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LukeRipstine

The Growing Moss - Totenborough

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Lukas stirred slowly as he came to his senses waking up to only remember the events of last night as he slipped from underneath a young maiden laid on top of him, she was a hybrid her slick skin coming from a deep primal lizard ancestor her bare skin underneath the sheets held more resemblance to her human side with the feint pattern of scales, one of the bartenders in the southernmost section of the city, residential. Her name was Trish and she and Lukas normally ended up on the second level of the city drinking to hell as some sort of a time passer the Totesbier they drank abnormally strong and the young lady being one of the best knew just where to find the best spots and just what to mix it with for every time Lukas had come to town which slowly became more frequently and their parties more fierce and intimate. 

He stood up carefully, slowly to give his senses and himself a second to fully wake. He'd just got back into town yesterday after a loose lead to an foreign artifact came up as nothing more than a goose chase, he recalled the memories as he searched the room for his clothes a simple black shirt and blue jeans eventually finding them hastily thrown onto the dresser. Having spent a lot of his time in cities his clothing usually matched the same tastes no matter where he was. Grabbing his shirt he threw it over his shoulder and started to put on the rest of his clothes as just behind him he heard the almost silent shift of covers behind him.  She must have woken up he thought to himself as he pulled his pants to his waist and just as soft arms slid down his own from behind him caressing his forearms and a soft voice in his ear.

Sweet nothings "Well isn't this nice? Morning, you're usually gone by now" she cooed laying her head on his back her soft and curly black hair tickling his back, he chuckled and responded "Well your usually not up this early, its a business day" she laughed a little before kissing the nape of his neck "Well the area around the bar has been a little dangerous lately so I figure I'd get some things done earlier than usual " she released him, picking up her own clothing that was scatter on the floor "And everyday is a business day for you. I can only imagine what you really do but you always seem too busy but if you just moved here we could find more time like this " Now released he slipped his shirt on, it still smelled like ale and her " What? blacking out?" he smirked turning around to face her as she finished picking up her clothes and for the first time in what seemed like forever, he gazed on her body a slim figure with soft curves, shoulder length black hair, and hazel marbles for eyes with a large scar in the shape of an asterisk above her right side pelvis and a head smaller, he'd come to the city just because she was the few people left in the world that tolerated him in one of the fewer places he wasn't wanted or in an abnormal amount of danger which in itself is a feat. She pouted slightly "You came here from all the way over in predators keep, you know exactly what I mean, even more so now" the room took a serious shade for a moment, a secret hidden behind their lips. Distilling the situation Lukas sighed "I guess you might be right, it could get dangerous" without missing a beat the girl piped up " Yeah so how about you handle the creepys around the bar today for me and then we can converse more about this....transaction" she scoffed and smiled "I'll be doing this for what again?" he grinned and protested lightly, taking a step forward lazily placing a hand on her hip "My love to keep you from leaving, I think that's a deal I can agree on" her cheeks grew peach as she  tip toed and kissed his cheek before brushing past him and into the bathroom. Turning he left the small room, into the hallway, and out of the place 

He'd handle his business like always with as lease shit as possible, though before hand he did have somethings he wanted to get out of the way. One in particular would lead him to the bastion, he had heard some interesting things from the part of the city with the most historical value that he wouldn't mind checking out and while he had the tendency of running into bandits and the like who mistake him for their own, the information to come from these encounters were an amazing and mostly useful.

Since coming to the city Lukas was almost in awe by the sheer diversity of the cave carved nook. As he walked he couldn't help but notice not only various types of humans like makeshift nephlin, hybrids of animals with dominate human genetics, half demons, half faye, and lots of other breeds that showed beings across the lands were in a forever heat but also humanoid beings and the rare intelligent beast with the blessing of a god. He could catch each of them in his sights as he walked threw the district with speed befitting a person with no important task at hand, not that he did anyway. 

The part of the area he had spent the night at was fairly safe, one of the better areas in the district, as he lead deeper into the outskirts though he could see more struggle and less joy of life. Every so often a beggar on the corner of a goods stall, people walking by with such little body mass they looked like they would fall over any moment, drunks and merry men that only seemed to react to nothing if anything at all they'd straighten slightly at the signs of the gatekeepers wandering threw on their daily routes. It couldn't be helped and inevitably as the size of the city grows more fools looking to earn a living or backed into a corner would try  their hands and fail becoming the all too common corpse rotting away in the ally ways of a the slums. It reminded him of home, his days struggling to survive. There wasn't even enough food in the city for him to steal, no clean water for him to grow, nor any crumbs to inspire to taste. That was in the past, he'd never live like that again and that city, it was gone by his own hands replace with a collection of bitter memories. In some ways it would never die. 

To kill something that cant be, memories. 

Edited by LukeRipstine

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Lukas continued, slipping threw the crowds as slipping threw the shadows. Losing himself further in the twisting roads of memories he day dreamed, black ally ways and towering figures, tearing winds and gloomy skies, cold blood and hard steel. Suddenly his instincts ripped him from the sick euphoria causing him to shift his attention. Behind him, slowly, a small hand reached towards his pocket grazing his side ever so slightly, it could have passed for the brushing of wind against his jeans if not for the roaring crowds of people that  surrounded him. The swift hand admittedly has more skill than the others, Lukas just now noticed the small hand just inches away from his pocket on his right side. He pondered for a second, he could turn around and confront the child or rather tiny persons but more importantly he wanted to scare the little bastard off. He continued to walk, the thief ever so closely followed him, their hand inching closer and closer. Lukas walked closer and closer to a stall, one right near an ally way. In one swift move Lukas grabbed the thief hand pulling it forward bringing an teenage boy with hair the color of fire and a face riddled with freckles right past him, flinging him into the ally way. Lukas wasted no time, like nothing happened he passed the ally and continued. Passing threw the rest of the slums with ease, he exited. The outer skirts of town was a sudden change from the streets, where the stream-like streets where crowded and warm the otter ring of the city was lonely and cold. Lukas like it way more than the city streets and although he was looking for the Bastion all he knew was it was on the outer skirts of the city. "This better be worth it" he sighed to himself before continuing into the outer ring. The stone and cave walls helped Lukas remember this was a massive cave system with lots of parts carved out ,old and new, it was a sort of spectacle, what a mass of people could do. Sure the caves were ancient but this modern day had brought such life to it and such growth its an entirely different place with only history to tell its tales.

Lukas gazed around the barren land, two pillar like posts stood out to him, the first one was distant at least a six hundred yards away, a little over 1/3 of a mile and the second one more than double that distance away. In stead of wondering what they where he decided to see.  Lukas focused, gazing, concentrating, as the tattoos that covered his left arm bloomed to life, sliding down and taking physical form, the form of ink. The form of something darker than shadows before melting into the ground,melting and vanishing being indifferent from the other shadows, Lukas' personal familiar  Ikiru kage . The mass was unbelievably fast crossing the distance almost instantly without a sound. Lukas' left eye took in the images from roughly the center point of the ability. 

The pillars them self's started off of a base platform which rose but a solid wood foundation into the air which had a basic spiral stair case around it. Four of the  gatekeepers diligently lazing around at the top side of them. They armored in a deep greenish grey leather outfit, a black tome stitched on their backs. It seemed like they were all equipped with two sets of hand cuffs which dangled on their waists, a sword and a dagger on their left, and a heavy looking cross bow which looked optional few carrying them as they all lazed around the towers. He had no doubt that they were sent her on patrols but honestly more of a disposal for the weak and lazy sections of the keepers. The more prosperous ones where in the city.

Lukas didn't feel it necessary to waste all of his time staring at them and with only minor distant threat of the keepers he felt confident, breaking into a dash across the dimly lit field. At the exact instant he darted his familiar returned to him, inking itself back on to his skin covering his left arm in ancient illustrations. In seconds he was further out into the field of aging rock and hard stone. Slowing his pace to a walk Lukas took in the surroundings the more bare stone and ancient rock as he got closer and closer to the edge of the city, gazing further down Lukas could see the opening of the cave where a set up of more guard posts with more heavily armed guards stood attentive to the line of foreigners beneath them with a group of graves providing thorough checks and questioning. Lukas knew the check point was going to be busy but the closer he got the more it outclassed his imagination. One of the patrons, second form the line beginning stepped out of the line to meet the grave. Putting his arms out to his side in a "T" like formation the man, or what Lukas assumed it to be, looked like a mixture between a mole and some sort of fish as his hands where webbed on his brownish blue skin, gills stood-out ribbed not on his face but along his arms pulsating lightly, only wearing a large black sack on his back that looked hastily stung with simple stings that seemed to cut into its arms,  and his large beady black eyes coldly meet the grave condemning the creature to a lazy check. 

The line stretched back for what seemed to be hundreds of yards with even more of a mixture of almost unrecognizable entities and persons. The tower wasn't just of one but of several looming structures crawling with an abundance of gatekeepers with heavily modified crossbows that could only allow them to shoot further. Even the flight groove and strings looked deadly.

Lukas moved with a new sense of actual danger and need for stealth melting into the shadows a fine mixture illusion magic and his familiar stretching itself over him creating a sort of cloaking which allowed him to move almost undetectable along the cave walls as he gotten closer to the entrance. The walk was longer than he expected the cave appearing short until he'd began venturing towards its opening as if it wanted to keep him inside its walls forever. He slowed his movements when he became within ear shot of the tower faintly he could hear the grave speaking to the creature in a louder than normal tone. the grave had pulled a small leather pouch from the creatures back sack, even from this distance Lukas could hear the jingle of veils as the grave shook the pouch in front of the creature. After a few more lines exchanged the grave just simply waved the creature threw and began to check the other patrons. Lukas could hear more jiggling as the creature started coming towards  him and down towards the city. No wonder why the area is getting dangerous who could have guessed? The creature only made it a few more feet before the shadows themselves wrapped around him drawing him into themselves making him vanish faster than a blink, Lukas' sarcasm fell on his own thoughts as he passed the first of several towers slowly. He'd keep the creature there until he returned 

A few more minutes past and a slew of dangerous and simple people drew into the city. I'm not about to play hero and fix everything, its never been that way. Lukas thought as slid past the lip of the cave into the sun. His shadows receding against the light drawing back onto his arm as ink, they were always lazy in the sun and that's why he used both illusion magic with his shadows. Something that wont fade so easily. Rounding the corner Lukas followed onto a flat stone ledge that trailed above a small divot coming on to a rampart.

After he was far enough from the entrance of the cave he let his magic dwindle away walking along the old carved walls and the seemingly dusted path.

He'd burn the next two hours walking along the rampart wondering about the history as if he could relive the battle or pluck the details straight from history. 

 

 

 

Edited by LukeRipstine

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Lukas returned rested as he snuck past the guards again wrapping himself in ancient magic and illusions. By this time the check point had thinned out considerably only having two people in line trying to enter the city, both of which seemed to have complications with the guards, they wouldn't be passing threw soon.  Back to the necessary  Lukas breezed down the hallway stopping near the pocket of shadows he'd sustained with a captured mysterious creature in it. Lukas found that it could lead him to a bigger portion of the drug dealing league within the city. If it was still awake. Lukas could feel the creature  moving, struggling, against the shadows when they first claimed him and he continued to struggle for a half of an hour before he finally calmed down still searching for a way out but not as frantic and now hes completely still. Lukas toyed over the fact the creature could be trying to trick him but What good will that do? even if he thought he could catch me by surprise . Lukas looked at the shadow pocket, normally if anyone looked in the same place they would only see simple shade and unless they had an abnormally high mana sense or a really good intuition they couldn't sense these still pockets but Lukas could sense, feel, and see both on and threw each facet of his shadows so he glanced at the man for a moment silently watching the rise and fall of his chest. Subconsciously commanding the shadows Lukas started his way back down the path, hands in his pocket and shadows melted into his own.

 

Edited by LukeRipstine

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Lukas' steep back into the city making the layout of the guards post a note deep within his mind, no telling when he'd ever need the information. Moving threw the crowds he slowly traced his way back into the slums of the city near where he had rested the day before. If  could collect detailed information from one for the dealer then I'd need some information from one of the users too. That's the only way I can get more information as to how far drugs have spread. At least what ever the hell this one is. He could still feel the creatures movement which had slowed significantly from the pure panic of random captivity to a bested still Maybe he passed out?  Lukas thought to himself as he passed threw the somewhat familiar stalls. Stalking near the edge of a fruit stand a young boy with hair like fire and a cheeks  stormed by freckles caught the slight of his attention. If not the familiar swift hand it was more the broken and empty glass vial the boy clutched in an empty hand as he reached for an deep scarlet apple which lay slightly out of the stall keepers view. Drops of blood  glossed the vial Must be dedicated uh? To such a small vial... Or addicted   Lukas' intuition gave way to a bird and so he picked up a stone.

 Straightening his posture with a quick brush Lukas brushed back his hair bringing more light to be swallowed by his deep black eyes and light grey pupils making his appearance more fierce but ever so lighter as he strode over to the stall.  The boy didn't even notice he was in danger until Lukas' hand wrapped around his wrist.

"Little thief what do you think you're doing uh?"

Lukas said it loudly enough for the stall owner to hear his won voice intimidating and deep. The child's eyes filled with dread as they snapped his attention onto Lukas the child shaking lightly from the shock even still the hand the child gripped the broken glass vial didn't waver not even when the child tried to pull back his hand squirming captive. The stall owner, a white haired hybrid who seemed to be of amphibian decent. His skin had long dried up leaving him looking more like a husk than a man, stood to his feet. Lukas intervened before the man started to come closer, instead lifting the boy into the air to show the man the thief.

"Here, I can take care of your little problem for you."

With the free hand he had Lukas dug into his pocket fishing out a few silver pieces to toss at the man. Still the undeniable look of repulsion in the mans face was clear, he didn't care what happened to the child as long as his problem was solved. The few silvers the man picked up shyly was just a plus.

With that Lukas was off, he had lowered the child just enough for the boys feet to skim the ground as he walked searching for the next ally way. Some where hidden to let the shadows consume the boy too.

It was a few moments before Lukas accomplished just that and set off further down the street.

Edited by LukeRipstine

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Lukas relaxed slightly, the soft click of the inns room door behind him seeming to echo in the empty room. Still having about two or so hours left until his promise rang he wanted to use his time carefully Though it wont take more than five minutes. Lukas' tailing shadow grew forming an lump mass as if ejecting mass throwing out the first of the captured while slashing over Lukas too, his magic bending his appearance with much darker skin tone, brown marbled slits for eyes and even making himself appear shorter. Going further, the appearance of his shadows changed to be more transparent, imitating some sort of wind ability.  At first Lukas didn't bother to make heads or tails  of the creature that was unlucky enough to had caught his eye but now he could take a breath to try to figure out. From initial glances Lukas thought the creature was amphibian, having a grey blue skin with a slimy like glitter, but it didn't have any gills from Lukas could see and he could see lots. The creature had been still on the floor and on second thought Lukas pondered if the gleam could be sweat instead of a line of mucus. Either way Lukas wasn't amused at the possible mess to clean. 

"Disgusting get up. You'll stain the floors."

He lashed his heel out onto the humanoids chest which sent its big yellow eyes to roll in their sockets its eye lips flashing open a few times before it came out of its sunned state. Even thought its skin was already blue Lukas could have sworn as soon as the humanoids eyes met his own the blood drew from its face. Its instincts urged it to move but the mix of a crushing gaze right after being forced into and released from captivity kept it locked in place. It wouldn't have had anytime to move anyway as Lukas' eyes flared a slight wavelength shadows raising from under the humanoid on its neck, around its arms, around its legs, shadows spilled over binding the humanoid to the ground.

"Na, that's not enough."

Just as suddenly the humanoids left arm erupted in black spikes, a wisp of black smoke wrapping around the creatures mouth seemed to absorb the almost inaudible gurgle it had let out. Its blood pooling out of it mirroring the same ugly color if its skin, seemed to get drained not onto the floor instead  into the shadow. 

Lukas looked down at it, somewhat satisfied with the reactions. 

The more pain inflicted, the deeper the blow to any resolve this thin might have had.

He walked around the creature, the shadows rotated keeping the creature facing Lukas eventually arriving at the bed. Lukas sat on the edge looking down at the creature in silence almost as if he was deep in thought before finally, 

"What kind of shit is this?"

Shadows spooned at the creatures back pack only to fish out vails dropping them to Lukas' feet. Leaning over to grab one Lukas saw the vails were not filled with a black liquid as e initially thought he'd find, but small pieces of dehydrated red fruit.

Hook, line, and fucking jackpot. Lukas held the vail up closer to his face, it had been a while but he recognized the look of the berries, Odin's Haze, a drug that was infamous for its effects at killing after is high. It was as infamous as expensive and where ever the money trails lead, there is always a much bigger fish to be hooked which, in this case, was a bad thing.

" The money must be phenomenal right? I know, I sell it too I'm just higher up on the food chain than you."

The creature looked up at Lukas with stained eyes and a look of horror stuck to its face. At least the screaming is gone. 

Lukas could feel the creatures speeding heartbeat as he asked his next questions.

"I know you can speak, they wouldn't let just anyone carry this *Lukas paused, rolling his eyes* product on them gingerly. Who this far down is this for?"

The creature proceeded to spout its broken and guttural English, Lukas was only able to catch half of the important information through its pleads.

He's taking the drug to an trader near other side boarder of the residential districts, explains the dug flow through here but why here in New Totenborough? That's gonna cause problems. They sell it where they can but here is no longer an option. As long as I don't cause a bigger mess then I'm fine.

"Tell them the graves are packing down on this route and I'll be damned if I start loosing payloads because you fuckers can't do anything right. Change your route to go through one of the lower floors in Old Toten and come up through the graveyard."

Lukas put up a strong façade that the hydrid had no choice but to believe. The hybrid shook its head frantically almost on the verged of self harm before the shadows slowly began to cover it again.

"Oh and if anyone asks for me, tell them its from way above their heads"

With that last remark the shadows swallowed the creature and like a ray of light, rode the walls to the windows and out on to the streets. Focusing Lukas allowed the shadows to move further away from him, deeper into the slums only to drop the creature off in an randomly come across alleyway.

It should be able to live with a fractured arm, the blood loss isn't that bad. If this works then there should ultimately be less crime in the area, granted only drug related ones but its a step. Just like that, I'm on to the next. 

The tattoo on Lukas' arm slid off onto the floor convulsing into a sizeable mass before spitting out a young boy, his hands still full of bloody glass.

Edited by LukeRipstine

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