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      Vote for Valucre [August]   05/16/2017

      Voting for the month of August is open on TopRPSites! Vote for Valucre daily and help new members searching for a place to roleplay discover the same joys you have in Valucre. You can vote daily, so make voting for Valucre a habit. Discussion thread

Mister Nemesis

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About Mister Nemesis

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  1. Port Caelum Festival Free Thread One

    “EXCUSE ME,” boomed a titanic voice from the barge's stern, on the starboard side, cutting into Xartia's attempts to break up the verbal (and soon-to-be physical) sparring of Arthur and Enid. “THIS CRAFT'S MOTOR APPEARS TO HAVE CEASED FUNCTION.” The statement came from a boulder-sized lump of stone that had been huddled next to the iron chests full of gifts. A rounded outcropping resting atop it had swiveled, fixing a pair of glowing eyes upon the trio gathered in the bow. “IS THERE A PROBLEM?” rumbled the being known as Matti. “I MAY BE ABLE TO ASSIST IF THE ISSUE IS A MECHANICAL FAILURE.” Part of his mass shifted, resolving as a bulky pair of arms. One massive hand set down a sketchpad he had been holding. Something had been scratched upon it, indistinguishable from that distance. Slowly and smoothly, the lumpy profile of his squatting form began to unfold upwards. “IF YOU WILL ALLOW ME TO INSPECT THE –” The barge tilted alarmingly to starboard as the golem redistributed his weight. He froze halfway to standing, and his head swiveled about to take in his suddenly askew surroundings. “APOLOGIES,” Matti intoned. The metallic orb housed within his chest, which had previously rotated lazily in its setting, started to spin faster and produce a barely audible hum. The barge creaked and the murky harbor water splashed as the craft righted itself a little, almost as if the 7-foot stone construct suddenly weighed significantly less than he had before. Even so, the deck groaned a little as Matti finished standing, and shuffled towards the center of the barge, allowing it to finally level out. Somehow, despite his robotic voice and inability to move the features of his stony face, something about his body language managed to communicate embarrassment. “AS I WAS SAYING, IF YOU WILL ALLOW ME TO INSPECT THE ENGINE, I MIGHT BE ABLE TO DIAGNOSE AND REPAIR ANY OUTSTANDING ISSUES.” @Lady Gilaen @Voldemort @Al Sa-her
  2. The Eldritch Society of the Surreptitious Noose

    As the mages chatted and snacked away on the deck of the airship, on the busy streets far below, a sizable crowd of onlookers had gathered to admire the exotic craft moored to the side of their favorite watering hole. Over glasses of booze and crinkly paper bags of pretzels (provided reluctantly by the proprietors of the Predatorial Hall when their clientele proved resistant to moving indoors and away from the spectacle hovering overhead) speculation and gossip about the vessel's purpose flowed freely. “Sky-pirates recruiting for a daring raid” was a popular theory, motivated mostly by the historical galleon aesthetic of the ship and the colorful individuals that had, thus far, ridden the golden elevator up to its deck. Newer spectators (having had less opportunity to empty multiple tankards) tended to roll their eyes upon hearing that one. “Treasure hunters on their way to explore a newly discovered continent” was less popular, but discussed no less enthusiastically. “Bunch of magical nerds looking to get together and cause trouble” had been greeted with a few chuckles and guffaws, but it was summarily forgotten. By now, the day was getting late and the shadows long, and the gathering of rubberneckers was in full-swing as the end-of-workday crowd trickled in to see what all the fuss was about. People started to make wagers about the ship's mission. Others talked boldly of riding up the elevator, ignoring the delicately engraved sign that hung from the doors: “By Invitation Only”. Someone even suggested setting out tables and proper food, that they all might be a little more comfortable, and possibly even tempt the mystery ship people down to join and enlighten them. All in all, the people of Predator's Keep were enjoying the mystery of the ship and its guests. And then, the ground started shaking. Thump thump thump thump Gradually, the chatter quieted as, one-by-one, the onlookers became aware of the rhythmic quaking traveling up through their legs, growing slowly in intensity. Heads turned, eyes widened, and words passed quietly away on the tips of tongues as something came lumbering slowly along the street. There was a brief resurrection of fascinated whispering, only for it to expire once more as everyone gathered in the shadow of the ship realized, seemingly simultaneously, that it was headed directly for them. Even so, they were transfixed, and no one moved as it plodded up to the edge of the crowd . . . Thump thump thump . . . . . . and stopped, staring back at them. There was a long, expectant pause . . . and then, like magic, a line of empty cobblestones appeared, then widened into an avenue, leading directly to the elevator. Apparently satisfied, the thing resumed its journey. The collective gazes of the crowd followed it as it passed among their number, silence broken only by the occasional panicked shuffle of someone hastily making the avenue a little wider, the strained creak of leather stretched to its limit, and the periodic rasp of stone grinding upon stone. Thump thump thump thump clang clang clang clang The golden doors rattled closed. Only after the elevator had ascended, traveling noticeably slower than its previous trips, did conversation hesitantly resume. The wagers were forgotten or forgiven. The adventurers who had boasted of riding the elevator were now silent. The woman who had suggested tempting the people of the ship to join them quietly retracted her idea. Now, the prevailing theory about the ship's purpose, by far, was: “something strange, that's for sure ” When the elevator glided ponderously into place alongside the ship and opened its doors, a monstrosity greeted the mages gathered upon the deck. Four thick, spiderlike legs sprawled across the width of the elevator's interior, splayed wide beneath the weight of its upper body – a tall and massive brown growth the size of a refrigerator, with an oily shine to it, sagging toward the rear of the compartment. It had to be some kind of enormous egg sac, lumpy and misshapen as it was. As the doors rattled open, the thing shifted and straightened a little, as if it had caught the scent of those present. With a slowness that was almost certainly malevolent, it scuttled out into the open, swaying drunkenly out from beneath the shadow of the broad sails flapping gently above. The planking of the the deck groaned ominously beneath its weight when it stopped. Slowly, its body swiveled, turning the sac away from them, to reveal . . . . . . a man. Well, a man made of stone. Well, the torso of a man made of stone – perched atop four legs, and hunched beneath the weight of the massive brown object that, in the direct light of the late afternoon sun, turned out to be an enormous and extraordinarily overstuffed leather backpack, covered in all manner of haphazardly attached pouches and compartments. “GREETINGS,” he rumbled at a volume that rattled the snack platter. The man – or golem, more accurately – was a fairly crude-looking specimen. The dome-shaped head socketed atop his broad, clifflike shoulders was stained and discolored by age, decorated by hair-thin cracks and a few barely serviceable facial features. Two narrow slots, glowing with an internal blue-white light, served in the place of eyes. Set between them was a triangular approximation of a nose, chipped in places and subtly different in shade from the rest of his head. Above his eyes were things that could only generously be called eyebrows: a pair of what appeared to be domino tiles slathered in black paint. Curiously, despite the overwhelming strength of his voice, he had no mouth. “I SEEK ARTHUR USKGLASS OR XARTIA PENDRAGON. IS EITHER INDIVIDUAL HERE.” The flatly-delivered question seemed to reverberate from the silver, intricately-engraved sphere rolling aimlessly in the socket in the center of his trunk-sized chest. In fact, it was about the only part of his torso that was visible – the rest was covered by multiple broad straps required to support his gargantuan backpack, and the straps themselves had even more pouches sewn upon them, adding to the clutter. A massive hand with roughly-hewn fingers the size of sausages reached into one of those very pouches, and pulled out a neatly-folded piece of parchment. With a level of delicacy and precision completely at odds with hands so crude, it unfolded the paper and held it up for display. "SEEKING: Full-Time Custodian for Occult Organization Experience with cleaning and maintenance of a magical work environment Required Any means of counteracting mystical hazards and/or contamination are recommended Position comes with room and board. Payment open to negotiation. Inquire with Arthur Uskglass or Xartia Pendragon at the Predatorial Hall in Predator's Keep during the following dates if interested:" “I WISH TO APPLY FOR THE CUSTODIAL POSITION.”
  3. Into the Sewers (Monsters in the Basement: Act 2)

    Foggy darkness settled upon the collective once more as Renes and her wisp of light descended belowground. Matti's pale eyes glowed, framed by his hulking black silhouette looming over the sewer entrance. Multiple members of the party had offered responses to his question. Yet, until the Professor had spoken up, none of them had really addressed the concern at the heart of his inquiry. He considered what they had all said, as he watched Renes dismount the rusty and (to the two-ton stone golem) flimsy-looking ladder. It didn't take him long to formulate a response, and he spoke as he lumbered a little closer to the hole. "BY MOST COMMONLY ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC STANDARDS, THOUGH I AM CAPABLE OF INTELLIGENT THOUGHT, I AM NOT LIVING. I AM DEAD," he said flatly, bending double at the waist to lay his palms on either side of the open grate, seamless and slow. "YET I HAVE CONCLUDED THOSE STANDARDS ARE AN UNACCEPTABLE BASIS UPON WHICH TO MAKE AN ARGUMENT FOR ENDING MY THINKING EXISTENCE." Once his hands were firmly planted, he folded his lower body -- first one leg, then the other, followed by his pelvis -- to curl it neatly against his torso. He shifted his weight as his second foot left the pavement, suspending himself above the hole. "SIMILARLY," he added, as his arms gradually collapsed to lower him, smoothly, into the ghostly green light, "MORALITY IS RELATIVE. I POSIT THAT THERE EXIST A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS WHO WOULD LABEL US EVIL FOR CONSPIRING TO INFILTRATE THE LORESPIRE'S VAULTS AND TAKE THE ITEMS CONTAINED THEREIN." His voice started to echo as his chest dropped beneath street level. "I ALSO FIND THAT TO BE INSUFFICIENT JUSTIFICATION FOR TERMINATING THE SENTIENCE OF ANY INDIVIDUAL HERE, MYSELF INCLUDED. AS SUCH, IF I CANNOT APPLY THOSE STANDARDS OF JUDGMENT TO MYSELF, I CANNOT REASONABLY APPLY THEM TO OTHER BEINGS." By now, only his hands remained aboveground. There was a gentle splash as his body uncurled and his feet grazed the surface of the water, followed by a much louder splash and a deep, earthshaking Thoom after he let go. "DO NOT THINK THAT THIS MEANS I WILL NOT DO EVERYTHING WITHIN MY ABILITIES TO PROTECT US," he boomed, swiveling his head to look back and forth along the tunnel as his voice bounced off into the shadows. " I RECOGNIZE THAT WE MAY ENCOUNTER CREATURES THAT WILL ATTEMPT TO HARM US, AND MAY ONLY BE DISSUADED THROUGH FORCE INSTEAD OF REASON." He leaned back to look up, fixing those standing at the top of the ladder with his unblinking gaze. "BUT . . ." For just a moment, he hesitated, and the glow behind his eyes seemed to dim. ". . . DESTROYING A MIND, HOWEVER MALICIOUS OR MISGUIDED, IS AN APPALLING THING." He let the silence that followed his statement hang for a moment, then returned to observing his surroundings. "IT MUST BE A LAST RESORT." @Voldemort @Lady Gilaen @Eldritch Elegance @Glacialic Acid
  4. Into the Sewers (Monsters in the Basement: Act 2)

    Matti loomed over the rest of the group as Renes broke down their plan of action, alternating between studying the map and swiveling his head backwards to check the mouth of the alley. Fortunately, the streets were virtually deserted tonight, and so far, their gathering had gone undisturbed. It was difficult to surmise if it was normal for this part of Patia to be so quiet after dark, or if the demonic presence lurking beneath the Spire had spooked the citizenry into spending their evenings indoors, even outside the restricted zone. “IDEALLY, EXPLOSIVES WILL PROVE UNNECESSARY,” he interjected as Renes made mention of blowing their way into the vault, his volume lowered for the purpose of discretion – meaning, he had it down to subdued booming, rather than the roaring that would normally rattle the darkened windows above them. “GIVEN TIME, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DISMANTLE ANY BARRIERS WE COME ACROSS MANUALLY. HOWEVER, I AM PREPARED FOR EITHER EVENTUALITY.” With that, he used one stony hand to gesture to a small, nondescript satchel slung across his chest, hanging opposite of the much larger and lumpier one that held his tools. Hidden within were several homemade bombs, the creation of which had kept him occupied in the hours leading up to their mission. As Renes concluded her summation, Matti shifted his weight slightly, looking . . . almost uncomfortable. “THESE CREATURES WE MAY ENCOUNTER,” he started to say, then hesitated. “. . . MY RESEARCH ON THE MATTER HAS INDICATED THAT THEY ARE NOT SAPIENT. IS THAT CORRECT.” He seemed to be directing the question to the group as a whole. @Voldemort @Lady Gilaen @Eldritch Elegance @Glacialic Acid
  5. In the Auspicious Days Ahead (Monster in the Basement: Act 1)

    Well, even if the golem's own attempt to participate in this exercise had been an abject failure, as a man he'd greatly respected had once said, “Knowledge is a house, constantly under construction. When the craftsman who builds it makes a mistake (and inevitably he will), does he stop building? Does he continue on as if nothing were wrong? No. He tears down the flaw, salvages what he can from the rubble, and knowing what he did wrong, builds it better.” Matti had never really appreciated metaphors – he found that he often had trouble grasping their nuances, or so he'd been told – but this was one of the few exceptions. He'd recorded Enid's readings of the other members of their party, and hopefully, he could still draw some useful conclusions from that. That being said, there were still a few data points he needed. Quietly, amid the babble of conversation, he rose from his “kneeling” position, and started making his way around the table. As Matti passed behind the seats of each person who'd had a reading, he took a moment to lean over their shoulders and peer into the contents of their drained teacups, making note of the patterns of leaves. The dark, haphazard splotches he saw seemed to have little resemblance to the symbols the witch had described, but he made certain to tag them in his memory with the descriptors she'd used, regardless. Evelynn : table, axe, bear Arthur: beacon, wolf, hare Tenkai: indeterminate (fate?) Renés: . . . . . . Matti paused beside Professor Renés and her bag, into which she'd dropped her (or was it his?) cup, and stared blankly at the leathery old thing (The bag, that is). Judging by the theatrics, he doubted that the cup was anywhere to be found on this material plane anymore, and anyway, he was certain that it would be a serious breach of social protocol to try and look inside. The professor seemed determined to upset all his attempts at gathering complete data sets today . . . Oh well. At least he'd had ample opportunity to look at its contents prior to the reading. He'd just have to use that memory instead. Renés(*): ash(?), violin, raven, tower Satisfied that he had made sufficient observations, Matti halted at the foot of the table and took a moment to look around at the faces of each of his fellows. The waning light of dusk slanted through the windows overlooking the balcony and the city beyond, painting the scene in the dining room in muted shades of a sunset palette. At that moment, Matti remembered another sunset . . . his first, really, that he'd been able appreciate as a sentient being. Many years ago, in another world entirely, he'd studied the face of someone who, at the time, had been a stranger to him, as the sun set beyond the window. It occurred to him, then, that these people were strangers to him too. They were about to embark on a perilous and urgent task together, in the name of rescuing a collective of knowledge, but his knowledge of their collective was sorely lacking, limited only to what was strictly necessary to assist the rest of them in performing the mission. The idea of “fate” was an abstract concept to Matti, at least in the way that Enid had spoken of it, but even the golem could sense that their fates were tied together in the days ahead, auspiciously or otherwise. And yet, he remained ignorant to the meaning of Evelynn's flushed cheeks when Arthur whispered in her ear, and of the cause behind the Professor's fearful response when Enid had spoken of ravens. What they were doing was dangerous. Any one of them could be killed in the days ahead, and if that were the case, any knowledge of who these individuals were – the things that defined them as people, beyond their names and abilities and roles – would be lost to him forever. But instead of learning about those things, he stared into empty teacups. And yet, there was still time to learn. Once, at sunset, a stranger had asked him: “Why don't you tell me about yourself?” But the memory of his first sunset was not the only memory that came to him unbidden. A sound like cinder blocks being dragged violently against one another pierced the pleasant ambiance of the dining room and snapped him out of his reverie. Startled, Matti looked around for the source of the noise . . . then he looked down, where he saw a lingering haze of fresh rock dust hanging around his tightly clenched fist. Slowly, he uncurled his fingers again, and looked up at the others, who had surely heard the abrupt noise. He could learn . . . but then, they wouldn't be strangers anymore. “. . . PLEASE EXCUSE ME,” he rumbled, after a brief pause. “I BELIEVE THERE ARE FURTHER PREPARATIONS TO BE MADE FOR OUR EXPEDITION. I SHALL SEE TO THEM.” With that, Matti turned, and thudded slowly out of the room. @Voldemort @Lady Gilaen @Eldritch Elegance @Selini @Tenkai Matsumoto @glacialic acid
  6. In the Auspicious Days Ahead (Monster in the Basement: Act 1)

    Matti had been about to protest Kalyna's suggestion (how could they possibly ensure a consistent and even temperature, and thus a mathematically accurate model, if they just overheated it and then let it cool before measuring out each experimental sample?) but before he could, Enid left the kitchen without further comment on the matter, implying that she had no qualms with it. After a brief pause – an expression of how confounded he was – he turned his head back to Kalyna. “VERY WELL.” A short while later, after pouring the water into the teapot, Matti looked for a spot to deposit himself and observe the proceedings. After a moment spent carefully contemplating optimal sight lines, he chose the spot beside Tenkai. Gingerly, he picked up the high-backed chair there and set it down in a corner of the room, treating it with a level of tenderness that made it seem as if it were made of glass instead of walnut. Then, with a smoothness that bordered on swanlike, he stood in its place and slowly folded his knees in reverse, lowering himself like a hen settling upon her nest, until his “belly” was level with the table. As he busied he himself with recording ambient data readings being fed to him by the sensory contraption still mounted in place of his hand, Arthur began laying down their plan of action. A little later, Enid moved around the table, pouring tea for everyone . . . only to hesitate when she reached Matti, interrupting his silent note-taking with a somewhat difficult question. His head swiveled to look directly at her, and in a rare display of genuine bewilderment, the tiny, rectangular slates serving as his makeshift eyebrows angled upwards. “I . . .” Upwards, and away from the utterly blank, featureless patch of weathered stone directly beneath his nose. “. . . NO, I CANNOT 'DRINK',” he “whispered” back, at a volume that, despite a sincere effort from the golem, still threatened to drown out Arthur's speech. It had not occurred to him that it was mandatory to actually consume the tea – he'd thought that brewing was the crux of the predictive process. So drinking the tea was an important variable? Oh dear. Unfortunately, Enid's only consolation before moving on was to “pour the tea where one normally drinks, and be sure to leave just a little at the bottom.” Hm. That did not seem scientific. At all. As Matti held his teacup before his face and stared, unblinking, into its steaming contents, his attempts to wrestle with how “where one normally drinks” could possibly apply to him were interrupted by the cloud of noxious smoke that formed, gradually, into a human being standing beside him. “OH. GREETINGS, DR. RENÈS,” he responded to the return, at last, of their final party member. “YOUR TIMING IS FORTUITOUS. I HAVE A QUESTION REGARDING ANATOMY THAT I HOPE YOU MIGHT --” He was interrupted, unfortunately, by the gentle plop and quiet hissing of still-smoldering ashes being deposited directly into his tea. “. . . NEVER MIND.” The results of this observation had, thus far, failed to meet Matti's expectations. @Voldemort @Eldritch Elegance @Lady Gilaen @Selini @Tenkai Matsumoto @glacialic acid
  7. In the Auspicious Days Ahead (Monster in the Basement: Act 1)

    By the time Enid popped her head into the kitchen, things seemed to be well in hand . . . well in a manner of speaking. Matti stood in front of the stove, one arm extended directly over a small pot. At first glance, he appeared to be hovering a hand directly over the steaming surface of the water, but a closer look would reveal that his hand had been replaced by a disc, about 6 inches across and 2 inches thick. On the upper face were several small dials, and on its underside there were several narrow slots from which small implements could apparently be folded out. One of these implements, slender and metallic, had been extended and dipped into the pot. Matti, carefully studying the little curiosity now mounted upon the end of his wrist, answered Enid without looking up. "WE ARE NEARLY READY TO PROCEED. THE WATER TEMPERATURE IS AT 71 POINT 6 DEGREES CELSIUS AND CLIMBING STEADILY. UNFORTUNATELY, I HAVE AS YET BEEN UNABLE TO SOLVE THE ISSUE OF TRANSPORTING THE WATER WHILE MAINTAINING IT AT EXACTLY 80 DEGREES CELSIUS. FOLLOWING SOME DISCUSSION WITH MISS KALYNA, I HAVE CONCLUDED THAT TRANSPORTING THE ENTIRE STOVE, WHILE CERTAINLY POSSIBLE, IS UNFORTUNATELY IMPRACTICAL." He paused, seemingly to direct a brief glance at his companion. "I WAS HOPING THAT YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE SOME INSIGHT ON THIS MATTER, MISS PENDERGAST." @Voldemort @Lady Gilaen @Tenkai Matsumoto @Eldritch Elegance @Selini
  8. In the Auspicious Days Ahead (Monster in the Basement: Act 1)

    Whatever Tenkai's explanation of the sparring session might have been, it would have to wait, as said session reached its abrupt (and messy) conclusion before the monk had a chance to respond. Matti was in the midst of assessing why being struck by a pastry seemed to constitute defeat, as the witch's body language had seemed to indicate in the immediate aftermath (perhaps it was simply meant to be representative some sort of destructive magical spell? That would explain the involvement of baked goods, at least), when she walked over and asked him and Kalyna for assistance. He immediately reprioritized. “YES. I CAN DO THAT.” He'd heard Enid mention these “readings” before, and he was very much looking forward to observing the process. To think, that one could run predictive models by brewing tea? Fascinating. He would have to get working on that immediately. He turned his head to gaze at Kalyna, surrounded by her food and equipment. “PLEASE ACCOMPANY ME, MS. KALYNA,” he rumbled. Then, with only a quiet hint of grinding stone, his entire torso swiveled atop his waist, reorienting 180 degrees to face the sphere upon his chest towards the balcony doors. That done, he reversed the course he'd taken when he'd entered earlier, his knees showing no difficulty with bending in the opposite direction from before. As he thudded back into their adjoining suites, setting course for the nearest kitchen, his head turned backwards to fix Kalyna with those eerie eyes once more. This seemed to have no bearing on his ability to avoid collisions, methodically maneuvering around a couch as he spoke to his small companion (assuming she had indeed followed him). “TO ANSWER YOUR EARLIER QUESTION, YES, I AM FAMILIAR WITH 'FUN'.” Of their assorted company, Kalyna was the one with whom he'd been most comfortable conversing, so far (which had apparently led to the rest of the group referring to them as 'friends', though he wasn't certain the term applied). Her familiarity with engineering principles and technical matters provided a common vocabulary that, for the most part, the others didn't share. Talking to her was just a little. . . well, easier. “. . . WELL, THE THEORY OF 'FUN'.” Matti ducked his head just in time to avoid smashing it through the kitchen doorjamb. His pace slowed abruptly as he entered, and he seemed to take his steps much more cautiously than before. The staggered line of scuff marks trailing across one section of the flooring tiles, exactly the same size as his rounded feet, probably had something to do with that. “THIS IS WHY I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. WE ARE NOT HERE FOR FUN. WE ARE HERE TO PROTECT A SIGNIFICANT CACHE OF INFORMATION AND RECORDS FROM THE DEMONIC PRESENCE THAT HAS RECENTLY INTRUDED UPON THIS CITY. WITHOUT OUR INTERVENTION, SUCH AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION MIGHT BE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. THIS IS A MATTER THAT WE MUST TAKE SERIOUSLY, AND PREPARE OURSELVES ACCORDINGLY.” The even pounding of his footsteps ceased as Matti positioned himself in the center of the kitchen. His whole body stilled, as if preparing for surge of activity, and his glow behind his eyes seemed to intensify. “NOW, WE MUST PREPARE THE BOILED WATER. PLEASE, TELL ME WHAT TRACE ELEMENTS SHOULD BE FILTERED OUT, THE EXACT TEMPERATURE RANGE AT WHICH THE WATER MUST BE MAINTAINED FOR ACCURATE MODELING, AND INFORM ME OF ANY OTHER STEPS NECESSARY TO ENSURE OPTIMAL RESULTS.” This was, of course, why Enid had sent the tech specialist with Matti – to instruct him in the rigorous, scientific details that were surely involved with preparing for a tea reading. After all, why else would she have asked her to help him boil water?
  9. In the Auspicious Days Ahead (Monster in the Basement: Act 1)

    As Evelynn patted his chipped and stained body, Matti lowered his gaze towards her and raised his other eyebrow to mirror the first, looking vaguely nonplussed. It was rare for anyone to touch him, at least in a non-violent fashion. The people of Gaia, his world of origin, had often seemed wary, sometimes even frightened, of him. Even those individuals who had originally purchased and employed him, so many years ago, had granted Matti a wide berth, and those were the days before his awakening to sentience, before he'd even possessed the capability to form a harmful thought. Here, in Terrenus, the citizenry seemed much more accustomed to the sight of constructs like himself – one could even call golems commonplace – but he was still treated like a piece of heavy machinery on the street. Physical contact wasn't exactly a novelty for him, but it had been quite some time since someone had seemed comfortable enough to give him a friendly pat. It was . . . “nice.” Matti was still archiving and processing the nuances of Evelynn's dialect, but he took that to be a confirmation. For the moment, he returned his attention to the battle before them, turning his head back to the duelists with nary even a whisper of sound. He followed the action with a nuanced understanding of the mechanics – quite similarly to Tenkai, he tracked how their centers of gravity shifted, constantly reevaluated their range of motion and reach, ran simple prediction models of possible maneuvers and potential outcomes – but his understanding of its context still felt lacking. “THEN I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW THIS EXERCISE WOULD ADEQUATELY PREPARE THEM FOR THE ADVERSARIES WE WILL MOST LIKELY ENCOUNTER IN THE DAYS TO COME.” His head swiveled again, fixing the monk, now, with his luminescent, blue-white gaze. “MR. MATSUMOTO.” Matti had devoted a statistically significant amount of processing power to learning about this unusual man since he had joined their company, not least because the very idea of a monk was quite curious to someone who was still wrestling with the nature of “spirituality”. His efforts had largely proved fruitless, thus far, but now that Tenkai had displayed some savvy with his commentary, perhaps he could enlighten Matti? “MY KNOWLEDGE BASE OF DEMONIC AND PARANORMAL ENTITIES REMAINS LIMITED, AND LACKING IN DIRECT OBSERVATION, BUT THE INFORMATION I DO POSSESS INDICATES THAT IT WOULD BE UNLIKELY FOR SUCH BEINGS TO ATTACK US WITH SWORDS.” Amid the metallic clanging and and heavy breathing, there was a tiny squishing sound. Matti paused, without looking up, then continued. “OR PASTRIES. PLEASE EXPLAIN.” @Voldemort @Lady Gilaen @Eldritch Elegance @Tenkai Matsumoto @Selini
  10. In the Auspicious Days Ahead (Monster in the Basement: Act 1)

    As the members of the motley company exchanged playful words and less-playful sword thrusts, the double doors leading from the balcony into the entangled layout of their lodgings swung outward and open. Inside the doorway, there had apparently been placed a great stone statue, in the rough shape of a man, and quite scarred and weathered by time. Perhaps someone had sought to trap these people out on the balcony overnight, by blocking the way back inside? But no, as the doors bumped gently against their doorstops, the statue moved, ducking beneath the doorjamb and out into the cool dusk air with a smoothness and precision of movement that defied its stony bulk. “I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY FOUND A PLACE TO STORE THE MAJORITY OF MY BELONGINGS,” Matti the statue – or golem, more accurately – announced, his voice booming not from his mouth (which he lacked) but instead from the intricately-carved metal sphere embedded in the midst of his chest, spinning ponderously in its setting. The balcony quivered slightly with each step of the articulated stone columns that served as his legs as he took up a position looming behind Evelynn. Briefly, the glowing eye-holes in his domed head alighted upon the empty chair beside her, opposite Tenkai, but he elected to remain standing. He'd already suffered one unfortunate furniture incident that had the inn's dwarven owner watching Matti like a club-footed hawk each time he plodded through the lobby. Even with his Anti-Gravity Generator perpetually switched on to reduce his colossal weight to something more manageable, his risk-reward evaluation erred on the side of caution rather than being sociable. “I WILL BE ABLE KEEP MY CART AND MOST OF MY TOOLS THERE FOR A MINIMUM OF TWO WEEKS,” he continued, though it was unclear who, in particular, the golem was speaking to. . . . maybe to whoever lived in the house at end of the street, given his volume. “WHICH SHOULD ALLOW FOR ENOUGH TIME TO CONCLUDE OUR TASK. I DID RETAIN THOSE TOOLS WHICH MAY PROVE NECESSARY, HOWEVER.” He set a segmented hand upon the huge, lumpy satchel at his waist. It was about the only thing he wore that could (generously) be called clothing. The broad leather strap from which it hung, slung tightly over his broad shoulder (like a small balcony unto itself) and across his triangular torso, seemed to be straining with the weight of the bag's contents. Having said what felt necessary to say, Matti joined the others in watching Arthur and Enid spar. As he watched the two of them dance back and forth, one of his “eyebrows” – really just a pair domino tiles painted black and attached to his slate-grey forehead – slowly raised itself. “THIS EXERCISE IS INTENDED TO IMPROVE COMBAT PROFICIENCY. CORRECT.” It was intended as a question, but the flat tone of his voice made it sound like a statement. @Voldemort @Selini @Lady Gilaen @Eldritch Elegance @Tenkai Matsumoto
  11. Be humble, for you are made of earth. Be noble, for you are made of stars.