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Noko

[Dead] The Jungle Abides

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OOC thread is here.

Whose Turn is It? - We'll hold on post order until there's combat or a need to order things up.

Spoiler

 


 

 

Session 0 below, in spoiler

Spoiler

Session 0

1) Premise

A group of adventurers have been tempted to travel to Corum and install a totem of the god Alignak.  Seems like easy money!

2) Setting and Theme

This thread takes place in Corum.  The setting is a lush, tropical, jungle island, with many different vibrant plants, and some visible mountains.  Theme wise, think eerie jungle habitat like the jungle in the Predator movies, where it starts off beautiful and wondrous and rapidly grows more eerie from there.  This should edge more toward survival horror than campy adventure flick. 

There will be a good dose of psychological horror, environmental challenges, and some combat.

3) Characters

All characters require sheets or at least an outline of what I should expect from them- if you don't have a sheet, at least send me an idea in PM.

We will be sticking with mild powers- please no anime combat.  I will grab you with vines.

4) Thread Rules

  • I'll be GM'ing; players are free to create their own obstacles within a survival horror theme and to solve their own obstacles (within that same theme).  Obstacles and enemies which are created by the GM should only be resolved by the GM.
  • I do use dice to promote randomness when I feel like it benefits the story;
  • I won't permanently change or injure your character unless you want me to, but I also won't make it easy.
  • We're all super-powered here, so scale down as needed in the interest of a fun story.  Insta-winning the quest isn't fun for anyone.
  • We are sticking with mild powers
  • No permanent damage to the setting without first clearing it with me (so I can clear it with @-Lilium-)

Posting Order: to be set after the first round

Posting Guidelines: We'll skip characters after five days without a post (if it's their turn).  Please just let us know in the OOC if you won't be able to post or if life comes at you sideways, it's considerate to your fellow adventurers.  If we skip you three times in a row, you'll be considered to have dropped out.  If the thread sits for two weeks, I'll move it along regardless.

 

@-Lilium-

Edited by Noko

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It was time. 

She felt it, the shift in pressure around her, the prickles in her fingertips, a cold chill up her spine. It was the feeling when the veil between realms thinned and became easiest to breach. Riha stood and stretched, her hands on her lower back causing it to arch until it popped in a satisfactory way. Then she twisted, first this way, then that. She wasn't stalling, it was just a habit of hers for when she prepared to vanish into another realm, it helped her from being so stiff when she reunited with her body. 

Riha walked over to where she felt the thinnest possible area in the veil between the two realms and just sensed it out for a moment. The shimmery air flickering with images beyond it - at least to her she could see it. Problem was, there were rules she had to follow, laws of dimensional travel as it were. Up until recently, she could only pass through in spectral form. An astral projection of herself stepping through the void into another world. As fortune, or misfortune had it, Riha's brief time with the Siren's taught her she could indeed pass into another dimension with her own physical form, if someone opened the rift from the other side as an invitation. 

She never escorted anyone other than herself over the threshold, nor had she ever used her astral projection as a means of opening a rift from the other side. Yet - here she was, doing just that. Riha certainly wasn't going to tell them all this was her first rodeo with something like this. Her boss knew - that's all that mattered. 

"Alright." She turned and addressed the motley crew surrounding her, "I'm going to open a rift for you all to step through...…It might feel a bit - odd - but you all should be able to walk through just fine." 

She hesitated, was she really going to just leave her body behind with this crew? She sincerely hoped they didn't do anything weird. 

Riha dragged a chair over next to where she intended to open the rift, the feet of it scraping along the floor as she went. The woman sat down and looked up at them all once more, eyes beginning to go from lavender to a luminescent vivid blue. 

"Its very important that whomever goes last needs to bring my body through the rift." She said, gaze no longer taking in the room around her, "Don't bring me in first, it will close the portal." 

She hated this part, goddess she hoped she didn't fall out of the chair and hit her head on the floor...…

She didn't even heave a final breath before her body went limp like a rag doll. She tried to prop it so it wouldn't flop in an ungainly way, but there was just no helping it. Torso and arms dangling off the side of the chair, legs completely limp, glassy eyes just staring at the floor. The weight of her torso dragged her body out of the chair and it hit the floor with a dull thud. 

Damn it that's going to cause issues with my neck. She flinched.

Knowing the longer she stayed thus, the harder it was to come back, she turned and walked through the now very apparent veil that separated her from her destination. Like walking through a mirror, she now looked back through the path she charted and saw the ship and its occupants quite clearly. A spectral hand lifted up and very much like unzipping a zipper, she grabbed at the weakest thread and pulled it down to the ground. Effectively opening up the door and inviting them all in. 

From inside the ship, the very air split and folded back in on itself. Starting from the top and working its way down until shimmering before them all, was a clear gap where the ship no longer existed and the jungle began. 

 

@Noko

 

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It was night.

Somewhere, somehow, between the shimmering, flickering, portal, and the lush, overgrown, wall of trees on its other side, they had lost the day. It had just vanished, like so many things were prone to do here, and left them with the black blindness of a moonless night. However, where the team had lost the sun's light, they gained its heat as the sticky and humid air wrapped around them like a too-close dancer in a too-busy nightclub.  It was unpleasant, suffocating and handsy, and all-together impossible for any of them slip away from.

The forest rolled out eternally in front of the newcomers- a rug, down a hallway, that never ended and never started. It was seemingly impenetrable; their travel would be slow going, for certain, and hard-fought. Vines as thick as a dwarf's chest shot from the ground to the distant treetops high overhead- sometimes, the vines were lashed to the trees with enormous sticky webs; other times, they hung free. Still, often the creepers carried draping plants and tangled birds nests as wide as a family's dinner table as they disappeared into the far-flung canopy.

Beneath the newcomers' feet, the ground was soft, almost padded- there was a sense that they stood upon millennia of fallen leaves and degraded scat, with little feel as to what lay beneath that. The roots were so buried they couldn't be seen; here, rocks were rare, though the terrain promised an ankle-turn or two if they chose to take a route toward only visible point of interest- a distant mountain rising to a craggy peak, bare to the clouds and the whistling winds. Besides that, there was only the deep green shadow and a feel of dreadful solitude.

As each person arrived, they would be welcomed by a pervasive lack. Absolute silence reigned; there was no wind noise, no crickets, no distant howls or screams. No low and threatening growls; no roar of orcs cresting a distant hill. No roaring fire; no click of a gun; no snap of a twig, crack of a branch, snick of a knife. Just nothing.

Nothing.

They were here to set a totem in place- to bring Alignak to the uncivilized and spread its word, and its power, across the face of Valucre. An ideal location would be high and isolated, but would they chance the mountain? Would they travel at night? Choices come with consequences, consequences with challenges, and challenges with growth. There was balance in this land; there was harmony.

At least until they arrived.

Edited by Noko

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As Riha busied herself with preparing the portal that would transport the crew to their destination; Shikai had amused himself with a game of bloody dagger. His version was a bit different from most; as he didn't start over after pricking his fingers. Instead, he would simply laugh and keep going until he completed the round. When he was done, he would count up the cuts on his hand, subtracting one point for each wound. Then he would heal the minor injuries, and start again. 

When Riha was ready to attempt the passage, the shinobi put the knife away and gave his full attention to the events unfolding in front of him. He'd seen people open portals before; but it never ceased to fascinate him. Now a glimmering tear in the fabric of space was all that separated the ship and the jungle. The General would let the others go first, and then turn his attention to the Riha's unconscious body.

"You're going to hurt your neck doing that," he observed.

Hoisting the young woman over his shoulder, he then stepped through the portal.

The change was noticeable immediately; and not just because of the switch from vehicle to vegetation. Heat and humidity hit him like a wall, and he was suddenly very glad he'd dressed lightly for this excursion. Suddenly he was aware of the beating of his own heart, the sound of his breathing; and he realized that the jungle around them was completely silent. Shikai hadn't spent much time in jungles, but he knew that such quiet was very odd.

Gently setting down Riha, he would gently attempt to rouse her, "Sorry Riha. I know the woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I need you to get up now."

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"Impressive," The Dead Mistress exclaimed as she eyed the portal. "Always a pleasure to see budding talents."

The white-haired woman took a long drag from a recently lighted cigar. Her lips pursed as she exhaled the smoke from her lungs. It had been a while since she had entered a portal that gave her discomfort. It's not that it looked dangerous or unstable, more like trust issues. Still, this newcomer was a member of their organization so taking this lead of faith should not be a problem.

Looking back, the last time she jumped into a random portal was in Ceyana. Ahhh...the good times. Leaping into an unstable rift caused by the joining of two realms was clearly not a good idea. The stuff she went through when she was stuck inside the rift. She did found it amusing that she survived. In the end, she took it as quite the learning experience. The things she pay in her pursuit of knowledge.

Sighing, she eyed the unconscious body of Riha. She would have offered to carry the woman but it seems Shikai already got that part covered. With nothing much to do, she stepped into the portal.

The new location was so different from the old one that it greatly amused her. The head and humidity was quite the welcome development. She found the experience rather refreshing especially after experiencing that sea of lava way back in Taen when she fought that rampaging elemental, or the fiery realm when she joined that expedition in search of that cornerstone back in Genesaris. 

"Mmm...Interesting," the Dead Mistress mused as she regarded the lack of activity around them. She turned to Shikai then only to see that Riha still hasn't woken up.

"We could just carry her with us, Shikai. I'm sure she's not that heavy."

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Aidan woke up to find almost everyone had left. Time to get going I suppose. He wasn't thrilled about the heat that awaited him. Growing up in a mountainous climate, anything above 65 degrees felt boiling. The amount of water he had gathered weighed a ton, as did his axe and shield. He wished he had his buddies blade, while Aidan's was nice, his dead friends axe was so well crafted it was like a gift from the gods. Fucker was too selfish to die without handing it over to me first. When he looked up he noticed that he was one of the only ones left - only the woman with intense yellow eyes, and the zombie creature were left as the stood over what looked like to be a corpse.

"Alright. Now it's a party" he told them, and wondered what he missed. He grabbed his backpack, threw it over his shoulder and looked back at the two remaining. Axe and shield in hand, Aidan gestured to them and said, "See you on the other side".  He jumped through the portal and found himself in heat that instantly felt oppressive. Thank goodness I left the metal armor at home. His leather set wasn't as tough, but it was lighter and more mobile. Aidan looked at the others around him and noticed the dark, eerily silence of the jungle. He lit up a cigar and congratulated himself on a first. Truth be told, he would have rather remained napping and continuing the dream about a woman freaking-out on a ship.

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The moment her body passed the threshold of the portal she felt herself being snapped back into her physical form. Expending so much energy in stepping beyond the veil and then subsequently ripping it open left her drained. Thankfully her physical form acted very much like a magnet and her energy more than willing to return. 

Fingers began to feel, toes noticing the leather boots that encased them, legs feeling the pants that caressed them. Warmth and being held aloft, a soft voice drifting into her ears though the meaning of them were lost for a moment. She always had trouble remembering just who she was when she returned. It was the sharp pain in her neck that reminded her of just where she was, which then triggered the question of who. 

Riha’s body suddenly coiled, the dead weight she previously presented as became supported by its own musculature. She gasped in a loud breath, and then another, the result caused her to cough from the force her chest heaved with sudden life. Her cheeks flushed with color and as her breathing calmed her eyes snapped open with a suddenness and quickness that alarmed even her. 

She hated the return process, the longer Riha stayed away from her body and the more energy she used, the worse it was. 

The first image that filled her vision was the ground, torso draped across the back of only Gaia knew who! Arms dangling in a haphazard way and thighs securely clamped down in an attempt to keep her from simply falling off her perch. At least the downward pressure helped that cramped neck a little bit. 

Riha was exhausted, typically she fainted after expending so much energy, but she really really didn’t think this was the place for it - not that she could control her fainting spells or dictate when they happened. Still she dangled for a moment longer, willing her expended energy to just magically recharge and manifest itself so she could at the very least get back on her own two feet. 

The oppressive silence that pressed in around her ears didn’t help any as she felt the blood rush to her head from dangling and the void was filled with the thud thud thud in her ears. 

“This is uh -” Her voice was swallowed up with a wave of blackness that threatened to take her out, “Could you -” 

She cleared her throat and her diaphragm worked to pull air in around its restriction. 

“Put me down slowly-” She finally managed to get out, “And just -” 

She really hated relying on others or being a burden. There was work to be done and it left no time for weakness! 

“Just - keep hold of my arm for a second in case I black out….please.” 

The please was a simple addition to her statement, but it carried a note of urgency to it. The thrumming in her head was increasing to an uncomfortable level, that accompanied with the pins and needles in her shoulders and arms from falling asleep became increasingly uncomfortable.

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Riha was speaking so quietly that it took Shikai a moment to realize that she had regained consciousness; which was odd all things considered. The jungle was so quiet that he should have heard the young with little trouble. Perhaps he had been distracted while conversing with The Mistress; or maybe he was still thrown off by the strange nature of their surroundings. Either way, once he knew she was awake, he helped her to her feet, and hooked his arm around her own as she had asked. The poor thing didn't weigh all that much, so it was no bother to him.

"Just take it slow," he advised, "I can give you a stimulant if you need one."

Shikai always carried a case of syringes in his medical kit filled with his own special recipes. He had stimulants, painkillers, steroids, anesthetics; pretty much anything a medic might need in the field. He'd started carrying the medical syringes in a separate case from the poison syringes after an embarrassing accident that had thankfully occurred before he had joined The Dead. 

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The Dead Mistress gave Riha a flinty side glance. It would have been nice to lend a hand but it seems Shikai got that part covered. The problems of being one of the best healers around. Even now, she's still insecure of offering help after having been turned down time and time again. It's like every hurting being she encounters would rather prefer suffering over fast treatment. Masochists the lot of 'em!

 Instead of focusing on her fellow members, she turned her attention to their task instead. They were task to install a totem for the god Alignak. The thought of gods left a bitter taste in her  mouth. She'd been dealing with these deities for a long time now that she's grown sick of it. Still, work is work. She might not like it but she'd damn well accomplish her task.

"So...." she started, "What now? Any ideas where to place it?"

She looked around hoping to find any more inspiration on how to proceed. This eerie place must be what they called Corum or so she heard. Without a guide, they could get lost easily. Well, they can't get lost if they have no set destination anyway. So instead of rushing ahead, she decided to produce another stick of cigar from her pocket, lighting it then set it between her full lips. A good smoke really helps when one waits for future developments.

 

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He sat back and enjoyed his cigar as the bit of commotion as the dark haired woman came across the portal and had to be helped by the zombie thing. Aidan wasn't a healer, and certainly wasn't in a position to be of use to anyone, so why get in the way? 

"Besides" he thought to himself, "its a really good cigar." 

On 11/18/2020 at 10:23 PM, Zashiii said:

"So...." she started, "What now? Any ideas where to place it?"

She looked around hoping to find any more inspiration on how to proceed. This eerie place must be what they called Corum or so she heard. Without a guide, they could get lost easily. Well, they can't get lost if they have no set destination anyway. So instead of rushing ahead, she decided to produce another stick of cigar from her pocket, lighting it then set it between her full lips. A good smoke really helps when one waits for future developments.

 

Aidan looked at the lady zombie lighting up her own cigar with approval and let out a grunt before starting to look at his surroundings. He had always thought that he couldn't yet hunt, track or fish everything on planet, but only because he hadn't been everywhere on it yet. They were skills he had quickly learned growing up as a youth in a country in turmoil with meals frequently dependent on what he could bag that day. It's safe to say as a mercenary, they had continued to be useful. Looking up, the forest covering blocked out almost all the stars and sky, but that was not the same as all of them being blocked.  It took a few minutes and a large portion of his cigar, but there was no doubt about it when the others were informed of the results,

"North is that way" he pointed, "which of course means South, East, and West." Aidan said as he turned. 

"Now," he said with another puff, "we have the option of making camp here if you need the rest, or we can start heading where we need to go when its in the morning." He grimaced as he thought of the prospect. 

"Only big difference is that it's going to get a whole lot hotter then."

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“It will be fine.” She separated herself from the shinobi once her feet felt stable, “It just takes a moment is all. I’ll let you know if I need it before I pass out - promise.” 

Two out of the four of them were smoking, and not for the first time it gave Riha the strange urge to pick up the habit herself. Something to ponder for another day she supposed. She folded down to sit while everyone else around her puzzled what to do next, the oppressive darkness pushed in on her sense of vision, creating the sense she was folded into a closed, insulated box. 

If they just parked the damn thing right where they stood.... problem solved! No need to spend any more time in the oppressively quiet dark than necessary. But....items of power always fared better when placed higher, where they could spread far and wide much easier.  North, south, east, west. What did direction matter if they couldn’t see much beyond the deep green shadows. Her eyes traced the tree line until they found purchase on the distant outline of a craggy, bare peak rising high above them like a looming giant. Seemed like a logical place. 

She finally spoke up, “Why don’t we just plant it up there?’ 

She pointed to the jagged outline that struck out against the night sky.

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The shinobi stayed close to Riha just in case she proved to be weaker than she thought, and needed someone to help her to the ground. Once he began to render aid to someone, he was as dedicated as any professional healer. Perhaps in another life he could have been a doctor, or a surgeon; and sometimes he wondered if that might still be an option. It was hardly unusual for members of The Dead to live a public facade when they weren't on a mission; and many of them had entire careers separate from the organization. Maybe one of these days he would run it by Cain or Phoebe. But right now, there were more pressing matters.

Listening to his companions discuss their next move, he offered, "I don't think we should spend any more time here than is strictly necessary. This place... something about it doesn't feel right."

Maybe he sounded paranoid, but he had a feeling that the others knew what he was talking about. No jungle was this quiet. Hell, no place inhabited by living things should be this quiet. The longer they stayed here, the greater the chance they would discover the reason for the unnatural silence; and he had no desire to find out.

Directing his gaze to the peak Riha pointed out, he nodded, "That looks like as good a place as any."

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On 12/3/2020 at 5:46 PM, danzilla3 said:

"I don't think we should spend any more time here than is strictly necessary. This place... something about it doesn't feel right."

The Dead Mistress frowned at Shikai's words. There's a lot of merit in that statement. There was that sense of wrongness and suffocating unease that seemed to blanket this region's ambience. Although she did find it rather interesting. It's not everyday that she would get caught unaware if something unprecedented did happen.

But just to be safe, she closed her eyes as she drew in another lungful of smoke. When she opened them again, they briefly turned black and then they are back to yellow again. Peering a bit into the unforeseen future gave her a shit load of nothingness. A sly smile formed on her lips at this result. This mission would prove to be more amusing than she initially thought.

On 11/26/2020 at 9:17 AM, DarkHorse said:

She finally spoke up, “Why don’t we just plant it up there?’ 

She pointed to the jagged outline that struck out against the night sky.

She turned her attention to Riha's peak. "That's a good place to start."'

Taking the lead, she gestured to the others to follow, "We should get moving."

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Aidan looked over the jungle, and wondered how many terrible decisions he had made in his life to end up in a place like this. He wasn't even concerned with the company, he just hated the heat. At least it was quiet, and he could listen to himself think.

"I thought the jungle was going to be a loud, noisy place. Fully of danger and wildlife." He was happy at the moment be proven wrong.

On 12/3/2020 at 2:46 AM, danzilla3 said:

"I don't think we should spend any more time here than is strictly necessary. This place... something about it doesn't feel right."

Directing his gaze to the peak Riha pointed out, he nodded, "That looks like as good a place as any."

Aidan let out a loud "Harrumph" in agreement as he chewed on his cigar, swatting at about a dozen insects swarming around him. "More fucking bloodsucking creatures".

12 hours ago, Zashiii said:

Taking the lead, she gestured to the others to follow, "We should get moving."

He let the dead mistress lead the way, and was reasonably content cutting away vines and anything else blocking his path. He found that using the axe still annoyed him because it just didn't grip right. He'd used a broad sword for years, but was forced to abandon nearly all of his equipment when he ran across a group of particularly hungry vampires. 

"It just doesn't feel right when you swing it" he thought, "A decent axe and shield are a hell of a lot cheaper than a broadsword though". As he cut threw a whole entanglement, he realized the question that he didn't ask this entire time.

"When we plant this totem, what is it supposed to do anyway? I'd prefer be quite a bit away from it's going to do something funky like sacrifice the nearest lifeforms, you know what I mean?"

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The group made their choice- they would travel despite the darkness.

The jungle welcomed them with all-too open arms thrown wide, and gaping, like the maw of some giant beast.  Still, silence reigned- no distant, spine-scraping monkey screams, and no call despite the bats crashing through the leaves, or the night birds flocking overhead.  As they walked further into the smothering, black-green, forest, even their voices began to lose shape and form- coming undone like the thin, wispy, cousins of the ropey webs hanging over their heads.  

In time, their words would fade completely, as would the sound of their footsteps, their breath, their very heartbeats.

As they traveled, through the rare gap in the canopy they could spy enormous, long, rock-like horizontal structures, shot through the trees like spears.  A guess could peg them as roads, or some means of transport, or perhaps part of a large sculpture or some other unfathomable structure.

Riha's fatigue lingered, but it felt manageable despite the hour.

Shikai began to feel a tickle, then a creeping tingle, then the stinging march of needles up his ankle, to his calf.  His healing dulled it, but it persisted.

Aiden left the Dead Mistress to fight her own way, but chopped a mangled path for those that followed him- the logic was questionable, but who are we to question.  It worked, and he hacked through the virgin jungle like a conquistador, raining destruction and chaos in his wake as the whisper of the leaves went from a whimper, to a cry, to a scream echoing only in Riha's skull, alternating between weeping like children and wailing in expectation of Aiden's blade.  Amidst it all, only she could hear the cries and their accompanying music- perhaps a lullaby to the dying forest, all breathy wind instruments and unformed humming that wafted ghostly hypnotics.

And the Dead Mistress, well, the early bird gets the worm.

Eventually.

For now she got nothing but the pleasure of being first- first to part the leaves, to peer into the shadow, and to hope the darkness was empty.  The ground had transitioned from soft dirt to moss and if she squinted, she could see a smudge- an area where the moonlight filtered through and highlighted a torn section where the green was ripped from the rugged root it grew over.  An animal, maybe.

There were no paths, but there were reasonable thoughts- a wide swung journey would take them longer, up a less severe slope, while the direct method would take less time but task them with angle and ankle-turning roots.

Spoiler

@DarkHorse - you're up!

 

Edited by Noko

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