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Found 53 results

  1. Am I a bad person because I do bad things, or am I just a person who does bad things? Information was a commodity only two people really understood the value of. Spies were one, and the other being gossip mongers like her. It was important to know the difference between what was gold and what was pyrite. Fortunes hung in the balance, lives were on the line, and Andromeda really enjoyed watching the people she attacked squirmed in embarrassment. Who were they to believe they were so superior to the rest of us? Ursa Madeum had given her so many delectable morsels to feast on, but she wanted something better, something far juicier, the kind of thing that made you hot under the collar, clutching your pearls and hoping beyond hope that tasty little dish was for you. What Andromeda wanted, what she needed, was to be satisfied, to be quench her thirst for knowledge, and to see those hoity toity types get what they deserve. That was her idea of a head board rocking night. And so she ended up here, in this classic metropolitan hotel, sitting in the bar, swirling a drink with her finger, playing the part of the nervous Nelly, waiting for her victim. It was a grand example of destiny, that she would find this man, so desperate to find someone to write out his memoirs, that he didn't look twice at the first person who answered him. Ms. Andromeda Sunchaser, an innocent little girl who is desperate to become a real author and would be so honored to record and share with the world in the form of a book. Men were just too easy. @Djinn&Juice
  2. Current Location: Hell’s Gate, Terrenus; Western District - Ivory Estates Apartment Complex. Personage: Belvardi, Capria Twisted and contorted, rolling and bending and bowing, is a body in turmoil. Or is it the mind encased behind closed and twitching eyes? Plagued by memories further defiled by monsters of imagination, the beautifully shadowed dreamer cries out. Agony and sadness the only salvation earned from a job well done. Upon awakening, there is little to say or dwell on in the face of glittering rays of sunlight that burst in through the edges of dark curtains. Equivalent to the colors of the sun, freshly illuminated eyes sparkle at nothing more than the bubbled ceiling overhead. Suddenly, yet ever so gently, the maw of a creature in resemblance to a very large and scraggly wolf lays its head against an outstretched upturned palm. Gold and red hues collaborate silently in a moment of mutual understanding before they both move. One dissipates into the shadows of the room while the other peels herself from wrinkled sheets. Sitting up, turning so that her legs may slide off the bed, and then standing in order to start the day. Bubbles in the joints pop as the lengths of arms and legs are stretched while in walking motion. First, the menial tasks like using the restroom, brushing teeth, and tossing a sweater on are performed. Then comes breakfast. Another simple, but necessary task in order to sustain stamina and health. Friction, a sound produced by paper scraping against tile causes hooked fingers to hesitate in opening the kitchen refrigerator. When nothing follows, the woman continues onward to relieve the frigid device of a premade smoothie packaged in an [approximately 32 oz] glass jar. It is one of the multiples sealed and lined very neatly on the top shelf where nothing aside from them is contained throughout the entire compartment. The door to it is shut, and a pivot of the heel brings her attention to a bare counter from whence a drawer is open, a straw is produced; a twist of the cap emits a metallic pop so that she may penetrate the cold thick reddish multicolor-speckled sludge with the thin hollow cylindrical object. However ideal this may be, the further process of bringing it to her lips is interrupted by the subtle whimper of her bestial counterpart at the front door. Removing herself from the small cubby like area, although she cannot see his frame the ember-glow of his eyes and the placement of them draws her attention to the floor. More specifically the small space between the bottom of the door and the floor. Nails scoop the rectangular business card from the cool flat stone to view the picture depicted on the front before flipping it over to reveal a brief message and a selective sequence of numerical and alphabetical coding. This thread is an artifact quest, specifically for Odin’s Mask.
  3. Red eyes. That was the first thing people noticed about Lily Harper. Bright and crimson, like fresh-spilled blood on a clear winter day. It was a genetic mutation supposedly, one she’d inherited at birth. Neither of her parents bore the mark however, with their ordinary brown eyes. Spiking levels of melatonin hadn’t dulled the sharpness of her glare over the years, and growing up she’d always been the ideal target, easy pickings for bullies of the highest degree: Kids. Kids were assholes, to say the least. From the tender age of four to the post-pubescent dumpster fire that was seventeen, Lily had never known people so ruthless, more callous than kids. They played pranks, called her names, did everything to affix a uniquely pissed off glare to the hard lines of her face. She vividly recalled the time in ninth grade when a group of boys set off firecrackers in her locker. The incident ended with a fire extinguisher, five broken noses, one cracked femur, and her very first suspension. In a way, that was the day Lily became Rose. “So wait, your name isn’t actually Rose?” Lily sipped the grey whiskey from her glass, tasting vaguely of burnt rubber and lab-grown fungus. They were all nursing overpriced drinks, mostly beer and too-sweet cocktails, around a steeply elevated patio overlooking the Adendale's ringed atrium. Tube-like elevators slid along the micro-city’s inner floors, like pneumatic mail that ran up and down for a couple of kilometers each. Lily’s eyes flitted over the railing, riding a capsule all the way to the top. There was no sky, no clouds, just the pink-orange line of an artificial sunset. “No,” Lily answered, dragging her gaze back to the recruit sitting across from her. “That’s my call sign. Every Ogre pilot gets one, same way Raptor pilots do when they graduate from flight school.” “It usually represents a person’s quirks,” Javier added. “Take Jean-Phillipe over here. No one in our class could pronounce his name. We started calling him JP for short, then it eventually caught on with our instructors. Next thing you know, that’s what all the bigwigs at Command are calling him. It became way too iconic for any of us to let it go.” “Call signs are also a way of remembering a pilot’s achievements,” JP said, smiling over the rim of his still-foaming pint. “Tu veux nous dire how you got yours, Big Daddy?” “I’d rather not,” Javier said flatly. “Coward,” Lily chirped, smiling in response to the pilot’s narrowed brow. The recruit leaned forward. He’d been staring at her since he first sat down. She didn’t know if it was a sign of how drunk he was, an open display of affection, or a bit of both. Either way, she didn’t care for the gesture. “So why does everyone call you Rose?” “Her eyes,” Javier guessed accurately. “Her thorniness,” JP supplied, which didn’t get him the reaction he wanted but didn’t discourage him nonetheless. “Do either of those things look like they belong to a lily? Une belle fleure douce and not this prickly, hard-edged, fermented mushroom-drinking sociopath? No offense, by the way.” “None taken,” Lily said, finishing her drink with an honest sip. “Anyone up for another round?” Javier bowed his head. JP lifted his glass. The recruit, unfortunately, said, “Sure, I’ll come with you.” The Drab Grasshopper was easily one most popular bars in the whole entertainment district. By extension, it was also one of the largest. Almost certainly the most popular. It ran for two floors, both constructed around an oval-shaped bar, with massive TV screens that struggled to keep up with the retro dance track pulsing in the background. Some of them were playing sports. A select few were tuned to the news. Lily paid attention to the latter, where a crawler below two reporters showed an updated death count of last month’s airport bombing. “You alright?” the recruit asked. “I’m fine,” Lily replied. The mission’s expanded crew was scattered to every far-flung corner of the establishment. To her left, the Hughes twins were downing a quartet of flaming shots each, while Abiyoe, Klavier and Ophelia cheered them on with sadistic glee. Further up on the dance floor, she spotted Chombaugh getting down to Cool & The Gang. Carter, hovering to the side, was holding off the advances of a pretty girl several decades his junior. Other tables were dominated by soldiers, their straight-back postures giving them away in spite of their lack of uniform. Lily wondered just how many of them would be shipping out with her in the morning. The bartender—a barrel-chested man with an almost comically thick moustache—caught her waiting at one end of the counter and gave her a quick nod. She ordered another whiskey for herself, then a jug of the house blonde for everyone at the table, and focused on a random TV screen until the recruit’s small talk turned into a question. “Is this usually what happens before a big assignment? Everyone goes drinking and we all show up to work hungover the next day?” Lily thought about it. “Pretty sure it’s the opposite, really. Most people prefer to celebrate a battle knowing they didn’t die like the rest.” The bartender slid a jug across the counter, then reached for a liquor bottle on a top shelf. “Everyone here, though? I think they’d rather go the fight without regrets. Who wants to bite the bullet knowing the time leading up to it was shit?” Lily took another peak at dance floor. Chombaugh was already leaving with a girl wrapped around his waist. “Otherwise, I just assume you’re looking for a good way to burn off stress.” The recruit edged a little closer. “And how do you burn off stress?” “Obviously not with you, pisswizard. Stop hitting on my girlfriend.” The recruit turned immediately, recoiling as if he’d been slapped. Echo towered over him. She towered over most people, really. “Girlfriend?” the recruit repeated. “Girlfriend,” Echo confirmed. “Do I need a whiteboard to explain the concept to you, or can we skip to the part where you skedaddle?” Lily watched the recruit shuffle away. Echo seemed awfully pleased with herself, as she always did. “I could’ve handled him, you know.” “I know you could’ve,” Echo said. “But it’s not often I get to be a dick to someone and have a valid reason for feeling good about it.” Lily leaned over to give her a kiss. Echo held her lips for a too brief moment. “So, where’s your friend?” “Having the time of his life.” “Do I want to know?” “You absolutely do.” Echo pointed at someone in the crowd, weaving Lily’s gaze like a needle through a curtain. On an elevated stage, she spotted a dark-haired young man, alongside three hungry-looking vampires dancing with him—or rather on him. He kind of stood there and took their gyrating hips with a profound look of get me the fuck out of here. “That’s him.” Echo smiled languidly, then shot a cheerful salute at the young man. Lily waved in a similar fashion. “He’s the luckiest man here and he has no idea.” @SweetCyanide
  4. Outsider. Unnatural. Heretic. Bittersweet were the epithets that tripped off the wagging tongues of those who could not appreciate Caeceila Glasmann's affliction. In their unflagging ignorance, the superstitious and the malcontent readily misrepresented Caeceila's motives and branded her with all manner of vulgar misnomers, none of which bear repeating, that overplayed her purported ruthless efficiency and insatiable lust for blood. Of late, Hell's Gate was a cornucopia of such rumors where the nobility was concerned, particularly in drinking establishments frequented by the lower classes. In truth, anyone who was anyone could testify that none of these labels applied to Caeceila, for definitive knowledge of her condition, at least among the powers that be, easily outpaced the gossipmongers' litany. Nevertheless, a convenient lie coupled with Caeceila's newfound notoriety had transformed her into a symbol entities with an agenda could assail. She was much despised by the downtrodden who had lost their livelihoods to astounding advances in industrial automation, marked forever as a noble who cared more for the welfare of strangers than the poignant suffering of her own people, and they sought to vilify her for that injustice whether or not she was a deserving recipient of their rage. Was it any surprise, then, that drunken rabble had assembled at the gates of the Glasmann Estate, brandishing crude, improvised weaponry, approximately a quarter of an hour before guests were permitted to set foot on the premises? Not at all. Nor was it especially alarming when the mob forced itself past the team of young, well-groomed servants unfurling plush crimson carpets in advance of whatever might constitute the evening's opening ceremony, hellbent on vandalizing Caeceila's property. It was the terror that gripped the intruders in the chaotic retreat that ensued, the sustained shrieking of adult men carted out on stretchers, and the wild-eyed stares of the handful who were silent that caused the local looky-loos to quietly disperse, leaving only the scarce few who weren't so intimidated by Caeceila's show of force that they dare not brave her lair and risk her wrath. When the servants were recalled and the stout, ebony gate slid aside, its steady, telescoping motions doing much to enrich the pageantry of the reveal, a cavernous expanse illuminated by an artificial star stretched out before the audience. A tremendous collection of life-sized metal soldiers, facing inward toward the crimson finery neatly draped over the mass of platforms spread before a fleet of luxurious hovercraft, chartered for the express purpose of conveying guests from the entrance to the estate to the manor's great hall, scintillated in rays of light cast by the setting "sun," a soft, white orb that engendered no discomfort in the eye when viewed directly. A host of six-legged robots, mobile artillery units, judging by their heavy-duty design and menacing black frames, skittered in the distance, their imposing armaments repurposed for the night's festivities, firing a ceaseless barrage of cylindrical canisters that erupted into fantastical shapes cut from brilliant light into the air above crowd. The air itself was sweet with the amalgamated scent of beds of magnolia and lilac in blossom, courtesy of a microhabitat enabled by the city's world-renowned magitech. Indeed, all kinds of flowering flora dotted the landscape, tended, as they were, by swarms of butterflies so garish their admirers might get the impression that they too dressed their Sunday best for just this occasion. Empty birdcages are suspended from towering trees, implying that the exotic songbirds they once held have been moved elsewhere until the fireworks show concludes. The palatial structure that serves as the Glasmann residence proudly stands in consummate contrast to the bulk of Hell's Gate. Artistry and craftsmanship adorn every shining facet of the ancient domicile. Each stone bespeaks both the longevity and prosperity of the venerable Glasmann line, as if the fates of House Glasmann and the city of Hell's Gate were inextricably interwoven in days of yore. Much of the central structure, in fact, predates what is now considered the basic infrastructure of Hell's Gate, painstakingly preserved from the first settlement and transferred to the modern age with a profound reverence for tradition that is so very lacking in a great number of Hell's Gate's modern nobility. All of the glasswork in the older sections of the manor has been recently rehabilitated, allowing the throng of onlookers to examine renditions of Caeceila's ancestors and key events in the history of Hell's Gate through various viewscreens in the hovercrafts as they soar toward the newest wing of the manor, a staggeringly advanced wing constructed primarily from concrete, steel, glass, and composite materials. Several other buildings are visible from the hovercraft, including a private airship dock, servants' quarters, and what appears to be a small communications center flying Drow colors, but none can hope to hold a candle to the sprawling behemoth that is the Glasmann manor. Almost universally, the atmosphere is charged with magic and excitement, for this is the maiden unveiling of the Glasmann Estate. The news crews that remain descend into a dizzying spirals of feverish activity as influential and inconsequential members of society alike are whisked, as one, into this veritable wonderland that was hiding beneath their very noses. Upon disembarking at the great hall and proceeding through its titanic, metal doors, all guests, having checked in with the servants manning the gates prior to their admittance to a hovercraft, are issued a magitech tablet displaying the itinerary for the event and assigned a personal servant who shall see to their needs for the duration of the event. After this, guests are permitted to wander the great hall and the lawn in front of the great hall with the caveat that the uppermost balcony, accessible by both a staircase and an elevator, is a restricted area. For the majority, there is little draw in scaling that cordoned off staircase, for the diversions available on the first floor, mezzanine, and lawn are guaranteed to entertain even the most boorish partygoer. From skeet shooting and dueling with foils to sipping aged Yamazaki whiskey, snacking on hors d'oeuvres prepared by a teppanyaki chef, and chatting about relics, tapestries, and hunting trophies locked in various display cabinets or fixed to the dark purple wall above the handcarved wainscoting before the roaring fire of the great hearth, all ought to find something they can enjoy until the event gets underway. Yet... The organizer of the event, Caeceila Glasmann, is nowhere to be found. As with the interlopers, this is no real cause for alarm... Except that those sensitive to the paranormal will sense that the veil is especially weak in this manor. Something is amiss, but there's no time to investigate now. A bell rings, signaling that the first round has begun. White leather armchairs, velveteen loungers, mahogany furniture, fur rugs, Byōbu and sundries have been placed on the mezzanine and the first floor to facilitate social interaction with the intent of strengthening Valucre as a whole.
  5. 'Honestly...' He had left a trail of dead beasts and bandits alike, overgrown dire bears and bugbear bandits painting a bloody path from deep inside the Shawnee Glacier. There was no mercy nor thorough execution. So sloppy and sleepy were his battles that assailants lived to tell the tale of a shadowy, pale man that kept walking after they stabbed him. It wasn't a reaction of indifference, more irritation as he simply chose not to lift his sword in kind. Truly, he looked like a tired shade to all that he crossed paths with. The very ground he walked upon had left a traceable residue of his shadowy taint, that which was intertwined with his very essence. 'I hate this. My body takes so long to warm up.' Over time, the kills had become more clean and precise, the tattered swordsman avoiding blows and beginning to conceal his presence. The foreboding darkness that seeped out of him and warned of his coming and going slowly vanished. But that trail simply didn't go cold in any timely manner for this sleepy shade. He had left marks of innocent carnage and his vile existence almost all the way to the steps of Hell's Gate. Once inside, he was quick to vanish save for the obvious marks of his appearance that gave him as some sort of aberrant adventurer cursed by his life-time of murder. Pale and black, his hair was long and white like the snow and he was first adorned in tattered black and gray attire. Worse yet was the red right eye with the misshapen iris, a symbol of some old, dark god dead now and unknown to this land. His scar. 'Damn it, damn it, where are those stupid stones.' But even that red eye did not make him so obvious in the city at first. Even with all that went into suppressing his powers, he must look like a phantom of a mortal being to those with the right sort of spiritual sight; perhaps a black mass to those with magical. His appearance was simply ominous, like a red eyed raven cawing at your window in the wake of a funeral in his tattered robes and freezing limbs. Truly looking like a dead man walking. But his goals were nothing so esoteric in nature. For while he was not easily ignored or hidden, he did nothing quite conspicuous. His first goal was a storage unit, one he had rented out nigh indefinitely with his adventuring funds. "F-f-finally-!" He struck two faded out, gray-rocks together, causing a small shower of sparks to sprinkle on the floor and form several small burning, yet harmless lights. In the same moment, a warm glow had begun to spread through the two stones and suddenly, his limbs. His health began restoring itself in literal seconds as the murderous frost began to melt down his body, although failing to put out the handful of sparks that produced no fire or steam, but light. The stones warmed him through his limbs, and evenly through his whole body. And that was the only thing they did for him. The rest was a super-healing process worked out by the inky darkness that suffused his soul and weighted him down to the earth. It remembered what he remembered; and even as he restored use to a limb that should have been lost, his body recovered its own important scars. Important battles that marked his soul, leaving his body forever covered in innumerable scars. But he covered them up in something more suited for the city. A black suit, tailored years ago in his journey with Seras Crystal, bearing a sleek red tie down the front. He was dressed fresh enough to get into even those with djinne for a bouncer. And with his hair cut short as the next thing, he looked like he might just belong to one of the city's more organized criminal outfits. But he was nobody. The shade of a man. Barely regarding the waking world. Still, when he walked into The Weary Orc tossing a freshly finished cigarette into a passing trashcan, he was regarded like an omen. To them, perhaps he was a new players go-boy or a hit-man. He looked the part, baring a sheathed blade to a suit like this with a dagger on the back. His youthful appearance and attire didn't look entirely out of place when he reflected all the stares inside the bar he received. And how could you not look? He was a pale haired freak with a crimson right-eye that spoke only curses in kind to the figures sizing him up. But just like everyone else here, he wasn't there to stir up a commotion. As he took his first two steps across the bar, interest faded in swathes as only the seriously superstitious gangsters who had received a particularly telling fortune from a mystic gypsy still paid attention to him, wondering if he was their dark sign of death. He was just another questionable looking person in Hell's Gate. The only thing that bothered anyone was that he was nobody, forgotten to time, and here, ordering, "...I'll take your hardest drink." An irregular customer like him got another odd look from the bartender, but it may as well have been nothing new to him in a way. There was no reason not to serve this imposing half-elf, but like everyone else in the room, he met Lucas Black with an uncomfortable pause. The man's being here seemed like an offense to all the living in the room. And even they didn't know why. Worse yet, the pale haired half-elf started downing that glass as fast as he could and asked for another. He was nobody. Forgotten to time. Trying to forget himself. And here he was, filling the void where he didn't belong with the reek of cigarettes, blood, and frozen death wafting off of him; the last in the list more a feeling, lacking in smell. "Hey...could you tell me something?" He tiredly asked the bartender aloud, drawing the man's eye back to him. The man on-shift amicably replied as best he could, avoiding to mistreat a customer based on their eerie presence, "Sure sir, go ahead," He said as he dried out a glass with a white cloth. "But you could be asking anybody this." It wasn't unfair to say, and it didn't draw an irritable gaze from Lucas for just that reason. "I realize," He said with a breath, sliding his empty glass over towards the bartender followed by some handful of coins to pay for the second drink up front. "But you're sort of in a position to not go anywhere." This did draw a few odd looks from nearby, but the meaning was clear between the two of them as the suit and tie wearing shade roughly cleared his throat, barely having spoken in months of rest. "I'm a bit lost for the times due to...camping," He explained simply. No one at the counter believed he had just been camping. "I wanted to know what year it is." "...One long damn camping trip you must have had. It's the year twenty-nine of our Lord and Savior, Odin Haze." "Shit," Lucas suddenly spit out, acquiring another odd look from the bartender, the name Odin Haze drawing a dirty look of its own that seemed to offset the bartender. He proceeded to down his drink, then order another as he struggled to pull a cigarette safely free from its carton. He wasn't the only one smoking in there at least, but the bartender continued to curiously observe him now. It hadn't taken long for the bar-stools near him to clear either.
  6. Immaculate. Not a word to be casually thrown about, but here stood a structure that merited the term. Walk under the open archway into its towering lobby, and one would see no flaw in its curving walls, crafted in mimicry of plant growth patterns to produce and elegant and soothing shape. One would see no dirt on the towering windows, no frowns on the faces of the guards and secretaries manning their posts, no stains or discarded litter marring the pretty mosaic of the bright floor tiles. Breathe, and one could smell the air of a deep forest or an open field, freshly oxygenated and free of all unpleasant pollution. Listen, and one could hear the kindly voice of the building's central mainframe, quickly answering any confused newcomer who happened to ask for directions. Clean and beautiful, safe and self-sufficient. Never mind that the open archway of the entrance was guarded by an electromagnetic barrier, shutting out any dirty unauthorized rabble who might try to sneak their way in. Never mind that the windows and floor were covered with artificially engineered bacteria eagerly devouring any contaminants that might hurt the building's perfection. Never mind how the air was seeded with chemicals to give it that pleasant 'natural' scent, or how the guards and secretaries were contractually obligated to smile and would be laid off if found displaying an attitude inconsistent with their requirements. Never mind how the kindly mainframe was tracking everyone in the building and recording their movements. After all, this was a utopia! A glorious, towering monument to the ingenuity of civilization! Why worry about the insignificant details when one could climb in an elevator and shoot up past each floor, one, two, three... Ten! Twenty! Thirty! Up and up and up, watching them all fly by until one reached the assigned room of one's appointment— oh, but why not visit the observation deck first? After all, there are free drinks to be served there, and a good view. Why not stand there a while, and think on how wonderful it all is? Yes, think on that, and then think on how this is but one of the Monroe Foundation's many magnificent properties in Hell's Gate, and perhaps not even the most magnificent at that! Does it not invoke a feeling of worship? Good. Then it's working as intended. *** Immaculate. Not a word to be casually thrown about, but here stood a woman who merited the term. Walk into a room, and chances were she'd immediately catch one's eye, her slim and gently curved figure poised to emphasize its elegant and soothing shape. One would see no tangles in her long and snow-white hair, no flaws in her makeup or her pale and silky skin, no stains or wrinkles marring the expensive fabrics of her black suit and white shirt. Breathe, and one could smell the tang of her perfume, a gentle hint of cinnamon. Listen, and one could perhaps hear the faint rustle of papers turning as she flipped through the folder held in her slender hands. Clean and beautiful, alluring and formal. Never mind that her irises, on close inspection, were not a doe-like brown but a harsh, bright red. Never mind that her appearance was the result of over an hour of careful, precise preparation that she undertook every morning, perfectionist to the point of obsession. Never mind how running searches for the name 'Sabiya Invarti' would inevitably lead to classified material, the news articles sparse on details and the official documents marked with thick black censoring bars, mostly related to an incident a year or so back involving a multi-pronged terrorist operation. Never mind how nobody got to the position she had without being incredibly smart, and just as ruthless. After all, she was gorgeous! A lovely, intelligent lady eager to help out her new client! Why worry about the insignificant details when one could tell her one's wishes and watch the prices shoot up, one million, two million, three... Ten! Twenty! Thirty! Up and up and up, because of course the best services incur the greatest costs, and nobody would book a private appointment with one of the Monroe Foundation's top-level specialists unless they had something seriously expensive that required such expertise— oh, but why chatter about the costs when one could discuss the possibilities? After all, she was smart, and charming, and a pretty face. Why not chat for a while, and tell her how wonderful one's grandiose pet project will inevitably be once completed? Yes, talk with her, and then think on how she is but one of the Monroe Foundation's many excellent personnel in Hell's Gate, and perhaps not even the most excellent at that! Does it not invoke a feeling of hope? Good. Then smile, she's watching. The meeting room had been cleared out, a large table and dozens of chairs folded up against the wall to leave the space largely empty. A smaller, more casual table stood by the window, along with a pair of very comfortable chairs, but for the moment Dr. Invarti chose to stand, staring out the floor-to-ceiling windows as the city stretched out below. This wasn't the highest floor in the building, and the building wasn't the tallest structure in the city, either... But it was still nice. Nice to look at. People far below, scurrying about like ants... and one of them was coming to see her. Which one? she wondered. Idly, she pressed one finger against the glass, as if crushing those ants into oblivion. Whichever one it was, they had better not be late.
  7. In the southeastern side of Hell’s Gate lay a patch of greenery that rested peacefully under the shade of the megacity’s surrounding glass towers and massive monoliths that hid beneath the underbellies of drifting clouds. Framed by now offline lightning railways that were constructed on lifted tracks, the relatively small neighborhood colloquially known as Haze’s Kitchen functioned as a place that collected the refugees and the drifters and placed them alongside blue collar workers and their families. The roads were cracked from disrepair, but desert dandelions found this as an opportunity to thrust their copper red heads out from the dry earth and sway in the sunlight. Through skinny streets of small shops and restaurants packed on top of and alongside each other, past a deli covered in a colorful mural of hybrid creatures and a storefront inexplicably decorated with a giant mustache, led travelers down to a lot overtaken by a mechanic’s garage before it gave way to a residential area. The houses were comfortably squished together as they wandered up and down a sloping hill. Some appear to have stumbled along their streets and settled haphazardly on their neighbor. Others were missing windows. Others had fallen down completely, leaving behind nothing but their miraculously intact porch and a warning to avoid blind experimentation with alchemistry sets. The address that Ioreth had given the Leper and Stello led up to rowhouse that, unlike its brethren, contained a soaring tree that had erupted through its center. Its pale branches and brilliant blue leaves granted respite from the noonday sun. Beneath this shade was a woman dressed in sleeveless gray coveralls that was wiping dust off of a black motorcycle. The dust appeared to be invisible to any eye spare her own. She, however, had reached a point of contentment that one can only achieve when one becomes so engrossed in their work that the outside world ceases to exist. This was Hanya Ina, and this was her home. As soon as the blacksmith and the Leper crossed over into her slightly overgrown yard, they would have been held at rag point while a thunderous “HEY!” rattled their eardrums. At first (and second, and possibly third) glance, Hanya was the type of woman that could make even a worn out microfiber cleaning cloth look threatening. Not only did she stand at precisely seven feet tall without including the additional height granted by the ram-like horns that curved on her head, she had thighs that looked like they could crush a man’s skull before that unfortunate individual could even pick a god and pray. Despite this, there were a few signs upon her person that indicated a less than bloodthirsty nature. Light freckles dusted her dusky olive green skin, her amber eyes would have been doe-like had they not been currently squinting with glaring suspicion, and a patch on the back of her coveralls read “Too Ill to Kill” alongside an embroidered hunk of tofu in sunglasses. This was, in case anyone had been interested, located adjacent to another patch that read “Crows before Bros.” While the former suggested vegetarianism, the latter was most likely just a play on words rather than a declaration of affection for crows. The focus of her rag rested chiefly on Stello. Had it a laser point, he would have seen a red dot directly over his heart. “I don’t care what he’s paying you! Tell that necromancer that no means no and he can shove that shambling reanimated corpse right up his---” Perhaps this is the time to mention that Hanya Ina is also nearsighted. Once she realized that the Leper was, in fact, not a reanimated corpse and he didn’t even really shamble all that much, she took in a bellyful of air and released it in a cross between a flabbergasted sputter and a self deprecating chuckle. “Oh,” was her astute observation. “Shit. Um. My bad, sorry about that. You want Ioreth, right? Give me a moment.” She strode across the lawn like a woman on mission, stuck her hand through one of the open front windows on the ground floor, and rapped her fist against the wall hard. “IORETH,” she shouted, ducking her head through the window so that her voice would reverberate around the living room. “You’ve got people!” Stello and the Leper could each hear the sound of a body hitting the wooden floor with a heavy thump. Another smaller thud soon followed, although this sounded more like the spine of a book bouncing off of somebody’s forehead. Something blurry appeared in the window. It had what was either a partially solidified cloud or a nest for an eagle crafted out of tangled silver thread that concealed the majority of its facial features. Beneath this poked out a thin neck that was followed by an oversized rumpled sweater. “Early,” it groaned. “Whozzat?” Hanya leaned one shoulder against the shutters, neatly crossed one heavy boot in front of the other, and flashed a lazy grin at the Whozzats in question. “Your clients. For that research thing, right?” No answer met her simple question, only a gasp and a stream of Duendaic terminologies that would not be appropriate to translate for polite audiences. Instead, shall we direct our attention back to the seven foot tall woman that was laughing with delight at the small flurry of panic she had caused? After recovering from her moment of mirth, Hanya wiped off her hands on the rag and stuffed it into her pocket. “Name’s Hanya Ina,” she said. “Who are you two supposed to be again?” After satisfactory introductions were made and she shook their hands with a grip that could stun a buffalo, she led the two men up the sagging porch and through the front entryway. Once in the foyer, a small room overtaken by an array of houseplants that preferred semidarkness and a shrine to Gaia, Hanya kicked off her boots with an ingrained ease that comes with performing a daily habit. Displayed above the incense and arranged collection of earthy crystals was a framed photograph of a middle aged dwarvish couple and a beaming young Hanya. Her blood orange hued hair, which was now shaved spare a center strip of twisted braids that she tossed over shoulder, appeared to have had a traumatic event with a pair of violent scissors. Hanya’s rag obliterated a smudge on the glass. “Bless Ma’s heart,” she said with fond smile, “but she never knew what to do with my hair.” Creaking wooden floors announced their entrance into the living area, but Ioreth was nowhere within sight. There were a few signs that betrayed her presence: a heap of woven blankets on the low sofa by the window, an empty wine glass smeared with dark violet lip stain standing sentry on a pile of leather bound books, and an abandoned black cardigan laying forlorn at the base of the set of iron stairs that spiralled around the thick trunk of the house’s tree. A clank, rattle, and moan of pipes chugging water upstairs offered a hint as to where the night elf had fled. “There goes my hot water,” Hanya snorted. She gestured around to the living room, an open area filled with airy light, heavy bookcases stuffed with everything from mechanic journals to paperback romance novels, thick upholstered armchairs, and colorfully embroidered floor cushions. Blueprints for vintage Terran vehicles hung on the walls alongside family photographs and tribal tapestries. Shoved in the corner before the wooden floor gave way to the ceramic tiled kitchen was a cheerfully battered dining set. “Go ahead and find a spot to sit. You can chuck your shit anywhere, it doesn’t really matter.” As she spoke, Hanya wove her way around the tree and into her kitchen. Over her shoulder and over the sound of moody thumping music drifting down the stairwell, she called out, “Coffee or tea? There’s a few berry tarts and a tempeh casserole in the fridge if you’re hungry. Oh, and your contracts are on the table. Ioreth said it was typical Book|Ends stuff, that they can help cover your funeral costs if you get gored out in the Wilds or whatever.” She gave a nonchalant shrug as she rummaged through the pantry and placed a tin of eldarleaf tea on the counter. "But you two should feel special. She's not overcharging you---" her horns tipped in Stello's direction before her chin jerked towards the Leper "---or underpaying you. Are you riding with Ioreth or can I interest you in the best damn magitech bikes on this side of the Slipstick?" @B2BBear & @LastLight
  8. A Night To Remember A woman of pale skin and deep red hair danced. Choreographed and in sync with the booming music of a loud party that smelled of affluence and greed. She danced. She danced for Money. She danced for attention. She danced because she had to. She danced to survive. A cityscape of lights, buildings, and a patchwork of lives and stories were the backdrop to a party taking place on a hillside manor that hung tightly to the cliff it was built upon. It’s rich and artful design reeked of money gained from less than admirable revenues. Yet that didn’t bother her. Miss Blonde watched the young woman from the sidelines. With a stiff drink in her hand, the Crime Lord took a hard swig before turning to the right and moving away from the cliffside deck that overlooked the vast cityscape of Hellsgate. It was all too familiar to her. The chatting around the pool, the lights, the fake laughter, the hedonism. She had grown up in a world like this, and she had grown tired of it. She had grown tired of the parties and the people who gussied themselves up for a night of vanity self indulgence. A night of whose who and whose wearing what label. It was all so very superficial. Yet, she was here. She was here for a reason. One that was beyond the vanity and glitz of the evening. Solomon the PlanesWalker, a man who could navigate dimensions from what she was told. A man who could help her achieve the goal that had eluded her for these last few months. A man who she intended to either hire or force into her service. Though Miss Blonde wasn’t alone in this task, she was with someone who had given her hope. She was with Jack, a man who she loved and had become quickly enamored with as she spent more and more time in this realm. So much so that she didn’t want to return home. Spotting him at the bar in the living room of this manor, she stepped past the random pairings of people finding love for the evening. She pushed past the haze of smoke and illicit drugs that were being smoked and injected. She walked steadily to find Jack at the bar and stand next to him. Her dark metallic mask stared up at him and he’d be able to tell that she was concerned. The guest of honor had yet to arrive and despite all her planning, it all came down to whether or not some drunken debauched wizard decided to come to a party. ”Keep your eyes open. I imagine there’s a lot of people here who are dealing with their own business tonight.”!Her robotic laced voice said to Jack before downing her drink and ordering another from the barkeep. Tonight was going to go south. She could feel it in her bones. @danzilla3
  9. Intro - The Black Anvil Hymn is a weapon and armor shop ( no horseshoes, nails, wagon wheels, ploughs, etc to be found here ) owned and operated by Stello Lavis. Coming from a wealthy family, he was able to afford to set up in the downtown metropolitan area of Hell’s Gate, a move that would have seemed otherwise strange if it weren’t for the country’s fixation on combat, which has resulted from a variety of different cultural aspects of Terrenus. One such example is the practice of holo-projected combat tournaments that were popular once upon a time. However, it can be said that the true culprits are the several stories of brave adventurers setting out to truly make a difference in the world, good or bad. The working types who will never find the need to wear armor and wield a weapon go into his shop to hold a sword and perhaps feel like one of the adventurers to bring an end to the Eternal Night, as distant from the real thing as it may be. A surprising number of people seem to find that to be as novel an idea as visiting a teddy bear or candy shop, both of which would be considered to be more conventional sources of “fun.” In the end, the true purpose of this shop is for Stello to engage in a hobby that he thoroughly enjoys, so much so that he doesn’t concern himself with sales. Being filthy rich, he can afford not to make a profit or even close down for a few months and come back when it suits him. He doesn’t sell to those with criminal records ( consent for background checks must be provided ) and has also refused to sell his wares to foolhardy ignorant types before, believing it to be shameful for an idiot to be running around swinging one of his weapons or wearing some of his armor. Weapons and armor purchased from the Black Anvil Hymn can be identified by a small blackened anvil imprint somewhere on them. Description - Due to its location, the shop was built to be attractive and is two stories tall. Its outer layers of smooth cement plaster are accentuated by dark gray ferrous plates with fine vertical grains throughout. The fore is presented through large clear windows that are bisected by metallic cross bars, through which many of his wares can be seen. There are longswords, arming swords, axes, warhammers, spears, etc ( all medieval European, no Japanese, Chinese or other for now ). The door that leads into the shop is constructed of steel that has had the temper colors in it brought out and preserved. To the left, the material is an almost “white gray” tone. A third of a way the metal starts to develop a light straw sheen and towards the center, those brownish hues turn darker. Past that, the metal starts to become purple blue, then a pure deep and dark blue, and finally a more natural gray that that is no longer bright enough to appear white in certain light. Above the entrance, there is a large metal plate with a blackened imprint in the shape of an anvil. The name of the shop, Black Anvil Hymn, rests just above it in elegant lettering. Each time someone moves through the doors, the rich ping of a hammer striking a well made anvil echoes through the establishment. The first floor is the shop itself and it starts with a starkly decorated lobby with comfortable cushioned seats, a magi tech vending machine and a holo-screen on the wall showing the daily news available to customers. There are more items suspended along the walls, including business flyers pertaining to the Hymn and partner companies that can be seen once inside and the area is separated from the smithy itself by one thick division made of red brick, which gives the impression of an olden forge tucked away within a modern building. A rectangular aperture in that brick wall serves as the reception counter, bearing stacks of Hymn and Hymn affiliate business cards on its surface. Other than that, the shop welcomes customers with a display of Stello’s favorite designs hanging above it in airtight chambers attached to brass rimmed ovular slabs of mahogany wood. One is a Bec de Corbin design dubbed Earth, another a bastard sword design he calls Water, a kite shield he calls Shade and a longsword design named Fire. Across the counter, the smithy itself is visible. Front and center is an anvil of steel dark enough to appear black sitting on an altar of resplendent lazurite crystal pillars and surrounded by various power tools like a power hammer, grinding and sanding belts, various tongs hanging from a rack and additional equipment that is used for powder forging. A metal scanner, powered by magi-tech like most of his equipment, sits on one of the far corners and the whole smithy is ventilated by two powerful fans built into the walls that filter out the workspace when necessary. The scent of burning coal, as is common in traditional forges, is decidedly absent because Stello relies on a propane powered forge instead ( Hell’s Gate city regulations strive to maintain cleanliness in commercial areas ). Since he does keep decent amounts of lumber around, the most prominent scent there can be is that of processed wood, at least whenever he’s not using acid of any kind to bring out a the beauty in a metal. When the shop is open, this is where he is usually found, seen operating his equipment and bashing metal into shapes while wearing ear protection. On the far wall, there is a staircase leading up to the second floor, which is restricted to clients. Upstairs is actually his place of residence, complete with a well stocked kitchen and a living room with a huge holo-screen and powerful sound system. In every facet, the whole establishment is basically a man cave. Finally, there is a receiving section at the rearmost section of the first floor with a large steel gate. This is basically the Hymn’s warehouse, where the metals, lumbers, quenching oils, acids, sanding paper and all manner of other equipment and resources are stored. Personnel Stello Lavis - Foul mouthed, modern-centric owner and smith of the Black Anvil Hymn. Being rich, he hardly concerns himself with the financial state of his establishment. Crafting weapons and armor is a hobby for him and he's privileged to be able to dabble in it without having to make a profit to sustain it. The shop is more a self-satisfying endeavor, allowing him to do what he loves and teach simple city folk about what he's learned throughout the years. Lexicus Thoren - Another smith, albeit with a more traditional approach to his profession ( and demeanor overall ) in comparison to the owner of the establishment. He arrived after the destruction of his own shop on an ox driven cart, bearing what remained of his work as he searched for a new forge to operate out of. He ascertains that the piece of his past that burned down his previous work place is no longer an issue but the old world smith has other underlying motivations that he is not so keen on sharing with others. Audio Logs These are logs that can be accessed via Stello’s CROOK terminal in his shop. ( beware, these could be loud ) He Who Smelt It ( Smelting company ) Correspondence Black Anvil 1 Black Anvil 2 He Who Smelt It 1 Black Anvil 3 He Who Smelt It 2 Black Anvil 4 Leper The Amnesiac Ioreth The Librarian Lexicus Smith Knight ( Knight Smith? ) Affiliates @KittyvonCupcake Book|Ends Hub Business Flyers Credit to KittyvonCupcake Business Cards Credit to KittyvonCupcake Rules Send me a private message if you’re interested in visiting the Hymn. Once everything is good to go, you can either use this hub thread or you can start a separate thread in the same board ( Cities of Terrenus ) that you can use for future visits. Noteworthy Designs Water Fire Earth Shade
  10. Weeks had passed since she had been given her gift and been adopted into a family she realized needed her as much as she needed them. She had been given freedom to do whatever she wanted to do with the power given to her and she reveled in the successes she had already earned. Anyone with any tie to her previous employers now either answered to her or were removed and replaced with someone who would. The women she had redeemed were more than willing to follow their liberator and allow their own talents to emerge from the muck their previous oppression had stuck them in. This eastern section of Hell’s Gate had begun to steel itself and defiantly rise to standards it had previous deemed inaccessible. Ilyana enjoyed this progress but knew she could not be quenched here. This was why she called on her makeshift family for more help. Ilyana was an astute woman though her recent past may have suggested otherwise. She understood how vulnerable her family truly was from how limited their contact with one another had become. Never having met anyone else other than her savior, she knew it was time to help solidify a channel for them all to communicate. With her recent acquisitions of smuggling operations and her blatant takeover of all of the eastern sector’s brothels along with several inns, she had begun making her small mark on Hell’s Gate to give her family another haven that they deserved. Messengers had been employed to deliver a quick vague message meant to trigger someone’s arrival. Embossed with a symbol that had only recently begun to bear fruit within Hell’s Gate, she hoped that it would be enough for them to pick up on her request. “Hello family, Things have been progressing really well on my business ventures here in Hell’s Gate. The agony that many of those I have helped by employing has started to fade away but I miss you all so dearly. All of this technology here in Hell’s Gate reminds me of all of my smart family members who could come help me get a grasp of it all so I can use it to build my brand. If any of you have the time to come visit and catch up, please do. I really wish you could come share in my successes here and let me know how everyone is doing in Weland and Patia. Well I am sorry this letter is so short but I am keeping myself busy here! Hope to see one of you come visit me soon. Love you all! Ilyana” The letter was practically drenched in perfume before it left Hell’s Gate, addressed to the name of a farm in Weland. She hoped they would be informed enough to know who she was and what she needed. If there was anything she had realized about her family, it was how resourceful they could be when given the time. The week or more it would take her message to get there should be enough. @Fierach
  11. Public domain Disclaimer: Subject to modification. Limbo is the name given to the sprawling junkyard spreading out from Hell's Gate's south-west quarter. It is a dumping ground for scraps of material, obsolete magitech, and people both alive and dead. Limbo has existed for nearly a century, a testament to Hell's Gate's enduring, prodigious, and wasteful output of product. Junkers can make a filthy, dangerous but lucrative living running salvage operations on some of the material, and as a result municipal infrastructure has grown like an obstinate mold throughout Limbo's span. Black markets of various type and caliber come and go with the breeze but will most often include cybernetic wetwork, biomedical operations, arms dealing and, of course, salvage. Example of items which have been scraped: Personal airships Sharpshooting rifles Laser guns Inertial compensations Grappling boots Limbo hierarchy Mayor - Kizikos Gelm Sheriff - Galas Swain Doctor - Riselle Stare Comptroller - Alistair Dier
  12. Given everything that had happened in the past few weeks, he could have easily cancelled the meeting and rescheduled it for another time. Between attending to his business in Hell's Gate, being forced to make a quick exit, and taking some time to lay low, his life had been busy as of late. Taking a bit more time to rest and recover from it all was a tempting prospect. However, this day had been a long time in the planning; and he was excited to see it come to fruition. Now he sat waiting in the darkened room, illuminated by the holographic billboard that it was situated behind; positioned at the northern point of a triangular table, waiting for the others to arrive. For the occasion, he had decided to dress a bit more formally than usual; a classic three piece black suit. The shadows that obscured his identity were the lone holdover from his normal work attire; keeping his head and neck covered, and glowing white dots representing his eyes. He had debated whether or not to conceal his face from his allies, but had decided that he still didn't trust them enough for that yet. Though the Triptych had been formed quite some time ago, this would be the first time they met in person. When his comrades arrived, they would walk through a door that they alone had the code to open. Once they walked in, they would go through a corridor to the room he now sat in, each coming in from the left and right side of the room respectively. When they walked in, he would greet them. "Thank you for coming. I trust that introductions are not necessary, and we can move straight to business." @Ataraxy @ourlachesism
  13. https://www.valucre.com/topic/41197-mobs-lobby-v3/ It was time, time for the final match to commence, to show the world the true might of House Uldwar. Now was the time to prove who was mightier on the battlefield, and who would claim the prize of glory and gold. "The blood...it smells so good...so rich...so fresh..." In the virtual world, everything looked and felt so real, yet you knew it was all a facade. One could do anything in this place, and it would mean nothing in the real world. What did that mean for the soul, for the rules of morality, for the growth of humanity, knowing there was a place where we could regress without repercussion? Such things didn't really matter to him, all that did matter was victory, and tasting the soft flesh Ohio newest victim. The final battle between challenger and champion took place in a city known as Palgard, its ruins serving as a scar upon the nation which rules it. It felt like there were miles and miles of ruins, a desolate landscape stretching as far as the eye can see. There were multiple places to stage an ambush, to attack from the shadows, to kill before one could even be seen. In this place, he could certainly do a lot of damage, and maybe even win without having to do much of any real combat even. No, that wasn't the values of his knightly order, nor was it the values of his Lord Uldwar. To fight honorably one must do so up front, where your enemy can see the whites of your eyes, and can feel your breath on their skin. That was real, even if everything else was a lie. His armor felt constrictive, nearly choked by all the straps and the metal, like a walking cage he couldn't get out of. Soon though, soon he would escape the cage, be free, be wild, be savage. @Thotification
  14. It was the final round before the championship match, and Sir Marshall Gamesly grew ever more excited to obtain ultimate victory. Defeating his enemies had been easy, bringing great glory upon his fellow knights and his house, and now it was nearing new heights of martial recognition. Now all that stood in his way was a mercenary, one that would soon be regretful of ever stepping into this tournament, let alone facing off against the knight with the lupine form. There he stood upon the forlorn docks of Casper, the sun having long since fleeted away past the horizon, with the moon holding dominion over their surroundings with its pearly, iridescent light. It shined brilliantly off his steel armor, giving a predatory feel off of the hound-shaped armor that he sported, his stance relaxed, yet ready for anything. Gripped in his hands was the steel pole of a halberd, wickedly sharp, perfectly balanced, and well suited for the fight he was about to engage in on this open space. Without warning, this eerie peace could be shattered in a mere moment, with the fight beginning in earnest between the two combatants. When it did happen, he would be ready for it, and when the dust settled, the true victor would emerge, while the other bled out into the open waters until dead. That was the reality of things, and that was what the knight envisioned as the moment when he would become the champion of this tournament. @Akiris
  15. MOBS tournament Field: Bi'le'ah ruins Akiris took a deep breath as he loaded in. Honestly, while some hurried experimenting had given some insight as to what had happened with him last match he really wasn't getting a handle on it. While whatever was going on seemed to suit him not truly understanding what was going on would seriously hurt his chances. Did it truly matter? Nah. If he was right about the tourney guys doing their level best to ensure all the participants were evenly matched in order to show interesting fights...? Welp, no ones odds were good. And had his sword and heater always been that heavy? As his opponent wasn't right in front of him this time, Akiris took the opportunity to duck behind some ruins. The hell was going on? Unknown to the mercenary, the map had an algorithm to replicate the shifting and random nature of the Ruins of Biazo and had the combatants seen the same wheel the audience had then they would have seen..... 91-100: Newly cast or already magic goes awry or spawns unintended consequences..... ......All magical and magically equivalent abilities of both fighters and their gear have failed to load. There was a brief moment of unease within the announcing staff but like the pros they were spun the twist into a new angle. "We've seen these fighters at their best in the last round. But was that true skill or simply fortune of birth that brought them to the height they claim today? We know they had powers, but this round lets determine if they actually know how to fight!"
  16. @Dolor Aeternum @jaistlyn The faintest rays of sunlight filtered through the thick forest canopy as the odd trio trudged onward toward the great mountain range that separated the Dark Forest from the vast, central Terran savannas. Many miles behind them lie the Anima Imperium, site of their organization's first great failure, and where they had left behind a madness-inducing entity that had been released during their stay there. While the sequence of events that had unfolded there could certainly have gone far worse, there was no doubt that the result was disastrous nonetheless. The focus of their mission, Gabriela DuGrace, Queen of Orisia, had been retaken by her consorts, while their supposed ally in Marigold Ravenspire had betrayed them in a deluge of sentimental weakness. One of their fellow Abbadon members, Nines, had vanished the night before, Rodan's potential recruit in Immie Gladstone had likewise disappeared in the chaos of the following day, and their secondary prisoner Arashi Sato had been turned over to Marigold, who no doubt still had possession of her, presuming he still lived. And as if all these losses had not been enough, the Abbadon Triumvirate was now known to the ruler of the Carmine Empire, and not in a good way. But if he delayed in seeking revenge upon them, then his rival Roen may just beat him to the punch. The Crimson King had played host to the Triumvirate prior to the events involving the Orisian Queen, allowing them to house their main base of operations in his city of Patia. It was far less certain if Roen now held the same animosity for Abbadon as Rafael did, but the risk was certainly there. As the days had gone, the few conversations held between the three had mostly been relaying to one-another all that they had encountered and experienced during the course of the mission, thus allowing them to get a clear picture of what had happened and what went wrong. But the topic was soon to turn to the matter of where to go from here. And with the security of their main base, if not entire organization, now in question, that was to be an important topic indeed.
  17. MOBS Tournament v3 Fighters: Arnau Dermont vs Marshall Gamesly
  18. They told her to sit down and don't move, which she did because she is rather fantastic at following directions. Hell's Gate is new to her; she itched to discover and explore the many wonders that make the place so delightful appearing. The brightness of the buildings did not convey the feelings of the people filtering through the thin streets. It's said things are changing in Terrenus, that magic is in some strange way involved and those involvements are tempering the people. Her protectors had briefed her about why she has to stay put and not move, that they will return in time to scoop her back up. So she sat on her bench, next to a river with a name she doesn't know, slowly munching away at the apple slice that tasted too sweet. The closer they got to Hell's Gate, the more nauseous she felt. It has been about a month and a few weeks since she has seen Michael, and when they parted it was on beautiful terms - have things changed? What has happened between now and then? Sure, they've spoken briefly over the communication crystals, but they've been busy to the point silence has taken over a majority of their time apart. In a way, it's been a blessing. Her little journey to the Witch's Cave would probably not please him in the slightest. Michael isn't the sort to restrain another from doing what they must, but she has placed herself in enough danger that could age the poor man by ten years. The guard he sent with her has undoubtedly turned gray and old, having to watch the elf rush into trouble without thinking twice about it and barely making it out. After the ordeal with the cave, they decided that it was best to head back to Hell's Gate, something about reporting in or the like. Smiling around a bite of apple, she thinks it's not about reporting in but resting their poor nerves. Sitting surrounded by tall buildings and hustling people did not calm her much. The last leg of their journey had been by far the hardest - long, dangerous, tiresome, and all around unbearable. There's been little eating on her part, her stomach so upset that it has refused even the smallest sip of water. Waves of nausea hit her at random times out of the day, causing the ground to swirl under her feet and create headaches that are threatening enough to push her head off her shoulders. She's assumed her journey through the cave has left her weak, creating these terrible changes to her body that become more and more obnoxious. Forcing down another bite of her apple, she is happy to report that the day will be full of wandering through markets and their kind. The attack on Last Chance left her without a weapon, and the Witch's Cave reminded her how useless her magic is in times when shield and sword are needed. Today they will be gathering a few items for her to make a new staff, giving them all an excuse to enjoy the day like ordinary folk. @amenities @Metty
  19. MOBS Tournament v3 Fighters: Ataraxy vs Akiris
  20. MOBS Tournament v3 Fighters: Illyana vs Tharraleos
  21. MOBS Tournament v3 Fighters: Valk vs Arnau Dermont
  22. Picture labelled for noncommercial reuse Lounging area inside of the Holosseum where participants can wait for their match to start, or cool off after concluding a match. All food and drink is complimentary and the lounge is open 24/7. Tournament lobby
  23. MOBS Tournament v3 Fighters: Arashi vs Marshall Gamesly
  24. Hell's Gate. In the opinion of the shadow figure that lingered in the dark corners of the room overlooking the Air Ship Docks, that name had never been more appropriate. Soon he would usher in a time of fear and suffering for the people of this city; most of all in those who called themselves Gaianist. He would strip away their hopes, their dreams, their faith itself, until they were left cold and afraid in the face of an indifferent world. The faith they clung to was a lie, and he intended to expose it for the farce it was. Only once there was nothing left, no lies between them and reality, would he allow them; and more importantly, himself, to rest. Starting with his current guest. Father Martin was a middle aged man who had at one time had probably been quite handsome, and the echoes of that time were still evident in his appearance. He was still in reasonably good shape, a slight paunch, but not enough to be truly called fat. His carefully cropped hair now had equal amounts of black and grey in it, framing warm eyes that sparkled when he laughed. Not that he had been laughing much in the past twelve hours. Currently he was being forced to kneel, hands held outstretched to either side by shackles bolted to the wall. He had been stripped naked, and was bruised and bleeding from multiple wounds all over his body. Most noticeably, the skin on his back had been sliced down the middle, and then spread out behind him like a pair of grotesque wings. Despite these grievous injuries, the Priest's chest still rose and fell as he breathed. The shadowy figure stalked over to kneel in front of the man, grabbing him by his hair and roughly yanking his head up to look into his glowing eyes. "Father... good to see you're still with us. You see, I wanted to discuss a passage from your Bible." Martin's eyes fluttered and he began to sink back into unconsciousness before his captor narrowed his eyes, and the Priest's whole body tensed up like he had grabbed a live wire. He opened his mouth to scream, but no sound managed to escape his seizing throat. After a few seconds, the figure seemed to relent, and the Priest's whole body seemed to go limp. "Don't ignore me Martin. Didn't you hear me say I wanted to have a religious discussion with you?" "Which... passage" gasped the priest "Book three, Chapter two, The Desolater. It speaks of a figure, born from darkness, that is twisted into a tool of evil after its death by some depraved madman. Eventually, it breaks free, and becomes the being known as the Desolater." The figure knelt before the man, "The story seems to imply that the evil that birthed this, Desolater, simply... existed. It was ever present, a force that existed in the shadow of the light. But I feel that this is wrong." A hand reached out from the shadows to grab Martin by the throat, "Evil does not simply exist. It is created by hatred. And the greatest hatred is born from the greatest love." The Apostate let the priest go, rising to stand above him, his eyes glowing brighter and brighter. Now the priest did scream, a sound of anguish and agony that echoed through the room like thunder after a lightning strike. His flesh began to pulsate and squirm, as though a horde of insects walked just beneath the skin. Eventually the incision made to flay the mans back began to spread in lines from the original cut, leaving ribbons of flesh that then peeled themselves off of the priest, leaving only his face and head untouched. Surely the man should have been dead by now, but it was as though some fell force kept him alive. But The Apostate was not yet done. Seemingly with a thought, the ribbons of flesh coiled themselves into an orb the size of a golf ball. The orb then moved to hover before the flayed man, who managed to stop screaming and look at the thing. "Open your mouth." The skinless mans eyes widened and he shook his head, looking down at the floor to avoid meeting the shrouded gaze of his captor. His head snapped upward, and there was a crunching, popping sound as his jaw was forced open. Once again he tried to scream, but with his mouth held open, the sound came out as a series of panicked whimpers. The whimpers grew more frantic as the orb drew closer and closer to his mouth. Whimpering gave way to choking as the ball was forced down his throat and held there. Martin's whole body violently spasmed, and he attempted to vomit, but the orb in his throat kept everything from coming out. The Priests eyes rolled back into his head, and the convulsing stopped. Now the Apostate raised a hand once more, and cloud of thick black smoke seemed to rise up from the freshly deceased corpse. The smoke coalesced into a skeletal humanoid, a poltergeist that the killer then called to him. Now the shadowy looked at the floating camera that had captured the entire murder from multiple angles. "Make a copy, and send it to the television stations." he said. Then he looked straight at the camera. "Desolation has come." *static* @Ataraxy
  25. What drives most attacks against any well-supplied city in Terrenus is often the desire for power or resources. What drives a successful attack against these cities is an understanding of the foe you’re going up against. In the lull between these attacks, though, when an attacker or defender enjoys majority reign over an area— within this lull is the sweet safety to pursue their dreams that the civilians demand most largely. And safety demands victory over the attackers. Victory demands a price. The port kingdom of Last Chance had taken some hits in recent weeks to pay the price for its safety. Indeed the safety of the city and its denizens had come at the cost of many lives, but the sun rose the next day and with it rose the city. In an encampment north of there were held interrogations for days and weeks that worked to varying degrees of avail. The wet of war in soldiers’ socks could not be washed away until the encampment was swept up. The encampment could not be swept up until interrogations in encampment bunkers were completed. After the encampment was finally taken care of, individuals deemed to be in possession of sufficient intelligence from the Legion were transported in a heavily guarded caravan straight north to Hell’s Gate, where more intensive and extensive questioning could take place. With that caravan went Peacekeeper No. 5. All the walking had crumbled the dirt from his shoes, but he wore the same muddied blouse he’d pummeled his enemies with. The pampered suits inside would find him a grim reminder of what the field was like. When he arrived in Hell’s Gate he absconded from the ensemble and made his lone way for a towering behemoth of a building that represented Terran military might in Hell’s Gate. Grass sifted with the overcast breeze sweeping the courtyard at the building’s foot. Michael’s face turned upward as he drew the cool scent of rain, following the building’s face all the way up to its crown of clouds. Entering the building’s foyer, his boots tapped mutedly against white tiles. All he knew was that he was to debrief his fellow officers and superiors on the situation. He had brought with him an encrypted dossier crystal to elaborate on any observations whose sharpness may dull en route. His thick soles led him up the stairs to a fluorescent mezzanine punctuated in the middle by a U-shaped desk. This morning was his third day awake; he couldn’t sleep with fresh details and plans of action clacking through his head like a turnstile at rush hour. The receptionist would see it in the accordioned skin beneath his eyes. “Commager for 0600.” The receptionist looked up from her work and procured a clear crystal in her palm. It rose to Michael's human and gem eye level. A conical ray of light extended from one of its facets, illuminating his scarred face to perform a series of retinal, magical, and physiological scans to verify his identity. "Room B30," she responded. Behind closed doors Michael explained the failed attempt on Last Chance by a villain named Dredge and submitted a request to take liberty on chasing him down. He outlined several outliers who played critical roles in the defense and attacking of the city, naming names and all for which they were responsible indiscriminately, factually. Afterward he was taken aside by a scientist he had never met before. There was a conversation about artificial intelligence, Michael vaguely remembered, but this is where his memory became somewhat fuzzy... Waking up in a comfortable bed in a warmly lit room alone, Michael shot into a sitting position. Wheeling on the suddenly disheveled axis in his brain, he brought a palm to his dizzied head. Where the Roseus Oculus- the red gem that dealt death from his eye socket- used to be, there were now bands of gauze diagonally draped over his head. He could feel a healing spell augmenting the recovery of an optical organ beneath that he hadn't had for almost ten years. Tiny sinews stitched a human eye together, stretching over and retrograding the scar tissue that once served cradle to the RO. He looked at the waffle-pattern blanket in his lap and flexed his fingers. He felt... angry. Looking to his right at the bedside table, however, shifted his mood entirely. There sat the Roseus Oculus. At least, what used to be the Roseus Oculus.
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