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No Time for Others: The Madame in Valinde

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INTRODUCTION: THE MADAME LINDA LINDA


The city of Valinde was quite the grand thing. The Madame dod not expect to traverse such a wondrous city but time was not kind to such a prehistoric place. Long gone was its former glory all brought to ruin by past tragedies of which the Madame Linda Linda has no care for. She only needed to enjoy whatever spoils this land could give her. She was in the simplest sense, a looter of antiques. 

She had cared not for what others called her, she only cared for the power such ancient relics possess. She was a hoarder after all, and the more strength she can gain the more stuff she can own in her hands. One can say she was almost a monster with the way she was going. Armed with the legendary artifact Baeoi, the Madame enters the city of Valinde in hopes of gaining whatever this city can offer. 

She had heard stories of a relic, one guarded by a banshee. If she can scour the place and force the banshee out, she would have one more weapon at her disposal. Her thirst for power is after all unquenchable.

Valinde better prepare for the advent of the Madame Linda Linda.


 

 

 

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INTERLUDE


And so came the woman herself, the one who calls herself the Madame Linda Linda. She was joined by her trusted aides- Khakina Khatun, Serraida Mavajo, Holly Sheathe and the other members of the Black Spear Cartel. Together they travel by air in their flying ghost ship and into the city of Valinde itself.

She was ecstatic, to say the least as the prospect of another hunt thrilled her. She was however concerned as well as this was another dangerous land that she and her allies needed to cover. There was perhaps a beauty in such hunt as well, as these crazy idiots were stupid enough to risk their lives in hopes of attaining something that only existed through whispers and fables.

The relic itself was a simple clock, one which adorns one neck. It was meant to give anyone excessive speed, an advantage this group desperately need. As long as one can run away, they would be able to live for another day. 

All of this is needed to ensure their prolonged survival after all.


 

Edited by Thotification

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THE MADAME LINDA LINDA 


"Keep your eyes and ears open everyone. We don't know what lies in these parts."

The Madame whispered caution to the others. She can sense it, the animosity and terror that the land seemed to exude. It was a sickening feeling as if one was not welcome in these parts. The legendary artifact Baeoi, however, comforted her. It was one of the few things that had kept her safe after all. There was also the Heaven's armor which had protected her from harm ages ago but now that she has relinquished possession of it, she was left with a weaker more inferior version.

She tore away from her thoughts to look up at the ruined arch which signified the entrance to this city. It was quite an ornate thing but time did a number on it. She wondered if she could restore this place to its former glory but such a task was too much for her. Not only the resources needed for such an endeavor would be a great hindrance but also the monsters which are supposed to reside within this place are enough to keep the normal person away from ever stepping foot within this land.

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HOLLY SHEATHE


Why do you keep bringing me to such random places? This place is too dangerous even for me!

Holly shrugged at the voice that entered her head. Her oathblade Sunscar was always a worry wart but Holly was not one to care. She was always a stubborn woman and pitting herself against the impossible was something she was proud of. She had always broken part her limits in this dangerous endeavors and while she never came out unscathed, she was just lucky enough to have survived.

Nevertheless, this place gave Holly the creeps. She shivered as they passed through the archway, one of the many entrances into the dead city. She can sense it the many dead souls that lingered her, ghosts that refused to leave the mortal coil. Holly's inherent ability was of life after all. She was a being with abundant life energy and her presence gives health and vigor to those within her vicinity. But such power was nothing before the horrors within this city. 

Holly can only hope that their numbers are more than enough to keep them safe.


 

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THE LADY WOLNOUGHT
(BLACK WALNUT) 


As they traversed the beaten path that was once the city's marvelous streets, the Lady Woldnought could not help but shudder. She was in all sense and purposes a natural coward and putting her in a haunted city among other thing was enough to make her figuratively die of fright. 

Her eyes shifted left and right in hopes that once something like a ghost appears she would be the first to run away. There are dozens of abandoned building and houses that littered either side of the streets. Some were mostly intact with the missing window or two, and some had their roofs caved in and the insides exposed to any looter brave enough to scavenge whatever belongings were left behind.

This was perhaps one of the housing districts of the city as there are fewer shops here and more homes. Wolnought can her hear teeth chattering though as she can almost imagine the dead ghosts of the dozens of families that once lived here. This was one of the worst experiences that Wolnought has ever suffered. She can only wait for this nightmare to end as soon as possible.


 

Edited by Thotification

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INTERLUDE 


This was perhaps the calm before the storm. As the whole party reached the center of the city, the sun was already high up in the sky. They had started this journey sometime after dawn and only now have they found a chance to rest. This was after all also part of the Madame's machinations. She raised a hand then and explained to everyone the need for rest.

"I cannot thank everyone enough for indulging this rather bizarre and untimely request of mine. I am only here to make use of my legendary artifact, Baeoi, but for the heart of camaraderie, I have invited everyone here instead so we may partake of this city's spoils. There are dozens of towers spread all over this city and as the stories say, there was meant to be a banshee in each of them. The challenge for each of us now is to choose a tower and defeat a banshee."

She paused then for effect. The other members are moree than content to just listen to her words. There was some kind of unsaid arrangement with all of them. They are all in fact eager to start the fight.

"I see. No need to consider, then. I say everyone takes a tower each and we'll race to see who gets to their banshee first?"

There was another round of nods but everyone is just either too enthusiastic or too frightened to speak.

"Well after the break perhaps. One hour. You all have one hour to prepare."


 

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THE MADAME LINDA LINDA


Her eyes trailed the retreating backs of her old companions each of them setting on their chosen path. There are more than enough towers in this city for everyone to choose from and there will not be a shortage of banshees any time soon. The Madame only hoped that everyone would return alive and well. These are not just simple opponents after all. Nevertheless, she had trust in the abilities of her comrades. She knew that with her blessing these ladies would at least survive the encounter. 

The Black Spear's path is in the end survival of the fittest. Survive even if you fail. As long as you are alive, you can return to finish what you've started. This time as a stronger and better person.

The Madame instead chose the farthest tower for herself. This was also a challenge as she needed to flex her weapon as much as possible. It was a dark path to the tower, even as the glaring sun is at its peak. There was something odd about this city. The eternal fog and the overall gloom made this place even darker than the Madame even anticipated. This was something that would come out of a horror freak show or at least from a B-rate horror movie, one that barely made any sales.

Well, there's no better path than forward after all.

In preparation, the Madame has unsheathed her faithful blade, Baeoi. It's weight and polish comforted her even for just a bit.

 


 

Edited by Thotification

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INTERLUDE - SANSALON MOMENTS


There was a little girl running up the street. Her hair was black but her skin was even darker. One can say she was from midnight but only someone who was familiar with the Blackspear Cartel would understand the horrors that were born within this little girl.

It was kind of enticing to something so pure and innocent taking on a momentous task. Her struggles would only lead to what she expected to be her objective for the day. The orders of her mistress are clear enough. Search and destroy. She did not know what this banshee thing is but she understood that she must do her utmost to destroy it.

She was inside the tower now. Her tiny feet clambered up the ruined steps. Her shadows flickered in and out of existence as the tower was in fact too dark from the lack of sunlight. What little light that manages to enter it comes from the smalle holes that were created as the tower itself was slowly crumbling from age.

She was at the top of the steps now and there she would meet the banshee. It was a truly horrifying thing and its first wail sent the little girl flying backward, her little back slamming into the wall. She coughed up blood but her eyes were boiling with enthusiasm.

Now this Banshee is something worth killing after all.

 

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THE MADAME LINDA LINDA


Worry streaked her face as she can sense Sansalon's plight. There was nothing she can do for the little girl but to trust in the skills she had instilled. Whether Sansalon survives is up to luck now.

Pushing her concern away, the Madame assessed her situation. The tower itself is already perilous but the problem is the banshee on top. Should she scale through the tower through the steps? A bit slow but she would have enough energy left. She could instead fly up from the outside but then the banshee might notice her too early. 

Whatever path I choose. It would still be a problem. The simplest option is the best way perhaps. This only reminds me of Sansalon. 

It was true though. For a simpleton like Little Sans, the easiest path is the best path for her. The girl did have the best instincts and battle sense out of every member of the group. No need to keep on worrying.

Sansalon, you can do it. I believe in you.


 

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INTERLUDE - MANA NAHI


No one in the cartel is as depressed as the woman known as Mana Nahi. She was once the poor innocent girl known as Naherin Weber but certain circumstances led her to develop her alter ego Mana Nahi. Perhaps the sheer horror and terror she has seen during the great war that her father had the misfortune to be part of. Her father at that time was a surgeon and she as a little kid was forced to help her father. He was a hard man and he had instilled the grittiness and sheer brutality, that was ever present in all fight, into this poor little girl. On that day Mana Nanhi was born.

A little trip down the memory lane was all the encouragement Mana Nahi needed as she faced the banshee before her. Its screeches and wails had assailed Mana Nahi so many times now that she had no idea if she was still alive or already dead. Such heavy injuries littered every part of her body. Ripping off her cartel coat to show her sincerity in winning this battle, the woman bared the marks of her life to the banshee. Dozens upon dozens of stitches riddled her body and even the newly created injuries the banshee has inflicted were already being stitched by these ensorcelled black threads.

Mana Nahi was not as strong as the others but through her tenacity, she has survived many battles. Even now the pain was insane but her will was still strong. Summoning whatever strength she had left she unleashed her utmost against this apparition before her.


 

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THE MADAME LINDA LINDA 


I feel for you Mana Nahi. Your sadness and grief was something that I too, willingly bear. We both share the burdens of responsibility for the crimes we have both committed. But stand proud my friend for you will be victorious in the end.

The Madame Linda Linda whispered these sentiments deep in her heart. She knew Mana Nahi will overcome this trial as the woman was wont to do but she feared the that Mana Nahi might lose herself again.

Nevertheless, Madame has more pressing concerns. There was this kinetic barrier in front of her, an obstruction that was keeping her from entering the tower. Whatever it was, or how it may have functioned was nothing before the Madame's brute strength.

She raised the legendary artifact Baeoi then, and with a grunt, she brought the blade down with both hands. It was a single slash but the barrier gave way like butter as the wicked blade cleaved through it.

Nothing will ever stand in my way ever again. Not with Baeoi in my side.


 

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INTERLUDE - NATALYA


There was another young lady within the cartel, one that was perhaps younger than Sansalon in terms of actual age. While Sansalon had the mind and body of a child, her true age was beyond human comprehension. Sansalon is too old yet too young that sometimes logic rarely applies at all. Yet there was Natalya or better known Natalya of Izral.

This young girl was born in the little town of Izral. Her family was poor and she was easily sold after her birth to someone who worked in one of Izral's brothel houses. She was a slave from a very young age. It was only recently that slavery was slowly being abolished by Justice and there was this young man name Middy that saved this little girl from that miserable life. Now Natalya is working her hardest following the same path her savior had taken. 

This brings us back to the present with Natalya of Izral gasping for breath as the banshee was gleefully sapping the life out of her with its unearthly wails. Even as death was closing in on her, her hand never stopped from completing the summoning circle she was so fond of. From within the circles and the sacrifices Natalya has offered appears a miracle.

It another ghost, another apparition that came from her summons. It was in the form of a wolf and it brought three other companions. These wolves howled before jumping on the distracted banshee. 

This fight has finally turned in favor of Natalya.


 

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THE MADAME LINDA LINDA


The Madame finally reached the top of her steps. She can feel it now her other comrades continuing their respective battles with the various banshees that existed within the city. Her heart ached for everyone and yet she knew that they all must face this trial alone. All of them must move forward on their own.

This was perhaps also baptism and a farewell to their old path. The path they all must take no longer converges into one. Everyone now has their own life, their own dreams. There was no longer a need for everyone to coexist together. After this is all over everyone may have their separate paths but in the end, we are still friends, companions. Even if everyone is no longer there, we are all companions at least in our hearts and in spirit. Have strength everyone.

Such a simple message but it would be enough to encourage her other companions. As everyone's fight rages on, so too must the Madame Linda Linda's fight commence. She gripped the hilt of her legendary blade Baeoi once more. She could feel its strength surging forth filling her being.

Khakina. Sera. Anna. Holly. Natalya. Little Sans. Mana Nahi. Aslom. Teddy.

Everyone witness.

All that was left now is that single step towards her the banshee waiting for her, towards a fate that she would forcibly grasp and possess.

"Come banshee! Show me your worth!"


 

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THE MADAME LINDA LINDA 


Was this the hardest battle she has ever fought? The woman known as the Madame Linda Linda did not have the time nor the privilege to engage in such philosophical debate as the banshee before her was doing its utmost to eliminate her.

Her wails and screeches were more than just awful sounds. Each scream, each wave of sound brought a brand new curse, a different affliction within the Madame's body. She could try to resist but ultimately she would soon succumb to the banshee's pressure. 

Even as she staggered upon the many curses welling inside her, the Madame was smiling. She was smiling because this was not enough to take her down. Her resolve cannot be shaken by such simple and childish antics. She had faced stronger and more dangerous enemies. She has braved even the gods. This thing before her is but a simple apparition, a stepping for the Madame.

Baeoi seemed to thrum in response to the Madame's rapidly rising resolve. She brought the blade forward once more and took one giant leap. It was her own leap of faith. Faith in her self and faith in what she has become. That singular leap brought her face to face with the banshee. There was a moment where time seemed to slow down and then came the Madame's blade on a downward arc, Baeoi cutting through the banshee and splitting the horror into two pieces.

It was a battle well fought.


 

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FINALE NARRATIVE


All good things have come to pass. All trials and tribulations do have an end. Here now comes the Madame, her body bloody and battered but her spirit, her will was never broken. She still stood tall even as her steps staggered every now and then. Her resolution kept here upright, her tenacity kept her from losing consciousness. It was a well-fought battle one that she has no wish to repeat ever again.

She has returned to the center of the city, the expected meeting place. Her companions are already there waiting for her. Everyone looked worse for wear. They were all beaten and broken and yet their spirits are high as ever. Some could barely even keep themselves awake and yet they all clutched that singular thing that symbolizes their victory.

It was an old clockwork pendant, one that was worn down with age. Despite its antiquity, one could still feel the power that seemed to emanate from it. They all held one as a trophy of their success. Such ancient mechanisms were beyond their scope nor comprehension but with time they too might unlock its secrets.

The Madame Linda Linda. Khakina Khatun. Serraida Mavajo. Natalya Friggadotter. Mana Nahi. Annalea Telleon. Aslom the Seer. Sansalon Falashin. The Lady Wolnought.

They were all that was left of the dissolved Black Spear Cartel.

As they all looked gazed at the setting sun, the party wondered what's next for them. But whatever happens, they would all take the path they need with their heads held high. 

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