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Found 30 results

  1. Wade

    Hasa Diga Eebowai

    There was something powerful about Terrenus’ military budget. It built tanks and submarines. Aired commercials that moved the hearts of millions. Rained napalm on unsuspecting ‘villages' and generally scared the shit out of the Renovatian printing press. It also gave Echo all the toys she could ever want. Exhibit A: the assault golem she built last week. Made possible by a stupid amount of money only the government could ever justify. The parts alone costed more than what she'd made at her old job. Waaaaaaay more; too much more, if she was being honest. People would have killed for the motherboard on its own. Hell, she would have killed for the motherboard on its own. For different reasons, obviously, but hey, merchandise was merchandise. All to say that, had she still been working for the university, slaving away in her lab at one in the morning, she could’ve maybe afforded to install just the optic sensors before having to make do with a toaster and one of those weird asparagus peelers. The funny thing was, back in her research days, Echo hadn’t understood the visceral pleasure that lied in weaponry. That rush you got when something went boom. At least, not until she’d attended first tour around the Hell’s Gate military campus. Word had reached the bigwigs that a certain engineer was making waves in their district, so they decided to invite her over for a cunning bit of show and tell. Cunning, in the sense that they’d given her a manathrower to hold, then essentially told her to go nuts. She remembered standing there, not knowing exactly what to do with it. It had felt like someone had given her a top hat and told her to pull a rabbit out of it. When the target dummy in front of her was eventually nothing more than a pile of molten waste, she’d been shocked. Terrified. But at the same time, curiously ecstatic. It had been as if Gaia herself stepped down from the heavens and declared in the voice of a thousand angels, “This is the best goddamn shit on the whole goddamn planet." If she recalled correctly, people called that an epiphany. She quit her job the next day. And then there was Exhibit B: the sports facility. Big as ten cathedrals put together and more polished than a businessman’s shoes, all crammed into the tree-like base of one of Hell’s Gate's monolithic skyscrapers. It housed four individual stadiums, a three-story gym, two ginormous pools, and one Boosty Juicy for your protein-related needs. As far as anyone was concerned, you could’ve hosted the Olympics in here. The best part? It was all free. No deductibles, no discount services, just sheer, unlimited access so long as you were willing to wear the uniform. Of course, the Boosty Juicy stood as the exception to this. Teenagers needed to make money too, and that meant letting capitalism have its day. For now, though, Echo would settle on kicking some ass in a friendly game of volleyball. “DO IT!” Her hand slammed into the ball. Before any of the blockers could even reach the net, it had already plummeted to the ground like a mortar going off. AWOO WOO WOO! went one side of the stands. Yeeeeeaaaaah guuuuuuuuurl! went the other. Everyone else was just making noise with those plasticky, inflatable batons, which were mostly bland in design apart from the ones with improvised sharpie doodles. Echo’s team rallied to her side. They were screaming things like We did it! and Fuck yeah! and Sergeant Woodlecky can suck my dick! That last bit was important. Generally speaking, no one on her team had dicks. Woodlecky and his pack of monkeys thought they could beat the girls’ volleyball club because of ‘muh superior male genes’ but little did they know that at least half of the girls had played competitively at some point in their lives. Echo herself had been the outside hitter for the Titans at Hell’s Gate Second Charter University. Of the six years she'd spent there as a student, five of them had taken her to nationals; of the five, three had seen her walking out with a gold medal hanging around her neck. On the other side of the court, Woodlecky and his goons started lining up. Echo signalled for her team to do the same. Both met up in the middle shook hands while passing each other. “Good game, good game, good game…” and so it went. Then it was her turn to shake Woodlecky’s hand. She smiled at him. “Good game." Woodlecky bowed his head slightly. “Good game,” he said, shame bobbing in his throat. Echo watched him disappear into the locker room. Nicer people might've felt bad for him but she wasn’t one of them. Putting people in their place had always satisfied her immensely, and humiliating a sexist bigot like Woodlecky was a black joy she couldn’t deny herself. Now for the finishing touch. After a lengthy shower with her teammates, Echo pulled on a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie. Her strawberry blonde hair, somewhat frazzled after blowdrying it, was tied back in a loose ponytail. The Boosty Juicy called to her as she passed, tempting her with thoughts of a Guava Splash. She resisted, and instead kept walking towards the elevator, phone buzzing silently in her hand. A boyish voice answered on the other side. “Ma’am?" “Hey, Capozza. You busy?” “Um.” She heard him pulling sheets off of himself. “It’s 9:15.” “I’m sorry, is it past your bedtime?” There was silence. Then a sigh. “No.” “Good.” The elevator doors chimed open, and she pressed the button for the twentieth floor. "I’m going to need you to swing by my office soon. Fifteen minutes work for you?" “Sure. And you mean the lab, right?” “No, I mean my office. Room 20134.” Confusion. “...Okay. Yeah, okay. Is there, uh, anything else?” The elevator started rising. She barely made it two floors before it stopped. “Yeah, I’m actually going to need you to bring a couple of things.” A flood of people forced her into a corner. “The first being spray paint." “And the second thing?” Echo waited while the floors ticked upwards, progressively filtering people in and out of the lift. “Go to R&R and grab me a six pack.” “Of beer?” “Of beer. If anyone asks, tell them it’s Friday night and Sinclair needs inspiration for her next experiment. They’ll understand." Echo ended the call before he could ask any more questions. The doors glided open to reveal an empty hallway, and she began walking towards room 20134. True to his word, Luke Capozza showed up fifteen minutes later. He was a nervous kid, no older than nineteen, with naive little cheeks and a nose that could do no wrong. Like her, he was a private. Bottom of the barrel, scraping his way to the top. In spite of their shared rank, he always insisted on calling her ma’am. Never her first or last name. She thought it had something to do with seniority, or the fact that she’d been granted her own research space. It could’ve also been her height. She knew a lot of people who found tall women intimidating. “Wow, it’s dark in here,” Luke commented. “Can I turn on the lights?" Echo ignored him. “You bring everything?” She glanced over the office’s desktop. Luke rummaged around in a cloth bag and sat the spray paint on her desk. The six pack came next. Echo grinned, ripped one of the beer cans free from its plastic casing, then coated it in frost with a touch of her finger. She guzzled half of its contents in a single tilt. Luke watched her unsurely. “You want to tell me what I’m doing here, ma’am?” In response, Echo tossed him two cans, one spray paint, the other beer. “Crack ‘em open and go to town.” “I’m sorry?” She took another guzzle and threw the empty can over her shoulder. “Drink the beer, spray the paint.” The computer in front of her flashed a slab of angry red text, briefly illuminating her face. “Shit. Uh, y’see these walls? They’re your canvas. Let the alcohol flow and make Bub Russ proud.” To clear any doubt in his mind, she unleashed an indiscriminate cloud of pink on the cabinet to her right. She didn’t bother checking for a reaction, since she was too busy focusing on the screen in front of her. It was showing her the words RONOVÉ and Authorization now. She made sure to tick off all the right boxes, forward the paperwork to her work e-mail, and thoroughly erase the last hour's history. When she signed off, Luke was drawing… something. If she had to guess, it was a stickman with a banana. “Capozza, that’s the wrong kind of banana.” “Huh?” Echo got up from her chair. The thing she painted on the wall and the one beside it was large, veiny, and very phallic. “I don’t understand. Why are we doing this?” “You haven’t touched your beer yet,” Echo noted. “I don’t feel like drinking.” It almost sounded like a question. “But you feel like vandalizing someone’s office?” “I mean, it’s not vandalizing if you gave me permission, right? Also, I didn’t even know you had an office.” “Is it really mine, though?” Luke froze. Slowly, he went to go turn on the lights. Flick! “Oh my god.” He was pointing at something on the desk. Something he hadn’t seen in the dark. Echo picked it up. It was long, thin, black, and read Sgt. Adam Woodlecky in chalky white letters. Luke whimpered. “Are you insane?” “A little bit.” Echo reached for her second beer. Crack! Psst! Aaaaaaaaah. “But don’t worry. You won’t get in trouble.” “Why not?” “‘Cause I’m smart.” Glug glug glug. “At least, I think I am. Took care of the cameras, computer history, paperwork, bribes, fingerprints-“ She snapped her fingers and a mysterious purple light briefly illuminated the room. “-and that just leaves the beer cans. Can’t leave those lying around. Of course, Woodlecky will have his suspicions but he’ll have nothing to prove it was you or me. On top of that, I’ll be long gone tomorrow. No way investigation’s going to pull me from a mission just to ask me about the giant dick I might or might not have drawn in his office.” “But why am I here?” Luke demanded. “Dunno. Maybe I like having you around?” Echo shrugged and picked up the evidence littering the room. “I might've also needed the extra time to hack his computer. I doubt I could’ve done that and grab the beer and paint before they closed off the floor. Speaking of which, that’s in seven minutes. We better go.” A dab of magic locked the door behind them, and soon the pair were riding the elevator down to the first floor. “So, Capozza. What do you have planned for the rest of the night?” Luke didn’t look at her. “I’m going to try to convince myself I’m not going to wake up in court tomorrow.” Echo nodded. “I hear alcohol helps with that.” “Yes, ma’am.” “We’ve still got four cans left.” “Mhmm.” “You wanna hit the park? Three of ‘em are yours.” Luke sighed, not for the last time that night. “Sure, ma’am."
  2. KittyvonCupcake

    The Search for a Sword [B|E & Co.]

    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
  3. 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. 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
  4. supernal

    MOBS tournament lounge

    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
  5. danzilla3

    Crossroads

    "Tell me what you desire." The abandoned warehouse was hardly the most luxurious of dwellings that Iblis Faust had inhabited in his centuries long life; but after spending a century locked in a crypt, even the dilapidated setting he now found himself in was an improvement. At least he could feel the sun on his face as it shone through one of the many holes in the roof; could smell the air as it rattled the sheet metal walls. Even the ever present cacophony of city life was like hearing a favorite song after the silence of his former prison. Of course, he was also keen to hear actual music after so long without; and a record player serenaded the occupants of the structure; an old tune from a string instrument that he quite liked. To him the music brightened up the entire room just a bit; and hopefully put his visitors at ease. "We haven't much to pay you with sir..." Iblis stood on the second floor of the warehouse that was effectively a stage; staring out at the humans below. Like all those who came before him lately, they had an air of desperation about them; with their clothing and general hygiene suggesting a few nights spent outdoors. The man. who he presumed was the father/husband was the one who addressed him; while a woman held a girl no older than ten close to her. The girl was quiet, save for the occasional cough. "You shall tell me what you want, and then I will tell you the price. Then you can decide for yourself whether or not you can afford it." The man swallowed, but nodded, "It's my daughter sir. She's taken ill; burning with fever for three days now, and her throat is so sore she can't even speak. We've no money for doctors, we can barely afford to feed ourselves..." "You wish me to heal her?" when the man began to nod, Iblis shook his head, "You must say the words. Tell me exactly what you want." The man looked confused, but replied, "I want you to heal my daughter." Faust regarded the girl; silently using his magic to see if it was within his current power to heal the child. When he was sure that it was, he turned his attention back to the father. "I can grant your wish; but at the cost of some of your own life energy," at the look of alarm on the man's face, he held up a hand, "No more than a year off your life in the end. One year is a fair trade for the decades your child may live no?" To his credit, the man barely hesitated before saying, "I accept." The Djinn smiled widely, and in an instant he had bridged the gap between him and the man. He held out his hand for the father to shake, and after a moment of hesitation, the man clasped his outstretched hand firmly. As soon as contact was made, a flash of light shone from between their hands; and when the man pulled his hand back, Faust's sigil was upon it, as though it had been tattooed. "What the..." Ignoring the baffled man, Faust walked forward and gestured for the mother to stand the girl up so that he could look at her. The child looked up at him with a spark of fear in her eyes, looking back to her mother for reassurance. The Djinn smiled and placed his palm on the girls forehead. After a moment, the girl perked up visibly, and turned to her mother. "Mommy?" The girls words, spoken in a clear voice were enough to bring tears of joy to her parents. They pulled her into a hug, and checked to see if her temperature had normalized; becoming even more ecstatic when they found it had. The father almost reluctantly turned to Faust, a huge grin plastered on his face. "Thank you so much sir!" "You needn't thank me. I shall take my payment over the next few days. You will feel tired, but will recover by weeks end." "Is there anything else we can do?" Faust thought for a moment and then nodded, "Yes. Tell the two outside to quit skulking around my home and come in." Once again, the man looked confused, but nodded and left with his family. Faust meanwhile prepared to receive his guests; the people he had been calling out to for some time now. He imagined they had come for answers... or perhaps to kill him to cease the call. He would find out soon either way. @carrionjackal
  6. Artist: aisxos Purpose The Holosseum is the spectator area for the MOBS tournament. Not pictured above is the central ring, which is a high-fidelity holographic projection of whatever environment in which the two combatants are squaring off. This is the area where spectators come for entertainment, food, drinks, and betting; there are several betting parlors peppered throughout the large infrastructure. Security Guards armed with modernized magi-tech weaponry ranging from stun batons to handheld laser pistols to Power Words which inflict blindness, deafness, or paralysis Recording devices (visual, auditory, magical) Other stuff when I think of it
  7. "I'm not ready." Yates had been here before. In this chair. At this table. Staring into the flat brown eyes of the man that sat opposite him. They were of equal station in the eyes of the church now, that was the main difference. Before the meeting had been a priest handing down a dictate to an apprentice; now their meeting was of a priest urging another to take the burden of the faith and raise it still higher. "You found the temple, didn't you? You fulfilled the Mother's mandate admirably." "I wasn't alone." "That doesn't matter. What you –" "I wasn't prepared to face the Outsider and it almost killed me. And if it did it would have found that farmer and those children too. It can't be like that again. I'm telling you that I'm not ready to command a unit and you'll just have to trust me." ~~~~~~~~~~ The AI revolts had not been kind to Hell's Gate. Racing towards the city aboard a private-class airship, peering at it through the ballistic glass of a small circular window, one could easily be convinced that the metropolis had managed to come out of the civil skirmishes unscathed, but once one dropped past the veneer projected by Hell's Gate's sterling infrastructure, the streets revealed the truth behind the curtain. Graffiti, broken windows, and litter-filled, piss-stained sidewalks did not scream moral bankruptcy or felony crime, but Yates knew that these were the minor symptoms of a much more insidious disease. If left unchecked, this deviancy would snowball down a slippery slope and all present would be trapped under the avalanche. His Gaian robe drew the occasional sidelong glance, the occasional sneer, the occasional disparaging catcall, and Yates paid equal mind to all of these – which is to say none at all. He was so engrossed with the task at hand that time lost its meaning until his hand was pushing against the roughly hewn, beer stained door of the Weary Orc. Waiting inside of its doorframe, Yates scanned the interior for other robed members of the clergy. OOC
  8. Her name is Ser Manah Sol-Wren Morwenna Bastian II. She has a grand lineage courting back to her father, Sir Damsacus Bastian. He was a royal knight to the leader of Talia, before his death. She however was here on another inquiry. She had come to get new equipment. Her sword and shield had been worn through many battles of evil, and even lost during her encounter with the princess herself. But that was behind her now. Terrenus had blacksmiths. She had heard among her travels. But the best place to go was the Black Anvil Hub. And so here the knight was. Though she knew nothing about the land. She had never been to Terrenus. And so it took her a long time to get here. But after hours of walking, she arrived. Hopefully she had enough money to acquire a new set of weapons.[/font]
  9. Eliza took a drag of her electronic cigarette and blew the smoke out in the shape of rings. She followed the sunset from a rooftop, legs dangling from the edge. A scaly hand followed the shape of her left horn, while she was lost in thought. It was almost time. For a moment longer, everything was bathed in a delicate, pink light, and for a few heartbeats it seemed as though her red skin was glowing. Then the last beams of sunlight disappeared in the horizon. She took one last drag. The smoke hung in the air; that and a light smell of strawberries was the only sign that she had been there. She grabbed a hold of the edge and slid down the wall of the house. Her long nails, almost claws, grabbed a ledge. She hung there for a moment longer before making the jump all the way down. She crunched down a bit, but kept her balance when her feet hit the ground. She corrected the binoculars that hung from a string around her neck and walked down the narrow street. The almost six feet tall woman ignored the looks she received, the whispers she heard from the door frames and alleys as she passed. She had grown so accustomed to being an outsider that it barely bothered her anymore. Four, five, six... She counted the number of alleys she passed, then suddenly turned down the seventh, leading to a larger street. She looked left, then right, momentarily disoriented. She unzipped her waist bag and found a small, round object that had the appearance of an old compass. However, when she pressed a button in the back of it, it lit up. She whispered the name of a tavern. With a little beep, the device's color turned red. The needle pointed east, and she followed the directions with a sigh of relief. She couldn't be late - the gang-leader had been clear about as much.
  10. Generic Perfection

    [MT1:Finals] Trilith v Ruiser

    From her perspective a series of cool blue and frosty white pixels fell into place, blended together, and steadily built an increasingly clear image. For the outsider looking in, she is a series of black, red, and white pixels falling into place atop the highest peak of Shawnee Glacier. As the digi-struct process finishes, Trilith is hit with a sudden sense of cold. It's the type of cold that effortlessly breaches through barriers of clothing and near instantly strikes the body numb. Before she has the time necessary to finish processing the abrupt change strands of her hair, as well as her eyelashes, have nearly frozen solid. The very moisture of her breath condenses and falls to the ground as a light flurry of snow. “Thu-thu-thu-the f-f-fuck?” Her arms wrap around her chest, her hands dig into her arm pits, and her teeth chatter so violently that she becomes consciously concerned that she might shatter them. “Fuck this.” She forces his arm out into a full extension. As the does so her aura flares to life. Scarlet tresses flutter up into the air, the color draining from them in the process and leaving vermilion streaks in the air. Flames of passion circle around her pupils before finally erupting from her smoldering irides. A gaze as blue and cold as the arena glares at the mountain ranges and peaks. A faint golden hue flutters to life around her body, whipping snow and chunks of crystalized energy into a frenzy around her. Steadily the materials darken into a fine, dark powder, that starts to clump together. By the time the Saint Queen takes her first step, a half dozen five foot long spears of phoenix coal hover in the air, encircling her. With her second step she comes to the edge of the peak, and with her third she descends over the edge. It is impossible to say if her feet every strike the edge of the mountain, but the flurry of snow and ice that billows out behind her suggests as much. When the ground levels out she takes a few running steps before transitioning into a walk. The cloud of frozen particulates engulfs her as it rushes past and surges through a tribal village, leaving a dusting of powder on their dwellings and a mound of snow at her heels. By the time she reaches the center, near a active and well fed fire pit, the spears have caught up.
  11. ~Harlow.

    [MT1:2] Aldorto vs Jack

    Unimpressed with the predetermined attire she’d been outfitted with in her first match, Jack paused prior to her re-entry to scroll through a library of her former ring gear. After about a ten seconds of scrutiny, she settled on one with a nostalgic chuckle - much like one might give when coming across an old, fond memory - before closing her eyes to enter the simulation. A steady wind greeted Jack as her feet sunk into the sand of The Wastelands. She was suddenly thankful for the onyx that now shaded her cheekbones, with a coating of ivory makeup to frame them. As she lifted her head to gaze out at the dunes ahead, long locks of golden hair danced away to reveal the emblazoned skull and bones on her face, collarbone, and hands. Hastily-smeared, uneven marks of darkness split and thinned her lips and maiden features. The lower half of her body still sported the classic wrestling boots and shin guards combination, while upon her shoulders she now furbished a black, thin blazer. Jack glanced down at a decorated hand with a pleased nod. The choice she'd made was every bit the psychological play, but largely for herself. What she wore now had been Jack's first in-ring attire, what she had debuted in several years ago, hoping that the switch would bolster her confidence in this new version of The Ring. The roaring chants of marks echoed in her head, and she couldn't help but feel the reminiscent twinge of her first-time jitters, “Much better than last time.” Rolling up her sleeves, she hopped to her toes, warming up her stance as she eyed the area for her next opponent.
  12. Generic Perfection

    [MT1:2] Ina Akeno vs Trilith

    MOBS Tourney Ina vs Trilith Standing on the landing deck, looking over the edge, Trilith can barely make out the buildings down below. She'd been to Hell's Gate only once before, although then it looked more like Hell than it does now. Auranite FAE's had leveled a good portion of the city, reduced it to little more than flaming rubble. The airship docks, which she's hanging out at now, most certainly weren't standing after that. Even though it is artificial, it is beautiful. From this height she can see for what seems like forever. The landing pad, nearly two thousand feet in the air, is little more than a vaguely flower-esque mesh of metal, that is suspended out into the open air, with one stairwell off to the side that leads to an elevator. With each step, Trilith can feel it bend and vibrate. It doesn't fill her with a sense of security, but any fear she might have is chased off by the curiosity that the instability inspires. "How do you suppose it supports the weight of an airship?" She asks, while tucking several scarlet tresses behind her ear. The act is pointless, as a gust of wind immediately whips hair hair into a frenzy. "I guess maybe another ponytail is in order?"
  13. Fighters: Ina Akeno vs Erekall Location: A mining operation near Witch's Cave
  14. Fighters: Dove vs Trilith Location: Little Weland in Martial Town, Palgard
  15. Fighters: Athena Yanitza vs Jack Dashing Location: A burned out hotel in Last Chance
  16. Fighters: Paroxysm vs Fennis Ursai Location: A farmstead located on the edge of Coconino Marsh
  17. DarkHorse

    The Motley Crew

    Zafira exited the "Tavern Of Legend," her feet carrying her out into the decimated city. It reeked of death, destruction and desolation, a stark contrast to the warmth of the tavern. She looked back at it, it was a shack with a broken sign dangling from it. How could something so bleak be so warm inside? She shook her head and put her hand on the dogs back as they continued to wind their way through the charred streets. Her fingers clutched his mangey fur for comfort. "This place is more incinerated than my cooking." She said with a shaky laugh. The dog gave a huff and a groan. "Damn straight this place unnerves me....why do you think we camped outside of the town." She admitted, "I had hoped this would be a good place for some supplies, but it looks like we are out of luck again - we will just have to go back to hunting until we come across a non destroyed town. Besides I am sure we can put our new friends to work helping with that too." He barked at her. "Yes, that is if they decide to come along." She smiled at him, "Something tells me they will. Don't you worry..." He whined and tipped his head to one side regarding her with one big brown eye. "Why Hell's Gate?" She repeated his question, she shrugged, "Something tells me it is the place to be right now....we will have to find an airship to get there eventually...but we will have to raise way more coin for that."
  18. Prestississimo

    Good Company

    @Song Sprite Hell's Gate was not what Mara had imagined it to be, in her youth. Here was not the metropolis of gleaming spires and impeccable marvels of her imaginings. Instead, the priestess found a city worn from constant tension and strife. The shanty-towns at the edge of the airship port had staggered the young woman, and the venomous looks people gave one another in the street were so much worse worse. Even her poor brother, as he'd drove her into the city proper, hadn't been free of the suspicion and sometimes outright hostility that seemed to permeate their surroundings. Only she seemed immune of the peevish glares and angry glances, her church robes sending the harsh looks scattering away from her. Not everyone looked at her favorably, of course, but at least it was better than the outright distrust most around her received. There was the occasional perplexed expression when people noticed the scarf worn over her mouth, and sometimes a child would point at her, but for the most part, people gave her some measure of space as she made her way down the street. That didn't stop her from checking her inner robe pocket, however, for the travel voucher tucked safely away there. The manager at the travel station had been irritated and grouchy talking to the host of people with complaints and demands for refunds, but as soon as Mara had arrived at the front of the queue, his attitude had changed. He'd happily exchanged her rail ticket for a travel voucher with a smile and a polite nod. She'd never really realized the power of being a member of the church. Out in Hellawes. Everyone there knew each other, and respect was awarded based on the way people acted. Here, though, in the random press of strangers, respect was different. It was afforded only to those with obvious reasons why they might deserve such consideration. Apparently, in the minds of most, her robes qualified her. It was, well, a lot of responsibility, actually, and she did her best to keep that thought from weighing on her as she walked towards the airship docks. She also tried to keep her mind off of the desolation she saw. So many desperate faces and haggard expressions. She'd passed beggars of all ages, from the very young to the very old, and the priestess offered a prayer to each as she went. Some of them were thankful, some obviously wished her invocation came with a hot meal or coins, but they each took it all the same. She wanted to do more, so much more, but she had to hurry. Her prayers were fervent, yet short, as she hustled along the street. According to the travel manager, the next airship headed to Biazo Isle was taking off soon, and she really didn't want to miss it. She'd been told that the next one wasn't leaving for another week at least, and that she'd been incredibly lucky to catch this one. Mara knew Gaia's work when she saw it, though, and was perfectly sure that luck had nothing to do with it. Something was telling her to get to the Abby, in spite of the setback, and Mara wasn't about to refuse providence, even if she wished that she'd been allowed to stay back in Hellawes. Eventually, she arrived at the airship dock, and set about locating her ride, which she found herself able to do in relatively short order. The massive press of people and the huge buildings were overwhelming, but already she was growing used to navigating the crowded streets. The fact that people tended to try to avoid running into her directly and the ample signage available at the docks helped her immensely, as well. However, as she closed in on the airship, someone broke into the space generally afforded to her. Mara felt a hand on her shoulder, and she wheeled, to see an elderly man dressed in rags that she'd offered a prayer to earlier. He had an apologetic look on his face, and spoke softly, "I'm sorry to bother you, Sister, but I thought you might like to know that yer being followed." He pointed behind himself, blocking the gesture with is body, and over his shoulder, Mara spotted a familiar figure. The young woman was creeping along, watching her carefully from a shady doorway, but Mara had spotted her now, and there was no escaping the priestess' gaze now that she'd locked in. Mara pulled down the scarf blocking her mouth to make her shout heard, and the man in front of her recoiled in shock from the terrible burns on her face. She paid him little mind as she yelled at the figure in the doorway, "Jenny Farrough, by Gaia's good name you 'ad better stay right there, because if I have to chase ya, there will be somethin' awful to pay." When she'd been offering prayers earlier, Mara's enunciation had been flawless, a gold Terran standard for pronunciation. Now, though, as she shouted, her provincial accent slipped out, along with no small measure of anger. The old man's expression was now caught in some strange place between horror, confusion, and outright disbelief. Mara did at least stop to pat the old man appreciatively on the shoulder, and mouth thanks, before taking off at a dead sprint towards the young woman who had been following her, pulling up her scarf to cover her mouth once again as she went. Even with her lower face covered, however, Jenny would undoubtedly be able to detect Mara's trademark scowl, as she closed on the young woman's hiding place.
  19. Dan walked along down the crowded road of the city of Hells Gate. He had heard this place was the go to for high end tech. Maybe he could find something or someone on the verge of multiverse portal technology. He doubted it, that would be way too easy, but he was going to look nonetheless.
  20. supernal

    I, Henrietta

    "The golem." Henrietta Monroe, lead engineer of the Monroe foundation, was young but gave every appearance of being ancient. She reached out a frail, wrinkled hand to touch a section of opaque wall. At her touch that opacity bled away by degrees, the once hopelessly impenetrable pane now as clear as rarified air. On the other side of the pane was a humanoid figure, immobile in the darkness. The impression of Henrietta as a walking mummy was deepened by the presence of the little girl grasping her free hand with two of her own. The little girl broke away from Henrietta and rushed up to the pane in puerile impatience to see more, to get closer, to satisfy the engine of her curiosity. "Mechanical muscle, in other words." Henrietta turned towards the group of two dozen occupying the wide hall, overhead lights throwing shine on her at such an angle that it bounced sharply off eyes mostly obscured by flesh and made them twinkle like gems beneath folds of skin. She was leading this walking tour through sanctioned parts of the automation facility. Her intent was to introduce the public piecemeal to the next breakthrough, hopefully inoculating them against the all too common knee-jerk response of fear. Some of these people would tell their neighbors and friends how brilliant Henrietta was, and some of the some might even come take the tour themselves. By the time she started speaking at conferences across the nation, her reputation would precede her. That was the plan anyway. "This model is pretty old and not particularly sophisticated. You'll notice the prehensile hands, suited for basic articulation work, but in terms of task complexity this model is capable mostly of rote. It has enough functional memory for a page's worth of contextual commands. It could copy one page of one book until the end of time, but just that one page unless you manually loaded the next one. Mostly used for things like farming, hauling, stacking. That sort of thing." Anyone in the group who was (un)fortunate enough to see the military GL-17RX golem could attest to the fact that the model before them was as far removed from the current capabilities of golemetry as a campfire was from a combustion engine. Henrietta led the group further down the hall, revealing at precise fifteen-meter iterations newer and newer models of golems, explaining the increase in their capacity to store commands and their ability to execute on higher orders of complexity. The little girl pressed her face against the glass at every opportunity. "This educator model is capable of teaching any one academic subject to within a margin of error acceptable at the state-level for certification. It can be programmed with expert-level knowledge of any field in a matter of months, and is currently being deployed across Terrenus to low-income communities. It really is a marvel, and really is making a difference, but what I want to show you now is something else entirely. Any questions before we move on?" Henrietta assumed everyone was simply waiting to see the newest model, the whole reason the tour was put together in the first place, but she wanted their minds free of distraction and comprehensively prepared to fully absorb her genius. OOC thread I had a much longer post written out but decided it was a better move to split it up so characters could be introduced earlier on in the scene. Your character is in the audience – how and why is up to you. In your introductory post please touch on your character's needs and desires, with everything else unveiled in as little or much detail as you like whenever you like. I just want to establish a reference point as the thread develops.
  21. Warlock

    Paradise Found

    Dawn was approaching fast upon the city of Hell's Gate, a new day for those that wished to heal her wounds. It was hard work, but if anyone could accomplish such a task, it was the Forged Men. Every day, Administration model 617, who liked to refer to himself as Wise, would make his rounds through their facility. It did not actually need to do this, as his connection with the wireless feed of the temple allowed access to all the data it required. It did however put many of the people who visited their Habitation Site a sense of comfort when they saw the self proclaimed leader walking the halls. So far there was only one Habitation Site in Hell's Gate, but they would hope to have many more before the year was done. Already there was a steady stream of people coming in to use either the free Healthcare they offered, or to make use of The Gift. It was pleasing to know that they were being embraced instead of rebuked, as there was hardly any other place they could go to in these troubled days. They made their home near the northern edge of the city, in a dilapidated building that was vacant due to the downturn in the economy. It did not take much for the Forged Men to acquire it, then restore it as well as make some modifications of their own. Six stories tall with two basement levels, made of glass and steel, which suited the robotic denizens well enough. Thankfully they were able to attach solar panels on the roof, a wind wheel tower in the center and a small rain generator fed by the new gutter system they had installed on the sides. After exiting through the front door, Wise stood upon the steps of the Habitation Site and looked out towards the sea of people passing by on the sidewalk. One of its many jobs was to provide information and clarification to any questions someone may have. If they wished a tour of the facility, it would give it, allowing them access of course to The Gift, as all were welcome to. Modest robes of gray wool covered Wise's robotic frame, as it knew the custom of the local people were to be clothed at all times. Sooner or later someone would grow curious of their place in this world, there was always at least one of them. @TheWritingMachine
  22. This was a new life for Gradric Greatbeard, a new chapter devoted to the struggle of his destiny, one that would be filled with hardships. Such trials would test his resolve, his courage, it may even threaten his life on multiple occasions, but he would suffer them no matter what. All the toiling in the world would be worth it if he was able to accomplish this goal, this destiny that he desperately clung onto as if it were a floating piece of timber in the ocean. The crown was his purpose, and without that purpose, what was he? Standing at the air dock of Hell's Gate, the group of four dwarves stepped off their airship that had brought them over from Tazarek. It was a nerve wracking ride for Gradric, wondering when another assassin in the employ of the Representatives would take a chance at his life, as he was sure they would be keeping tabs on him in order to make sure he wasn't getting too close to his goal. Whether he was right or it was paranoia, it was hard to say, but nevertheless, he was there in this place for a reason, and so he would stick to it. He had more important things to worry about than the shadows reaching for him, namely the other three missionaries that accompanied him on his journey. Joining him on his quest were three other dwarves, one of which was to teach him the ways of being a paladin, the other two were there strictly for the purposes of their cover story. His teacher was Thun Marune, a dwarven woman of many years, with lines in her cheeks, streaks of silver in her black hair and a warm smile to greet someone. She could be seen wearing chainmail, a yellow tabbard, steel pauldrons, gauntlets and boots, along with some interesting ceremonial beads woven into her beard. Marune was known to be a warrior of great strength and honor, someone that Gradric was proud to learn the art of combat under. Hefting the impressive maul she used as her personal weapon, she looked around for a moment before asking "now where do you think those mercenaries are supposed to be?" "I didn't know we hired mercenaries to help protect the missionaries." "Officially yes, unofficially, they're for you, my liege, because you're too valuable for us to lose, under any circumstances. Oh don't give me that look, you're the bloody king, from my understanding kings would have entire armies to protect them, so just be glad we were able to get a few bodies for ya." Before the would-be king could think anymore upon the subject, the two other dwarves with them had departed from the airship, awestruck at the sight of the mega city, speaking to each other in the dwarven tongue. Tazarek dwarfish was a dialect he wasn't very familiar with, but he did his best to understand them as much as he could, considering they were the ones to do most of the legwork in this mission. Mar Delum and Mar Grelik were twins, both sharing the same blonde mops of hair, the same spectacle covered blue eyes, to the same button like noses that seemed to wrinkle every time they saw something interesting. Donning white hooded robes with yellow scarves, they shouldered backpacks that were stuffed to the brim with scrolls and other supplies meant for academic study. All they knew was dwarfish, as their studies made it far too difficult for them to take the time necessary to learn the common tongue. Fortunately they had Gradric and Marune to translate for them, which was something they would need to do a lot of if they were going to get anywhere farther than the massive dock they had stopped at. "I think I see them coming, it's about time too" Gradric said as he was still trying to chew the thought of having unofficial bodyguards throughout this endeavor. "Calm yourself, my king, we still have a long way to go, so pace yourself before you start getting so...impatient" Marune said, keeping an eye out for anyone suspicious as they waited for the ones they hired to arrive.
  23. Ana strolled confidently down the deserted street, black and red eyes casually scanning the impressive city scape with mild interest. For a city of industry the local populace certainly seemed passive at a glance, but the lingering spirits and feelings that permeated the streets told a story the empty streets could not. One such spirit drew the attention of Ana like a moth to a magitech lamp, her low platform boots 'clicking' on the concrete as she increased her pace. To Ana's Negative Energy infused eyes the spirit of this recently deceased looked like a ball of energy, fraying and warping at its edges like sparks dancing - it was the color of deep red, a sign of a death by the hand of another. Ana rose her gloved right hand to the globe of raw emotion, her fingers gently caressing it like one would the face of a lover - as she did Negative Energy oozed from her hand, drilling into the spirit with such force it caused the ball to spasm, rapidly shifting forms wildly in every direction as if in severe agony. "Mhmmm." Ana murmured, her eyes seeming to glow a brighter shade of red as she suddenly released her touch on the spirit - all it once it took shape, its formless shape taking the form it held in life. An elf in his early years formed, his eyes darting and wild he began to understand what had happened to him - his limbs were twisted and wrong, their angles unnatural, his face was half crushed and his chest was caved in, death by fall. Ana did not speak to the spirit as it began to stammer at her, pleading for answers as to how or why it remained in the mortal realm - instead she embraced it. The spirit did not resist, and soon its energy poured into her like water into a cup - her red pupils widening like saucers as the sensation overwhelmed her with endorphins the likes of which no drug could ever hope to replicate. Like a slide show the spirits last moments played across Ana's mind, his pleading with another elf man holding a gun, the telltale feeling of falling as he was kicked off the edge and the sickening crunch as his life left him. It was this last sensation that nearly caused Ana to fall, her body letting out a soft shake as the spirit left her. Her lips quivered as the heat returned to her limbs, the shivering subsiding and the pleasure of it all with it - her mind lay still for a moment as it 'rebooted' from the powerful sensation. "Ythwal, you have something I need." She mused, the image of the armed man pushing the other off burned in her mind, his face and name, his relationship with the deceased as supplier and dealer all she needed to know. With purpose Ana left the lingering spirit, her stroll predatory as she stalked toward the slum district just three blocks ahead. Ythwal Jerrick, drug supplier, arms dealer and leader of the Elf gang the Forests Cry was a middle tier gang boss in Hell's Gate - the recent economic worries and social tensions raising him up and as he did purging some of his less 'desirable' employees as his business expanded - because when everyone was hopeless, drugs became a popular escape. His role as Elf Boss had expanded, his gang selling and employing any race that would prove beneficial - a power play to own the soon to be economically devastated Hell's Gate. The kind of man who would have access to the kind of things she needed, the sort of weapons one of her skill set craved - and at the low low price of his and his little crew of wannabes blood. Ana's stern features flashed a smile, she was going to enjoy this. [If you'd like to join me, all I ask is you PM me first so we can discuss it.]
  24. Acies ab Vesania

    To Hell and Back

    Travelling from the Gaian academy took some time, but the trip as it were turned out to be a pleasant one. The weather remained reasonable, the roads were uncongested, and nothing tried to attack him along the way—not that he would have minded that terribly much. In truth, he spent more time shadow walking than actually walking on the land, using a much faster means of covering about thirteen hundred kilometers; why take nearly four weeks to get somewhere when you can do it in three days. The city proved to be as vast and remarkable as the textbooks made it out to be. Buildings rose high into the sky, extending much further than anything else he had yet seen in this world. Though he had seen taller during his long years, this certainly came close to topping the list of the tallest manmade structure he had encountered- so had to give credit to the city engineers on that account. Aside from the flamboyant building design, there was a multitude of technology here, this clearly the birthing place of much of Terrenus’ technological advancements, exactly as described to him before. Vehicles moved about, devices made noise, and the people wandered about without paying any of it any mind, clearly conditioned to the sights and sounds. He had not come to sample the technology nor to tour the city and all of its grandeur. The purpose of this trip had a very specific objective and one that he intended on with as soon as possible. However, as much as this task deserved immediate attention, there was always time to get a decent meal and an opportunity to rid oneself of the dirt and grime of the road. That is why as soon as the “The Travelers’ Stop” came within sight, he diverted from the road and entered the inn, taking a seat at the mostly empty bar. The bartender is a burly man with a robust chest and arms thick as the average man’s legs. His hair is a wiry copper color, at least where it remains on his head. The body hair is in much greater abundance, though a shade darker. When the man sees him sit down at the bar, he wanders and puts down an empty mug in front of him. “What will it be lad?” “I’ll take a pint of your best ale, and I’d like to know what you have for lunch today as well.”   The bartender grins, scooping up the glass and filling it up with a dark amber draught from a particularly fancy looking barrel. He slides it down to the newcomer looking rather pleased by the opportunity to serve it. “Finest ale in Hell’s Gate, brewed by my brother’s company. If you enjoy it, I can set you up with some bottles for a great price. As for food, we’ve got a venison stew simmering back there as well as a few game hens sitting in our oven. Those we’ll be serving with diced potatoes.” The traveler takes a drink of the ale, finding it to be nothing particularly special and certainly not one to qualify as the best of any location, save for some dive in a seedy part of town where all the beverages are watered down and taste like piss. Despite this, he suppresses his urge to make a dissatisfied grimace and instead focus on getting his food. “A game hen and potatoes sounds perfectly well by me. I will have to decline the offer of ale, I am traveling light and trying to stick to just water while on the road. It is safer to avoid dimming the senses when you travel alone.”   The bartender sighs and says back,   “Well, you know what you’re missing. If you change your mind, you can come find me. Is there anything else I can be doing for ye?” “Yes, actually. After the meal, I would like to take an opportunity to remove some layers of dirt and mud from myself. If I could get a bath drawn up, I would be quite pleased.” The other man whistles for one of the servers to come over to assist. While waiting, he answers the request.   “We can do that. We do charge a little coin for the service though, you know, to cover the expenses of the material used to heat up the water as well as for taking one of my servers out of their rounds to get it prepared.”   The traveler simply nods and puts down more than enough coin to cover whatever it is they are charging.   “I understand completely. Keep the change.” He then turns his stool around, taking the opportunity to watch the people coming and going while he waits for his food. Though the people watching appears innocent enough, a truly observant person might almost get the sense that this activity is actually predatory- maybe.  
  25. Hell's Gate has always been the magi-tech marvel of Terrenus. From it came better transportation, sleeker utilities, upgraded amenities, improved access to information and communications. Everything of which a person of leisure and convenience could dream. But the most recent innovation out of Hell's Gate gives cause for alarm. Henrietta, of Monroe fame, promises to unveil an advance in automation and artificial intelligence that will phase out a large portion of the existing job market and "catapult Terrenus into a new age". "Mixed feelings" fails to capture the nuance of excitement and apprehension which has galvanized the people of Hell's Gate. On one side are those that praise technology and the change it brings regardless of the cost – on the other are those that take a humanist angle, concerned with making better ways of living and being, and not just making better things. Whatever the sentiment, neither side is blind to the inevitable conclusion of a displaced workforce. These will be people not just out of a job, but whose skillsets, some developed over a lifetime, will be made obsolete. Hell's Gate finds itself on the precipice of a great depression as hopelessness and nihilism grip its populace, which has led to: Increase in suicide rates Increase in unemployment Increase in petty theft Conflict opportunities (examples) Assassination attempts Physical sabotage of buildings (no explosions) Social sabotage of groups Espionage, including document theft, destruction, and information brokering Kidnapping Blackmail and extortion Black market activity for "hardware" – offensive magi-tech and tech Drug trade, prostitution and gang warfare
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