amenities certainly isn't telling. Another rune bracelet. More vines. Vines, vines, vines, his eye is vines, he's ripping off Father Anderson from Hellsing, more vines, vines fighting chains, the vines are also immune to fire because some old puppet dude is watching. Okay. Vines are spreading Feurer's arms (that sounds oddly sexual). This apparently occurs 'moments before' Cain arrives, despite Cain having jumped at Feurer literally last turn. The vines are 'invasively lively' (okay this is definitely sexual). Cain fancies bondage (oh for fuck's sake). Cain hits Feurer with a stick, right by the edge of his neck. Also he gathered another Geomancy prep somewhere in there, IDK. Feuer post 3: Obviously, the giant armored fire dude isn't particularly hurt by being hit with a stick. He does some Jedi mind tricks to find the old puppet dude, and summons a sword to chop away some of those creepy BDSM vines. Feurer punches Cain, and his fist has lightning power in it or something like that. ... Feurer comments on the stick attack being weak, but apparently finds nothing suspicious about it. Hmm... Cain post 4: SURPRISE!!! It turns out the stick was actually the two-ended scythe all along! Cain does a Naruto yell and blasts away all the earth gathered around them, which apparently gives him super-strength (somehow?) and lets him decapitate Feurer with the scythe that he had positioned right next to his neck. Or maybe he summoned the scythe from within the staff, the wording is kind of unclear... but basically he put the stick there so he could do the whole head-chop-off thing with the scythe. He used all three of his geomancy preps to boost his strength on this attack, and has two passive advantages, one from Feurer being entangled by vines and one from... ... 'troll power.' @amenities are you fucking with me Okay NVM, it's on Cain's profile and is apparently a living tattoo that boosts his strength some more or something. He also catches Feurer's punch in case he survive, and gathers a 'troll prep.' Though that isn't important, because what comes next is... Feurer post 4: SURPRISE!!! It turns out that cutting Feurerkönig's head off doesn't hurt him at all! Because he's, like, an elemental and stuff. Ignoring the loss of his apparently useless head, Feurer ensnares Cain with fire chains and then summons a sword to stab him in the heart. Also the other sword he summoned before comes back to stab him in the head as well. ... at which point BS is called, and poor old me has to come on down and decide this whole thing. Okay so, uh Before I make my final ruling, let me just say a few things. @amenities Using the stick as a bluff to essentially sneak the scythe in where you needed it to be... that was honestly a pretty good plan, so props for that. However, it's hard to really congratulate you on that when your methods were arguably underhanded, even within the boundaries of T1. Although the Chosen ruleset is no longer available to us, I'm fairly certain it included a line or two on clearly describing your actions, and my own Fun with T1 guide states that 'you must make it clear what your character is doing physically, even if their character cannot see it.' Hiding a tiny mention of a scythe being replaced by a stick amidst a bunch of flowery descriptions of vines is not how it's meant to be done, especially when the nature of said replacement is vague to the point of obfuscation. Even now, after reading that whole fight in detail, it's still not clear to me quite what happened there. Did wood grow around the scythe to make the staff? If so, wouldn't it be distinctly scythe-shaped? Or did Cain drop/unsummon the scythe before growing the stick? If so, why wasn't this mentioned? I understand the temptation to be sneaky with your wording (heck, I've done it more than once myself in the past), but it's best to maintain at least a modicum of clarity throughout. On top of this, your preps. You built up three preps of 'Geomancy,' based on the very vague mention in Cain's profile of 'mastered geomancy.' Which according to Google means 'the art of placing or arranging buildings or other sites auspiciously,' though I guess most roleplaying nerds would recognize it as something along the lines of 'earthbending.' Even if 'plantbending' is a stretch, you make it clear that Cain's geomancy includes plants early in the fight, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and accept that. ... Except when you actually use those preps, they translate to 'super strength.' The fuck? I can sort of get the idea of converting built-up power in nearby earth into personal strength, but nothing about Cain's profile or prior preparation really gave any hint at this ability. 'Mastered geomancy' indicates that he can 'manipulate earth really well,' not 'gather earth and then release it to gain super strength.' Similarly, prepping 'geomancy' indicates that you're building up an earth-based attack, not 'getting ready to give myself super strength right when I need it lol.' If Grubb had judge-called you right when you made the attack, I honestly might have ruled against allowing those preps to be used in the way they were, simply because there's barely any connection between the nature of said preps and the effect they were expended to create (beyond some very vague logic in the post of the attack itself). ... except he didn't, and Grubbs has built up a solid rap sheet of his own. @Grubbistch Please don't get into a fight and lose your profile right in the middle of it again. Profiles are important. Profiles tell me what you can and can't do. If you'd had a profile saying 'Feurerkönig's head is just a useless decoration' then I could probably be a bit more generous here. I rag on Amenities for being too vague with his profile and his preps, but even a vaguely or badly described ability is better than an ability with no prior description at all. ... now, as it is, you went and found me this post, in which Feurer loses an arm and manages to keep on fighting. And because I'm really, really nice, I'll accept that as evidence for Feurer having a better-than-average ability to withstand having parts of him chopped off. However. This does not change the fact that you tried to facetank a fucking decapitation. Let's look at this old post you provided, shall we? The destruction of Feurer's arm 'staggered him, forced him to one knee,' and was described as a 'crippling loss.' He's tough, sure, and he has weird biology, sure, but big injuries still hurt him, as described by your own words. And this is good! Having a completely invincible character is frowned upon, so props to you for having your fire dude genuinely show a hint of weakness back there. Here, however, Feurerkönig loses his fucking head, which even in non-human organisms tends to be really important... and all you say is ' Feurerkönig did not move for a moment' before you get right back into attacking Cain as if nothing had happened. I'm sorry, but no. Just no. Even if Feurer is this crazy badass tough guy who can survive things no mortal ought to survive, having such a significant part of him be literally severed and then acting like nothing happened is going too far. Preps aren't everything, true, but they do lend weight to an attack. As my guide says: " An action that is prepared in some way is always 'better' than a 'quickdraw' action. This does not mean prepared attacks are unavoidable, but it means you can't brute-force your way past them without your own preparations." Feurer basically took Cain's prepped attack to the face (or head, whatever) and then tried to brute-force his way through it, going 'oh whatever that part you hit was useless anyway lol I'm fine.' If he'd had his own preps, then he could maybe have tanked it; if you'd have him do something clever or given a really solid argument then maybe he could have survived even without preps. Of course, you were already in a bad situation after letting Cain stick his weapon right where he wanted it, but even so, if you'd had Feurer get decapitated and then actually played it like a major freaking injury rather than pretty much laughing it off, that would have been more acceptable... ... okay, I've ranted long enough. A dubious attack and a dubious defense, good heavens! It's time for my final decision. *drumroll* Big Fat Final Ruling: Feurerkönig is incapacitated. Cain wins this fight. Feurer's decapitation doesn't kill him, but it's a debilitating injury, enough to cut short any attempts at further counterattack. Even if Cain's attack did cut a few too many corners, I was called here after Grubb had already accepted the hit, to rule on the whole matter with the head. While Grubbistch did provide some evidence of his character having the kind of ability he indicated, he still tried to have his character tank a massive hit and sustain a major injury while implying that said character was hardly inconvenienced at all, which verges on god-modding. Out of respect for Grubb's creative freedom and whatever weird kind of character he wants to play, I'll allow Feurer to survive having his head cut off. However, I rule that @Grubbistch should edit his current post to reflect that Feurerkönig has been defeated. You can have him fall unconscious, or succumb to the pain, or have his two-minds thing get disrupted by losing his head, whatever. So long as you acknowledge that he has been majorly fucked up and is effectively out of the fight. There are a few ways we could go from here. Cain could deliver a finishing blow and fuck up Feurer's torso or something (or whatever it takes to actually kill him, and he better be somehow killable), or maybe Feurer can survive to play out that whole interrogation plot that was being planned. I'll ask that @amenities be graceful in victory here and try to cooperate with Grubb as to how things play out post-fight. If either of you disagree with this ruling, then I understand. Fighting in RP is a weird and subjective thing. However, both of you agreed to have me as a judge for this fight, and as promised, I have judged. My ruling is final. No matter the outcome, I hope you both had fun. -bfc
  12. In the town of Spalding, not far from Tia... The wind was blowing. Swishing and whooshing like a wolf trying to blow down a brick house built by pigs, swooshing and swirling like a merry-go-round spinning underwater (okay a merry-go-around probably wouldn't work properly while submerged but this is a simile so screw the rules), blowing and blowing and blowing like a particularly enthusiastic gay man going to town on his boyfriend. It was, one could say... a windy day. But little did anyone know, that this wind, in all its windy windiness, was carrying: DEATH!!!! *** The outskirts of Spalding. Two mustachioed gentlemen sat together on a log, gazing at the sky. The pair were birdwatchers, you see, and it had become a favorite pastime of theirs to stroll out of town on occasion to take a gander at the local avian fauna, which they would identify and catalogue for their own entertainment. Today was no exception: their eyes were glued to their binoculars, which in turn scanned back and forth in the hopes of catching a stray pair of wings for the two men to gawk at in tandem. "I say!" one said at last, "Jerome! Have a look at this fine specimen!" Jerome swiveled his binoculars in the direction indicated. His eyes widened behind the glass lenses at he caught sight of a... a... goodness, what the devil was that? "Ah... yes... a fine specimen indeed..." "A thick-billed budgerigar, perhaps?" Jerome laughed. "Oh, so one might think! But budgerigars only have two eyes, do they not? Whereas this fellow here has three! As such, it can only be a Triclopean Goshawk." "Aren't goshawks bigger than that?" "Well, yes, but... it could be a juvenile." The other man frowned, and squinted again. "What's with those purple clouds coming off it, then?" "Perhaps a bad case of flatulence?" The two men chuckled merrily as the strange bird flew over them. They chuckled merrily as they wiped their brows with handkerchiefs, and turned their eyes back to the open skies. They chuckled merrily as they ignored the tiny purplish particles trailing down in the mutant bird's wake and settling around them, seeping in through their mouths and nostrils and infecting their respective bloodstreams. They chuckled merrily, as they tore each other to shreds in the throes of bloodthirsty rage. *** The mutant bird flew on, and Maleficence spooled down in its wake, dispersed onto the winds with every flap of its twisted wings. All throughout the town of Spalding, people began to twitch, their eyes going bloodshot as something vile and vicious began to seep into their veins. First came the shouts, and then came the screams... ...and then came the shriek of an old woman, who roused amidst the tumult and fumbled for the wooden staff that leaned against the wall by her bedside. "Doggone it, not again!"
  13. bfc

    Chapter 2: Kamikaze (LoD)

    Schrei's hands moved swift and deftly, as one would expect from an assassin. Perhaps less expected, though, was the fact that her fingers danced not with knives, but with... glassware. First, a vial jammed full of pulped Yeti flesh, still ripe with its life-juices, corked and tucked away alongside the Ice Mongrel's eyeball she'd pinched earlier. For a vampire, blood was food, but for Schrei it had become something more than that. Blood equals power. Blood equals adaptation. She'd keep the samples stored away until she next got the chance to visit a safehouse or borrow a lab, then run cell cultures and make as much as she needed, to be stored away in secure locations and carried along in more little vials when an assignment called for it. That which did not kill Schrei would eventually make her stronger, at least so long as she could make it bleed. No sooner had she dealt with that little task than another opportunity presented itself, along with a threat. She winced at the sound of the dragon's shriek, reaching up to twist a dial on her headphones and turn down the noise as she focused on the emanating wave. The sound built, gathered, and then crystallized between her fingertips, frozen in the form of a tiny translucent sphere. This too she buried in one of her many pockets, while at the same time withdrawing her one vial of dragon's blood and downing a third of its remaining contents, brow furrowing in frustration at having to use so much of her supply so soon in the mission. With any luck, Dredge would bring down that big beast up there so she could drain it for replacements... Her fiery breath renewed by the second dose, she cut her way through the barrage and into the clear, eyes squeezing shut as she tried to pick out the sounds of allies and enemies amidst all the cacophony. She'd come to the front lines to help cut a path through the bestial army, but now all she could hear were their panicked screams as they died in the flames or fled for their lives. Dredge and his elites seemed to have made it through, and so she scampered back to their ranks, happy to resume skulking in the shadows of taller warriors, staying mostly out of sight. She heard the echoing voice, of course, but couldn't track it to any specific source. As for the words themselves... those were Dredge's concern. Her attention was focused on the rope bridge, and the churning waters beneath. Listening to the swaying of the former to try and judge whether it'd collapse under their feet if they tried to cross, listening to the maddened splashes and sprays of the latter to try and make out anything swimming within...
  14. bfc

    The Silvermind

    "The devil?" Sabiya wasn't overly familiar with Terrenus's various religions, being foreign-born and staunchly atheist herself, but she knew enough to understand the connotations of the term, enough to make her smile gently and place one hand over her chest, feigning mortification so thinly that it could only be a joke. "Goodness! I'm not that scary, am I?" But of course, Caecilia wasn't talking to her. Caecilia was addressing the Monroe Foundation as a whole, treating Dr. Invarti as an avatar of the looming octopus whose tendrils speared the skies above Hell's Gate, whose machinations drove economies and incited riots in the streets. It wasn't entirely inappropriate; Sabiya had after all been sent to represent the Foundation and its interests, making its enemies into hers for as long as she remained in the role. That didn't mean she had to like it, though. Being used as a punching bag for this woman's latent frustrations was already taking its toll on her patience, and more than once she had to keep a sharp rebuke from snapping off her tongue and turning this whole affair into a shouting match. The Monroe Foundation does not bother with petty insults, she reminded herself, such things are beneath it. Such things are beneath you. If Caecilia saw her as a devil in the flesh, then so be it, she'd play along. When the offer came along, she'd treat it as Henrietta would, with haughty disdain. All the same, she couldn't stop her pupils from expanding at the words 'biological neural network,' at the sheer ambition of the proposal itself. She blinked, quickly covering the flaw, but there it was. As a negotiator and a mouthpiece, the nature of the project mattered less than the terms surrounding it, but as a researcher it fascinated her. The challenge, the possibilities, the very idea of finally having permission to break down the skull's sacrosanct walls and drag the sentient brain kicking and screaming into the modern era... Enticing. And yet duty mandated that she now draw the knife. "I must congratulate the House Glasmann," she began, inclining her head slightly towards the client, "on daring to undertake such a bold endeavor. And thank them, too, for coming to us with this generous offer." She turned, twisting with a slow balletic grace, her long hair swaying seductively behind her. "Indeed, no matter our prior relations, it would be foolhardy of us not to be interested, enticed even, by the possibilities of our two houses working hand in hand." A smile, as kind and soothing as the words that followed. "So let's clarify some of the vaguer points, why don't we? Lay down some specifics, so that we can cement a mutually beneficial accord." She stepped forwards, a motion that moved her around Caecilia rather than towards her thanks to the turn she'd made just seconds before. Perfectly poised, an idealized portrait of the human figure in motion. "First, the small matter of our AI. Putting the rest of your proposal aside, we expect this specific matter to work as any other transaction would, with you as the client and us as the contractor. You may provide specifications as to your desires and requirements, but the intelligence itself will remain a project of the Monroe Foundation, and as such we will retain full intellectual property rights over all iterations, as well as legal guardianship once the legislation goes through. House Glasmann will be funding the development of the AI, of course, plus licensing, maintenance, and repair fees for the duration of the intelligence's functional lifetime, with the only exceptions being circumstances in which it demonstrably under-performs the specifications laid out in the contract." She smiled again, a little sharper this time. "Which it won't, because the quality of our work is what brought you here in the first place, and we've no intention of jeopardizing our reputation over a project this significant. You can think of the intelligence as an employee, I suppose, contracted out from Foundation. A pilot, systems manager, and analyst of incomparable ability, all rolled into one. Perhaps even more, if you want." Another step, slow and smooth as dripping honey. "But that much was all but decided, no? You came here today to talk about your other aims, so let's go over those." She gestured cheerily at the air, the excitement genuine as she pieced together imaginary systems in her mind. "We'll need to verify the legality of it all, of course. One can't be too careful, when developing anything that might affect organic minds, and as such any finalized agreement over this matter may need to await a preliminary review, though I doubt we'll find any issues that can't be ironed out with your cooperation." She paused, making eye contact, before diving into the meat of it. "My concern, however, is that you may be trying to sell us something we already have." Her gaze remained locked in place, bloody red against icy blue. "As you suspect, the Monroe Foundation has already made... inroads into this field. All within the boundaries of strict ethics and applicable laws, of course. All the same, we've seen both theoretical and practical progress, and with the resources already at our disposal it's only a matter of time until we achieve the same results you offer through cooperation, entirely on our own. It would take longer, of course, but the Foundation prides itself on looking to the future." Her expression turned slightly sad, her eyes finally sliding away. "So unfortunately, there may be some doubt as to whether your current proposal is, in fact, the best possible course of action for us, no matter its merits in a vacuum." Her soft smile returned. "Though I'm sure you'd be willing to accommodate our needs, such as they are, given the enormous opportunities presented." Step. "Firstly, you mentioned that the Foundation would be able to produce and market the technology resulting from our cooperation, did you not? By which you meant that for the full duration stipulated in the contract, the Foundation would be the sole party able to produce and market said technologies, unless the Foundation deemed it appropriate to transfer or share said rights with partners of its choice, correct? Good good." Step. "Secondly, your plan to allot profits towards what is, in effect, charity work." She beamed, like a teacher handing a gold star to a bright little schoolgirl. "A move that not only shows you to be deeply thoughtful and empathetic, but wise as well. It's a wonderful proposition, and I must admit that it moves me to see such a caring gesture married so elegantly to a project of this scale." One index finger swung up, cutting through the air. "However, I must remark that 'assisting the economically disadvantaged' is a wide umbrella indeed, sufficiently vague to cover a myriad of possible options. And in order to maximize the effect of your charitable intentions, you would of course want to consult with your valued partners, devilish though we may be." For an instant, her smile was a scalpel, before it softened to a cloud. "Thus, at the earliest opportunity, I'd request on the Foundation's behalf that we establish a joint committee of representatives from both sides, in order to properly define a mutually acceptable plan for the nature of our 'assistance' to the disadvantaged, to be determined separately from the actual percentage allocated thereto." Step. "Thirdly, and most importantly, the work itself." She paused, raising one hand to halt any interruption in its tracks, before continuing. "Your stipulation that we limit initial sales to the Terrenus Military and parties thereby authorized is acceptable, and appropriately cautious. However, we must wonder whether this precaution alone is adequate." A look of concern, now, eyebrows sloping down and lips just slightly pursed. "The agreements in our contract are legally binding, yes, but we both know there are elements out there willing to disregard legal requirements to lay their hands on such a prize." A tilt of the head. "Besides which, the funding for this project isn't coming from House Glasmann's pockets alone, no? Surely Veluriyam, and any others involved, would salivate at the prospect of acquiring or replicating our hard-earned advancements for themselves." Her eyes narrowed. "Of course, we have no doubt that House Glasmann would do everything in its power to keep such valuable information from reaching the wrong eyes, but..." She sighed, sweet but melancholy. "Accidents happen, no? While we have no doubt as to the competence of your House and its various servants, associates, and employees, it's only natural that we should be fearful of a dangerous leak, from a place where we cannot prevent it." Her features hardened, shifting from quiet sadness to stern resolution. "Thus, unfortunate as it may be, the Monroe Foundation will be required to withhold certain details regarding the specifics of certain key elements of our collaboration, which shall be completed separately and then integrated into the larger system by the Monroe Foundation alone. This confidentiality will exclude those granted full rights of use, such as House Glasmann and the Terrenus Military. Trade secrets, if you will, to keep the key knowledge where it benefits us both, and cannot be used against us." Step. "Beyond that, matters are relatively simple. Who funds what, how much, all the number crunching our accountants can argue over. With the Foundation supplying most of the brainpower, House Glasmann will need to compensate in other areas, but I'm sure you'll find it within your means..." A final step, and then she turned again, a small but energetic pivot. Once more she stood face to face with Caecilia, that kind and charming smile just the same as it had been before she'd dissected the proposal from top to bottom. Once more she stood face to face with Caecilia, ready to weather any storm that might come. Once more she stood face to face with Caecilia— Only now, after all those seamless steps, she stood directly between Caecilia and the door. Welcome to hell, Lady Glasmann. Angelic as ever in her grace, she gestured to the table, to the two chairs by the window. "Why don't we sit down? I'm sure you have further comments of your own, and I'd be eager to discuss them with you." An innocent blink, a tilt of the head, daylight and shadow shifting those sharp features, those expressions honed like knives. "I'm Sabiya Invarti, by the way."
  15. bfc

    The Silvermind

    There came the ring. She wondered: was it a real bell? Or merely a recording of a bell? Or perhaps, not even a bell at all, but a synthesized noise meant to sound like a bell. They could have gone through thousands of variations, testing every pitch and decibel level for that perfect note, that unmistakable signal. Sharp, noticeable, yet not irritating or disruptive. The tiniest of components, yet perfectly fit for its function. Attention, dear listener! Someone is arriving. Please make yourself presentable... Sabiya's fingertip silently pulled back from the glass, leaving no trace behind. Calm and languid, she turned a few degrees towards the entrance, shadows sliding softly over one angular cheekbone as it curved away from the window's light. "—Ah." The client stepped in, and one pale eyebrow arched in response, painted lips parting just slightly in a moment of surprise. She'd had an introduction planned out step by step. From the gentle movements, to the delicate flatteries, to the subtle intonations required to make it all seem genuine. As she laid eyes upon the client, however, she realized that this might be inappropriate. Without the slightest change of expression, she tossed her meticulous steps aside and snapped a new plan into place. Something more fluid this time. Not a grand oak, but a thin and flexible palm tree, better suited for weathering a storm. "Rough trip?" Her voice rang quiet and feather-soft, innocent as could be. Her eyes shone like a hunting cat's, wide-open and knife-sharp. Hard to say whether it was wariness or sympathy hiding in those carmine irises, but Caecilia Glasmann clearly had her full attention.