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Nightmare Descends 2:4B - Before the bell trolls

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Spoiler

@Dolor Aeternum as P.U.D. Celene

@EpicRome23 as Frederick

@P.N.See as Vlad

@P.N.See's understudy as Turret "Tim"

Barristan & Junia stacked in a trench coat as @Fierach

@Tyler as Jack Murray + The conservation of ninjutsu

@notmuch_23 as Challara

@zackrobbman as Charlie

@Dolor Aeternum as Soryn

The path is clear should you make it yours

But only a true fool would pull open these doors

You've learn to fight and you've learned to mend

Now learn a new trick or meet thy end

Pain and insanity is thy destined path

To fall behind is to incur my wrath

 

Such was the message that thundered through the obsidian cube of a room that our isekai'ed mishmash of companions found themselves in. Sadly, rather than the advertised cheat powers and animal eared girls the only feature in this room was an asymmetrically illustrated pair of double doors with no hinges in sight. The right door was a tapestry of horrific injuries so crowded that one could almost swear that there were layers beneath. That there were images of wounds left behind and forgotten from ages past buried beneath the most recent. The handle appears to have no moving parts as it simply seems to be a scaled up length of barbed wire festooned with additional spikes and garnished in now blackened old blood. The left door deviated from the right in that it displayed beings that mostly appeared to be states of insanity. Not all were human and context was missing entirely. In place of a handle the door had sprouted an amalgam of flesh that shone with a sickly sheen as it writhed.

Truly such a door was not inviting, but as time passed a cracking sound could be heard as fractures began to appear in the floor and slowly began to spread. While this issue did not play out so quickly that the companions would not have time to consider their options, one thing was clear.....

They would have to make a choice or it would be made for them.

~Round 1 Start~

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What happened in the few seconds between when he managed to dodge the centaurs in the arena, and when he emerged with the remnants of his squad in the dark cube, was nothing but a confusing blur to Jack Murray. One moment, he was in control, then the next, he felt his mind assaulted by a completely unseen, unheard, untouched, uneverything force, which had forced him to double-over in sudden horror and confusion. His comrades managed to drag him through the portal, but not before they were all charred by the dragon's flames, and all had their minds further attacked by the shrieking furies. 

Jack had lost it now. He might have been crazy, but he was one of the least legitimately insane people in his unit... once. Now he was a quivering husk of his former self, paranoidly glancing around, expecting some unknown and unknowable enemy to jump out at him at any given moment. Chief stood nearby, trying to calm him down, but nothing was working. 

"I... I-I-I-I-I..." Jack was mumbling.

"Dat's a lotta I's," Scoot wisecracked.

"I gotta... reload..." Jack was fumbling with a bullet and trying to shove it into his revolver, which he shakily did after much difficulty.

"You just be careful thar, part'na," Chief advised, "Something ain't right with you, an' you outta..."

Just then, Jack maneuvered his pistol under his own chin, about to blow his own brains out.

"Whoa whoa whoa!" Scoot jumped into action and forced the gun away.

Chief also joined, trying to wrestle the weapon away before Jack could off-himself. 

"LEMME GO! I CAN'T TAKE IT NO MORE!" Jack screamed, fighting them for control of his weapon, while kicking Chief in the shin and causing him to hop away on one foot, yelping.

"Don't do it boss! Don't do it!" Scoot continued fighting.

*BANG*

The weapon discharged, sending a bullet flying not at Jack, nor at some invisible enemy, nor even at the wall. Nope, the bullet headed toward the nearest unfortunate soul in the vicinity: Charlie Smith.

"Aw shit," Scoot gasped, upon seeing the impact, only realizing a second later that Jack had given up and released the gun, instead doubling over crying and whimpering. 

That left the smoking gun in the sole possession of Cpl. Scott "Scoot" Deckel, just in time for Charlie to turn around and spot him as he searched for the perpetrator.

"Uh, heh... um..." Scoot hid the revolver behind his back, "Nothin' ta see here."

Also Melanie was staring at the fucked-up door this whole time, in case anyone was wondering.

Spoiler

 

Name: Jack Murray

Health: 2

Sanity: 0

Action 1 - Meditate = 4 - Failure

Action 2 - Meditate = rolled 1 out of D3, attacks nearest ally Charlie Smith @zackrobbman for 1 damage

 

 

Edited by Tyler

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Lifted from the ground toward a bright light, which engulfed all of their senses and visions. When it faded... Frederick looked around, taking stock of the situation. Another place, another realm of nightmare. Would this chain of twisted torment ever come to an end? Frederick sighed, and the Subversor captain turned to find Oswin and Bors next to him. Frederick nodded, then concentrated his thoughts, focusing his will and the Inanis to try and eradicate that turbulence that lurked at the edge of his thoughts, a carryover from the last realm. He opened his eyes, irritated because it wasn't seeming to work whatsoever. He shook his head, closing his eyes and refocusing his will. Finally, the turbulence was cleared, the waters of his mind clear and still.

He stared at the Norkotians for a moment, before shaking his head slowly and gesturing for Oswin and Bors to follow. The Subversors made their way to the door on the left side, swords and shields drawn. They stood facing it, occasionally glancing behind at the advancing fractures. Frederick spoke quietly.

"Perhaps the floor will collapse enough to reveal an alternative exit. We hold position here, and we only open this door if no other exit presents itself. Understood?"

Oswin and Bors nodded in acknowledgement.

Spoiler

Frederick York (and Subversors)

HP: Starting: 3/5

Sanity: Starting: 4/5

Normal skills: Defend, Meditate, Attack

Special Skills: Passive Defense (1/3 uses), Area Defense (1/3 uses), Counter-Attack (1 use)

Actions: 

  1. Meditate (d10 = 3; miss)
  2. Meditate (d10 = 5; +1 Sanity)

Ending HP: 3/5; Ending Sanity: 5/5

 

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Wow, there was actually some success in the last nightmare realm...but it was fleeting. 

Now there are just two doors and a crumbling floor. Given the nature of these nightmares, Challara suspects that the doors are purely cosmetic, do not open, and that the under the floor is an inescapable death trap. So based on these assumptions, Challara chooses to do nothing, because she believes nothing can be done: Yh'mi is a giant douchebag and a sore loser, and every single combatant here will die for winning.

Spoiler

Challara Arabett

HP: 3/5

Sanity: 4/5

Normal Skills: Atack, Meditate, Taunt

Special Skills: Area Attack 3/3, Limited Heal 1/1, Sustained Fire 1/4

Actions Attempted: none

 

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Previously, in Bloodsport...

Spoiler

*wheeze* *puff*
*wheeze* *puff*
*wheeze* *puff*

Everything went blurry before Vlad's eyes. Some unknown force had torn down his insides, and his blood poured down from the wound with full force. Vlad bent down on his knees, struggling to hold in the bloody clot rushing up his throat. He feared the moment he close his eyes he would never open them up again.

*wheeze* *puff* "Hrrrrgh..." *wheeze* *puff*

Every sound around Vlad - the uproar of crowd, the clacking of hooves, the rustle of wings, even the thumping of dragon's foot - everything was outvoiced by a wild heartbeat. His heart was pumping the blood so fiercely, as if it was working ahead just to come to a full, permanent stop afterwards. Vlad slowly raised his hand toward the skies, then suddenly pounded the ground in defiance.

"N-nnnn... no... I... I won't die. N-not... like this."

He felt a sudden surge of energy rushing at him. His vision cleared for a moment. He saw his shotgun laying on the ground, he saw the monsters... then he saw a strange rift, and behind it... the Furthest Point camp.

"The portal!" - something dinged in his head. He gathered all the guts he still had and rushed toward the opening. The heart pounded even faster, he couldn't breathe anymore. He picked up his gun and jumped into the portal. The last thing he remembered was that it was suddenly quiet. Only a gust of wind traversed through half-empty tents. Vlad barely moved his mouth to whisper: "...at last.". And then...

Everything went dark.


...Pain and insanity is thy destined path
To fall behind is to incur my wrath

*cough* *cough* *cough*

The first thing Vlad felt as he had regained his consciousness was the cold stone touching his skin. He slowly crawled up and opened his eyes. For a brief moment he stared blankly at space before them until the realization came in. 

"...no." - He moaned. - "No... no. No... no... no."

Just a few seconds ago he was in the middle of a bloody arena, then he jumped into the portal to the camp. Or did he? Whatever happened after that, now he was stuck with the rest of those unfortunate souls - old and new - in the room where only two grotesque doors were the only piece of interior. Vlad tried to get up, but he stopped short due to a searing pain just down his chest. He moved his hand toward his chest and felt a slit and a steadily flowing liquid.

Blood. He was bleeding. Badly. [1]

"This is not real..." - His voice trembled. - "This is not real... This... this is not real..."

The arena-induced craze had been replaced with sense of dread and impending doom. [2] Struggling to overcome the paralyzing fear, Vlad stood up slowly, using his rifle as a crutch. Suddenly a man's wild scream resounded inside the cube and - BLAM! - the revolver fired across the room, hitting one of the groupmates, the man named Charlie. Surprised by a friendly fire, Vlad lost his balance and fell down again, spilling yet more blood from the wound. As he barely got up on his feet, he looked at the crazed gunman getting tied up by two remaining Norkotian mercenaries. He recognized Jack Murray - or rather a husk of his former self. It seemed like Yh'mi at last did numbers on his psyche. Vlad wondered if he should as well give in to madness and death...

But then the engineer sensed as all his attention had been drawn out by the right door at the further side of the cube. He completely ignored the left one - it was too disgusting to look at anyway. Instead, he turned his gaze toward the door that literally consisted of scars and wounds. It radiated a pure, unrefined pain. Mesmerized by it, Vlad strolled toward it. He was still holding the gun he hastily picked up from the arena, while the spear was loosely hanging on thin onyx strands which were melded with his other hand. He walked a few feet ahead mindlessly until he bump into something solid, which he couldn't make out in the darkness.

< M M M E   T T I M > - a metallic voice spoke before Vlad. The engineer froze in shock. There was a turret standing before him. The same one he worked with and the one he lost contact with since the chaos started. Unit 1 of Terran Minigun Turret series, short for ...

"TIM. WE ARE. TIM." - A chilling whisper came out from a half-broken machine. Vlad couldn't comprehend how badly the turret looked in comparison with what he saw in the camp. The mechanical parts were moving with a creak, the lights were off and electronics were seemed to be busted... [3] and yet it was moving on its own, periodically spitting out either synthesized syllables or human-like murmur.

< H E L P   M E E E >
"COMPLETE. US."

Vlad stood silently, unable to speak up. Not that he was freaked out by a possessed bivocal turret. He had just witnessed the proof of old-timers' saying that not even the tech could withstand Yh'mi. And what about living beings? Vlad look down upon his yet bleeding wound and sighed. How was he supposed to save this machine if he couldn't save himself? 

Vlad walked past Tim the Turret toward the scarred door. As he holstered his shotgun, he moved his free hand and slightly touched the door's surface. He could feel every scratch, every bruise, every scar under his fingers. He felt some sort of painful feedback, as if he was touching his own wounds. Then Vlad noticed a small, round hole in the middle of the right half. Although it was merely visible among those crevices it was large enough to fit a couple of fingers or a spear tip...

Vlad got a single thought about this particular door and that particular spear he was carrying. In a moment the strings had retracted, and the spear yanked upward, right into Vlad's grasp. He remembered the convoy to Furthest Point. He remembered himself being attacked by a twistling. He recalled those onyx scars he got in place of bullet shots in the chest (seven scars - seven bullets...) and no trace of memory of whatever happened in between. Perhaps, this door would help to unveil it, among other secrets of Yh'mi...

Thus, without overthinking of possible consequences, Vlad had plunged the Spiral Spear into the door's hole.

*click*

Suddenly Vlad felt as some unknown force had grabbed the spear firmly from the other side. No matter how hard he would try to pull it off, it did not budge. Suddenly a writhing mass of dark threads sprouted from the spear's end and rushed downwards toward the trace of blood Vlad had just left behind. Several threads, however, went instead under the engineer's skin and crawled toward the wound of his chest. An excruciating, yet oddly familiar pain paralyzed him, making unable to release the grip on the spear. 

As the threads reached down his chest and started to drain blood and sew up the wound, Vlad noticed that the old scars started to shrivel, melt and mend with the newly formed onyx growth. The scars - both new and old - became interconnected and formed a dark crest across his chest area, like an armor piece growing out from host's body. After this sick take on surgery, the spear's threads had left Vlad's body and joined the stream going down the bloody trail.

Only after that Vlad was able to release the hold and take the step back. He got pale due to the severe blood loss and felt generally sick, yet he was able to take a few more hits before going down for good. [4] He turned around to watch the onyx threads go to other side of the room and gather his blood for purposes unknown. He noticed several threads branching out and reaching toward several group members - mostly the wounded ones. Among them were Jack Murray, Charlie and a girl he saw back in the first nightmare. Whether they accept it or not, each thread would eventually tackle each one of them and "treat" their wounds in the same manner, leaving undissolvable onyx scar behind. [5, 6, 7]

Surprisingly, several threads were crawling toward Tim the Turret. They slid through the cracks of turret's armor plates and went deep into the mainframe. Vlad wondered how spear's dark magic would deal with an entity with no flesh and blood. Suddenly they pop out with a flashing spark and retracted back into the spear in the door. The turret itself started to twitch and rotate uncontrollably.

< W H A WH W W W WHA WH WH WH WHAT W H W A A AAAAA > 

In a matter of seconds the turret stopped. A muffled humming came from inside the chassis and the lights went on. The turret turned slightly toward Vlad - this time it was more organized and machine-like. [8] A whisper came from the internal speaker:

"WHAT. DOES IT. ALL MEAN?"

Yet another recall to the past. Vlad recognized the phrase he saw inside Spire of Sacrifice in Tia. Although his current struggles weren't tied to these events, Vlad couldn't help but admit that the Spire eventually affected him in a way so a trip to Yh'mi didn't seem like a suicide mission.

"What does it all mean, you ask?" - Vlad thought to himself. - "Wish if I knew... But the answer could be right there, behind that door."

He turned his sight back to the door. The floor nearby was already dried up and devoid of any blood Vlad had left behind. As the last strands returned back into the spear, another click followed, and the spear popped out from the hole. And then Vlad witnessed another magical occurrence.

A thick liquid resembling the blood started to gush out from the hole. But instead of pouring down the floor, it spread out along door's broken surface and started filling each crack and crevice. Vlad noticed how after a few moments, as soon as a single crack had been filled, the liquid would solidify, leaving only a blackened stain on a perfectly smoothed surface. Vlad stepped a few feet back, watching in anticipation of whatever might happen as soon as the entire right half would be, for the lack of better words, healed up.

Spoiler

=== Vlad Nassar ===

Path of Pain / Severly Injured Scared

HP: █     | 1+1/5  CAUTION! LOW HEALTH!
SP: █ █ █   | 3/5
AP:        | 1/3

Statuses/effects:

- Buff x1       | +1 to any roll

Specials:

Counter-Attack:    | 0/3  DEPLETED
Adv. Buff:      █ █ █ | 3/3
Mass Healing:   █ █  | 3-1/3

Actions and notes:

[1] FLAIR: Reflecting on critical health condition (only one action available)

[2] FLAIR: Reflecting on Vlad's low sanity

[3] FLAIR: Reflecting on Tim's overall condition

[4-8] MASS HEALING | Heal up to 5 targets (yourself included) | 1 AP + 1 stack
                   └───── Rolling D10 for sanity check... 
                          Rolled 7...   Success!

- - - - -   - - - - -   - - - - -   - - - - -   - - - - -

MASS HEALING TARGETS:
[4]: Vlad Nassar [@P.N.See█    █ 
[5]: Jack Murray & Friends [@Tyler█    
[6]: Charlie [@zackrobbman█  █  
[7]: Challara Arabett [@notmuch_23█    
[8]: Tim the Turret [@P.N.See█    


Meanwhile, the turret was gradually adjusting to a new position, a new condition and a new set of entities to mark. Speaking of marking: as a side effect of Spiral Spear's intrusion [9], which fixed some inner circuits in some solder-like fashion, the turret got its power mostly restored, and several combat-oriented sensors went back online. Tim's O.S. went and performed a few successful minor calibrations while accompanying the process with the mixture of bleeps and 4-letter word combinations [10]

At the same time the ethereal entity inhabiting the turret's "body" examined the lone human just ahead of him. A slightest touch of the spear's strand was enough to change entity's disposition toward the human from usually hostile to curious.

It murmured again: "YOU BEAR. THE MARK. YOU. MIGHT BE. CHOSEN." It decided to lead its vessel along with that human for the time being. Perhaps he would help it to reconnect with its dimension.

For a moment the entity tried to gaze past the scarred door in order to prepare itself for upcoming dangers. But it faced a resisting counter force emanating from the door. The psychic energy not only blocked the entity's waves, but also caused a slight overheat of the vessel's circuits, thus nullifying the spear's healing effect. [11]

< O W W W  H U R T > - the vessel responded with a slight tone of disappointment. It was good thing, though, that the sensors were still intact. All the entity could do was to warn the human about whatever was hidden behind that door.

"BE. CAUTIOUS."

The human silently nodded in response. 

Spoiler

=== Tim the Turret ===

Path of Pain Severly Damaged / Unstable 

DP: █ █    | 4-1/5
SP: █ █    | 2/5 | CAUTION! LOW STABILITY!
AP:  █      | 3/3

Statuses/effects:

Stationary    | Cannot move on its own
- Buff x2       | +2 to any roll

Specials:

Area Attack:   █   | 1/3
Area Defense:  █ █  | 2/3

Actions and notes:

[9] FLAIR: Reflecting on health gain (able to perform three actions at start)

[10] Buff x2      | +2 to Roll for yourself | 2 AP 
                  └───── Rolling D10 twice for action check...
                         D10 #1: 8, D10 #2: 7        Success! x2

[11] Delay Action | +1 AP next turn | 1 AP 
                  └───── Rolling D10 for action check...
                         Rolled 1...                 BACKFIRE! -1 DP

 

Edited by P.N.See
Accidentally put Tim's effects in Vlad's character card. Fixed it

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Soryn instinctively moved through the portal, weaving through the corpses of the fallen and not giving any care to the fact that they were surely fighting a losing battle then. Muscles tightened and adrenaline set in to lead him forward into a…room? A considerable amount of time, which was quite minimal given the stakes of this predicament they were in, passed before Soryn truly absorbed the horror of his environment. It took the sudden reveal of his personal device to jar him back into form as the idea that he had not lost that precious equipment brought in a flood of thoughts, most reminding him that he was a reporter and he needed to survive to let the world know that Yh’mi was a threat that needed to be given the respect it deserved. If they were all too distracted with the notion of the Enrele, the civil wars, and the loci shifts they would be too blind to the brewing trouble of this land.

“Primary user, Soryn Savedo, located. Shifting administration privileges…”

Celene hovered its way over to the reporter as he began assessing who was here. It seemed Yh’mi did not discriminate and felt the need to toss anyone it desired around mercilessly between whatever fabrications these areas were. There was no denying how real everything felt but there was something else at work here that sought to drive them all mad and to the point of exhaustion. He could tell he was among the least wounded as was Celene so while he analyzed his surroundings, he could see the brittle sanity of Jack Murray, its consequences, and the state of all around him. His hand that had gripped his jeweled scimitar all the way up to this point let loose as he let out a calming breath. A decision needed to be made on where to go but first he needed to do something about those around him.

“Everyone….I am sure wherever we have been has taken a toll on our minds and bodies but we did not come this far for nothing! Steel yourselves and let us figure out a way out of all of this mess together” [1]

Soryn then moved over to Vlad, the crazed expression from the battle arena softened while he spoke to the man after he had taken his time to provide healing to others. His analytical skills determined he was far more important to maintain healthy given the skill he had just chosen to employ at this time. “Let me patch you up some more. We need to press on and survive friend…” His hand exuded a warm energy that moved to seal up the most grotesque of his wounds, taking some extra time to do so as well. [2][3]

One look at Celene was all it took for him to send the command the device needed for it to hover over to Jack Murray then and spray some more of that restorative spray to heal the man’s wounds. [4][5]

The prolonged spray allowed it to heal a good portion of the man’s wounds though it stopped suddenly and then swiftly returned to Soryn, having finished some sort of analysis.

“Imagery could not be found in any database. Determination of next action halted…”

Sighing a bit Soryn then looked at each of the doors around them, taking this time to respond to Frederick’s words from earlier concerning the crumbling floor beneath them.

“Or if we bide our time, we are simply inviting more suffering. I would still like to defer to the more experienced here so I will stay put as well.”

Soryn remained near Vlad while Celene now hovered above the autonomous turret, reserving its energy in preparation. [6]

What else did Yh’mi have in store for them all?

 

Spoiler

Soryn Savedo & P.U.D 

Soryn's Status: Healthy/Sane

Normal Skills: Attack, Heal, Meditate

Special Skills: Mass Rally (Aura of Leadership) (3 (-1 after this turn)), Counter-attack (Analytical Boon) (2) , Passive Defense (Barrier) (3)

Start of Round Stats:

HP: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  | 4/5
SP: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  | 5/5
AP: ⌂ ⌂ ⌂     | 3/3

Actions:

[1]  -  Mass Rally (Targets: Frederick, Tim, Jack Murray, Vlad, Challara)

[2]  -  Heal on Vlad (+1 hp)

[3]  -  Heal on Vlad (+1 hp)

End of Round Stats:

HP: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  | 4/5
SP: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  | 5/5
AP: ⌂ ⌂ ⌂     | 3/3

Special Skills: Mass Rally (Aura of Leadership) (3), Counter-attack (Analytical Boon) (1) , Passive Defense (Barrier) (3)

 

P.U.D. Status: Operational (physical damage taken)

Normal Skills: Buff (Expand Resources), Heal (First Aid Module), Meditate (System Repair)

Special Skills: Area Defense (Defensive Protocol)(1), Advanced Buff (Expend Resources)(2), Mass Rally (1)

Start of Round Stats:

DP: ♥ ♥ ♥   | 3/5
SP: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦   | 5/5
AP: ⌂ ⌂ ⌂     | 3/3

P.U.D. Actions:

- [4] Heal on Murray (+1 hp)

- [5] Heal on Murray (+1 hp)

- [6] Delay Action (+1 AP) 

End of Round Stats:

DP: ♥ ♥ ♥   | 3/5
SP: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦   | 5/5
AP: ⌂ ⌂ ⌂ ⌂   | 4/3

 

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@Dolor Aeternum

But simply because the P.U.D. couldn't put the pieces together on it's own didn't mean nothing was discovered.

“.... Displaying findings in real time and highlighting likely correlating data.”

 

The path is clear should you make it yours

But only a true fool would pull open these doors

You've learn to fight and you've learned to mend

Now learn a new trick or meet thy end

Pain and insanity is thy destined path

To fall behind is to incur my wrath

 

Such was the message that thundered through the obsidian cube of a room that our isekai'ed mishmash of companions found themselves in. Sadly, rather than the advertised cheat powers and animal eared girls the only feature in this room was an asymmetrically illustrated pair of double doors with no hinges in sight. The right door was a tapestry of horrific injuries so crowded that one could almost swear that there were layers beneath. That there were images of wounds left behind and forgotten from ages past buried beneath the most recent. The handle appears to have no moving parts as it simply seems to be a scaled up length of barbed wire festooned with additional spikes and garnished in now blackened old blood. The left door deviated from the right in that it displayed beings that mostly appeared to be states of insanity. Not all were human and context was missing entirely. In place of a handle the door had sprouted an amalgam of flesh that shone with a sickly sheen as it writhed.

Truly such a door was not inviting, but as time passed a cracking sound could be heard as fractures began to appear in the floor and slowly began to spread. While this issue did not play out so quickly that the companions would not have time to consider their options, one thing was clear.....

 

“Similarity to riddle noted.”

While the illustrations may have been unique to the situation and the situation alien to Yh'mi..... Was it truly unknown to everyone here?

 

Round 1 continues

Edited by Akiris

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“Riddle?”

Soryn furrowed his brows while attempting to jog his memory regarding what sort of meaning he could get out of the words everyone had heard. Soryn engaged the device a few times, letting it repeat the words over multiple times. Though slightly annoying, this was a tried and true method he had employed over the many years of being a reporter to make meaning out of the words he managed to extract from his interviews. Standing near the turrent now while he let Celene cycle through the words, it only took a few moments before the reporter spoke up again.

“On second thought, deferral might not be my best option. Hmm..let’s see…”

Soryn placed a single index finger along his temple before starting to mumble a bit but not so incoherently that Vlad or anyone near him could not discern the majority of his words.

“The path is clear should you make it yours perhaps implying we must make a choice. Only a true fool would pull open these doors..if taken literally would just mean we shouldn’t attempt to pull the door open with that grotesque handle.”

Logic was not something synonymous with Yh’mi but it still provided a good baseline in Soryn’s eyes so he continued through his attempts to decipher meaning out of the words.

“The next two seem to imply that fighting or mending do not seem to be the key….something new?”

“Pain and insanity…destined path? Par for the course in this land I assume and very much expected no matter what we do from here. That last line though….’to fall behind is to incur my wrath’? Not to keen on incurring anymore wrath than necessary here so perhaps compliance is best.”

Sighing a bit as he stared heavily at the right door, he started walking toward the door and with a white hot tip of his blade inspired by one of the ruby-like gems he decided to attempt to test the door’s texture, swearing there was more to it than he could see.

Celene meanwhile hovered nearby and started scanning the point of interest for anything of note.

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Barristan and Junia had not fared well in their last nightmare, but they had survived. For now, that was all that mattered. Surviving their latest ordeal was testament to the training the Force Majeure instilled in even in their rank and file soldiery, and granted them a modicum of their mental facilities back. With the ranger still recovering from the brunt of the assault, it fell to Barristan to take the lead and enact rest and recovery while they could.

---

Spoiler

 

Name: OFM Guardian Barristan & OFM Seeker Junia

HP: 2/6

Sanity: Start 2

(Bonus from previous realm used)

Normal skills: Attack, Defend, Heal, Meditate (No uses)

Special Skills: None

 

---

Spoiler

 

Actions: 

Action 1: Heal

D10 out of 10: Success

Action 2: Heal

D8 out of 10: Success

Action 3: Heal

D6 out of 10: ... I don't remember actually. I think that's a miss.

 

 

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As the sword prodded the surface of the door it literally gave way, pushed open like one would expect a door of it's kind would. Beyond, Soryn could make out a similar room minus the disintegrating floor through the slightly pushed open door.

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@Dolor Aeternum - notify everyone else at your own discretion.

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Taking into account the artifact in play (no further bonuses for the realm with that now) the end date for this round (1) will be Monday at noon eastern time as the floor will take slightly longer to collapse. Anything passed that is too late.

There is no auto-follow. The shame for failing this is gonna be pretty huge.

Round 1 continues

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Charlie braced himself for the harpy’s banshee-like scream, fully aware of what’d happened the last time he heard it.

“No!” he shouted, turning to run as he covered his ears and clenched his eyes shut as tightly as he could. His efforts were in vain though. As if his ears weren’t covered at all, the harpy’s shrill, haunting, screech pierced his mind and soul with such great intensity that it felt like his muscle sinews were whipping at his bone. He screamed in agony and fell to his knees, desperately waiting for the screams to stop. It felt as if the blood coursing through his veins was being replaced with the sound of nails dragging across a chalkboard, rattling his very being. Agony became his reality, and his conscience soon followed.

 

Spoiler

Below is another hallucination of Charlie's. If you got some time to kill and/or are interested why he does what he does next, take a look. If not, just skip it.

Spoiler

“You’re no hero.” came a whisper that was somehow louder than the harpy’s screams. It was the monotone and eerie voice of a little girl. “You’re just another bully.”

“No!” shouted Charlie, unable to hear himself over the harpys. While he recognized the voice, the statement itself was no memory he could recall. Or was it? He had to fight hard to be sure. To not allow this mockery to taint one of the few things in him that was pure. That was right.

“This isn’t real!” he shouted again, trying to be even louder. The screams were now direct imitations of the hundreds of people he’d murdered over the years, all bringing back memories too appalling to be real. But they were. Every single one of them. “Y-You would never…you never said that to me!”

“But she should have.” came another voice, this time a woman’s.

“You’re not real!” cried Charlie, tears beginning to push against his closed eyelids. The woman’s voice was familiar, but it was wrong. It was bitter and lifeless, trying to mingle with the original and make it unrecognizable.

“You were never a good person, Charlie.” continued the woman.

“I TRIED!” Charlie yelled. “I DID!”

“It’s all ashes now, Charlie.” came the woman’s voice, it’s bitterness and icy tone slowly sliding into his consciousness like a serrated knife. “Your mom, us, anyone that’s ever counted on you. You failed us all, Charlie.”

“I’m sorry!” Charlie sobbed, his tears now flowing freely. He could hear her voice getting closer, but he dared not open his eyes to look up to her.

“No you’re not.” said the woman, her voice circling him. “Because if you were, you’d stop thinking about it, and just do it.”

The screams stopped. All noise stopped. It was silent now. Deathly silent. Charlie could only hear his own rapid breathing and his racing heart. The silence was palpable, as if it were trying suffocate him.

“Open your eyes, Charlie.” ordered the woman. Charlie hesitated, knowing deep down that none of this was real, but another part of him could not deny what was heard. He could not deny what he knew she would say had she actually been there. He had failed them, and he continued to fail them every day. She was not wrong, and he could not deny truth, even when borne of unreality.

So Charlie opened his eyes.

He was back in his room now, sitting on the side his bed. He looked of his left at his alarm clock and saw that it was a little passed three in the morning. It was that time again. After pausing for a moment, he bent down to reach underneath his bed like he’d done nearly every night for the passed few years, and pulled out the revolver. He pulled back the hammer and slung the gun to the side, causing the loading chamber to sling open. Six rounds. Like every other time he’d done this, it was fully loaded. He flicked the gun to the side again to reinsert the chamber and slowly let the hammer fall back into place.

It was a good gun. He’d stolen it off of a gunslinger a few years back and planned to sell it, but didn’t. He idly spun up the chamber, trying not to make up his mind. As usual, he looked back up and eyed the picture frame sitting on his desk. Inside the frame was a crude drawing of some sort of ribbon, the words ‘Thank yu Misstor Charly!’, written in yellow crayon withing the center. Zack had been sure to get it to him while he was recovering in the hospital after a bad job one day.

“Your past is ashes, Charlie.” came the woman’s voice from beside him. “And so is the future…unless you do it.”

Charlie didn’t react to the woman sitting beside him. Although here legs were charred and rotted, he did not look to his right. He merely kept his eyes trained on the gun, as if waiting for it make an objection. His eyes followed it as rotting, charred hands gently took hold of his own.

“You can stop it.” cooed the woman. “You can end it. Right now.”

A single tear fell from one of Charlie’s eyes before he swallowed and took a deep breath. Then, with eyes now glazed over and broken, he raised the gun and-

 

BANG!

 

“AGH!” Charlie yelped, letting the the revolver he’d been holding to the side of his head fall from his grasp and clatter to the ground. He held his shaking arm where the bullet had gone through, gritting his teeth as he leaned forward. His vision was hazy and swirled about an obsidian room he had not previously been in. He tried to get to his feet, but fell back to his knees due to a sickening feeling in his gut. He had no idea what was going on now, the pain in his arm not making it any easier to figure that out.

As his vision became clearer, he began to see the others in the room. He recognized most of them as being the intrepid explorers he’d ventured into Yh’Mi with. He sniffed and whipped the tears from his eyes.

“Not real.” he said to himself as he attempted to get to his feet again. This time was a success, but there was another pressing matter in his mind. His eyes fell on the gun he’d dropped. He recognized it as one of the revolvers the Norkotians carried. He walked over to it and nudged it with his foot. It was real. His mouth hung open slightly as he came to the realization that he was less than half a second away from killing himself. He was certain he would have, but someone had shot him before he could. He looked to his left and saw Scoot Deckel holding a smoking revolver in his hand. The expression on his face was one of shock, like a man that’d just seen a ghost.

Charlie stared at Deckel, not moving, not speaking, not even frowning. He just looked at him with a blank expression, holding his bleeding arm.

Then, without a word or any sign of acknowledgment, Charlie turned away and began walking towards the double doors. He wasn't sure why. Something was drawing him towards them. It was like that feeling you might get when you're near the edge of a massive cliff. You get that urge to just step over the edge let gravity decide your fate one final time. The doors were like a hole that sloped off into a massive pit, and he a ball rolling down towards it's edge.

He wanted oblivion. Annihilation. Both were things he desired for many years, but this time was different. He no longer wanted these things for the world. He wanted them for himself. He wanted a release from his life, but something was holding him back from doing it. He stopped walking and looked down, putting his hands in his pockets. He could venture no further, for he knew that if he took one more step, that would be it. He'd finish what he'd been about to do.

So he started thinking about things. Anything, really. Most of his thoughts consisted of people he savagely murdered, but in between those were other memories that stood out like a sore thumb. What the woman had told him earlier were not things he could ignore, but he also couldn't ignore these other thoughts.

A little girl with a crutch giving him an arts and crafts present from school.

A woman taking him to see a play.

An old man struggling to teach him how to play a guitar.

A family thanking him for saving their lives by inviting him over for dinner.

A crazy-eyed punk taking him to the hospital after beating him within an inch of his life.

A crazy-eyed punk taking a point-blank shotgun blast in his stead.

A crazy-eyed punk teaching him how to tie a tie.

A crazy-eyed punk sharing his meal with him.

A crazy-eyed punk angrily chasing him after an explosive outhouse prank.

Yes...that one was funny.

Charlie wiped the tears that were starting to drip down his face and looked up.

"One day at a time, alright?" came the distant echo of a crazy-eyed punks voice. "Just take it one day at a time."

"One day...at a time." repeated Charlie. He then took another deep breath and held a hand over his wounded arm. He could feel warmth within him again. It wasn't a lot, but it was there. It was not gone. He focused to try and heal his arm, but something strange happened. Some kind blackish good trailed up his leg and to the wound, causing him to grit his teeth in pain as it began to slowly fill the wound. He could feel it solidifying inside his arm, like a serrated rock pinching and cutting its way through the bullet hole. Then, almost as quickly as the pain came, it was gone. Now where there was once a gaping bullet hole, there was a hard, obsidian substance.

Freaked out and thinking that he had just been infected by some new horror of Yh'Mi, he held his hand over the former-wound and focused as much heat into it as he could to expunge it. But this didn't happen.

Instead, his body became surrounded in revolving flurry of cyan fire. But this fire was not hot, as the many onlookers would notice. The flames twirled and circled his body, becoming brighter and bigger as he focused. The flames lit up the room in a calming, blue light, moving faster and faster until finally, they exploded outward.

The cyan flames collided with many of the people around him, hitting them all like a refreshing gust of wind on a hot day. The fires seeped into their wounds, sending waves of relief through their bodies as their wounds  glowed a fluorescent blue and healed.

Charlie stood there, blinking  with a look of bewilderment on his face. He looked around him expecting to see a bunch of smoldering corpses, but everyone seemed to be fine. In fact, they looked slightly less roughed up than he remembered. Figuring that he must have just had a lapse in memory, he looked back down at his arm.

"Really!?" he shouted, the obsidian substance still within his arm. He then started picking at it with his fingers, but the material wouldn't budge an inch. "What is this stuff?!"

He looked around to see if anyone would answer, but averted his gaze to Soryn when he saw him opening the door to the right. Charlie expected something sharp and jagged to jut out and impale him, but Soryn was unharmed. The door opened into another room much like the one they were in, only the floor wasn't cracked and about to give way.

Charlie felt a sense of great unease at the thought of traversing into this new room, but he didn't really have the option of sticking around.

"Really...getting tired of this place." said the young mercenary nervously before adjusting his backpack and following Soryn.

Spoiler

Charlie Smith

STARTING HP: -----    5/5 (Thanks Vlad?)

ENDING HP: -----    5/5

STARTING SANITY: -----  2/5

ENDING SANITY: -----  3/5

3 Actions: 

#1 -  Attempted to Meditate...FAIL

#2 - Attempted to Meditate...SUCCESS

#3 - Attempted Mass Heal...SUCCESS 5 Targets!

- @Dolor Aeternum Healed Soryn up by +1 HP = 5/5 (May be the most level headed atm)

- @P.N.See Healed Vlad up by +1 HP = 5/5 (...You bet'notta put no magic Herpes in Charlie's arm)

- @notmuch_23 Healed Challara up by +1 HP = 5/5 (Charlie ain't forgot bout dem' legs)

- @P.N.See Healed Timmy Da' Turret up by +1 HP = 4/5 (Sentience is pain my mechanical friend)

- @Dolor Aeternum Healed PUD up by +1 HP = 4/5 (Close to good as new, eh'?)

Abilities:

- Attack

- Heal

- Meditate

Special Skills

- Mass Heal 2/3 (-1 this round)

- Counter Attack 1/3

- Advanced Buff 1/3

 

 

Edited by zackrobbman

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Well, now Challara had some black goo cover her cuts, and some weird blue fire burn her...

...burns away? The fuck is this logic?

While she waits for somebody else to make a decision, the drow just closes her eyes, and tries to bust away any of the insanity the last realm offered up in an all-you-don't-want-to-eat buffet, and was amazingly able to. Then once she opens her eyes, she sees Soryn going through a door, so she goes to follow him, since it's probably a less painful deathtrap than what's under the floor.

Spoiler

Challara Arabett

HP: 5/5

Sanity: 5/5

Normal Skills: Atack, Meditate, Taunt

Special Skills: Area Attack 3/3, Limited Heal 1/1, Sustained Fire 1/4

Actions Attempted: (none were attempted in the last post) meditate, success!

 

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"Only a fool would pull open these doors. Because apparently, the handles are equivalent to a 'push' sign."

Frederick chuckled for a moment, with Bors and Oswin joining in.

"Well, I can appreciate a riddle being very literal in that regard. Let's carry on then, would have to be rather braindead to stand around in a collapsing room when an alternative has presented itself."

The Subversor commander entered into the next room through the opened door, followed by his subordinates. They took position in front of the door, but didn't go into a shield wall for whatever reason. The three carefully scanned the next room, searching for anything that stood out, anything that might have been out of the ordinary.

Spoiler

Frederick York (+ Bors, and Oswin)

HP: Starting: 3/5

Sanity: Starting: 5/5

Normal skills: Defend, Meditate, Attack

Special Skills: Passive Defense (1/3 uses), Area Defense (1/3 uses), Counter-Attack (1 use)

Actions: 

  1. None (Because while he could possibly have taken one here with a heal, the healers apparently have better targeting priories then pushing fellas up into the next action threshold, even with ten total targets to choose from. But oh well, I'd never complain or bitch about such a thing. sips tea)

Ending HP: 3/5; Ending Sanity: 5/5

 

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Deckel let out a sigh of relief as Charlie just wordlessly turned away. He knew the pyro didn't like him, so the fact that he didn't lash out at that moment could be considered a plus.

"You be careful with that darn thing, boy," Chief got back up, walked over, and forced the barrel of the gun down toward the floor, "We need to git him off his rump and git outta here."

As Chief and Scoot trying lifted Murray up, not really noticing that some of his wounds had been healed along the way, Melanie remained where she was, staring at the door. As Charlie walked by, she finally roused out of her stupor and spoke.

"Charlie! You're okay!"

But he walked past her, his mind clearly on other things. Not sure how to take this, Melanie followed him like a confused puppy, stepping into the adjacent room just after him, and just before her squadmates did behind her.

"Charlie? Are you okay?" she finally stepped in front of him to ensure his attention was on her, at which point she noticed the onyx scars where Vlad had healed him, "Ooo, what's that?"

She began poking the material with her finger, looking absolutely fascinated by the solid substance.

Spoiler

Actions already taken this round. Moving into the next room.

 

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