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supernal

What do you know? [closed]

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Twilight, afternoon shifting towards evening

You awake face-down on muddy ground. On a dirt road doused by recent rain. You realize you're only wet where your body is in contact with the ground. The copper taste in your mouth is blood – how hard did you hit the ground, and why can't you remember what happened before that?

East is a thicket of trees whose interwoven branches obscure the horizon. Rising above them, in a straight line unmoved by  wind, is a smokestack; danger which threatens to consume the woods in a wildfire, or a marker of warmth and civilization? Seeing it strikes fresh pangs of hunger in your empty stomach, and the sickly feel of cold all over.

You know what you are. You know how many limbs you should have, how many hands, how many fingers. You know clothing, and trees, and rocks. You know that the lack of wildlife sounds, the singing of birds, the chirping of instincts, is odd. You even know that where you are is unlike other places you've been, that something here is distinctly not right. But you don't know who you are. You don't remember what your face looks like, your name, your history.

Gathering your wits and coming to a stand you notice movements; you notice that you are not alone, that there are others with you, and that they are coming to a stand also. These others are within speaking distance and . . .

Current goal: Find information about where you are. 

OOC

Edited by supernal

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The first thing she did upon waking up was spit mud from her mouth, while sweeping the grime from off her face. There were plenty of bad ways to wake-up, but with mud in your mouth, up your nose and coating your eyes... well, that was one of the worst ways. Also she was wet, and she hated getting wet.

"You've gotta be fuckin' kidding me." she spat, managing to rise to her knees and whip her eyes off enough to see.

But being able to see quickly throw into focus the fact that she did not recognize where she was. Why was she here? Wait, who even was she? The woman looked down at herself, finding her her dark jacket and shirt covered in mud. For a moment, she seemed almost surprised to find she was a woman, but that was a weird thing to be surprised by. She knew she was human after all, so why would that be surprising? But then again, she couldn't remember her name, her family, her age, even her job. Well, she had a gun of some sort holstered on her hip, and a knife sheathed across from that. There was also the string of a bow across her chest, so she must be some sort of... well, someone that needs weapons.

Then came the sound of other people around her. Almost out of instinct, she drew the knife from its sheath and pivoted toward the noise. Why had she drawn the knife instead of the gun? Wouldn't the latter be more useful? She didn't have much time to question it as she prepared to lunge at whatever or whoever was positioned at her flank.

Edited by Tyler

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The blood in her mouth should have been the first sign that something is wrong.

She heaves herself up on unsteady hands, wet grime smeared on strands of her dark hair, her forest green trench coat, her trousers, her heavy boots. Choking on the crimson tang on her tongue, she throws up bile on the dirt, wipes her mouth with a clenched fist and moves to stand properly.

She does not think about the blank slate of her mind, not yet. There is no time for that, in an uncertain world, where the ringing silence is loud in her ears, the threads of existence slightly bent, slightly warped and unsettling.

There is smoke coming from the trees to the east. Unbidden, her legs start to move forward towards it when the sound of scraping metal alerts her, turns her head to look over her shoulder.

She sees the woman, dark-clad and streaked with mud. She sees the knife, gleaming silver and sharp in the sunlight.

She screams.

“No, no, please don’t hurt me!”

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Consciousness returns to him slowly, the faint, metallic scent of blood being the first thing his brain registers. He realizes the smell is also a taste at the same moment a high-pitched scream fills the air, jerking him roughly into awareness. Talons dig into the mud as he pushes himself up into a crouch, warily eyeing his surroundings - and his company. 

He looks between the two... strange ones, featherless and fur-less and small. Humans, his still-muddled mind supplies, though it gives no further information. They are out of striking range - good - and do not seem to have noticed him yet - also good, but unlikely to last long. While one seems terrified, easy enough to read despite the lack of a tail and other essential features, the other's stance and brandished weapon signal threat.

The threat isn't directed at him now, but that could change.

 He rises to his full height, the hood of his cloak down and showing his features. A low growl starts in his throat and he bares his teeth at the knife-wielding human, careful not to let the other out of his sight. 

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She had found another woman emerging from the mud next to her, but this woman did not appear to be the fighting type as she immediately panicked and started begging not to be hurt. Maybe she wasn't a threat after all.

But before she could say a word to the terrified female, another sound, one like that of a hostile animal, reaches her ears from behind. Switching her knife into her left hand, but keeping it directed toward the screaming lady, the dark-clad woman only now reaches for her gun, while pivoting her body so she can point a weapon at each being on either side of her. The sight of the other creature though, a huge, strange looking avian-like humanoid, almost causes her to open fire right then and there. But not knowing who she was or what she was doing previously causes her to hesitate.

"Who the hell are you two!?" she demands.

Her head has to snap back and forth between the woman she's pointing the knife at on her left, and the bizarre beast she's pointing the gun at on her right. Stuck right in the middle. It is not the sort of position she wants to be in.

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The knife stops in its path, and she breathes in deeply, a harsh gust of air escaping her lungs in equal parts relief and wariness, her mouth beginning to form words to speak, but then

Another being rises from the grime, feathered and snarling, and she watches as the other woman—the silver blade still pointed in her direction—raises her gun towards it, demanding to know their identities.

She thinks to respond with silence, at first, because really, what answer can she possibly give that?

“I don’t know, I—I don’t know, please,” she begs, breathless and unsteady, her hands coming up to show innocence, show meekness, show submission. “Please, put down your weapons.” Her legs move slowly, edging back towards the trees to the east. Her gaze vacillates between the armed woman and the avian creature. “Let’s all just calm down for a minute.”

Edited by ourlachesism

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His muscles tense further when the human draws another weapon and aims at him, ready to attack the moment it becomes necessary. The question of who he is gives him pause, however, and he belatedly realizes something.

He doesn't know.

This fact sets him further on edge - how can he not know who he is? He'd been too occupied with the screaming and the threat to notice at first, but he remembers nothing. 

When the other human speaks up, he turns slightly to stare at her directly. So he's not the only in this state? Is the aggressive human the same, or is she somehow responsible? His eyes flit between the two now, uncertain. The plea for them to calm down doesn't lessen his tenseness - nothing will, not when everything is unfamiliar and unknown and a possible threat - but the growl in his chest dies out, and he nods almost imperceptibly to the seemingly not-threat human.

"Do not know, either," he says hesitantly, his voice deep, echoing, and harsh. Turning to the armed one, he continues. "Do you?"

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The woman with the weapons glanced back and forth between the two, realizing they might just be in the same boat as she. She remained suspicious, yet she realized that if they were in cahoots to kill her, they probably would have done so already instead of flopped in the mud beside her. Thus, with a pronounced sigh, she lowered her weapons.

"I... I don't know who any of us are..." she shook her head.

The knife she put away, but the gun she held at her side, though her stance was more relaxed now.

"Do any of us know... anything? What are we doing here?"

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They riddle one another with questions – better than with arrows and knives, though each question and the lack of an appropriate response from their mind underscores the absurdity of their situation. How do you get on in life without being able to answer the question of who you are?

Each question is a single blow from a stonecutter's hammer, and each seems to bounce harmlessly off the monolithic wall which dams up their memories and keeps the flood of it at bay. But the final question is the hundred and first stroke, and it cracks the wall, and through the crack there first ekes then trickles a flow of memories.

GM note: Characters begin to get their memories back in order, meaning earlier memories surface faster and later memories, specifically around the events which led them to where they are now, remain vague and uncertain. Traumatic memories / memories with strong emotional impact are relived at least in part.  

In the middle distance west of the party, a grey, turgid cloudbank coalesces and rumbles; even from where they stand one can see the far off glimmer of rain moving closer.  

Edited by supernal

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“What are we doing here?"

She is about to respond to the query when something in her mind splinters, breaks into little tiny pieces, and there’s suddenly a voice that is hers but not from here, not from this time and place.

—Where are you going, please, don’t leave me, don’t leave me, I—

She clutches her head, squeezes her eyes tight against the haze, shattered images of a sunlit gaze, curled lips, steady hands—they mean everything, don’t they; they mean life and death itself—and she shakes her head, a strangled whimper scraping itself out of her throat.

No, she can’t do this, not right now.

“We,” and she’s shaking, she’s broken deep down; she knows it, feels it in every pore, “we should head over there.” A trembling finger points towards the east, where the smoke continues to rise, directly opposite to the brewing torrent in the clouds to the west. “Maybe there’s something, a building there, so we can get out of the rain." She gives the others an exhausted glance. “Then we figure out what is going on.”

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He lets the smallest bit of tension leave him when the human lowered her weapons, satisfied that she was unlikely to attack at the moment. 

None of them remember anything. Why? Frustrated, he searches his mind again, struggling to draw something, anything, out of the infuriating blankness. Finally, he feels something crack and-

A face flashes through his mind, brown and freckled and grinning and small. Hearty laughter washes over him, warm. Safe.

The vision - memory? - fades, and the warmth with it as he comes back into the present. Panic grips him for a moment - where is she why is she not here why can't I remember her name - but he shakes it off quickly, shoving it aside for later and forcing himself to focus on the situation at hand. 

He looks to where one of the humans is pointing, then back at the approaching clouds. The smoke makes him anxious, but she has a point. They can't keep standing here, and the chance of shelter and potentially answers is worth the risk.

He gives her an affirmative chirp and, after a moment, voices his concerns. "Be cautious. Smoke may mean others. Possible threats. But it's better than staying here, yes."

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As the other female human motions at the clouds in the distance, the dark-clad woman shifted her gaze to follow the gesture. But as she stares off into the distance, her eyes gloss over for a moment as though she is seeing something other than what she is physically looking at. Indeed, a series of images slowly materialize in her mind, simple memories of her past. She finds she had parents, siblings, a home, a neighborhood, a hometown, though she never sees herself as all these images naturally come in the first person. Most are good memories, yet there is a vague sense of melancholy to how she views them, as though they were of another life... another world entirely. Some time or place she can never be apart of again.

All at once, she realizes there is a world and life here that demand attention, especially when the bird-man mentions the possibility of threats lurking around the smoke. Somehow she gets the sense that fear of threats is something that defines her life now, though why she cannot say. It certainly explains why she's carrying so much weaponry, at least.

"Let's not waste any time then. If there are people there and they won't share their shelter, then we'll just have to take it." she states.

The cutthroat intention came so naturally she barely knew she said it until it was too late. It left her even more confused, in light of the innocent and strife-free nature of her childhood memories. What happened that could have caused her to view the lives of others so callously? Perhaps time would restore the answers, but for now, the immediate goal was clear. And so she quickly took the lead in hiking toward the smoke, slowly brushing mud off herself as she went along.

Still, she didn't care for turning her back to her new companions, so she frequently glanced over her shoulder to make sure they were following and not preparing to knife her in the back...

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The bitter taste in her mouth doesn’t really leave, even as she spits out the rest of the blood and bile on her tongue, heaves her boots fully out of the mud and trudges forward into solid ground, trailing the other woman as she stalks her way towards the forest in the distance. She finds she is strangely lenient of the woman’s ferocity, her ruthless pronouncement to take from those who may also seek shelter, despite the fear slowly ebbing away in her chest.

Better them than herself, she reasons.

Coughing a bit, she turns her head to smile tiredly at the avian creature, wordlessly motioning for him to follow them. Her body aches, and her fingers are cold and numb. She raises her gaze to the smoke and desperately hopes there is something close to shelter in the distance.

Her mind, in lieu of anything else, turns to the shattered images granted her and holds on tight to them, no matter how jagged and sharp they may be. She clutches her chest tight and breathes slow, breathes deep, breathes ragged.

She is not sure if recovering her memories is a good thing or not.

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From the quagmire of their muddled memories, bright points bubble up through the muck and burst on the surface. With each bubble popped, with each flare of illumination, the memories rush forward unbidden with increasing tempo and urgency. They are not crippled, the ripples of their revelations may not even affect the expressions on their faces, but the pain of transformation, of leaving the person who they were for those brief moments of isolation and becoming the person they used to be – that pain is inescapable.

Names join the medley, among the string of them their own. As a group they break through and discover – a city. To their immediate right, south-east, raises a craggy cliff wall. To their left it slopes down in a precipitous fall. Ahead of them, northeast, a gate, barring entrance into the city, at least through the main road upon which they tread; next to the gate a guardhouse; behind the guardhouse a supply warehouse which, even from this distance, admits through its windows an assortment of food stores and tools.

It takes just the remote suggestion of food for the group to realize they're hungry.

It takes only one among them, whether keen or simply fortunate, to notice that the glimmer of distant rain behind them was not so distant anymore. That an odd sound grew in volume as the rain neared, a sound like grinding metal or a broken engine. That the rain was not water, but metal, and that though they had time to think and to act, this metal rain was advancing in their direction.

It didn't take anything special, not a piercing gaze, not even a fluke of chance, to see that above them were more moons than Valucre (one of those names) should have; that the moons multiplied and divided when out of sight.


0zkTcxA.png

1 = housing
2 = gate 
3 = guard
4 = supply
5 = memorial
6 = lodge
7 = Recreational Center
8 = Garage
9 = Repairs
10 = Armory
11 = Lobby
12 = Lab - Experimental
13 = Lab - Restricted
14 = Manufacturing
15 = Lab - Xevn Tower remains (basement levels 1-10)
16 = Water well and pump
17 = Offices

Edited by supernal

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The dark-clad woman seemed in a daze as the memories slowly resurfaced, her childhood life slowly coming back to her bit by bit. But it wasn't a memory of her life that caused her to suddenly stop dead in her tracks, but rather, a memory of herself. For a moment she was frozen in shock, realizing why she had felt like her childhood had been an entirely different world, and why she was surprised to find herself a woman when she first awoke. Those things made sense now, yet the connection between them and now was still missing. What had happened to cause such a disconnect between who she was then and who she was now?

She shook her head to try and clear the thought before the other two asked about it, instead pushing herself forward toward the smoke. The arrival of the metallic rain only served to reinforce the need to hurry toward shelter rather than waste time with mental conundrums. Subsequently she hastened her pace until they reached the outskirts of the city. At this point she stopped to take it all in, the sight of it all coming as yet another surprise to her, though a far more welcome one.

"Keep moving." she urges the other two, drawing her bow from her back and notching an arrow.

Again, she doesn't understand why grabbing for the bow came more naturally than the gun, but she reasoned it would probably be better to use a silent weapon anyway. If the people here were of the hostile variety, it would be better to kill them softly rather than alert the entire settlement to their presence with a gunshot. Thus, she keeps the bow at the ready as she slows her pace the closer she gets to the guardhouse, changing from a sprint to a measured, stealthy jog. So far she hasn't detected anyone, but she anticipates that won't last long, given the size of this city.

Edited by Tyler

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