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  1. The line outside the offices of the Civil Defense Force had started out small, but grown exponentially as the opening hour approached. Fear had driven people from all strata of society to que up for one of the free inoculations being offered by the CDF. None of them seemed to question the motives for the program. Why would they? The CDF were a trusted part of daily life in the city. If they were offering shots, it must be on the up and up. No need to question it further. Right? Private Emile Gareau was set up on the roof of a building across the street from the CDF offices; viewing the scene through the scope of his rifle. The Doctor they were here to escort had left word she would be waiting at the bus stop in front of the office. Now it was just up to Robicheaux to make contact. @SweetCyanide
  2. Embers from a pipe lights up the man’s face, sitting alone in a corner of a large tent while a light patter of rain rolls across its faux leather roof. The door opens and a bald man peeks his head through. “Doc? They’re here.” The seated man raises his eyes to the window. Across the field, perhaps no more than a kilometer away stood the Mausoleum. A large, gothic styled building swathed in light stood alone in the outskirts of Last Chance, its purpose the complete opposite of its name. The hospital had once been a pioneer in bio-mechanical, bio-organic as well as thaumaturgical research. But since the fall of its native soil, and with high-profile, high paying patients inside at the time, the building’s warp gate activated and shifted the entire facility in its now current place of residence. This would explain the lack of reason behind its seemingly random appearance and placement onto the field like a fish out of water. With much of its technology and staff intact, it’s slowly become a destination for those unfortunately afflicted with severe illness and an overabundance of wealth. The Doc turns toward the bald man. “Good. Lead them in Greg.” Nodding, Greg steps outside to escort their visitors to the tent. He turns his back to the door and looks over the large table set in the center of the tent. A few notes, some inferred details, a perimeter map. All the intelligence gathering a bunch of hired goons and a few junkies could muster up over two weeks of staking the place out. They’ve been camped out at the edge of a thin forest surrounding the Mausoleum, observing the traffic along the only road that leads to it from the city of Last Chance. They’re very well-funded I’ll give them that. This needs to be precise. Like a scalpel cutting through only what was necessary to get to the diseased flesh, the mission must be sure and swift, cutting out only the parts that were infected. And he needed to sharpen his blades.
  3. A lone figure stands outside the city walls of the sea port known as Last Chance. They do not know its name. They do not know that this could be the beginning of a second chance. They know it is cold and that they wish to find an opening in the impossibly tall blue wall that they walk beside. If someone were to see them wandering it would be an interesting sight. The wall gleaming eerily in the moonlight as a wandering soul dressed entirely in crimson red moves along it. The red garment shrouds them from head to foot, its length nearly brushing the ground and a hood covering their face so that only shadows can be seen beneath the fabric. They walk forward and stumble, but pick themselves up again and keep moving. Finally something new comes into view along the wall. Buildings come into view, ramshackle structures held together by what little luck the people living in them have. The wanderer doesn't think about what type of people might live there, What they might do to a stranger. Their static filled mind only allows them to think of one thing right now. Light. Fire. warmth. A child sees the stranger first. A dull eyed child with an empty belly. They are not allowed near the fire keeping others warm. Upon seeing the red cloak the child's eyes sharpen and a small knife glints in the moonlight. Who knows what such a beautiful garment could buy for them, perhaps not here outside in the slums, but in the city. If only the child can take it first. The wanderer barely sees the oncoming threat, but they do and they recognize it for what it is. They pull back, but not in time to avoid the bite of dull steal. They curse in a high feminine voice and pull back again, but he child is relentless. They fall backward onto the ground with a low coiled scream as the knife strikes again. Then the child screams. High pitched and painful. Fire courses from the stranger and through the knife, up the child's arm until they pull away ablaze. The stranger turns away from the burning child and runs. Runs in the opposite direction and does not stop. They run until their legs ache and their lungs burn. The moon has vanished behind the clouds by the time they stops. No longer next to the wall, but instead out in the rolling hills surrounding the city They were skirting a mere hour before. The collapse and a low sob escapes their throat. They do not know where they are, but now they know who they are. Her name is Lozonya. She is an elf. She has no family and no friends. No place to call home. She is a wanderer and always has been. She is cursed. Lozonya pulls the red hood away from her face. Her black hair sticks to her face and neck. She wipes away the tears streaming down her bronze skinned face and takes a deep wavering breath and as the static that filled her mind fades almost completely she begins to list what she knows about herself on her fingers. She is alone. She is homeless. She is a wanderer. She is cursed. Then her lips curl up in a version of a smile. She is clever.
  4. Character - Vito Summon - Floki Tags - @supernal Background Ambience (If you so choose) - Link Quest - A Friend in The Ouread Bounty hunting, raiding and moving into the drug business have all yielded their profits. Yet Vito found himself moving so slowly towards his goals that it was unbearable, even the patient raider had his limits. He needed something more, a way to further expand his trading. Cavecrest offered an easy way to trade amongst other raiders and criminals, but it was still far too slow. After much internal debating and pacing, he'd finally made up his mind. A partner was not just wanted, but required. He'd been a hired sword on many occasions, but never worked in business with someone else. Thankfully, he was able to call in favors from Fat n Kat. The local gossipers had many ties outside of Cavecrest, thankfully sending word out to a gangleader named Caden. They even went as to give him a private room, which they'll show his potential partner to. 'Hmm, looks like my work round here has at least payed off. Can always rely on Fat to come through, even if Kats a little more stubborn.' Vito sat waiting with a tankard of rum behind the round table, his summon lay asleep in the corner. It was pretty hard to sneak Floki into the inn, but he always finds a way. He hated being without back up, the drake had quickly grown to be part of who he was. A sudden knock at the door snapped him out of thoughts.
  5. The Dawn Komturie, 6:45 A.M. The wee hours of the morning at Dawn Komturie were about as busy as any other time of day. Custodes went about their duties with due diligence as the aspirants arose for their early morning drills. Tenkai himself was busy as well, but perhaps not in his usual fashion. Normally he would be overseeing the Vanquishers and their aspirants going about their training, but something was keeping his attention that day. The warrior monk had sequestered himself in his chambers, poring over documents in a manner he had not done since his days investigating suspicious fighting tournament sponsors. He was looking through whatever OFM resource that was made available to him, sifting through registries and logbooks and chronicles, all for one single purpose: to find out what happened to Gloria Isabelle Ruinen. Gloria had been a fellow knight of the Order, but not at the time Tenkai had joined. No, Tenkai’s history with her and in many ways the Order in general went further back than even his first arrival on this star. He knew of Gloria even before her time with the Order, back when she was the prodigious pupil of the psion known as Tresondros Ecstuffuan. Tenkai had learned of her departure from the Order just as soon as he had learned she had joined them in the first place. The familiarity of her name and the many memories of a life that once was which sprung from the recognition hit Tenkai like a bolt in the chest. The past always seemed to have such unexpected ways of catching him unawares. Tenkai’s chambers at Dawn Komturie weren’t exactly what one would consider an “office”, but it did have a desk for dealing with missives and parchments and all other manner of paperwork whenever the need arose. Given certain affairs he had gotten involved with in the past, Tenkai was actually no stranger to paperwork and investigative research. Even so, there was only so much Tenkai could glean from the Order’s records, but he had to start somewhere. Thus far, he had only managed to learn one key piece of information. Gloria has been, as it was written, “excommunicated” from the Order following some incident that had deemed her a danger to the peace the Order was committed with keeping. Her impressive psychic power had caused much damage and mayhem, to the level that James could not have easily overlooked it. But why then was there so little else, not even some form of contact information? And surely there had to be more to these accounts than what was present, should there not? He had to keep digging deeper. Yet try as he might, there wasn’t very much to lead on. It would seem that after her excommunication, Gloria went completely off the grid. This was rather disappointing. Tenkai would have thought that James would have gone to greater efforts to keep tabs on her, given her level of psionic power and the fact that she was likely privy to a number of inner workings within the Order. Granted, it was not really part of their duty to spy on people, and if Gloria was really so dangerous as to warrant keeping a thumb on her then perhaps “excommunication” was not a wise choice. But if that was true, then what exactly was Tenkai doing here, trying to figure out where she might have gone? Would that not be essentially the same thing? It wasn’t like he was hunting her down like a fugitive. Could there have been another reason James had let her slip off their radar? Did he still think of her as a friend? Did Tenkai think of her as a friend? He cursed himself. This is probably one of the most foolish things I’ve ever done, he thought. Tenkai had already paid the price for seeing those that he had called “friends” as who he thought they were and not what they truly were. His missing eye and the artifact sitting in its place were an eternal reminder of that. Tenkai thought he had managed to bury his past deep enough that he wouldn’t find himself making the same mistakes he had made before. And yet, if recent events had taught him anything, it was that some things weren’t content to be little more than a memory. If he didn’t give the past it due diligence, it would end up repeating itself. And so he continued, poring through whatever information the Order had about Gloria’s last known whereabouts. While there was nothing conclusive about where she might have gone, he did learn enough through the Order’s files on certain key places of interest that he knew a good enough place to start. Last Chance, La Ultima Opportunidad Docks, 7:35 P.M. The port city of Last Chance had risen in notoriety as a place of interest in recent years. What was once a veritable prison city overrun with crime was now the second largest port city in Terrenus, with a bustling economy to boot. Despite this progress, however, the criminal underworld of the city managed to thrive in its own way, a dark reflection of the promise of opportunity that the city had come to embody. The attack on the city by Dredge and his Legion of Doom has certainly not helped matters. If anything, the attack had served to remind people of the divide in the city, caught between the the hope of progress and the stagnant mire of the past, where criminals were kings. It had been a while since Tenkai had walked the streets of Last Chance, though this was perhaps the first time he had ever walked them during a time of relative peace. That being said, it would seem he had chosen the absolute worst part of Last Chance to start his search. “La Ultima Opportunidad” was the last bastion of the old guard in the city, where the worst of the worst who refused to change their ways or leave the city stakes their claim of a rogue underworld empire. Moreover, there was also the not-so-insignificant fact that Tenkai was one of the heroes of the battle for Last Chance. Gone were the days where he fought in relative obscurity, plagued only by whatever infamy he held amongst the vampires and demons of Gaia. Now he was Tenkai Matsumoto, Knight of the Order of Force Majeure. Though his actions had aided in the defense of the city the criminal underworld called its home, they likely wouldn’t take too kindly to anyone associated with the Terrenus military, especially not when many among Dredge’s legion had been part of Last Chance’s criminal element to begin with. So why in the pluperfect hell did Tenkai think this a good place to start? For one, the city reminded him in some small ways to familiar places from his past, namely Sigil and Durem. Economy driven port city with a seedy underworld? It was like a trip down memory lane, so what better place to locate someone from his past? Gloria no doubt thrived in places like these, free from the reach of law, where your only safety was how well you could defend yourself. Having been through enough seedy taverns and inns back on Gaia that ran by the same rules, such a place would be like a taste of home. There was also the matter of criminal underworlds being useful places to find information, find work off the books, or simply find ways to disappear if you didn’t want to be found. If Gloria went off the grid, this would be a great place to be, and a psyker of her level of prowess would not have any problem dealing with any thug that made up the city’s unscrupulous ecosystem. There was always the chance that word of the OFM’s involvement with the defense of Last Chance could have given her pause in setting foot there, but if there was any chance she had been there, there would likely be someone with information. So Tenkai made his descent into Last Chance’s “La Ultima Opportunidad” district, dressed in his monk’s robes such so that he would not be so immediately recognized by those who knew him more famously in his battle garb. Of course, if Gloria did see him, she would recognize him immediately, even with his eyepatch. This didn’t bother Tenkai. After all, trying to get the drop on her would be impossible, most likely, and doing so would just be detrimental to his cause. It was better to be upfront where he could. About a half hour of wandering through the more lawless half of the city, Tenkai arrived at the docks, where he changed upon a rather peculiar site. A large, extravagant boat decked out with flashing colored lights and neon signs was moored at the docks like some sort of floating casino. Indeed, it was exactly that, as he would soon find the aptly-named “Full Horizon” to be. A glittering jewel by the boardwalk amidst the salty shadowed pier. Truth be told, Tenkai could have kicked himself for not expecting to find a place like this among these disreputable docks. After all, this part of the city was full of cuthroats and rogues, not paupers and beggars. Casinos and other gambling establishments cared little for the class of their clientele, as long as they had the coin to spend and, invariably, lose. The criminals in this town would be the wealthiest of all, like as not. Tenkai wouldn't be surprised if a few of the socialites from other parts of the city would find themselves here by nature of discretion. This cozy little slice of night life was probably the best possible place for Tenkai to start. Even if Gloria wasn't here, there was always a chance she had visited in the past. If not at this port, then perhaps at another. Without any room left for doubt, Tenkai crossed the pier ramp and passed through the doorway into the casino interior, and onto whatever he may end up finding there. @The Usual Suspect @Aleksei
  6. Confidential Incident report #567: Fatal shooting of local police undercover officer [REDACTED] and several individuals with ties to organized crime in Last Chance in what is suspected is a exchange of illegal substances or materials gone wrong. While the specifics still hasn’t been uncovered and confirmed, the probable cause of the incident has been theorized as the uncovering of the true identity of the undercover officer [REDACTED]. Information regarding the pending investigation of the organized criminal organization known as the “Fuller Family” is been difficult to attain and the corporation from the local police regarding has been reserved to put it mildly. The decision was made to observe the development before a decision regarding possible intervention from FIST would be determined. However with reports of rising tension from within the Last Chance local police department and intercepted transcripts from our own communications suggesting potential retaliation from the Fuller Family, captain Alexander Hawk has advised intervention from FIST in order to prevent further incidents. Intervention from FIST has been authorized. Assignment: Investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, uncover and if possible detain the responsible parties involved. Investigate and root out possible vulnerabilities of confidentiality within the Last Change police department. Due to the risk of a possible leak within the local police department, sensitive details regarding the investigation is to be handled with a strict confidential manner and is not to be shared outside of encrypted FIST communication. End of report. Confidential Location: Market District, Last Chance Date: 16 February, 29 AO Today is a windy day walking the streets of the walled city, I can’t wait to be done with this place. However if nothing else, I have to admit that the walls are impressive. They’re tall enough to keep to keep the inhabitants sheltered from the outside world. However what will you do if the evil comes from within? When I look at these people, living in their bubbles, completely unaware of the wolves walking quietly alongside them. Sometimes I envy their blissful ignorance. The ironic part is that the masses lack the constitution to handle the real truth. Indoctrinated from birth by mega corporations into a society with this kind of compulsive obsessive need for excessive consumerism. They become nothing more than sheep, cattle for the grand corporate machine. Beep, beep!! It takes a few moments until Marcus notices the vibration from the telecommunications device in his pocket. Before answering, he flicks his cigarette and then stomps on it, brushing the tobacco long the concrete ground. Reaching into his pocket, he then proceeds to flip open the device to then place it against his left ear. Call started. "Go for Marcus." "Hi Marcus, it’s Sam. Just checking in." "Hi Sam, how are you doing?" "I’m doing well." "That’s good to hear." "Yeah." [...] "I did some research regarding the unidentified victims from the shootings." "Got anything to go on?" "Actually I did, the Intel suggest that they were working under a guy called Roger Fuller, aka “Little Raj”." "I hope that isn’t one of those ironic names that actually mean the opposite." "I’d suggest you start there, Marcus. Just be careful." "Roger that." "Oh, I almost forgot." [...] "I just got word that an asset from the operations division has been assigned to assist with the investigation." [...] "You are to rendezvous at the Civic Safety & Defense Academy." "Heading there now." "I’ll check in later. Don’t do anything reckless." "Wouldn’t dream of it." Call ended. @danzilla3 @Unicorgi
  7. NOTICE Map of Last Chance City of Last Chance Cast of Characters ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Episode 1: Opportunity Prologue "It isn't a sickness, a virus or a disease that plagues the peoples of Valucre. One blight pops up in the land and is squashed back down. An epidemic sweeps the city, and maybe it destroys that city, but the nation and the state remain. The four walls of this world cannot be breached by the pathogens of the microscopic realms. No, the peoples of Valucre are suffering from an infection far worse than anything that they can combat with vaccines or potions or pills. They are suffering from themselves." —Dr. Razien del Lombra, 'The Science of Philosophy' La Ultima Opportunidad Music The Drunkard The walk was long and lethargic, loose and lazy, just like it had been when he had stumbled out of the Mad Hornet with a bottle in his hand every night prior to this one. Tonight was different. He had barely lasted an hour on his stool, never mind the number of hours that come after three or four on a normal night. He just wasn’t feeling it, he had told Jamos, everyone’s favorite bartender—and Arlito’s only because he was the only bartender who could still stomach him. Even Jamos had been taken aback. “Not feeling it!?” The words rattled in Arlito’s skull beside a headache that was pounding at it. Not feeling it. No, he hadn’t. He wasn’t. He was feeling something then, feeling something now, but whatever it was it was not the desire to drink. If anything, it was the need to reverse the drink up his throat and out of his mouth. As Arlito’s hand slapped the cold stone of the underpass, he retched another pint upon the ground that did little to taint the filth already coated upon the cobblestones. Whatever had just emptied itself from his belly like some black parasite, it was neither a creature nor a Negromaestro. He hadn’t gotten past the first beer in order to even lick the liquor, though that was no pint of lager that had spewed from his throat just then. It was some kind of foul bile. As he stood sweating and panting, his body on the verge of collapsing into a bag of trash to join the other piles of waste, Arlito could only wonder. Was it something from the night before? I was fine this morning..? Something I drank? Something I ate? What did I eat? He wiped his lips with a sleeve, but when he removed his hand he noticed a red smear on the cuff. Against his better judgment, though after reminding himself of how often he plugged two fingers down the back of his throat, he put just one in as far as the back of his mouth before removing it. It wasn’t coated in red; just his own saliva. Not bleeding. Then what the hell..? “H-Hey there, friend! You okay?” It took a moment before Arlito realized that someone was talking to him. He had ignored the few passersby within the underpass as much as they had ignored him. He didn’t care about them and the feeling had been mutual. Coughing into a fist, he swallowed what saliva remained in his parched mouth but didn’t bother to look up. “I…I’m fine...just...just need a minute…” There was a sharp pang in his stomach, like a knife had just twisted within it, and it was all he could do to keep from growling as his fist pushed against his abdomen. Not again. I...don’t want to do it again...not now... “You sure don’t look fine, man… Let me take you home…” It was when footsteps came a little too close that Arlito realized what was going on. He snapped himself upright before snapping the wrist of the fool who had just tried to grab him. Arlito might have been a puking mess amid the pile of shit that was this half of the city, but he was no fool himself. His next limb was sent kicking into the stalker’s knee so that it was his turn to squeal in agony. That was that, and Arlito stumbled out of the underpass as quickly as he could. He hadn’t been followed. By the time that he reached his own home, a rundown apartment suffering from the same decay as everywhere else, he felt less like a man and more like a maggot; writhing and squirming, at the mercy of the flies to feed it. His hands looked pale and clammy and his face was pouring sweat. He had tried several more times to vomit but his insides were spent. His back ached, his shoulders ached, his knees were wobbly and his elbows were flimsy. His headache had mutated into a marching drum at morning, and his eyes were starting to sting. For so long now, for as long as he could remember, Arlito only came home for the same reason that he went to the bar. Alcohol had a way of washing the memories away. Tonight, though, he was at his pad to sleep the night away and forget that whatever illness had taken him would leave him alone come morning. So, he staggered like some zombie past the living room void of furniture and into the bathroom. Bed could wait. I have to see. I have to see how ugly I look even more than usual. His hands guided his feet, barely keeping himself standing now as he lurched forward and caught himself by gripping the sink. So much sweat, but his vision was hazy and he didn’t care to clean himself. Then he did. Arlito wiped at his face with his hands, but when he removed his hands and looked at them they were drenched in red. He realized that his eyes were stinging because they were seeing red. Then, all at once, the horror hit him like a lightning train, as soon as he gazed upon himself in the mirror. He was sweating, but that wasn’t sweat that he saw. Running before his eyes, trickling down his nose, seeping out his ears and leaking from his mouth were rivulets of blood. My...my god! What...What...What… “What is...happening...to me!? WHAT IS—” He couldn’t finish his speech. His eyes blinked, then they blinked again faster than they ever had before. His body began convulsing all over from head to toe, his fingers curling into fists but stopping short till they became like the talons of a crow. His head was pounding. His face was bleeding. Then, after what could only have been mere seconds, Arlito fell forward, but he knew that he was dead before his skull even hit the sink, and he knew that he would drink no more. Opening Credits Civil Defense Force Complex (CDFC) The Immediate Room Lieutenant Hayden "Black Hawk" Jansuela Music The Soldier There were seven people that filled the chairs in a room with a number of empty ones. The “Immediate Room” was as accurate a name as it was something of a misnomer. Designed for small- to medium-sized conferences within the upper levels of the Main Building of the CDFC, the room was purposed to be utilized at the quick-and-ready as much as scheduled for in advance. The irony was that anyone who already had it booked meant that anyone else who wanted to immediately use it could not immediately use it at all. Then again, with all of the other conference rooms and conference halls across the complex, the Immediate Room was generally reserved by and for the higher officials of the CDF. The last time that occupants had frequented the chamber more than usual was before and after the Raid on Last Chance by the Legion of Doom. That attack, still an unsettled wound in the people’s hearts, felt to Lieutenant Hayden Jansuela like it had happened only yesterday as much as a long time ago. In reality, months had passed and a new year had followed. That temporal irony was also not lost on Hayden as he sat on one side of the long table within the meeting room. Over the years, the city of Last Chance had suffered more than its fair share of troubles and tragedies, those brought on internally and externally, to the point that the steel blue wall which surrounded it seemed to serve both ways. The same could be said for the Immediate Room. At the headquarters of Last Chance’s other bulwark that came in the form of flesh and bone, and the boots and brawn to back both up, the city’s first line of defense was the Civil Defense Force itself. It needed its conference halls and its briefing rooms in order to strategize that defense and, sometimes if not often, it needed them immediately. That morning, the need had been fulfilled by Willem Acosta, a four-star general within the Terrenus Military who served at permanence as the Director of Intelligence of the CDF. Apart from the covert wrap that his own CO had given Hayden and his team, the head of the Department of Intelligence heading this meeting felt a tad unusual. Hayden hadn’t been with the CDF, or for that matter in Last Chance, all that long, but as a military man at twenty-five years old he knew enough about hierarchy to know that the head of his department was not the Director of Intelligence. Hayden, his team and their commanding officer served directly under the Department of Operations and, in turn, its own director. So why are we here, a pack of well to do grunts in the eyes of polished brass, sitting around waiting for the DOI? The answer, of course, wasn’t all that alien. Intelligence meant clandestine knowledge, until that knowledge was shared with someone else, who in turn was trusted to keep that knowledge clandestine. Hayden and his fireteam of three others had been pulled from their platoon and their squad to sit in on this meeting, whatever it was about. As the former platoon leader turned squad leader with a retained rank that was its own misnomer and stab of irony, he looked from his team’s side of the table to the two individuals sitting opposite, staring only long enough to size either woman up. Though I’ll lay my bets that these two ladies know a little more as to why we’re here, if not much more, but who knows? They, unlike him and the rest of his outfit, were certainly not sporting the same outfits as the former. Hayden and his three subordinates were dressed in their standard CDF patrol uniform, including the peaked cap—a trademark ‘police’ feel of the CDF that every Watchman wanted for their own. His brown leather jacket sat as snug as his ass in the black leather seat beneath. To his left, down the line, sat Sergeant Bartolome Barnett, Corporal Drake Fliskin and Corporal Deante Lyles—three of his finest and closest, which was no coincidence. They looked as at wonder as he did, if no less reserved. To Hayden’s right, past the immediate table’s corner, sat Major Kerrin Nalgiers, his company’s commanding officer. Uniform as crisp as ever. Just as it was before my last chance in Last Chance. Unlike them, the Major knew exactly why everyone was here. There was no doubting it. Though the man clearly felt eyes on his person, his own were at the television on the other end of the table opposite his seat, though all it showed was the still image of a blue sky. He seemed at peace. The CDF soldiers and their lieutenant-turned-fireteam-leader knew too well to say nothing and ask nothing—the Major would reveal nothing. They had only to wait. Still, waiting was waiting, even for the patient. Hayden checked his wristwatch. 0900 is coming up. One minute had become three minutes that was turning into five minutes, and there was only so much waiting that a man could do in a room graced by two women. The Major wouldn’t mind. He didn’t. “First time in Last Chance?” Hayden questioned mildly, looking from one woman to the other. Smalltalk was smalltalk, and right now that’s all they had.
  8. NOTICE Music Image The Man in the Black Mantle Last Chance. A riot for the fans. In the darkness of the night, hands wear the black gloves of madness. Laughter in the slaughter after injuring the daughter. Blade to the tits, spade into bits. Kill the bitch. Scratch an itch and tickle the twitch. Stop squirming like a fish! Soak your nose in coke from my coat. So stoned, you come to know my joke. I am one sick bloke. Squeezing a throat, a pleasing choke. Cough!-Cough!-Cough! goes the ho. Hahahahahahaaa! Close your eyes and try and picture a modern day Jack the Ripper. Scouring the streets with an undone zipper. A half moon is tonight’s yin-yang in the sky, one bright side that illuminates an alley of escape for Blueberry as she runs, one dark side scoffing at the noise of her heels as they invite fun. Fun. Blueberry is running from fun. “Waaaahhhh!!!” Wah!-Wah!-Wah! This is a loud one. Why does she run from fun? Fun? Fun. One. One being. One entity. Me. I am Fun. Click-clack goes the composed footsteps of polished boots, black like the paws of a hellhound as it paces toward its prey. Arms are concealed within the dark depths of a mantle, though with limbs that just might shoot out to snatch a handful. As the figure walks and stalks, the flaps of its coat slightly spread to reveal red on the inside of the cloak. Top hat sits atop a head, the figure’s eyes like a ghoul’s gaze of dead butterflies; irises black, the night’s darkness swimming in them for a heart attack. Facial expression as pallid as the moon’s pale complexion. The woman calls out with a shout, limbs dangling in her girly jog through the fog, hopping like a frog to escape the hunt. Stupid cunt! “Waaaahhhh!!! No, sir! Don’t come any closer!” “Can you cry any slower?” I smile with glee. Yes, I admit it. My grin is pretty fucking twisted. Like my mind in this fine moment as I own it. Right hand is withdrawn from black cloth, brandishing the hilt of a gleaming khanjar beneath a twinkling red star. The Blueberry bitch with an itch turns her head of oceanic blue hair and snaps her head back for a frightened stare. She gasps at the sight of the blade that bears her name, and he licks the tip with a too-long tongue of be-tasting-you begging her for just a drip. The woman’s stalker need only walk to her, knowing she was heading nowhere besides a dead end with an absent prayer. The alley moaned and groaned with graveyard doom as it offered a shovel to this woman with her gloom, laughing like an old man in a rocking chair with a beer can. Here, so you can dig your own grave and twitch, you blue-eyed bitch! Doom. Now she was doomed. Tripping over one of her blue shoes, the woman tumbles forward, falling on her belly, nose busting on the concrete and turning into jelly. She screams. Against her tears, a cackle clasps the atmosphere; the musings of a malevolent mind with no time for mercy in this game of cutthroat controversy. Black boots walk the red rug of blood, knife held out, fingers coiled around hilt with no doubt. The creeper creeps closer, as graceful as a symphony's composer. Blueberry begins to crawl away, sobbing uncontrollably, hoping to live to the next day. Pleas of rescue going unheard in this dark and dank alleyway. Go on and squeak, little bird. Cry for your dad. There in the hell fair of La Ultima Opportunidad. In an instant, a hand seizes a fistful of blue hair, producing a shrill cry of pain in vain like a beaten mare. Soft, feminine hands clutch the man’s black hand. But he didn't want to dance. He straddlers her like a lover, knees dig into her ribs. She kicks and flails wildly, head craned up stylishly, hair pulled toward the sky that night. “Now, go ahead and scream, lovely. Scream like the whore you are. Scream for me.” The command was deific as the woman's tears stained her youthful visage. Kneeling just above this harlot’s swaying body, the man in the top hat just wasn't feeling that kind of naughty. He wasn't here to play cupid. He had no drive for white fluid. What he wanted was a little more red. He just wanted this squirming bitch dead. “P-Please, mister! D-Don’t kill me! Don’t…DON’T DO—“ Skluch. Razor sharp blade slit the bitch’s throat, blood spewing out like she were just some stuck pig or goat. Smiling, the Man in the Mantle keeps his victim’s head held up against her upchuck of blood. The knife falls to the ground with a clinging sound. His fingers grasp his top hat and remove it. There in the moonlit air there is no hair at all. This man was bald. A black cat creeps forward, green eyes like emeralds as they serve as haunting heralds. As a feline tongue laps at the puddle of blood, the Man in the Mantle accepts this cat’s invitation like he was on vacation. In a flash of thirst, he jerks his opened mouth to the dying woman’s neck, his former friend. The cat watches, it blinks, and the man drinks. The end.
  9. @danzilla3 Miss Blonde. A Crime Lord. A spy. A Businesswoman. A mother. A wife. Titles make us who we are, they are a sense of identity and order in what is an inherently a chaotic and at times hectic existence. Yet in the grand scheme of things, these titles, our identities, these fleeting feelings of trying to conform mean little when stripped away. Even the name Miss Blonde was just another title. Patrica Susan Garter was her name, her full and honest name, and she was a builder of miracles. She was the sun to the planets. The singularity to the galaxy adrift around her, and she had created works of art and life that were far greater than the sum of their parts. And that’s what brought her here today. In another universe from a galaxy far far away, she was to build and create. Yet for the first time in a very long time, she was not alone. She had met a man. A man who did not have wickedness plastered upon his soul and did not wish to conquer worlds and destroy their enemies under an iron boot. But by no means was he a simple man. While not the leader of a death cult, head of a galactic empire, nor galaxy renown assassin. Jack was a patchwork of fury, pain, and confidence. A man worth loving, and a man worth staying by through thick and thin. But he had more value than simply his charm and ability to woo her without trying. He had power. Power that perhaps even he didn’t know was there. But she sensed it, lurking and pulsing beneath his skin. So she invited him to her bar once more. Not just to spend time with the man, but to accomplish something that was beyond the two of them. The invitation was sent out to his device and whenever he arrived he’d be greeted by a half nude Patrica. This was not a forging process that needed to be done with fire and steel, but one with hearts and minds. So she would simply wait for the man and gauge his reaction when he arrived at the closed for the day bar in the back alley of Last Chance.
  10. "Kid's eh?" In the darkness of a bedroom in Last Chance, John Wilder lay wide awake, eyes fixed on the ceiling, enjoying the feeling of his lovers warmth as she pressed into him. After a bit of fun Patricia, or Mrs. Blonde as she was known to others, had been talking to him about her children before she seemed to doze off. The crime lord could hardly fathom what it would be like to have the people most dear to you in the world separated from you by an entire universe. Since they had begun their romantic relationship the children had been a common discussion, and he could tell by the tone of her voice and the sadness in her eyes how much she missed them. He knew she planned to bring them to Valucre somehow, and he had vowed to help her; but the prospect raised some interesting questions. Would they see him as a father, or could they even accept him at all? Children often had a hard time adjusting to having a parents new romantic interest thrust into their lives; upsetting any kind of established order. But even if they could accept him, would he be fit for the task of helping to raise two children into adulthood? Until very recently he had lived only for himself, caring little for others. In the end he wasn't sure he was the right man for the job... but he would sure as hell try. "Me. A father. Who would have guessed?" @Dredge
  11. The city lights of Last Chance passed through the window of small limousine, each street lamp and store light leaving a moment of darkness between coming and going. Within that medium of light and dark, a pair of black and reflective lenses stared lifelessly at the Mistress. Miss Blonde, the up and coming Crime Lord here in Last Chance. In her right hand she held a rather strong cocktail that positively reeked of alcohol. It was more alcohol than mixer at this point, yet the little lady had no problem drinking it. Vacuuming up the tube on her mask, the moment of silence was broken by a small gulp. ”Do you want to know why I keep you around, Mistress?” Blonde said as she sat up and took another drink of her cocktail. ”It’s because I see a lot of myself in you. Or at least a younger version of me. Fifteen years ago I’d of never dreamed of shooting that kid, but life is funny like that.” There was another moment of pause as she set a now empty glass down into the cup holder by her side. The small open open bar within the vehicle faintly reflected the light of the streets before darkening on and off. Blonde would move towards it. Pouring herself another drink of a high quality alien whiskey and soda water. She made sure not to offer the other woman any. ”It never tells you the people you’ll meet. The ones you’ll fall in love with and do anything to protect or provide for. It never tells you the monster that you’ll become to save them.” Taking her highball she’d begin have another drink after speaking then relaxed herself in her seat. With her cocktail in hand, Miss Blonde would lean forward and make sure that the Mistress really understood what she was going to say. This was the kid’s one chance to do what she felt was right or best. ”Despite our similarities, you and your little crew of misfits aren’t monsters. You don’t belong in this world, Mistress, and the more time you spend in it. The more and more you will, and eventually you won’t be able to get out. You get colder, and harder, and more alone. To the point that when you do find something good and precious, the blood and death and shit that stains your soul ruins it. You ruin them, and there’s no one in your life that is better off for having known you.” Blonde would then take another drink and give the Mistress a choice. ”So you’re not going to say a word to me right now. We’re pulling up to get John and the others. If you stay, then you need to carry that weight like he and I do. I’ll teach you what I know. And if you leave, I’ll understand. But don’t ever let me catch you in this city again or committing crimes. Be better than me.” There was just silence after that. A short car ride leading to a designated meeting point where John had asked them pick him and the other people up for the job they were on. The limo would pull up to the sidewalk and the door would open in wait. @Zashiii @danzilla3
  12. It was supposed to be simple. Get in, learn what the group of thugs in Last Chance were up to, report back and collect an easy paycheck. Instead Viola found herself half collapsed from exhaustion in a back alley with a trail of blood in her wake. As roaches crisscrossed at her feet the young woman brushed hair out of her face with a quivering right hand. It wasn’t the violence that had bothered her, no, it was the fear of what the authorities would do or what the merchant guild that had contracted her would report. As the sweat began to collect around her brow and descend down her cheeks the blade-for-hire arose from her huddled crouch and used her left arm to brace herself. As she regained her balance she tried to recall what had just happened. A guild of merchants loosely associated with Argus Incorporated had asked her to look into a group of thugs that had been eyeing their contraband. The group was believed to have been tied to various wings of the black market and possibly to a larger criminal organization. The merchants had feared that the ruffians were sizing their operation up, possibly to shake them down for “protection money” or to dissuade them from ever being fully immersed into Argus’ larger organization. Of course the merchants had no interest in splitting profits with Argus nor with a criminal element and thus hiring someone who seemed as capable as Viola made a lot of sense. A portly alchemist with a long braided gray beard had informed her, ”go to the Prosperity Inn & Casino. That’s their hideout, they’ll be easy to find. Once you connect with them find out why they keep sending brutes to our district and report back. Four-hundred coins if you can get us anything useful. Double that if you can convince them to stay away.” It sounded simple enough, however… it turns out that a few bourbons and losing one, two, or six hands of poker are a bad combination. When a group of three of the vandals took her out to the back of Prosperity to collect she was already in a foul mood. Instead of learning anything about their organization or intimidating the shady customers she instead used violence to avoid paying for her losses at the aforementioned poker table. “Ok missy, you can pay what you owe or we can beat it out of ya,” one of the bruisers firmly stated. Viola looked at him enraged, though she had lost fairly she wasn’t about to part with the coin she earned. Especially since she was certain that her luck was just about to turn! Had they given her just a few more hands she would’ve been up. “Hold on,” Viola replied, “let me grab your pay for you.” A flash of steel, a glint in her eye, and suddenly there was just one bouncer standing where before there had been three. As the young woman slashed her katana towards the remaining criminal he backed away, causing her to barely slice a part of his forearm. With terror in his eyes the last of her foes cried for help whilst retreating back into the grime of Prosperity’s Inn. The reckless youth did not wait around for reinforcements. Running and zigzagging through alleyways until she was certain no one had followed her. Now arisen to her feet with one arm holding to the walls of the establishment on her left and the other arm adjusting her sheath she let out a sigh. Her face was dirty, she was hungry, and it was likely she had just blown her one chance to infiltrate and dissuade this gang from carrying out whatever their sinister goal had been. “There goes my paycheck,” the hapless mercenary exclaimed, “though, perhaps I can convince someone else to go in my stead.” Viola continued to fumble around the alleyway as she contemplated her next move.
  13. Van's index runs through the holodisplay, causing the article to rapidly scroll. The actual content is irrelevant, there is nothing that the Daily Weekly could report on that he cared about it. Any information they might have, he already had and in greater detail. Anything that they had that he doesn't, well that was purely baseless speculation. No, what he is interested in are the pictures. "To think, Last Chance of all places." The Peacekeeper murmurs to himself, while glancing through the stills. "Do you think it's because they assumed that Last Chance would be poorly defended? An easy first target?" There is no response, which surprises him. Clearly his crack team are too busy with running the office to humor his inane questions. "Stoooooooop ignoring me... please?" Van, we're busy right now. Unless it is official business, stop bugging us. You're the one who wanted to go on holiday in Last Chance of all places. So go enjoy your vacation. "I'm not on vacation, I'm working, this is official business. Mostly." He pauses, picks up a mug and sips from it, before finally shrugging. "You know what, you're right. Byyyyyyyyyyyyye." The mentally audible static of the coms link vanishes as the connection breaks. For the moment, he's alone with his thoughts. Leaning back into the wrought iron chair, coffee in hand, Van looks off into the early morning sky. The people of Last Chance, the more honest people, are just starting to venture from their homes to conduct business, while the nightly scum scurry away hide. Well, that probably isn't a fair assessment. There are probably equal numbers of scumbags present during the day and night, some just happened to be nocturnal. Finishing the last sip of coffee, and setting the mug on the table, Van returns to the display. A swiping motion discards the DW article, and a jab opens a text box. Good Morning Michael, it's Van. I'm in Last Chance today, visiting mostly. I heard about the beach battle you took part in. I was wondering if you had some time to discuss it in person. I'm thinking a very loud very public statement needs to be made. The brash are getting brasher, and criminals shouldn't be so bold. If you're interested, meet me at Delrona's Cafe on 6th and Main. @amenities With the message sent, Van closes out the display, causing a grid of lights to flicker from existence. "I wonder if I should have mentioned that I'm me Van and not some other Van...." The idea hadn't occurred to him before because by all accounts, in Hell's Gate anyway, he is a minor celebrity. But here, in Last Chance.... well, he's a no one. "Kinda nice not being recognized."
  14. "Who's like us?" came the roar. "Damn few! And they're all dead!" came the thunderous reply. Any louder and some might've thought battle had broken out again. As few as the Custodes of the Order of Force Majeure were, and fewer still after the brutal battle for Last Chance, the common soldiery of the Knightly Order, they still drank like legends and raised their glasses to the victorious dead. Most were human, some were elven, even one orc was present in the Seekers, but they all shared the same fortune and pride of being among the most elite soldiers present, serving a cause that was greater then any one nation or world. It had been the Custodes' first major enmasse deployment since the seige of Sigil City itself, and whilst they had undoubtedly suffered casualties, both within the city, and outside on the beaches, morale was high. They had weathered that particular storm, and this one was easy in comparison. Had they anywhere near the forces they were able to bring to bear in the City of Doors, the Legion of Doom would not have even gotten away with their token prizes. And so they celebrated, with one of the surviving Greatswords, a rugged, elite career soldier named Eshara Dominic, leading the toasts. --- Out on the beaches, James Eredas stood under the night sky. While most of the bodies were already removed, much parts of the beach still smoked or smoldered with flame. There was barely a surface left untouched by crater, unscorched, or wasn't subjected to glassing. The stench of death was still prevalent in the air as the Daemonslayer gazed out across the waters, silent sentinel with his thoughts only for companionship, and the artifact nodachi Amaterasu in his hands, resting tip down with hands atop the hilt. It was just the ending of another perfect day.
  15. Death comes for us all and not even the Mistress can escape it. Her death at Shwanee was rather disappointing. There were no last stands, no final blaze of glory. There was just a woman standing between the Legion led Dredge and the poor vilagers of that small coastal settlement. It was perhaps a bittee death, more anti-climatic and easily forgotten than what the woman known as the Mistress has hoped for. For all her attention seeking ways, her tale ended on a random island with an audience who never knew her or the burden she carried. Even in death she knew no peace as the Legion, her former friends and allies, had opted to burn her body to ashes in fear of her coming back. In that cold and cruel land, there was a solemn blaze, the mutilated corpse of a woman burning inside. Her death has brought many changes. With her gone, the core members of the cartel lost interest in their cause. They even elected a new Black Head to lead their version of the cartel, a leader none of the core members recognized nor wanted to follow. Then there was Ravenbush. Or Shishi to be precise. The Mistress' prodigal sister, one she and her mother, the Lady had kept away from the cartel and their nefarious activities. And she returned to give respect for this sibling of hers. There wasn't even a ceremony as no official wanted to give sevice to a public enemy. In fact, those she approached were glad that Shishi's sibling was finally gone for good. Shishi did have mixed feelings about this funeral, of it can be called one. On one hand, Shshi always liked her sibling when the Mistress was still a boy named Middy, on the other had, she hated the Mistress when the woman became a terrorist. Such conflicted emotions did not stop Shishi Ravenbush from solemnly wielding the shovel, a solitary figure digging a loathsome hole for a woman who did not deserve such mercy. It took a good hour or so before Shishi could finally lower Middy's coffin down the howl. It might have been life sized but all it had were the limited ashes Shishi managed to recover from Shawnee. Thei bind in their souls guided Shishi to clumps of ash buried within the snow and frost, the grey remains of the Mistress. There were no tears in Shishi's eyes as she learned of the Mistress' fate. She only had grudging respect for this criminal. Drenched in sweat, Shishi sat on the cold hard ground beside's the Mistress' still open grave. Soon others would come to say their farewells to the Mistress. Shishi made sure of that. The Mistress had a list of people but Shishi did not believe that anyone would actually come for the Mistress' funeral. Not even Shishi could call this sham a funeral. But she did what her sister's last wishes were. And she had one last task left. To wait for a few days before finally sealing the Mistress' grave. And so Shishi would wait.
  16. This was something Miss Blonde never did. Not dating of course, she did enjoy an evening of drinks and merrymaking. What she never did was go without her mask. John has asked her out on a date and she had agreed. Really Blonde had no reason to wear the mask around him in private. It’s not like this universe knew who she was. They didn’t know of the terrible things she had done, nor of her former criminal empire. Hell, they didn’t even know her real name. No one here besides Break did and he only knew her first name. So why not let your hair down for once? It was just a date after all. Blonde had informed John to meet her at a small family owned restaurant in the depths of Last Chance’s rougher neighborhoods. The place served cuisine that could be best compared to food south of the border. A spicy and flavorful style of food that was rich in chilies and could be smelled as soon as one entered the small dining room that contained four or five tables at the most. However tonight there would only be two dining here tonight. Blonde had seen to it that she rented the place for the evening and there was only three members of staff. One waiter, a bartender, and the cook in the back who had all been paid handsomely to keep their mouths shut about this. The phrase “Plata o Plomo” might of even come up, but that didn’t need to be delved into. Whenever John did decide to show up, he’d get an eye full of Miss Blonde sitting at the small and humble bar. She looked young. Far younger than how she acted and how she could take charge. She appeared to be in her early twenties at the most and was adorned in a tight red dress that only did her already slender yet toned frame favors. Her skin was slightly pale but not in anyway sickly. She wore a black suit and a mask almost all day, so it was safe to assume she didn’t get much of a tan. Her eyes were a piercing angelic blue and weren’t those of a hardened gangster. In her hand there was a clear carbonated beverage that had a sprig of some kind of green herb and a piece of tropical fruit in it. She’d sip from it and pace herself. But in all honesty she was nervous. John wasn’t what you would typically call her type. He was a known philanderer and had been with the the mistress of all people. Someone she wouldn’t touch with a ten and a half foot pole, for Christ sake her name was literally the mistress. Yet when John spoke with her and the two had time together. She didn’t feel so alone. That’s what made her nervous. @danzilla3
  17. We Can Do Both Miss Blonde was a nobody in this world. Her past accolades and position of power didn’t matter, and part of her liked that. She was always feared and regarded as being pure evil. Half the time she was referred to as a terrorist, and the other half it was a ruthless crime lord. That was all people thought of her as, not a person or someone struggling to raise a family of four by herself, and certainly not a decent person. So she had become what everyone had made her out to be. The terrorist who bombed civilians when governments refused to give into her demands. The killer of all her own men in her close circle when even the slightest bit of info was leaked. But that wasn’t the type of person she wanted to be anymore. Of course she was no hero, those days were long gone. All she could do was try to be the best person she could be within the lens of her profession, and while good people normally died in this business. She was willing to risk it to an extent. Miss Blonde was always a cautious woman, someone who so far had not given out even her code name to these people. Her birth name mattered not as she wasn’t registered in any data base on this planet, so for all these people knew Miss Blonde might as well of been her real name. The contract that she had released into the mercenary world was vague at best. “Looking for experienced mercenaries and contractors of an evening of work. Danger level medium. Payment two hundred gold pieces and a custom minor magic item per person. Meet at X coordinates in the dead of night, your ride will be waiting for you there along with further instructions. Come wearing your faces concealed and with a code name.” Which was somewhere deep into La Ultima Opportunidad. Far from her bar, and far from the prying eyes where most law enforcement dare not go. The crew would assemble in a twin horse drawn wagon with a black tarp laid over it to conceal them. Sitting there in the back of the wagon was a small woman with short raven black hair, a tactical vest, fatigues, a black plate metal mask, and what looked to be a pistol strapped to her side. She had been the first one there, and was considered to be the liaison for the job. Once everyone had gathered, a strange device light up at the center of the wagon and filled the cabin with a soft blue light that emitted a three dimensional holographic image of a gas mask. ”Good evening everyone. Tonight we have a very special game to play. You’ll be knocking over a club for me. Though not just any club, one that is shall we say much more shady and illicit than most. Club Euphoria. As some of you may or may not know, it’s a rather heinous establishment. Run by killer enforcers, human traffickers, and genuinely unpleasant people. People who I want dead. So the job is quite simple. The primary objective is to clear and secure the club of all these scumbags. Secondary objective is to free the sex slaves being held there and give them the packs of gold pieces that have directions to the nearest shelter. You will find those under your seats. If you are caught stealing these packs, I’ll collect your fucking fingers. You are to infiltrate the club with stealth and eliminate the outside guards quietly. Once inside firearms are free to use. My lieutenant Miss Blink will be leading the operation, any order from her is to be considered an order from me. You’ve all been informed of the rules of engagement, so go get the job done.” The voice and image went black and it was time to begin. The wagon began to move and traveled for about a good ten minutes through the streets of Last Chance. It would be a few minutes before they arrived. If anyone needed to say anything or ask any questions to the still nameless boss’ liaison, then this was the moment to do so. OOC Please read before you join for rules.
  18. Beachfront Bilk’s was a somewhat luxurious bistro in Last Chance’s Market District. Arched openings of brick from the inside seating area opened to a gated, vineyard themed enclosure that looked out over the sea. So near the beach, it afforded guests all the amenities of a coastal resort during their visits. Good drinks, better food, and the best networking the city had to offer for high-profile businessmen and women could be found here. As such, Bilk’s boasted a most enthralling crowd exchanging most enthralling ideas on the typical basis. Most of the bistro’s patrons had fallen under the illusion that, because of their status, they enjoyed a cushion from the outside world’s mayhaps and mishaps. The fact of the matter was that they were anything but cushioned, and their status alone was the stuff out of which their imaginative buffer was made. When a pirate band of thieves and murderers known as the Legion of Doom reared its ugly head up from over the northern horizon, much of Last Chance rose up in arms. Beachfront Bilk’s however, rose their glasses in observatory entertainment. From an elevated patio on the southernmost stretches of beach, where a festive tent had even gathered for healing to take place, the fat cats of Last Chance and those who had come for a drink or a meeting watched the fireworks display begin. All of them in their suits and gowns felt jolly good, really part of a smashing revolution in which they had actually no part. Explosions in the sky came closer, debris leafing down in slow arcs upon the outdoors area of the restaurant. The population of the healing tent tripled, then quadrupled. Commoners, lowborns and lesser demi-humans came in the bistro’s doors without a place to sit just to have refuge from the chaos of the streets. Bilk’s restaurant was filling up with a panicked populace. That was when the cushy patrons stopped feeling quite so cushioned. Suddenly the northwestern corner of the patio’s spired enclosure breathed up, and blew outward into millions of heart-wrenching fragments. The bistro’s residents leapt up in frightened and misplaced confusion. None of the city could be exempt from this carnage, not even them, but they had thought themselves so lucky. Rian Bilk, a white-haired man with circular spectacles and an ever-suspendered countenance of white blouse and brown slacks, descended from the second floor office quarters of the bistro just as the place erupted in chaos. His hand slid along the railing almost reminiscently as his customers fled the premises or vied between fleeing and taking cover there. He saw among the flock of crows, who gathered round and then fled from the dead so readily, a stationary figure. She stood in one of the three brick arches, the forefront of the beach painted with smoggy black and crimson sound. Rian came to stand beside Riforte, his arms crossed behind his back. “Fine day we’re having here,” said the stranger to Riforte with a lazy ease that juxtaposed unnaturally with the situation at hand. He didn’t look at her, but just stood beside her amid the panic with eyes on the embattled beach. The raid on Last Chance had attracted all sorts of attention, both good and bad, for a reasons of innumerable origin. Some were those who pined for the pleasures Terran law forbade, who saw a viable means of attaining them in the leader of the Legion of Doom, a knight named Dredge. Some had come to observe just as the upper class who now found themselves victim to the dangers at hand. Some yet had long been in Last Chance. Long had their nails entrenched in the city's very infrastructure, and saw that a certain fruit had come to Last Chance ripe for the picking. This was a day both for dying valorous deaths and breathing awake forsaken lives.
  19. The sensation of falling in one’s sleep. It’s always an interesting sensation. The darkness and comfort of rest suddenly cut short by the sharp skip of a heartbeat followed by that fleeting moment of free falling through the air. There’s always a hint of fear or shock that cuts through the dulled senses and pierces the brain’s amygdala. That all but brief moment that this was it and you had died. Death however would of been a mercy for Miss Blonde, because when that sensation was over she had to face her new reality. One where she wouldn’t awake to the familiar feeling of her bed and warm body lying next to her. There would only be the cold hard ground. Dark reflective lenses of a gas mask lay blank and expressionless, it’s hard metallic casing showing no signs of movement simply lay there resting atop a head of long blonde hair. A still silence that filled the air and soon was swiftly ended by a blur of movement and a mechanical cocking mechanism. Sitting up with speed and intensity, Miss Blonde’s gas mask came to life with red flashing LED lights that opened completely to almost express her shock. In her hand was the smooth and engraved .44 caliber pistol that began to scan the room. Something had knocked her out at the height of the party. Something that would have to be powerful to put her under the table. Yet all she could see were the black suit and tie adorned and unconscious bodies of her employees. Her closest lieutenants who she had gathered here for a reason should could not quite remember. Which was odd, because normally the woman had the mind of a steel box. In fact her mind was even protected by the enchantment placed on her mask. So with a few wobbly shakes, the small Crime Lord stood on her feet and kept her pistol firmly in her grasp. From the looks of things they were all still in the cabana club, the small and out of the way bar she owned on Relovian. Which was good, perhaps they all just had too much to drink. Taking her free hand she rubbed her sore and throbbing head and sighed. ”Haven’t has a headache like this since college.” Taking a few steps towards the center of the bar, she looked around for her personal assistant. Finding his slightly pale red hair, the man was doubled over a bench with his drink still held loosely in his hand. ”Orange, wake your ass up.” With a slight kick to his side the man sputtered and soon fell over onto his back and groaned. His face was also obscured by a mask similar to Blonde’s but even through the mask’s robotic vocalizes one could hear the misery of what might be identified as a hangover. ”Wake up the others then call me a speeder home. Looks like we went all night.” Blonde said with some kindness towards the man but still made sure to convey that this was an order. ”Sure thing, boss. Can we get some MandoBurger on the way back? Cause I could use it.” Orange asked as he began to pick himself up from the bench. ”Sure, just call the speeder.“ Placing her pistol back into its holster the woman would proceed to walk towards the front door. Daylight shined through the shutters and slightly illuminated the tropical and playful decor of the bar. About fifteen of her top men were here for what had seemed to be a party in her honor. Maybe they had just pulled off some kind of heist? No, she’d of remembered that. Did they make a big weapon or drugs sale? Maybe a successful auction? Again she’d of known about that. Pacing her way towards the door, Blonde needed some fresh air. ”Boss... there’s a problem. Comms are down. In fact I’m not seeing any signal, anywhere.” Orange said in a worried tone while hunched over a screen. ”Just run a diagnostics check on the system I’m sure it’s just the-“ Blonde paused in shock as she stepped out the door. It all hit her at once. The strange architecture, the smell of the air, and especially the completely alien species that could be seen walking around the streets. Species that her scanners couldn’t even identify, which was impossible. ”It’s probably the what, Boss?” Orange asked as he looked up from the screen towards Blonde. All of it was overwhelming. The information was flooding in faster than her brain could process it all. She took a few steps forward to turn around and look at her bar. It was all roughly the same but rather than being in its normal spot against the coast on the beach it was tucked away in the slums and back alleyways of some sort of sprawling alien metropolis. A few people on the street even approached her. Species that she had no idea what they were or what they wanted. Her hand reached into her jacket to grasp at her pistol while still concealed in her coat. ”You open? Me bredren and me just got off the night shift. Could use a drink.” What looked to be a troll with fiery red hair looked down at the girl and by his side he was flanked by a small gnome and a half orc. ”We’ve never seen your bar before. You guys just open up?” The half orc asked kindly. Blonde could understand them, which was odd. They spoke basic. So slowly releasing the pistol grip, she smiled beneath her mask and the lights on her masked turned to their standard yellow. ”By all means. Come inside, have a drink.” She said with some mild intent in her robotic laced voice. To the more magical adept of Last Chance a powerful and cosmic based magic would light up Blonde’s bar in the invisible residue of powerful magic that could be felt for miles. The city was still recovering from a large attack and there was sure to be people of note in the city. For now though, Blonde would just lead the three men inside.
  20. The elf helped the gentleman gather his fallen goods, and awkwardly she smiled through his apologies as if he were inconveniencing her any. Emerald hues glittered in amusement. It had been her fault for arriving without sending word beforehand. Also, she was a bit occupied with her surroundings to see where she was going. This was her first time being in an encampment, the overall hustle and bustle were impressive enough to draw the elf's attention. When they collided, there had been a passing pause between them as they awkwardly tried to figure out what to do. Taking the initiative, the gentleman desperately attempted to smooth the issue over with his apologies while gathering the items she knocked out of his arms. Shanti hoped that the awkwardness was just the naturalness of the man, and not because of who she was. In the city itself she felt like she was being suffocated by the constant worrying; here there was no one around to tell her to sit down and doing whatever she was doing, no one to tell her to go lay down and rest, no one to be the mother hen. Appreciative beyond the use of words, these strangers took care of her and offered her shelter and comforts they did not have to sacrifice for her, but such attention is foreign to her. "Please, don't worry about it." Her voice was still a bit hoarse, the angry bruise decorating her neck is a raw and angry looking thing; blues, purples, and yellows made it look like a miserable storm dancing beneath her pale skin. Talking was difficult, more so since she liked to talk. Everyone was new and strange, any opportunity to learn more about them she would take, often to the annoyance of the people who claimed to be her caretakers. They don't understand that Shanti may never get another chance to soak in the knowledge of these people. Any chance may be her only chance. "I'm sorry to bother you, but could you point me the direction of Michael?' His name had been burned into her memory, a soft little song she had repeated over and over again during her stay. When she awoke, the first question on her lips was about the man she had caught on the beach. The next round of questions was about his health: was he okay? How terrible were his injuries? Could she help him? What could she do to ease his discomfort? Shanti hadn't the strength to do anything, but her determination didn't know that it was ready to do war once more. Thankfully (unfortunately) she wasn't needed, leaving only to heal herself. Pointed in the right direction, she gave her thanks and quickly shuffled forward. She felt like she was continually swaying back and forth when she walked, the strange shifting of weight (or lack thereof) throws her off. It is to the point now she has to force herself to think about walking, to think about grasping things with her left hand for her right no longer existed. The most straightforward task was no longer common and as frustrating as it was, she welcomed this change. There was no reason for her to be angry at the loss or want to seek revenge because she is alive and these days she will not waste them on pettiness. Though she is a bit sour about the loss of her staff. The passing thought made her bored hand sift through the pale strands of curled hair; her lips turned into a pout that did well to accentuate the angles of her soft face. It was an item her master had given her when she was a child, her very first gift from him, and she is not above a bit of sentimentality. She lost it in battle at least, and not because she was careless. Briefly, she opened her only arm in thought, remembering when she had caught Michael and then when she had lost her arm protecting him. Beyond her sourness, she can at least say that the loss was well worth it, that she would do it over and over again if it meant saving him. Such decisions are not trying to make. @amenities
  21. Off in the distance, she heard the inkling of laughter; it made her smile, relieving the ache in her chest by a little. The bit of light to the darkness was reduced by the sounds of lapping waves delicately dancing along tarnished shores. Nighttime covered most of the aches and pains of the city, giving the eyes and hearts some reprieve that can't be found during the daylight. Right now the moon lazily hangs amongst bright stars; there isn't a single cloud to be seen, making the hour a refreshing one in comparison to the last few. Again, the laughter broke through the sounds of water. The struggle to sit down on her own left her a bit breathless, but the prize of serenity was worth the price of pain. Her body - much like Last Chance - was healing. Ribs were broken, her right arm was lost, a nasty bruise painted the entirety of her delicate throat - really, she looked a damned mess. Injuries and a myriad of cuts covered her small form in an abusive manner, showing a story of a battle that was won but not without sacrifices. Has it been a week? Less than so? Shanti wasn't precisely sure since a majority of that she had been battling against her body to heal faster. Between moments of consciousness, she had seen blurred faces with prominent voices, their words lost to her but their concern not. People entered and left the small room she had been kept in, some would say something to her, others would hold her only hand, the rest would be silent, but she could feel their presence. It was unfortunate that she had been so weak, for she would have liked to speak to these unfamiliar faces, thank them for their bravery. When she had finally woken up she was alone; that was two days ago. There was no more fighting, and without a clear purpose, she felt a bit lost. She wasn't trained to do much and being a foreigner she felt incredibly out of place - by no fault of anyone! When they weren't busy, many people took the time to speak with her, and half the time they'd give her something small to do. Being busy kept her mind off her losses, it made her feel more grounded, no longer lost out in this weird orbit. Such small pleasures she did not take for granted as she was just as surprised as everyone that she was still alive. Dredge had tried his hardest to kill her, but he was thwarted by grander forces he hadn't anticipated. He was so close, she thought to herself, flexing her bruised fingers in wonder. In a single moment, she had lost her arm and then almost her life, yet she hadn't been afraid when she and death shared a moment. Should one be frightened by that? It was a thought that worried her in moments of silence such as this. Was she indeed that ready to die for others, to set aside her life for something more significant? Was she allowed to be so .. so proud? A soft breeze sifted through the long strands of tousled hair; the silky strands tickled her cheeks; the sensation woke the elf out of her deep meditation. If given a chance, if she had to return to those moments of near death, she would do it over and over again. Absolutely. Pulling her legs to her chest, she wrapped her single arm around them and rested her cheek atop her knees. It was dark, life was still happening around her, and it was peaceful. Setting: Last Chance - 1 week after this event.
  22. ”Our time has come. For hundreds of years you casted us down, but it only amplified our hatred. It only made us stronger.” “While you rested upon your laurels and in your cities, bathing yourselves in the creature comforts of civilized life, believing the lie that your people were safe and protected. You grew fat. Lazy. Incompetent. Your failures gave birth to us. We have grown lean, strong, and hungry. We will have what you for so long have denied us. We will have blood... We will have death... We will have revenge.” “We are Legion.” Objective 1 Ocean waves crashed against simplistic amphibious landing craft. The open air shined the early morning sun down on rows of armored uniformed and organized soldiers. Standing in neat rows of three, the men wore the soulless helmets of Legion. Their visors blackened and their uniforms had a metallic faint shine of iron armor. They held their rifles tight to their chest, and fear had all but gripped them. Not fear for the battle to come, no that was only the afterthought to the terror that stood before them. Many of the men had only seen Dredge in passing or standing upon a balcony for their graduating infantry class. They had never seen the dark and terrifying monolith of evil in person. The sheer and utter gravitas of his presence was both inspiring and horrific, and who were they to warrant such a guest? They had merely been graduating class zero zero nine, they were nobodies. Trolls, Hobgoblins, Ken-Ku, a mixed batch of standard infantry from the wilds and boondocks of Terrenus. Yet their lord was riding with them to certain death. ”Keep your head low. Find cover and advance quickly! Secure the beach head and clear those murder holes! Fortifications will be forward, remember your training and follow me and you’ll probably survive this. They will be expecting us after all.” Dredge said in a stern militaristic voice. ”Take back your pride! Take back what belongs to you!” Dredge yelled out to his men. Readying himself, Dredge pulled his bastard sword and prepared a telekinetic barrier above his landing craft to protect his men and himself from incoming fire. Artillery shells hammered down around the ocean and splashed water against his armor. Within the waters boats around him were struck with explosive shells. Men sunk to the bottom of the eastern ocean and died. Yet Dredge remained still, gears and cogs began to rotate and soon the ramp that divided them between the enemy dropped. Expecting a full force of fire, Dredge thought the Terric military would open fire upon him and his men with MMGs, snipers, and any small arms weapons that could hit one at one point five kilometers. Yet, when the ramp dropped, he was still only met with the explosions of artillery fire. ”Oh. Yeah that’s right.” Dredge said with a rather disappointed voice. ”God this world sucks.” He sighed and said the same disappointed vibe and voice. ”ADVANCE!! SPREAD OUT!! DON’T LET THE SHELS HIT YOU!!!” Dredge yelled out to his army. Spreading out between themselves it was a game of chance. It was one thing to see your enemy in front of you and strike them down. It was an entirely different game to leave up to fate and see the man next to you be blown to pieces. Artillery shells took one to four at a time. Yet undeterred they had pressed forward with speed and intensity until they hit what Dredge had expected. Coming within range of their small arms. Dredge had his men halt even in the face of the explosive shells that continued to go off. What they faced ahead of them was more than a mine field. Explosions rocked the beach and the shockwaves had already filled his new army with slight fear. Yet despite that fear, Dredge stood with them on the front line. He lead from the front. Dredge wouldn’t dare go out from stray shell. If he were to be struck down by a random artillery, then he did not deserve the title of Supreme Overlord. Passing on orders to his men, they all lined up and prepared themselves. Dredge gave no grand speech. He simply pointed his sword forward and had it ignite in flames the burned white hot for all to see. He melted their fear with his presence and filled them confidence and bravery. ”KILL THEM ALL!!!” War cries echoed behind him, it was time to do battle. Behind him the roars and cries of thousands echoed in force against the fortifications of Last Chance. They would drown out everything around them as every man pushed forward to take the beach. Explosions and small arms took out men as they ran towards the beach fortifications. Their courage was spurred by the Overlord himself who charged among them as one of their own. Objective 2 Darkness. Locked away in complete and utter darkness, men and women had been all but strapped and locked to the walls. Sealed away in a metallic world and cut off from everyone and everything but each other. It was enough to drive some to madness. But they had conquered the insanity of their situation, time and training had hardened them. The necessity to not only survive but to thrive was what drove them forward, and when the light finally came on. They were ready. A dim red light illuminated the metallic prison to show the darkened armor of Legion’s best. Commandos, elite warriors who had shown exceptional aptitude in the art of war. Many of them had already tasted war and combat before they had ascended into the ranks of Legion’s commando program. Orcs and other monsters that had faced the Terric military in the various squabbles and skirmishes that plagued the land, but now they faced them once more. Not as the petty monsters and demons that they once were. Now they would face them as an elite force death dealers and soldiers. ”Thirty seconds.” A scrambled and almost robotic tone came from the vocalizer of a helmet. The various weapons they held went through their last checks. Weapons wracking and cocking echoed through the chamber. They knew what they had to do, and for most of them they knew this was a one way trip. Yet they were ok with that. ”Ten seconds.” The scrambled voice rang out again. There was a moment of complete silence before the light within the cabin turned green and a feeling of weightlessness would take over. Shaking and rattling against their will, the men felt the press of intense Gs against their systems. ”Deploying buffer.” The source of the voice, a black clad legion commando with a red strip across his helmet reached out and slammed his palm against a hand imprint on the side of the wall. Flooding the cabin with green runes and sigils, the sense of falling lessened until the container hit what was undoubtedly concrete or stone. The cabin shook violently with impact and within the blink of an eye, daylight flooded the cabin to reveal the high walls and stone guard towers of Last Chance prison. There was no hesitation on their part, stepping out of what could now be seen as multiple drop pods within the prison rec-yard, commandos quickly raised their weapons to their shoulders, and fired upon the guards within the towers. Many of the hard working guards were gunned down in an instant, others with more experience hit the deck and sounded made sure to sound the alarm. ”Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, proceed with objective one. Remaining teams push to objective two.” With the commandos now within the prison, it was time to raise a little hell. High above them soared the forms of massive dragons, their job was a simple one. Them and their riders were tasked with keeping out the city guard and Terric military forces from reinforcing the prison long enough to allow for extraction via them or through the ensuing chaos that would come if all primary objectives were achieved. The military would certainly arrive, and when they did, they would be met with
  23. There were several lines leading into the encampment north of Last Chance. All of them entailed a detail of prisoners, their delineation based on the prisoners’ state of mobility. Some were walked in cuffed, some were carried in or dollied in wearing muzzles; some yet were wheeled in on stretchers with sheets over their heads. All would be subject to reanimation, metallurgy, analysis, and retromental facilitation in order to see what could be gleaned from their bodies and dying thoughts. Leading through wired fences draped in tarps and magically enhanced barbed wire, a selective anti-magic field, and a series of other security measures, prisoners were ID’ed by blood and placed in guarded and gated cells. This settlement of prisoners, celled individually in variance from dead to alive, took up about half of the massive interrogation tent. The other half was composed of a series of steel receptacles within which a desolate regime of interrogators ruthlessly pried answers from Legionnaires— from their prey. From the other side of the encampment it was jeered at as “the circus.” Indeed, to any who ventured into the stinking pits of the tent, the circus was in town. To the tireless men and women who ground prisoners through cogs and reviewed tables of torture, the show must go on, and on, and on. Each interrogator got their own room of ribbed steel. The heat and shrieks and blood mingled in an iron vapor that disgusted many. Most interrogators were to take shifts and submit to therapeutic wellness checks in order to ensure mission integrity. After achieving certain wellness scores on a repeated basis, select interrogators were allowed the liberty to continue interrogations beyond the initial quota. Michael had proven himself a ruthless interrogator. While some lower interrogators were given rooms with one-way mirrors, his was a steel box of fire and pestilence. Prisoners who had been deemed of high priority but had resisted speaking were passed from lower-ranking interrogators up, until they had either become carcasses or sufficient answers had been sussed from their pulped psyches. This was an art exhibit for the Peacekeeper who, by some, was just barely worthy of his title if at all; he sliced and carved, cauterized and plucked every fiber away from a being. The talent he honed was keeping them alive as long as possible, keeping them talking until after the life had bled from their eyes. The last thing he wanted left alive was their lips, their tongue, their very convictions. Only two days after the battle, all of their hatred and diatribe would be as fresh as bloody roses to the Wielder. “‘Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you,’ I told him,” said the manic and pale, white-haired Michael, walking in a slow circle around a Meron Skin. This had only been one of Dredge’s rumored confidantes, there was barely any intel to support their presence here. But Michael was voracious. He waved a scalpel, a habit he’d inherited from a surgical mastermind of archaic and far-away origins, as he circled. “But the fucker still came at me!” Mike swiped down to punctuate his words, forging a barbarically deep slice down the back of Meron’s scalp and back, all the way from right ear to left right hip. “And you followed him. For what? WHY!?” The heat in Michael’s room climbed to surreal heights in his times of greatest exasperation. Perhaps he had masked a little too much madness in his wellness therapy— he was simply brimming with rage and fire that turned his room into a veritable oven of despise. “What did he want to do with Last Chance?” he said softly, a stark polarization against the jerking motion with which he pulled Meron’s head back by the hair. It was disgusting, unfortunate, and convenient, but Michael could smell before he could see that the soaked Meron had died from dehydration. Where did Meron go? Nowhere. He was pushed into the corner with the four other deceased in Michael’s series of interrogations, his chair vacated for the next profile on the clipboard. "Mayumi” echoed his voice from inside the hotbox that was Commager’s Interrogation Cell. They hadn’t managed to get her last name, but somebody had acquired a first through double agent intel.
  24. ---Before the Legion's retreat during the Battle at Last Chance--- ---Moments after Shethid and Mayumi was captured--- ---Inside the Black Spear cartel's mindscape" It was a different place, one unlike Terrenus. Travelling here in the flesh was both a dangerous act and a necessity, one Middy willingly for the sake of his ideals. The misty darkness seemed to impeded not only his vision but also his progress in this directionless, endless mindscape, one born from the Black Head of the cartel. He knew that his every move is being watched, every labored step he took was entertainment to all cartel members. It was a simple congregation of mind and spirit, all members are simply limbs, extensions of the giant mass of consciousness which was the Black Head. This congregation, this have mind was the secret to the cartel's power and the root from where this mindscape was born. Such was the cost of their power, the loss of privacy, of individuality, the very meaning of their life, their free will. They are all slaves to the Black Head's will, to all her pleasures. And it was a burden that Middy must end. A few breaths ago, he was on the deck of the cartel's ghost ship contemplating on the loss of one of the cartel's members, Shethid Faqir. In the past he had considered that spineless coward a friend and an older brother. Now, he only saw him as a valuable asset, important but still expendable. When did he ever become this cold, calculating bastard? Or has he always been like this and was simply denying this part of him for all this time? This was why he decided to enter the Lady's realm, a place where her power, and all the cartel's power lies. Perhaps he was simply deluded and chose to enter this realm in his own fleshly vessel and not as a figment of thought. But he needed to have an audience with the Lady Blackhead, a conversation long overdue. His boots slogged through the thick sludge of some kind of liquid, black with a metallic stench. Every time he visits this place it was always a different theme, a different environment. He knew that this mindscape is simply a reflection of the Lady's thoughts. Nothing in here could ever harm him, (WIP)
  25. It was a tense situation. For all his training and experience, Delistair hadn't seen such a large force being mobilized before. The discipline of the military's training wasn't for naught, though. All of the soldiers were prepared to fight, to defend their homes against the terrorists who were foolish enough to try and test their capabilities. It was not as if the Terran military were cowards or incompetents. Although they had less surveillance equipment in the wilds of the land, reports from victims of the attacks on the village near the Dark Forest had reached the authorities several months ago. The bigger attack on Tormo had cemented the group of terrorists as a high-risk threat. Their rate of growth was astounding, goaded by the charisma of their leader. Thus, even in the midst of the civil war, the military had diverted much of their resources to monitoring the group's movements and actions, to come up with a strategic plan to hit them hard. They assessed enemy strengths and forces through strategic placement of resources, and through the intel provided to them by allied forces. Vigilantes had taken it upon themselves to exert justice on the terrorists, and although they had been beaten back, they had provided additional information on the Legion's troops and composition. Constant pinging of the comms device by Terrenus' orbital satellites on the undercover agent whom the military had successfully planted in the Legion had allowed them to track enemy movements, from the north where the infamous Red Festival occurred, south towards the major cities of Ashville and Last Chance. The momentum of the army led military analysts to believe that Last Chance was the next target, and though some forces in Ashville were prepared for battle, most of military's forces had been concentrated in Last Chance. It was here that Delistair Paige - a sergeant from the Recon division of the Terrenus military had been deployed, his specialty in abjuration magic an asset in putting up large-scale defensive magical spells throughout strategic areas in the city, as well as enchanting the equipment of front-line troops with anti-magic properties.
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