Author Topic: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm  (Read 22299 times)

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5100 on: November 13, 2018, 08:48:22 pm »
Roxanne had been weighing her options of where she could set up her little gathering place. A few other  things had been bothering her as various memories passed through her head from the current environment; some she recognized as not her own. The time she spent as a divine spirit harvesting others’ memories sometimes made her not sure of what was her real experiences and to boot now she had her doppelganger's memories as well. The silence suffocated her as even Rey and Christina remained quiet out of  politeness. It wasn’t until Mica came through that a semblance of normalcy in Roxanne’s eyes was restored.

Indeed Roxanne was rather wary of touching Mica due to her current affliction; those tattoos of hers were seal that kept her corporeal and Mica being an arcane mute could spell serious consequences. She did eventually, among her short lived fear, the silk like substance covering Mica and after the vinegar was brought in and taking into account what Mica was it all clicked together. It was strange though as she hadn’t seen Mica do this before; even Kathrine’s explanation served little to ease the confusion. Had things change so much so quickly? Seems things typically did around these parts. A whole year goes by in a flash and a day lasts forever.

A hug?, Roxanne asked nervously now being a bit to uncomfortably close to Mica. She didn’t want to say no, this was Mica after all, one of her closest friends. However, her fear of the Arcane Mute still lingered. Well, if Luna wasn’t going to do it, Roxanne’s alt, Eris, definitely would. She had been starved of human, or mutant in this case, contact for so long she craved for something as simple as a hug. Roxanne’s eyes went from pink to purple and she smiled at Mica.

Sure, I’ll hug you! She extended her arms and pull Mica in for a hug who quickly wrapped her arms around as well. It was then Eris realized her mistake. No, the reality of time and space wasn’t broken, nothing exploded, no blood, no one went insane. No, the only thing that happened is a jolt of what seemed electricity ran down Roxanne’s back and she gave a small yelp. Eris and Mica hugged for an awkwardly long time making the other look at them a bit funny. Eris was the one of the two who realized this and pulled herself awa handing control back to Luna.

Oh, by the way. I have something for you! Roxanne went through her messenger back and pulled a particular book. It had the picture of a chicken on it’s cover and was a rather hefty book for what it was. This is called the chicken book. Has many good pictures of chickens of all types! Thought of you when I found it some time ago. Had been meaning to give it to you but forgot every time I was back here. She then gave Mica a pat on the head sending another jolt of electricity. Her attention was brought back to Catnip.

I think the hotel sounds like a good place for my little gathering place. If you don’t mind I will place some posters on around later on today, want to hold the first meeting tomorrow. It was then that Christina and Rey got up and the former whispered something in Roxanne’s ear to which she nodded.Well, duty calls now my good friends! Have to tie up some lose ends. If you need me, I will be around the farm somewhere, or maybe at the center, have some business there too… I really have no interest in going out much anymore… Anyways, I will be seeing you gals later, it’s nice seeing you again! Rey and Christina thanked them as well for hosting them and the trio walked out of the door.

The next destination was the hall for the meeting with Helen. Roxanne wanted to go simply to talk to Helen about what had happened and Eris wanted to meet her after all this time for reasons she kept to herself. However, when the stepped out of the door, Hector was there which caught Roxanne by surprise. Oh, Hector? Came to see Catnip too? Noticing the two people behind her, Rey the imposing figure at 6’2, at least compare to Roxanne and Christina who were around 5’8, she decided to introduce them to Hector. Oh, btw, meet my, well not so new, friends. This is Rey, former mentor of mine and literal partner in crime; long story. And Christina, one of the founders of that organization I belonged before the cataclysm.

Rey walked over and offered his hand to Hector. “Greetings, you are the Iron Marshall I take it? Roxanne here has given you glowing reviews. Good to finally meet you. Wish we could sit around and talk but we have a little appointment to go to.” Roxanne noticed the look on Hector’s face and frowned a little herself. She knew all too well the little expressions and mannerisms of Hector; didn’t help it came with the old job she had.

You two go ahead. I’ll catch up to you guys later.

“Are you sure?”, Rey asked.

Yeah, personal matter.

“Ah, gotcha. Alright then, will be seeing you later.”

And with that Rey and Christina made their way to the hall leaving Hector and Roxanne alone. Ok. Something is on your mind isn’t it? Spit it out. Let me guess… I know… I haven’t been the best person lately… or much at all… Listen, I am sure you have business with catnip. Go take care of that first and then meet me at out room ok? I don’t like it when you seem like this… I’ll see you then.
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5101 on: November 14, 2018, 02:50:25 pm »
Hector waited until he had an opportunity, giving a wave when he spotted Roxanne, along with Catnip. His first priority of course was ensuring that he'd catch Roxanne before she could inevitably sneak off again. At the introductions he nodded, shaking Rey's hand. The man had two inches of height on him, and he suspected the man was the sort to be expected of an order of former mage hunters turned assassins, but nonetheless kept his sizing up of the two rather cursory. "A pleasure to meet you, brief though it may be. Seems we'll have catching up and a proper introduction to do, later on."

At Roxanne's suggestion he soon found himself caught up in handing over the papers, relaying the various tasks handed off to him by various people who'd given up as a result of his presence. That at least was easily relayed, and it still surprised him how readily Catnip had taken charge of matters. How she'd grown during her journey. Along with the papers though, was a familiar silver badge, one hat likely stood out to both Catnip and Roxanne among the mundane paperwork. A few of with still remained in Catnip's collection, brought back from the raid on Apophis, and he had to assure her that the thing he ran into was far less of a fearsome beast than the creatures they described after the raid, despite his shield and cuirass bearing signs that the thing he ran into was dangerous in its own right, for entirely different reasons.

"All this time and it seems like you've settled into managing things far better than any of us could." he said, with a bit of relief. Rallying then together as he had, keeping some degree of unity, was one thing. But as their handling of things in Catnip's absence had revealed, without Catnip the farm hadn't been able to keep up with even the most mundane day-to-day tasks as the year wore on.

Catalina sighed a bit as she looked over the personnel files and forms, noting with some degree of annoyance that Leila's resignation, while accepted by her, wasn't quite as official as she would've liked. At least not with the higher-ups from the Old Guard still much more present at the center, seemingly investing even more attention after the first official reunion between their forces quite literally blew up thanks to Brynna.

At the knock on the door however, and answering it revealing who it was, all those thoughts fell away, leaving only a few on her mind. The admission to herself that Leila's departure hadn't bothered her much at the time, and that it was a new departure that seemed likely, inevitable even, that brought her mind to the matter of resignations and procedures, the sort of thing she used to despise in the days before it all quite literally blew up, in an entirely different manner than the recent incident. "...private Barrowfield."

"Good morning Captain." Atomos chirped hollowly, she seemed rather energetic and somehow a bit lighter. Bouncier. She slid comfortably into the seat across from Catalina's own before the captain had so much as rounded her desk to take up her position behind it. That struck Catalina as a bit familiar of Jennifer, but she let it slide. As irritated as she was from yesterday, she wouldn't be the one to sour things here. If they weren't soured already that was. It seemed though, that they weren't.

"Awfully energetic this morning are we not, Private?" She said enquiringly.

"I've eaten an entire cake." Jennifer blurted back. Catalina felt a strong urge to cover her face with her palm hard enough to knock herself out and just about did it when Atomos went on. "And a bunch of chocolate cookies and breakfast."

"One step at a time..." Catalina thought, then aloud asked, "why... Did you eat an entire cake?"

"Because it was there." Atomos stated before backing up and trying again, "Because when it comes to food, I seem to have lost self control." Her tail twitched, flicking side to side. It could have been Catalina's imagination of course, but the luxurious fur on that appendage struck her as less of a rich rouge and more of a vibrant youthful red than it had before. It was hard to tell since the young woman it was attached to had hidden it as much as possible until then. "I would like," she went on, "to start off by saying I'm sorry. I thought of just writing it down, but that didn't really seem personal enough. I could just leave all this stuff here and shove off but... But that wouldn't be fair. I'm sorry Captain, I was unfair to you yesterday, and I'm sorry for being so."

Catalina, surprised as she was by Atomos' recent strange behavior, was at least relieved that she'd come to apologize. She however found herself seeming unable to look her in the eye, before nodding a bit. "It's understandable that you'd be frustrated with what I'd kept hidden from you. If I'd known this would happen, or if I'd known how to handle this..."

Atomos shifted uncomfortably in her chair, she wasn't used to the captain being sorry and it made her oddly uncomfortable. It also brought her down a little. Despite her previous anger at Catalina, Atomos still sort of looked up to her. The papers in her hands felt a bit heavier and she hoped the third of the documents, the one chef hadn't seen because it had already been finished, would lighten what was to come.

"Um, well... It feels sort of out of the blue, but I was serious yesterday. I'm sorry for being so uh, uncouth about it..." Atomos mumbled, then taking a steadying breath, went on, "Captain Catalina er... Sandell, I am formally resigning as an acting marine in service to the United States military."

Catalina was taken aback by this, snapping out of it after Atomos explained what she was here for, looking Atomos in the eye. "Are you...sure that you wish to now? I'd recommend giving yourself time for some much needed R&R before turning it in. Plus, we need all the help we can get." she said. In truth, she knew it'd be hard to force Atomos to stay if she didn't want to, and it's not like the Old Guard was able to push its regulations like it could before the cataclysm. But at the same time, she was reluctant to let Atomos go, for her own various reasons.

"Oh, I intend to take a break. A day or two adjusting to uh... Life at the center. New Paris. All the new people. Then I'll head out again on my normal duties." Atomos explained. She handed over her third sheet and went on, "I'm not going to abandon the center. Just separating from the Old Guard. Er... Take a look."

She pushed the paper across the desk at Catalina, nudging it a few times almost childishly. It appeared to be some kind of declaration, and the contents were interesting but only a little surprising.

"I, Jennifer "Atomos" Barrowfield, hereby declare the organization of "The New England Rangers." Duties include but are not limited to; supplying New Paris and all affiliated groups with supplies acquired from the field via salvage, forage, or hunting. The pursuit of dangerous wildlife. Outreach and pursuit of potentially advantageous contacts with outside groups. Mediation in non-violent dispute between New Paris and outsider elements. Subversion, sabotage, and espionage of hostile elements within and without New England territory. Scouting of dangerous pre-cataclysm territory. Cooperation with Old Guard elements when deemed necessary.

The New England Rangers by the sealing of this document swear to uphold pre-cataclysm law which still applies in these latter days in and around the New England region, based out of the refugee center hereby known by it's residents as 'New Paris.'

Signed - Jennifer Barrowfield, Ranger Alpha.

Atomos stared at the floor while Catalina read over the short document, mouthing the words as she went along. The declaration was clumsily written and basically outlined the things Atomos had already been doing, only under some new organization she was proposing. There was space on the page and she realized that Atomos had likely left it that way for negotiating further duties and terms, and also so that Catalina could sign it. While she read a pen had found it's way onto her desk, confirming her suspicion.

"This is an unexpected surprise, Jennifer. That said, I'm glad you're not breaking ties with the New Paris completely." she said, glancing the document over. "This might need a bit to review, and to determine what other duties will be needed." she said, the rather obvious reaction. Likely trying to buy time to find some way to convince Atomos to stay.

"I'd hoped to offer other alternatives to leaving entirely, to be honest. I know the old command structure was ad-hoc and a result of the necessity of the only CO being from 3-IV, so I had intended to make arrangements for a platoon formerly assigned to the cruiser to be stationed here, to formally take command of the other two marines left over." she explained.

"That's fine, that's fine." Atomos said hurriedly, "just... Hold onto that, I made a copy in case it gets lost or something, and when your ready to discuss it just, well, you know where to find me. I'm not leaving or anything like that. I mean, where else would I go? I could probably throw in with the raiders or the farm, but that's not really what I want to do."

She paused for a moment to let that sink in and maybe collect her thoughts. Then, she flinched. "Stop it, just stop. This is just how it's done, we have to be professional about this... Stop pressuring me."

Catalina nodded at that, carefully setting the paperwork aside. "Alright, just take it easy fior now and I'll see what I can do in terms of making arrangements. I suspect the center leadership will probably like having part of their ability to protect the area be outside the Old Guard's chain of command." she admitted, stifling a hint of bitterness that nearly shone through.

At Atomos' quiet remarks however she was a bit unnerved, still not fully aware of what was happening with her. "Just...definitely try to take it easy. For now though, you're dismissed."

On Mount Katahdin, a burnt offering was laid out on the circle of stones near the old cabin, hidden away far from the prying eyes of the village below. The smoke would be seen within the hour, faint though it was, and the old hermit found himself wondering if the people there would take it as an ill omen, maybe a sign from the "watcher" that guarded the region.

There it was. A faint flash of insight, distant. It took great effort to bridge the gap between realms and commune with the Veiled King, unless he was the one seeking someone out. Or unless someone had one of his relics, and the sudden premature absence of the new wound in reality made it almost certain someone used it for its intended purpose. Close to the heart of God's Army even, and the thought put a renewed worry into his mind.

"This offering, to bind and renew our grant insight where darkness clouds our minds..."

" oath you have broken."

Horace stopped his horse, Abraham looking over at the Knight of the Veil as the two had continued on their path. So far they'd had no overarching goal since their escape from Abaddon, no new orders yet. Events had seemingly held the Veled King's attention now that things were less hectic here, and so far Horace had been simply maintaining an uneasy course back to the settlement he had originally been guided towards.

But for a moment, they overheard the answer He From Beyond The Veil gave to something else, but whatever else transpired was left unheard. "Huh. Y'think yer spook there has lost his mind?" Abe said, glancing around.

Horace grimaced a bit, focusing his full attention on the axe. It was a few minutes of a wary canter down the road, in utter silence, before he felt the watcher's presence again. "It seems I have a fitting task for you. Farther northwest, along the mountains, there is someone who has lost their way. They have something for you..."

Horace hmmed a bit at that, concerned but simply giving a nod. "Alright then...coming with me, Abraham?" he asked, and the gunslinger nodded. "Yer spook did give the offer t'begin with, an' I stick by my promises. Besides, sounds 'bout good enough. Might get somethin' out of this after all..."
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 09:18:35 pm by Chaosvolt »


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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5102 on: November 19, 2018, 08:19:14 am »
Mica cooed over the book, but had trouble opening it on account of the strands of sticky silk she cast over it with every attempt. Kathrine was hesitant to use the vinegar on it, on account of the fact that she didn't want to ruin the nice gift Roxanne had brought but scissors just wouldn't do the job. Mica's silk was as strong as rolled aluminum and as sticky as duct tape when it was allowed to get really thick. Kathrine's best shears would cut the clumps of webbing, but they'd come back as dull as a stone if she even got them back at all. Fortunately, Mica's teeth shared the same adhesive resistent property as the rest of her body and like most other materials, would shear right through it. With the book between two hands, she gently ran her teeth over the cover and shred the silk to ribbons.  She wanted to keep going and free the book of wonderous pictures, but Catnip stopped her.

"Um, maybe you should wait until it falls off on it's own?" Catnip suggested, "your going to hurt your book Mica." Sure enough, she had. It was hard to see, but running down the cover of the book, the tip of one of Mica's teeth had grazed the cover just enough to create a long slash. One wouldn't see unless they gave the book a certain amount of scrutiny, but it was there. Mica began to get agitated, she held the book out before her like a child with some particularly nice toy which they can't play with.

"Eeeeh!" Mica squealed, "Kat-nip! My-ka wants to see! My-ka wants to see!"

"You have to wait Miss Mica." Kathrine said, gently taking the book from Mica, "wait until you learn how to control it. We will keep the nice book Ms. Roxanne gave you until then."

While Kathrine saw to Mica, Catnip turned the little badge over in her hand. It was similar to so many others she'd seen, but very slightly different due to the numbers and a series of verticle lines pressed into it's lower half like a barcode. Catnip had enough experience to know that the badges we're more than just simple shinies, little baubles for her to gawp over. They had power. Power of deception. Some of the badges would protect by tricking others into thinking you were something you weren't. Like Teigen. Poor dead Teigen. He had a shiny sheriff's badge that let him walk unhindered into the robot factory west of Pricetown and come back with parts Catnip needed. A sabatour stole that badge later though, and Teigen was shot at the outset of the journey east.

She discarded her long thoughts for the time being and put Hector's gift in a glass faced cabinet next to a line of others. The aforementioned sheriff's badge, a battered and somewhat scorched bioweapon badge accompanied it as well as another that Catnip and Mica themselves should have worn. She didn't remember where she got it (you blew up his car and burned him to hide the evidence, even from yourself) but the silver plated badge bearing "X7" sat on a little mount between this newest addition and the scorched one. Quite a little collection of objects, and Catnip was glad to have more badges to add to her collection. If it came to it, she would even use them. Along with some of her other interesting trinkets. The cabinet was filled with all sorts of things she'd collected over her eight or nine years above ground. A jar of purple wispy stuff, a shredded wind cell cannisters, a little name tag from pinkies, a pair of shiny metal gloves that sometimes shocked her but we're handy when she needed to jump a salvage vehicle back to life. One of Kathrines seldom worn hair clips  and a few of Mica's teeth. Next to the teeth of her monstrous but still much loved sister was the little rubber goldfish they'd steal from one another, relatively unharmed by the stomach acids it had been submerged in for years after Mica swallowed it.

Catnip reached into the cabinet and took out a long thin sheet of blue green metal. While she examined it, she stepped back from the cabinet so that Kathrine could sequester Mica's book within. Mica wouldn't dare touch the cabinet, but she would look longingly into it. As an after thought Kathrine opened the book to the first page with a picture and left it propper up against the back of the cabinet before closing the door and locking it. Mica pressed her face against the glass and stared in at the picture of a brindle hen and a high quality glossy of a rare lavender orpington. Her tongue came out and made a circle on the glass. The sheet of metal was super alloy, and Catnip didn't have enough of it. A long time ago, she'd assigned Floyd the task of finding more of it along with what Agmen had told her was "the lead wind." He'd brought plenty of lead wind, but had found no alloy. Roxanne too had kept an eye out for the stuff, but her direct duty to Catnip had been as an instructor. Teaching her to read, enlightening her on the deeper nuances of the world and most importantly, how to worship. One of her chosen, her three, her "holy trinity," though had as yet not searched for her special stuff. Possibly because he thought she no longer needed it. At least that's what she suspected he thought, chances are it wasn't true. She simply hadn't asked. Roxanne and Hector had already left, but that wasn't a problem they would not have gone far. She pushed open the front door to her new house and saw them right away.

"Hector! Come back! I'm not done with you yet. Come here silly. I need super alloy!" She said, pushing past the two waiting women with a hurried apology and a promise to see them in just a moment.

"Oh?" Hector said, raising an eyebrow at the interruption, "I would have thought military plating was more than enough for the train? I suppose it's a lighter material, but putting it on will just add to the weight Nip, and the train is already heavy enough as it is." He was thinking about the effect super alloy would have on the trains armor. As a man who could appreciate the finely turned skirt of a war machine, he was familiar with the materials such machines were outfitted with both mundane and miraculous. Super alloy was a bad option for the train. Sure, it could take a shell better than the composite, it's odd compressive strength against things like bullets or heavy ordinance we're legendary, but Catnip's comparatively slow moving train would just bypass that property as it plowed through the landscape. Super alloy plating would come out mangled and mashed.

"No silly, not for the train. I want to run some experiments but I need super alloy for a furnace along with a bunch of extra and some uh... Graff-een. It's for ro-butt's body. We can't just use the hardened stuff Dee's got pulled up between my house and the workshop, it's too heavy. Even the... Cum-paw-zit? The green stuff. The green stuff is too heavy and too tricky to work with. The power source would wear through it. So, graff-een and super alloy, okay? Then I'll have something else for you to do okay?"
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5103 on: November 20, 2018, 12:16:19 am »
(( Written with Noct. ))

Catnip caught up to him easily enough, asking that he keep an eye out for particular things, a material which brought to mind those bio-weapons again. In truth, while there were all well-armored, not all of it had been superalloy of the quality that Catnip was likely after. Milder titanium alloys, much of which found itself underused due to being in small plates no one had much use for, and not being ideal to work with. Indeed, the shining white gauntlets were pretty much the only thing he'd used any of it for.

The strange blue-green metal however, almost only ever seen in experimental military uses and non-priceless bionics, was far more useful and far more precious. Apophis had been covered in the stuff, the mark of just how his unknown creators went all-out, and the explosion had recovered the few pieces they could salvage into twisted scrap.

"I will then. Harder to find than the titanium alloy, but if there are are sources still untouched, I'll be thorough in my search." he answered. With things squared away, he headed back out to meet with Roxanne, giving a little sigh.

He again checked the bandages about his neck, a sight that likely made the "iron marshal" less imposing to the others earlier than Roxanne's description probably made him out to be. "Well. I'm glad you at least left a note this time." he said. "And I'm glad you came back safely as well. Seems we have a lot to catch up on, properly. Assuming your...other side hasn't shared any of the discussion I had with her previously..."

“Well, we are the same person so whatever one experience the other knows. So yeah, I know about that interaction. And sorry for scaring you that time... think of it as a ghost seizure, will happen whenever the veil is messed with...” Roxanne then smiled a bit. “Yeah, didn’t go far. Don’t really plan to anymore. Am sorta done fighting... leave the violence to the young and hardy.” It was then she properly noticed the bandages on his neck and then the rest of his gear. A concerned expression was etched on her face. “Now you on the other hand... What happened to you? Are you ok? Not like you to be this banged up...”

Hector gave a nod at that, relieved at least by her remarks. "I see. At least I know how to correct it when it happens, if it does again. Seems I'll still end up having to at least briefly use your blade even if I'm not to be your wielder." he said, only to give a sigh. "To be honest, that's a relief. As often as you get in trouble...or get dragged off by random spirits...from now on, can you promise me, that if any strange beings go trying to tell you to wander off, talk to me first?" he asked.

At her concern over his bandages, he simply shook his head. "Just got a bit reckless I guess. Had an unexpected encounter while mopping up the rest of the recent group of undead that strayed towards the bridge. Hence the badge I turned in to Catnip." he explained.

“Yeah, seeing that badge scared me a bit but would’ve been rather hypocritical of me to question you about it... Glad it was taken care of and that you are relatively ok. If anything hurts let me know ok?” Roxanne’s attention then shifted to his previous comments. “Yeah, I will let you know of any other incidents. Maybe you could act as the opposite of a yes man... lord knows that’s my problem. As for you using the blade... try to do so only when needed... this thing is... evil...”

She them gave a quick look around the room fidgeting a bit before she gave a deep sigh herself. “So, what did you want to talk about? I am in trouble aren’t I?”

Hector smiled a bit, before setting a hand on her shoulder. "Should be alright, the worst of it was just a few scratches that got in between the helm and planes." he admitted. "As for that...understandable. Between the sword Helen brought here, what little momentary experience with the sword of despair, and sword of the void...your latest one seems like the most disconcerting one to hold."

At her nervous response he shook his head. "No. I'm more concerned and disappointed than anything else. Just remember...I'm here for you. I'd been trying to train and learn what I could to be worth of wielding you, but even if that's no longer an option, just remember that I'm here for you." he said. "There was also something else I wanted to surprise you with sometime, but that can wait. Seems we have catching up to do, along with other business..."

“This sword... it’s something else... When I say evil I mean it... Anyways, we should get comfortable then.” Roxanne took a seat in a chair nearby and took from her messenger bag a pair of ice cream sandwiches that somehow had not melted; she extended her hand and offered to Hector. “You want one? These are a gift from Christina, she found a way to infuse essence into food so spirits can enjoy them too. Doesn’t provide any nourishment but hey, it tastes good.” Then she peeled her own ice cream sandwich and took a bite plastering a smile on her face.

“The little things Hector... that’s what matters... how soon I forgot that... Well, seeing as I am the fuck up as usual... I’ll let you start... get what you need off your chest or ask me something... I’ll be candid, I promise...”

Hector smiled a bit as he took a seat, deciding to accept it and give it a try. It had nearly a decade at this point since he'd had any proper chilled food, let alone ice cream. He could understand that she seemed to be enjoying it almost as though it was a drug to her, finding it a pleasant reminder of life from before the cataclysm. "How she even got these, I can only guess..." he remarked, before her question gave him pause.

"I guess it's just...the usual worries. If I can trust that you won't be trying to go out and get yourself killed anymore, that's a relief at least. Even then it doesn't have to be the end to adventuring, I know both of us are the type to want to keep ourselves busy. But that's why I'd wanted to prove myself, I guess." he said, before looking away.

"But now even that won't be an option. First a family, now this..." he said, lowering his head. "I figured maybe it'd be a way for us both to do something more with our....talents. I at least can offering training to the locals and make tools for the center, but it's just not the same as being out there. But at the same time, despite that yearning...part of me wanted to be able to settle down eventually, when things had finally calmed down. With you." he confessed.

This time it was Roxanne who put a hand on Hector's shoulder and gave him a sympathetic look. "I know... and it's all my fault really... when I stuck that needle in my arm that made me into a mutant I should've stopped but no... I wanted more and it eventually culminated into this." She pulled away and made a gesture with her hands to point at herself. "You have no fault in this... so you should continue in your adventures and help others in the way that you know how. I am done... sure if I am needed I will answer the call but honestly I am tired of it all... I will focus my energies else where and see if , for once in my life, I can truly help others... You see, despite what I am now I am sure my abilities can be put to good use and that is what I want to dedicate myself now.... so that is where something I want to tell comes in... I am holding a small meeting in the burned down hotel tomorrow, will be putting up flyers in a bit; I have an idea on how I want to help... and of you are interested maybe you could attend... if not I understand...."

Roxanne then looked away, something was bothering her and then her expression turned into a pained one. "To settle down one day huh... you know... it's still not late for you... if you really want that, why not pursue it? Look at me, I am less than a shadow of my former self.... Here I am promising you the world once more and I assume deep down you don't fully believe me, hell, I am not sure if I believe myself at this point... If I am tying you down, if the spark has died... I get it... I am a desensitized killer who has brought a lot of strife into your life yet you had stood by me taking that for granted... so you have a choice to make... if that is not the life you want to live anymore... I understand..."

Hector listened, regarding her offer and the other things she said carefully, only to look her in the eye, brown eyes meeting her own oddly-colored gaze. "If you had something in mind, a meeting to arrange...I'd be happy to. Maybe I can find some way to put my own skills to good use, finally." he said, managing a little smile.

That smile faded a little, only to sigh a bit at the second part however. "After all this...honestly, you were one of the reasons I ended up staying, so long ago. I don't know if I can accept that offer to find someone else, even after you suggested it I was...reluctant to. To be's worry that's made it so hard to put up with this." he said, seeming to be weighing what he'd say next carefully. "I can't abandon you. Despite it all, I still love you. If I can trust that you'll be alright, and if you still love me as I still love you...we'll figure it out. I can promise that."

Roxanne looked at him and gave a sincere but tired smile. She looked up despite her body seeming limp and numb even as she stood. "I still do, that had never changed... the one constant in my life, to the point I started to take it for granted... as for trust, that is up to you, I can only promise transparency and to not go off on wild goose chases anymore... and if you really want to attend the talk, then you are more than welcome. I really think I can change people's lives Hector, for the better... start to rebuild... hope it goes like I want it to..." She looked down for a bit before looking back up, her smile still there but her eyes now purple. "And as for this side of me, don't worry. It seems we are slowly truly becoming one. Neither will let the other make any stupid things, in that department it's all good." Roxanne closed her eyes for a few seconds and when she opened them they were pink once more. "Anything else on your mind big guy? Now that we have this alone time, might as well use it if you want... I don't have anything I need to address to you right now beyond what has been said today or when I had that little episode..."

At that, he hugged her tightly, relieved by her words. "Thank you...if we can then, this'll give us a chance to do something constructive." he admitted, smiling a bit as he eased up on the embrace, a bit embarrassed when Eris revealed herself briefly. "That...should be it mainly. Good to get time to ourselves, and to catch up...and I have time free until next scouting run as well, so..."

Roxanne smiled herself and returned the hug happily before he pulled away. She too was rather relieved; there were plans in the work and she needed to tie some lose ends, but for the most part she was done. The call to adventure had been put on snooze for now. "Yes, it's good to just relax somewhat...although not sure if we can call this relaxing.", she teased. Then she looked over the room trying to remember where stuff was. "Well, maybe you can help me make some posters and set them up around the farm? Wanna get the word out for tomorrow, I am rather excited about it and a bit nervous...."

"That sounds fine in fact, wouldn't mind helping out while we have time." he added, the two setting to work on sorting things out and gathering materials...

Christina and Rey were walking towards the Hall after their departure with Luna in the hand of Hector. The former seemed rather serious yet still playful in mannerisms somehow. The duo walked by and Rey suddenly stopped.

"What's wrong Rey-rey?", asked Christina

"Seriously? You still haven't dropped that... You haven't told anyone that nickname yet right?", Rey responded

Christina grinned. "Don't worry, Luna doesn't know so you don't have to worry about further teasing."

"That' not what I mea- whatever, anyhow... I am not feeling so hot right now..."

"Oh? What's wrong? A bit under the weather? Can regulator spirits even get sick?"

"I need to feed... It's been a while now... I can still hold on for a bit but am rather weak. My combat ability is rather limited now and in a couple days I will lose my corporeal form."

"Jesus... ok, that sounds serious. Wanna call this off for later then? We can g-"

"No no, it's fine.", Rey interjected, "Like I said, I can still hold on. Luna said she would take me on a hunt later on, hopefully some time tomorrow..."

It was then the two were interrupted by the sound of Christina's radio making noise. She picked up and answer it knowing full well who to expect.

"Hey, are you two on your way?", asked Clare through the radio.

"Yeah, we are about 2 minutes away on foot.", Christina responded.

"Alright, see you soon then. I will be waiting for you by the side closest to the road."

"10-4, Yo-yo out."

Rey shook his head playfully and chuckled. "Did you really choose yo-yo as your call sign?", he teased.

"Much better than Harvester you edgelord."

"Hey! I am a regulator spirit, it's what I do..."

"Doesn't make my point invalid."

The two soon reached the Hall and Christina saw Clara waved them down. After a brief greeting, Clara showed them the way to the main quarters where Helen and Victor were waiting.

Elsewhere, within Helen's quarters in The Hall, Helen gave a sigh as she finished getting dressed, looking back to Victor. "So she is, it seems...well. We'll need to have her explain the rest of things when we can, it seems." she said, before stretching a bit. "So there's the lesson with Liam later today, Clara said she'd arrange something soon too...anything else I missed?" she asked.

Before Victor could answer that, there was a knock on the door, the two getting up as Helen answered it, seeing Clara there along with two unfamiliar faces.

"Well, they are finally here! Introductions are in order. This is Rey Steller, former Agent and Current Hunter of Shadows of Arcana; also a former partner of Luna's, that girl surely gets around... And this is Christina, one of the founders of Shadows or Arcana and it's current leader. She is the one who is interested in talking to you Helen."

Clara then turned around to address the guests. "This is Thane Helen McKinnon of The Cleansing Flame and now of The Flames of Arcana. I would say co-founder but knowing the other, we all know she is the actual leader.", she looked at Victor with a smirk who he in turn simply rolled his eyes. "And this is Purifier Ironwood, formerly of Shadows of Arcana but now also of The Flames of Arcana. And also my little brother, that is not relevant but it bothers him."

"Nice to finally meet you two.", Said Christina while doing a small bow.

"Yes, I've heard quite a few things along the way. Hope we can get along.", Rey added.

At the introductions Helen gave a polite nod, looking back to Victor. "I'm glad to be able to meet like this, instead of how things used to go." she admitted. "And memory loss aside, Victor is still just as important to this foundation." she remarked, hiding her amusement at how Victor was smiling almost childishly at her remark, and how Clara was the one rolling her eyes now.

"Riiight... Anyways, why don't we take a seat then?", Clara suggested.

"Fine by me.", responded Christina. She and Rey sat down in a couple chairs Clara had arranged for them. Rey stayed silent for now as Christina was the one representing them. "So, quite the interesting story; two former enemies who entered into a partnership. Forgive me if I am intruding too much but... I never thought I would see the day... Back when SoA was getting its roots, there was a lot of hatred and animosity... We've caused a lot of pain, I know, I was there; so first and foremost I would like to apologize for that..."

Helen nodded as she took a seat, before sighing a bit at the mention of that. "Indeed. And our first meeting had technically been in battle, though I don't recall if we'd even seen each other at the time." she said, sighing some. "And so too would I like to apologize for how things had declined, as time went on. Our mission strayed from our ideals." she admitted.

Clara nodded and took from a pocket a small vial which she handed to Christina. "Do you know what this is?", Christina asked Helen as she showed Helen the multi-color substance in the vial. "Both Victor and Clara have independently made what they called "Prime Essence"; a way to fuse the properties of dull, blood and normal essence into an energetic form. You currently have Victor and we have Clara who can make us more if we need to. This is a prime example of what I want to get across; we are not different, we seek the same thing I am sure.

The vial was put down but Christina fidgeted with it as she talked. "Forget what our organizations were in the past, what do we want now? Well, we at SoA want to contain and study the things that endanger those who know not any better. But not only that, no no. For what use is to keep a thing locked away without understanding what it is and why it exists. We want to study these things, learn more and find out what we can use and what needs to be discarded away. Is this not a goal we share?"

Helen listened, regarding the vial with concern. "That would explain certain worries Hector had regarding Roxanne's prior absence..." she said softly, before nodding. "Indeed. To protect others, now that there is little need for out founding objective of stopping the Sanguine Order. I'd also sought to try and teach those who seek it, to ensure that what we discover can be used safely. Better it be practiced sensibly than only by untrained arcanists fearing reprisal." she added. "But to keep others safe from what is too dangerous, and ensure what isn't can be used safely...our methods of ensuring the safety of others may have differed, but both have their merits."

Christina smiled and nodded at Helen's response. "Indeed. Among our circles we considered The Cleansing Flame too much of a 'prude' with the arcane for our liking...Hence the split. And sure, we were probably seemed like overcurious children handling things unsafely at times..."

"Not that that is completely unwarranted...", Clara added briefly with a grin towards Victor who glared back.

"Anyways.",Christina resumed, "To culminate both of those views, there was the reason for the split in the happened in the first place. A powerful arcane sword that we would later learn was a piece of Anomon's puzzle. The sword our own sword of harvest derived from; though, I haven't seen any of those in a while... But I digress. It has come to my understanding it was in the possession of Victor for some time? Now Roxanne is in charge of it along with Conveyance. That's good, we have three pieces secured and the forth is in the hands of a mutual ally. Well...this should test both our resolve to an alliance, I have a proposal for you to start working for a shared goal. Interested?"

Helen listened, stifling her amusement at Clara's remarks, knowing all too well the reason behind that. "Indeed, that it seems was the very thing that made our initial split turn violent, between the Grandmaster and the Jarl, if I recall what my parents said of the event. Concerned though I am about having three of them in one place, especially given what led to what seems to be her current state, but we don't have any better methods of securing them." she admitted.

At the offer however, she perked up a bit. "Very well then. What did you have in mind?" she asked.

"Don't worry, we are nowhere near desperation yet. While this whole situation is tricky, the way things are then as long as nothing unexpected happens then we are fine. That is what I want to propose you, a way to keep things fine. I don't know how much you been briefed at but allow me to give a refresher. Roxanne currently is the current incarnation of the sword of assimilation. Both the sword of the void and the sword of convergence have been reborn with new consciousness and, as weird as this may be, believe Roxanne is their mother... We will focus on keeping Roxanne in check, we have our means... some drastic but hopefully it won't come to that. What I ask of you is to help secure the other two: void and convergence. We need some sort of warded container we can store them in when not in use. Someplace they can be placed in and remain dormant; that way if need be we can deal them away indefinitely and prevent a union. Does this seems like something you might want to tackle?"

Helen gave a nod, smiling some. "That's something I think I can attempt. I had prepared measures for back when Roxanne had possession of Despair, which required the use of specific bonds linking the weapon to its place of containment. The main flaw with it was the fact that it still needed to be accessible to Roxanne for her use, and that required the wielder have access to its bonds." she said, before giving a sigh.

"Admittedly, I don't know how well they would've held up had the enchantment been restricted to its fullest extent, but the sword's ability to recognize the person who ended up taking it from her likely made undermining the enchantment far easier. Not even trying to track them using the bond still functioned by the time I was able to attempt it." she stated. "But if Void and Convergence are to be kept in a state where they have no wielder, that would make securing them far easier."

Christina smiled wider and nodded at Helen's explanation. She then looked to Clara for validation; while Christina was rather well versed in the arcane, her focus was more in the combat aspects from it since her bionics and mutations took care of the rest. It was safe to say that she was the one least versed in the full intricacies of the arcane. Clara nodded nodded back signaling that she trusted what Helen proposed. "Very well!", Christina exclaimed, "Let's shake on it then." She offered her hand to Helen. "Say, what shall I address you as? Is Thane still fine or do you go by anything else. I ask because I do not wish to use the title of founder or grandmaster due to... bad memories. I suppose Overseer seems fitting? What do you think?"

Helen's smile brightened at that, before shaking Christina's hand in response. "Thank you. As for that, whatever you deem fitting. Even without old formalities passed down by my parents, we're still Brothers and Sisters as they'd call us, are we not?"

Christina shook Helen’s hand with her on smile. Her grip was tight which would seem odd given her petite appearance; her smile friendly and warm but her shake firm and formal. “That we are! Hopefully not just in arms but one day we may look back once peaceful days are upon us.” The handshake ended and Christina looked at the others. “Well, I’ll leave you three to it. We will be around here for now so if you need anything. Let use know.”

“Wait, three?”, Clara asked confused.

“Yeah, you are to help them. You were oh so eager to see your little brother so you are to stick around for a while; don’t want to hear your whining again...”

“W-whining?! Oh, so that’s how it is? Fiiine, we will have a grand old time together!”

Christina shook her head in amusement and despite her words, Clara’s tone was more of someone being embarrassed than any legitimate hostility.

“Alright, we will be going now, take care!” Rey and Christina rose from their seats and dismissed themselves before heading towards the door.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 12:33:12 pm by Chaosvolt »


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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5104 on: November 23, 2018, 05:57:21 am »
Branches awoke the next day to a pile of neatly folded if somewhat filthy clothes and wondered where Illiana had gotten off to. She at first assumed that the Deus Ex had brought the clothes, but upon further reflection it was probably the automatons who'd brought them. The streaks of dirt and mud on them pretty much confirmed that. They'd have to be cleaned before they were eventually returned. The real issue was the volume. Pants, shirts, skirts, dresses, underwear, shoes. If it all belonged to Helen, then the mage hunter would be waking up to find her dresser completely empty. Also, some of the clothing was either too large or too small for Helen. That, or simply not her style. A leather track suit, split at the seams in some places and terribly stretched in others. A blue silk blouse so fine that it could only be real, and the product of much scavenging. A tattered skirt that looked like it had been worn constantly for far too long. An oil stained cotton tank top and a pair of much loved mechanics suspended pants, sans suspender belts. A bra that was too big for most of the farms residents, but too small for the giant tiger. There was even a well cared for quilted gambeson. Most of it though was Helens, either pilfered straight from the hall or pulled down off a clothesline. There was more though too, not just clothes but books. Books, canned food, tools... While branches looked on in horror, some of her servitors broke from the tree line with a heavy oak chair carried above them. Furniture.

"No! No! No!" Branches shouted, "we're supposed to be subtle! We're-" she noticed the damage. The little clay golems hadn't gone unnoticed. Little injuries here and there mostly, but some of them had gone about their thefts much less carefully and had suffered far greater damages. Missing arms, cracked limbs, even one unfortunate automaton with a hefty bullet hole in it's chest. That last was hardly moving. Branches felt a sinking feeling, a deep gnawwing in the pit of her stomach. There was no way these thefts would go unnoticed, and who's fault was that? Not the golems, now that Branches thought about it, no. It was her fault. Branches had been too distracted by her attempts to sleep and too fixated on the new soft lumps of flesh on her chest to worry about her servants. So distracted in fact that she had neglected to tell them to stop. So, they'd stayed up all night collecting things for their creator and when they'd run out of clothes that were easy to swipe, they'd shifted their focus on other things Branches might like.

"I'm so dead. There's no way Helen won't notice this. There's no way everyone won't notice this... I'll have to send it back, have them take it all back. No, that won't work, they'd be destroyed on sight. No, I have to... Oh boy..." Branches mumbled. The day before, life had seemed great and good and just fine. Today, it seemed like it was just about to end. The homunculus couldn't send the stuff back via her golems. She would have to bring it back herself. Not all of it was Helens though, and that was the hard part. Some of it could have come from the farm or from Sharlene's clearing, but not all of it. Some of it had to have come from someone else. what if... What if they'd been followed?

The last question answered itself with a sudden feeling, an intrusion that was alarming in it's implication. Someone had just entered the woods under Branches control, strangers she didn't recognize. For a long time she stood frozen, surrounded by stolen goods. Then she turned stiffly back towards her mud hut and sprinted back inside to hide.

"Those things took the shit this way man, I fuckin' know it. What would those things even want with all that crap?"

"I don't know, little shit people is what they are, who knows why they want it. What matters is we get it back, Yellow Jacket is gonna be fucking pissed. Some of that stuff was slated for that cult she's thrown us in with. C'mon, let's just find em and get this over with. I hate brush cutting."

Branches could hear them now and cursed herself. She'd been prepared for Helen or someone else from the hall, but not complete strangers. The big golems in the forest didn't bother hindering these Intruders, Branches hadn't instructed them to. She focused, trying to direct them indirectly, but found that she was too nervous to do it.

"Jesus, look at all this shit. Why the hell did they pile it up here?"

"Shut the fuck up Kenny, we got a live one. Over there. Do little shit people build houses or light fires? Maybe there's somebody here who can own up to the theft. Maybe Yellow Jacket will wanna have a word, ya dig?"

Branches shot a glance at the small dug out clay fireplace. The fire was dead but it had left behind a pile of smoldering ash, small signs of life just beneath. She considered putting it out for good, but dismissed the thought. It wouldn't do any good now that the light smoke from her admittedly too tall chiminy had been seen. Instead she tried to focus harder, putting all her effort into trying to get her sentinels to respond, sharpening her panic into an arrow of purpose. That arrow fell yards short of the mark, and the sentinels in the forest shifted not a single inch. It never once occurred to her that maybe they wouldn't shoot her on sight, maybe they wouldn't try to grab her or charge her with some crime. It didn't occur to her because she was certain of it. She had two options, as she saw it. Fight or flee. If this were Helen, she'd have fled. But it wasn't. Instead, she threw on a ragged blanket and a broad straw hat. She didn't want to hurt anyone so Branches was going to try something else, just to see if she could guage the newcomers or maybe scare them off. In one instance of the things she was certain they'd do, she was completely correct. The plan was to pretend to be some kind of witch or great and powerful something or another. 'chances are,' she thought as she threw on the cloak and hat, 'this isn't going to work. Maybe I'll at least buy myself a headst-'


The crack of the pistol shot and the near simultaneous feeling of the bullet tugging the brim of the hat hard enough to spin it a half turn on top of her head took her completely off guard, and Branches dropped to her knees with the suddeness of it.

"Don't fuckin' move a single fuckin' step!" One of the men shouted. From her position, it would have been difficult to do anything of the sort these men didn't want her doing. As they moved in on her, Branches had a moment more to reflect on how it came to this, whose fault it was, and if she was going to be all right.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2018, 02:43:18 am by saltmummy626 »
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5105 on: November 27, 2018, 06:32:56 pm »
(( Horace stuff written with Wilson, Alice and Steinar stuff written after discussion with Vulnus, Lilith stuff written with Mrno's approval. ))

   As Horace and Abraham rode on, the gunslinger gave a little glance at the road ahead, before looking back to Horace as he led the way. “So. What do y’think yer boy is sendin’ us after?” he asked, Horace just shrugging. “Something dangerous, I bet.” he remarked after a moment, Abe hmming a bit. “Reckon that’s just what yer hopin’ fer. So, y’sure you know where we’re going?”

   Horace just gave an irritated grumble at that. “Yes, I do. Rather hard to miss the mountains, can practically sense it all the way from here.” At that Abraham chuckled quietly, replacing his glass eye with the other in his possession. “An’ I reckon the entire Appalachian is probably alight with whatever voodoo is goin’ on over there. Be like findin’ a needle in a haystack ‘less you have directions.” he pointed out.

   “And I do.” Horace answered, looking down at his axe. “Y’sure? Figure more that we’re lost.” he said, cracking a wry smile. “Or is it, we’re not lost, just don’t know where we’re going?” Horace looked up at a thick plume of smoke, letting out a “Hmmph.” and pointing towards it. “I know where I’m going, revenant.”[/color] He stated simply, turning his steed towards the smoke.

   “Lookin’ like y’ might be right about there bein’ a fight...” Abraham grumbled, spurring his steed to pick up the pace, watching out for any other sign of trouble up ahead. Horace likewise drove his horse to lead the way, readying his axe as they rode.

   The village at the foot of the mountain was in utter chaos. Buildings were set alight and the small contingent of Canadian troops there had been driven back to the buildings on the very edge of the mountain trail, frantically holding any position they could. Had it been any other circumstance, they would’ve had no need to even return fire. But this time the strange abominations under unknown control were faltering.

   It had been a while since the last time God’s Army had attempted to take the village. The Canadian troops had thrown much of their forces into utter chaos, and what remained was properly wary of the entire Appalachian. But the forces advancing through the burning ruins were fanatical, filled with renewed morale. And in the very center of the chaos was a single robed man, calming holding a crucifix in one hand, and a weathered golden talisman in the other. Strange chitinous beasts and flowing ethereal shapes, marked in the familiar white runes of Mount Katahdin’s unseen protector, descended upon the interlopers. And one by one, the man would gesture with the three-pronged golden trinket, runes fading only to erupt into blue flames, sending attacking monsters crashing to the ground and screeching alien cries of agony.

   A few of the travelers stopping at the village had joined in the fighting, taking positions anywhere they could, wary of the fact that the mountain itself was practically at their backs. A handful of soldiers had managed to fall back and take positions on the ledge overlooking the village, despite the protests of the more superstitious guards and those who’d decided to stay instead of continue into Canada.

   As one of the crusaders pushed up down what had been the main street of the ramshackle town, a young woman peeked out from behind the cover of a crumbling, bullet-marked stone wall. She was nervously clutching an old lighter with a faded patina, partly obscuring ornate engravings. Seeing the ruins alaze on every side of the streets, she found herself gazing into one of the burning buildings from her concealed position. The young cat-eared man beside her was about to yank her back down behind cover when a surge of flame erupted from the ruins, engulfing the crusader and sending the men behind him backpedaling in fear.

At this the apparent leader of the bunch, adorned in a bishop’s robes, sent another strange shifting monster crashing down towards their segment of wall, the mutant fellow bolting for another position down the street, and the young woman narrowly avoiding being crushed beneath the polypous abomination, as ghostly fire enveloped it. “I can sense your little sorcery, young one.” the man called out, calmly walking along behind the bulk of the men combing the ruined city square. “You’re not the one I’m looking for. You’re pure, full of potential...give up, and you will be spared the punishment owed to this profligate filth.”

The woman held up two fingers, before striking her lighter as she murmured a chant. “May the eternal flame cleans thine flesh, thine bones, thine aura and soul…” She repeated it quietly as she continued to strike the lighter’s flint, more and more sparks falling to the floor. One of the templars gave a shout as he fired blindly at where he guessed the interloper was hiding, others scrambling to take cover behind a burned-out wreck of an armored vehicle. The bishop frowned at this, stepping back as he saw the line of sparks encircling the position of those ahead of him. “It’s a trap you idi-” The woman turned her hand and brought her two fingers up, and a slight swirl of flames was seen by one of the privates. The fireball expanded rapidly, incinerating the crusaders and privates in front of the bishop.

The bishop facepalmed at the display, only to lift his strange talisman, a beam of wicked lightning lancing through the smoldering ruins and over the charred corpses before him, sending bolts arcing in every direction as it impacted the rustic old stone, sending a spray of molten shards of stone flying overhead. Then, he raised his crucifix, calmly striding forward as the lingering flames parted for him. “I will not make any further offers of mercy, sorceress. Perhaps drowning would be better fit than the cross for you...”

The woman hefted a bag of flour, chucking it towards the bishop as she rose the lighter. With a single strike of its flint, a thin arc of flame flew towards the paper bag as she ran in the opposite direction. The others marching beside him scrambled for cover, most reduced to crumpled burning heaps as the flames engulfed them, the bishop taking a wary step back. Where charred corpses surrounded where he once stood, only ashes littered the ground in the center of the group.

A knight, followed by a gunslinger, galloped into town at all speed, catching the scattered remnants of the attackers from behind. Axe blade fell in wide sweeping strikes, hewing men to pieces before they could react to the horseman behind them, and behind him the gunslinger unloaded round after round from an old revolver into any God’s Army soldier he could catch in the open, beyond the knight’s reach.

The Canadians watching the scene unfold were stunned, wary enough of the roaring flames of a recent arrival, and now it seemed the cavalry had literally arrived. What remained broke and ran, Horace dismounting and his horse turning to clear the way, willed along by whatever strange magic guided it.The young man previously beside the mage broke cover to retreat to the other positions farther back, only for a snap of electricity to resound through the air. A beam of light lanced through the raging inferno that engulfed several old buildings between the young woman and the Canadian positions, parting the flames momentarily and sending the young man toppling to the ground in a smoldering heap, flesh stripped from the bone where he’d been struck.

The flames surged forward in a living inferno, and with ashen footsteps the bishop’s figure coalesced from out of the flames. “I gave you one chance...” he said, watching as she turned to run, caught in the open. The bishop rose his odd talisman, sending an arc of lightning towards the retreating mage. Meanwhile, A knight ran to the mage’s aid, catching the arc to the black breastplate. ”Enough.” Horace yawped, falling to one knee with the axe’s pommel bracing him.

The bishop watched in stunned silence, moreso when he caught sight of the axe. “You...” he muttered, glowering at the knight before another beam lanced out. Horace had managed to stand, whirling to face the bishop, but even though the beam struck the axe instead, dispersing arcs of lightning around both knight and mage, he staggered back, reeling and looking less like an injured man, and more like a suit of armor about to topple over in pieces, as he practically was. Then he stood, bracing the axe as lingering sparks lingered, trailing from now-glowing runes. “I am not going to die from your stolen magicks. I am the Knight of the Abyss and I have had ENOUGH of your foolish cult, following a damned PARASITE. he said coldly, taking a step forward.

The knight gripped the axe firmly, the faux lightning crackling from the blade. “You will know the true extent of your unfounded zeal, you filthy raving MISCREANT. Horace roared at the lone Bishop, the echo from his armor intensifying the sound of his voice as it rang out. The bishop flinched visibly, hesitating for a moment only for the energy from the axe to be released as Horace swung the tool savagely with an inhuman shout, although the energy itself was weakened.

The bishop glowered, brandishing the crucifix. “You misuse that heathen power, beast...” he said, stumbling back at the impact. The wave of energy seemed to surge through him, less of an electric arc and more like a blade of divine fire, seemingly still standing. He raised his arm, and it took a split-second to realize that his hand did not follow suit. Only then did he take notice of the bloody gash across his chest, after the energy seared right through the arm held out in front of him a moment ago.

Horace shuddered forward. Each step was more like a lunge forward from a poorly used marionette, a hand reaching towards the Bishop as he took long, stiff and lunging steps towards him. Horace was looming over the Bishop before he dug his hands into that bloody gash, hands tearing the flesh. The man gave a strained cry of pain as he tried to backpedal, brandishing the symbol of judgement only for a round to rip through the man’s arm, shattering bone and forcing him to drop it, deformed lead skidding off Horace’s breastplate. “Watch your fire...” Horace growled out, just barely loud enough for the gunslinger to hear, the bishop glaring into the empty visor. “H-hah...I forsook him years ago, to think I’d ever lay eyes on one of the b-blades again...let alone his puppet dancing with it.” he spat out, a hint of blood running down his chin.

Horace’s hands dug in deeper, as he tore apart the flesh with his gauntlets alone, discarding the axe for a moment. “Cease your prattling, petulant child.” Horace snarled as his hands dug in deeper, as they widened the bloody gash. The man said nothing, a glare of pure hatred being the only answer as the knight tore him open, flesh yielding along with the ribs beneath, widening the gouge the axe’s surge cut into flesh and bone, until gauntleted hands ripped him open entirely, grasping at the first thing he could reach to tear it free, the bishop’s heart. Horace tore out the muscle, throwing it to the ground, and grinding it into the floor.

The pyromancer was busy emptying her lunch onto the floor at this, utterly disgusted. One of the Canadians stepped up once it seemed the remaining attackers had all been put down or fled, giving a wary wave to the pair before helping the mage stand. “This is an unexpected surprise, but one we’re grateful for. What are your names?” the man asked. Horace dropped the torn mass of flesh, still shuddering and threatening to fall apart as he spoke. “Horace.” He said simply as Abraham double-tapped a nearby God's Army soldier, “Abe, who's the girl?” Abe asked simply, racking the sawn down rifle.

The mage grumbled a bit as she stood up, fumbling with a cloth to wipe her mouth, and simply tossing it into the flames. “Fucking hell...” she grumbled, the Canadian smiling a bit. “Don’t think they’ll buy that your name’s Fucking Hell, ma’am.” he joked, prompting her to facepalm. “Name’s Celine.” Horace let out a wince-like hiss, “You’re okay, that's good.” He said wearily as he walked away, Watcher. I… Need help.

In response to this the Watcher turned his attention back to the knight. My, smitten by a sickened stranger? he teased, prompting an irritated metallic growl from Horace. No, dammit… Celine meanwhile regarded to stumbling knight with concern. “Are you okay? Come on, let’s get you inside one of the buildings that’s still standing...” she said, catching up to him and reaching up to put a hand on his shoulder. The plate was hot to the touch, No. I- I just need to be alone. Leave me be, I will talk to you later.” Horace snarled softly, moving his shoulder stiffly out of the mage's grip.

Celine grumbled a bit at that, looking over to Abraham. “The hell’s his problem...” she said, and Abe shrugged. “Beats me. Yer as likely t’ get through t’ him as y’ are t’ take black off’a kettle.” he said. “I...okay...” she said, promptly regretting asking him about it, watching as Horace stumbled off. The others looked on in stunned silence, wary enough about having to go just up the ridge overlooking the foot of the trail, to see the man just stumbling off was a worrisome sight, one that brought to mind whispers among the soldiers of the last person to do so.

Abraham shrugged a bit and looked around, before grumbling. “Well hell. Tell y’what, say we get in afore the weather gets any worse? Catch our breath a bit. Fella’s a tough ol’ bastard an’ I’m sure he’ll do just fine.” he said, Celine reluctantly showing him to one of the village’s remaining buildings to have a well-earned moment of respite over dinner.

The knight trudged up the mountain path, armored boots falling heavily over loose, cracked and overgrown stone, sitting down beside a crumbling boulder. “ I...” he mumbled, and the watcher regarded this with curiosity. Perhaps the expected outcome of that traitor attempting to turn one of my own symbols against my chosen, or...ah. No. Just’ve failed to even consider that you have a soul bound to this otherwise-needless body, and where there is body and soul, there is the mind. And that still requires rest…

Horace walked among weathered cobblestones, overgrown and cracked from grass and vines. He was whole again, flesh and blood clad in dark clothes, button-up shirt and slacks. He walked past ivy overgrowing old stone edifices, so worn and covered in greenery that it was impossible to tell if the underlying rock was natural or manmade.

He took a seat in a quaint wrought iron chair, in the center of what was once a garden. One thing came to mind. He wasn't weary as he once was, nor in pain from the strikes suffered during the last battle. His new unlife was far from his mind. Instead he was hungry. He sat at a table, vaguely reminded of things from a past life, buried in the haze of death and the bloodlust that consumed his latter years as a mortal.

A figure was sitting across from him. A heavy woolen cloak, dyed a modest dark color, was contrasted by finely-tailored and patterned robes of pale, coarse undyed linen. A deliberate paradox of fine clothing worked from crude cloth. The hood was down, and an equally-paradoxical face veil of richly-embroidered yet undyed linen had been laid out on the table. The face so-exposed was not something living mortals were expected to see.

There was darkness, wispy shadows occasionally coalescing into brief imitations of human structure. And in the darkness, intermittent glimpses into whatever faraway worlds the figure held dominion over. Of war, of death, and in turn vague afterimages of the less-grim things they were foils of.

Horace was torn between wanting to ignore the figure and enjoy his dream in peace, and asking the watcher questions that started to come to mind. But he didn't get the chance to do either. The sensation of sitting where he was seemed to fade, but the cold of his metal seat faded more slowly, permeating through more of his body as it did so. A gentle breeze sweeping through the garden ceased all at once, and it seemed as though night was falling upon the surrounding woods. It all seemed to fade, before he had the chance to say anything to the watcher...

A storm had rolled into the area over the course of the night, leaving heavy blankets of snow across the mountain trails, dense fall stifling the lingering fires left in the village below. A strange sight for the warmer season, but one that had become increasingly common around the mountains at all times of the year. Horace could sense, rather that feel, the chill that lingered in his metal frame.

He neither felt nor sensed snow on him however, nor his immediate surroundings, even though he started to become vaguely aware of it all around him. There was also light, a fire burning a few feet from him. That drew his attention immediately, the plates shifting as he sat up from his half-collapsed position with a start.

Across from him was an old man, at least from the weathered face and long, scraggly beard. The rest of him was covered in furs of varied states of disrepair, obscuring the rest of his features. Leaning against a nearby tree was a long staff that vaguely glowed with magic to his senses, one end decorated with carved pieces of some mutated insect's overgrown chitinous plates, the very end ragged in rags. Covering either the end of a staff, or more likely a spearhead from what he recalled of common magical items.

"You're awake. Good." the man murmured, glancing over at Horace. "Lucky you're lacking in fingers to lose from frostbite..." he remarked, regarding Horace's armor with amusement. "Who are you?" he asked bluntly, the old man simply smiling. "The one who lives up here, keeping an eye on things below." he answered.

Horace sat up straight, regarding the man with suspicion. "The reason those monsters were attacking..." he said coldly, and the old man shook his head. "Because there were intruders attacking the village. The beasts surrounding this place are under my control. They keep an eye on things, keep a measure of order down there." he said.

"For all the good that did." Horace scoffed, and the man gave a little sigh. "I can only do so much. The man that led the attack...he was one of ours. Turned aside the magic I used." he said. "One of yours, you mean. I wasn't part of your little cult." Horace answered. The man noticeably went pale, tensing up a bit. Still uncertain of the armored figure's purpose.

It was then that a familiar presence echoed around them. Do not fear the one I have sent to meet you. Though he was not of my followers in life, he has proven himself worthy. the watcher directed. Horace would've grimaced a bit if he could, before nodding. "This is...better than how things were after I died." he admitted. "So that bishop was one of yours. Surprised that he would abandon you for the parasite, watcher."

That one broke his oath to me years before God's Army ever became a concern. Then and since he had been an occasional threat to my faithful, though the decline of the Keepers did what no one man ever could. the voice answered. I suspect he pledged allegiance to the parasite to avoid my wrath. Perhaps believing that the abomination devouring his soul would be a more pleasant fate. But that oath outlives even one who dares break it. He has been brought to where he is fated to be.

Horace seemed to perk up a bit at this. "Hmmph. Serves him right to burn in whatever hell you drag your oath-breakers to." he remarked. The aura pervading the area seemed to reflect the tone in the watcher's voice, a faint hint of amusement. Perhaps. All who have sworn my oath are to be received in my domain, for the time being. But my judgement for those who have wronged others is a ledger, not a scale. His judgement will be attended to by all those spirits I have accepted, for all good and ill done by him. And he has wronged a great many of those spirits...

Horace hmmed a bit at that, shaking his head. "Right. Well, not my concern then." he muttered, the old man nodding. "For now, it seems we have some things to discuss..."

Hector had spent most of yesterday working on the posters with Roxanne and posting them here and there, smiling a little as he picked up his helm, set on the desk. "Wait, wha-" He stopped, staring into it. There had been padding inside it, a simple arming cap made of scavenged fabric that had long since replaced the original padding the great helm was fitted with. Figuring it simply fell out of place he looked around a bit in the room, before resigning himself to simply getting an older spare out of Roxanne's dresser, now storing clothes for both of them.

The fact it was noticeably missing a few items here and there startled him, mainly random bits of clothing stolen from Roxanne's wardrobe. He knew that much, she certainly hadn't decided to wear any of the items that stood out as missing.

As soon as he went outside, he saw Nathaniel there along with Lilith, both seeming less than pleased with something. "Nate, you both alright?" he asked, and Nathaniel shook his head. "Nope. Y'know that nice jacket Bandit went and made for me? Fuckin' thing's disappeared, and I know Lilith didn't go eating it or whatever, even if she likes your old lucky jacket more." he remarked.

"It's still other-me's jacket, not mi-" Lilith butted in, growling a bit. "Thupid dirt men took thmall man jacket..." she whined, prompting a confused look from Hector. "Thought I hadn't seen any of those little critters in a few days, but she's right. Saw one of the fuckers scamper off with Lil's old suit too." Nathaniel said, only to be nearly bowled over by a heavy paw giving him a dismissive little pat. "No thwear. Mean." the tigress remarked, giving what seemed to be her best impression of a shit-eating grin.

The two would've discussed the situation further, had something not interrupted. Explosions, gunfire, somewhat distant but still audible. The knight further secured his replacement arming cap and put on his helm, running out along with Nathaniel to see that Isaac was already running off to investigate. "Merda..." Hector mumbled, only to be staggered by a nudge from Lilith's paw. "Thpanish thill mean. No thwear."

The knight grumbled a bit, regaining his composure. "He likely has the situation well in hand, but we should get the tank ready just in case, follow along..." he mumbled, Nathaniel nodding a bit. "Lil, stay here and keep an eye on things."

"No. Go with thmall man." she answered, glancing over at the tank that Hector was making ready. Given her size, simply keeping up with it would likely be more practical than trying to desant on it like she used to be able to do. The three of them made ready to head out and belatedly follow after him, and to their surprise they saw Alice running ahead by the time they'd been able to get the tank ready and head down the road. She was in her full gear, rifle at her back, pistol holster, even the sword Hector had finished forging for her at her side, something that made the knight smile under his helm when he recognized the armament through the driver's camera feed.

Nathaniel opened up the hatch, giving a wave. "Come on, if you're headed our way to catch up. Gunner's seat's still empty." he called out, Alice nodding as she clambered up the tank, narrowly avoiding an over-excited tigress bolting past the tank entirely to run down the road, lifting up the hatch to drop into the turret, as the tank sped forward, Lilith following the trail and the distant sounds...

The morning had been an uneasy one for The Hall, one of preparing and tending to daily tasks that left a sense of foreboding in the air. It wasn't anything provoked by the recent visit, in fact yesterday's events had been a great relief for her.

However, the sudden resurgence of stolen items and sightings of those miniature golems gave her renewed concern. She assumed at first, especially with how they acted wildly unlike they did under Branches' direction, that they were running amok in her absence. But that didn't explain why they hadn't been active in between Branches' "death" and now.

She recalled the thoughts and suspicions she initially stowed away, some things that would've made her question the nature of the homunculus' death had she not disregard them, were brought back to the surface. But then, the sound of gunfire and explosions, distant but close enough to be worrisome, interrupted her train of thought.

She scrambled to the radio, picking it up. "Is everything alright?" she asked, hearing the rumble of an engine and Nathaniel's voice in reply. "We're on our way to the scene, keep an ear out for anything else going on closer to your position. Nathaniel out."

The radio message left her concerned and wary, gathering her gear just in case, until appearance of a familiar figure interrupted her further not long afterward. "Alexei...gods." she muttered, sitting and listening as he appeared to speak to her, and explain what he could. She wanted a chance to say goodbye properly to him, and ask him what happened.

Steinar mumbled a bit as he stepped into the main room of The Hall. "Helviti, fuckers took one of my old drinking cups, and three pair of winningas. Who in Odin's name needs a bunch of legwraps, and who's gone and started explo-" He stopped, seeing the faded apparition that had appeared before her. He didn't know the man that well compared to Helen or especially Sergei, but the realization hit him rather abruptly. Moreover it hit him with an instinctive sense of dread, something he couldn't quite place, the two of them watching as Alexei faded away.

He would've asked about what Alexei said to Helen, when yet another problem presented itself. A gunshot, much closer than the distant sounds they heard earlier. Helen was already up, heading for the door and soon directing the Six to keep an eye on things around The Hall. She guessed roughly where the gunfire sounded to have been coming from, and already heading off along the shore.

"Oi, wait! You...just as brash as any son of mine'd be." he mumbled, snatching up a drink off the table and downing it. He needed it more at this point, and he promptly grimaced at the taste. That watered-down Roman drink that Helen was known to mix up on occasion, something no descendant of his should be drinking in his opinion.

He was kitted out and out the door within a matter of minutes, muttering to himself. "Why do I have the feeling something stupid is happening..."
« Last Edit: November 27, 2018, 06:45:02 pm by Chaosvolt »


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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5106 on: November 28, 2018, 01:59:56 pm »
[first part written with a gecko]

Helen led the way to the site Illiana had directed her to visit, knowing it was in the right direction based on the sound heard earlier, Steinar following not far behind. It was as she reached the treeline that she heard the shouting ahead, activating her mask. The outlines of the figures ahead of them stood out from her position concealed behind a tree, giving a hand gesture to Steinar. In response he headed to the right to huge the treeline, intent on taking a position behind the unfamiliar figures, while Helen stalked closer.

It was when she reached a position that she could call out from behind cover that she finally spoke up. "Easy, both of you! I mean none of you any harm." she said, still watching through the vision of her mask in case they were to react with hostility.

Helen barely registered at first what she had chosen to hide behind, but now that she'd settled there was something strangely off about the boulder offering her it's concealment. The color for one, and it's aura for another. Someone, she could easily guess who, had tried to build a crude golem but had neglected the most important part; the core. Everything else about it was up to standard in such a construct, right down to the faint letters  inscribed on where Branches had judged the things forehead to be. They looked like English spelling out "nyx" but Helen, knowledgeable in such things new it to be another word entirely. The way the earthen thing pulsed in her masks vision let on that the stranger these two others were harassing, almost certainly the wild homunculus, was trying to reach out to her creation for aid. Without a core, it would never be able to hold onto and harness it's much needed energy.

"Who the hell? You with the girl? Come on out and we won't hurt her. These little shit people took some of our bosses stuff and she'll be wanting it back." Said one of the bandits. The one who spoke tried to get a look around to see who it was talking to them but the other kept his weapon leveled at the homunculus, and Helen got a better look. Blond hair, one big purple red flecked eye, definitely Branches. Steinar was in position, should this go sour, so they definitely had the upper hand here.

"Helen?" Branches muttered, straightening her straw hat and lowering it, "I am so dead..."

"I'm afraid I'm not with her, though I know her". Helen answered, before carefully stepping out from behind cover. The sight was rather odd, a woman in a metal mask and a cloak covered in metal scales, a warhammer resting over her shoulder. "She's a petty thief who's bothered the settlement nearby, but this is beyond what she's normally done." she said, looking back towards the homunculus. "Moreover, she's supposed to have died in a recent attack on the center she helped defend against, last I heard..." she added.

Branches had heard that she was supposed to have been dead, but didn't really believe it. Though to her knowledge, Illiana couldn't lie about most things. She could mislead a little through vague hints and such, but not lie outright. It gave her a straw to grasp at though.

"Woooo, I am a ghoooost! Woooo!" She moaned

"Shut up over there, the grown ups are talking." The bandit with the gun barked, "Ain't this a place huh? Some mutant thief who sends little shit people out to do her pillaging, and now iron woman. Very interesting day this is gonna be."

"I didn't steal nothing, I just forgot to-" Branches began. Her mistake hadn't been in talking, but in trying to get back onto her feet. For that smallest of movements, the bandit fired a slug over her head. After that, things moved quickly. From behind the two men, Steinar bore down on the speaker, leaving the expected blinding of the gun toting other to Helen, but the man was on the move with the mage hunter close behind. She couldn't well blind a man who wasn't looking, so her only real option was to catch him. She leveled her Symbol of Judgement... And stopped.

"Alright, alright, nobody fucking move!" The bandit shrieked almost girlishly. Helen could very well blast the man and risk harming the homunculus in the process, but she also knew a little something about her. The bandit had in his sudden surprise and desperation at the rapidly declining situation decided his best option for getting away from "iron woman" and the unexpected Viking, was to take a hostage. Behind her mask, Helen was chuckling a little.

"What the fuck is so fucking funny? You ain't won this yet." He shouted.

"You have no idea. A tip for you; if you planned on taking that particular Homunculus hostage, you should have picked her up."


"She's right you know." Branches said simply. The bandit confusion only lasted about as long as his feet were still planted on the ground, then he was airborne for all of half a second as Branches reached back, grabbed him, and drove him deep enough into the soft earth that it would take a good deal of pulling to dislodge him. Helen grimaced a bit at the display of power under her mask, before taking a step forward. "Stand down and you won't be harmed." she said, the strange golden talisman pointed at the other. Steinar just snickered a bit, shield forward and a francisca raised. "Come on lass, no use reasoning with a bunch of brigands." he pointed out.

"Oi! Watch your fuckin' language." the bandit called out, and Helen would've facepalmed if she had a hand free. "He called you a bandit." she pointed out, and the man gave a look at the viking. "...oh."

Branches stayed silent, trying to focus. The bandits were well in hand and all, but that still left the mage hunter. With the men, Branches could have run away or played dead, something like that. Maybe even reasoned with them. Maybe. Helen was another deal entirely, a thing which creatures like Branches should rightly be afraid of, regardless of Illiana's assurances.

"You can stop now, your golems are lacking cores. They aren't going to move." Helen said without turning.

"Oy, uh, Helen, she's running for it." Steinar pointed out. Helen spun around just in time to see the straw hat and rough cloak flutter to the ground, and the proclain white of branches skin and golden Cascade of hair disappearing into the woods.

"Helviti..." Helen muttered under her breath. "Steinar, secure the others, I'll catch up to her!" she said, starting off into a run. By her first few steps the viking was already closing in towards the other. "Alright, on your knees you. Your turn to relax a little." he called out.

Helen dove into the forest after Branches, thankful that she stuck out like a sore thumb among all the greens and browns. Also that Branches wasn't exactly being careful with how she fled. Somewhere ahead of her, she heard the resounding splintering crack of a spring maple exploding as the tension in it's fibers released when Branches rebounded off of and through it. Then the tearing of a tree being uprooted somewhere beyond that.

It was like following Lilith, only Lilith's strength was all her own. Branches was only as strong as the earth she put her feet on. Pick her up, and she'd be as weak as a teenaged girl. That was Helen's plan of attack. Rather than violently smashing the homunculus until there was little left and exorcising it's heart, Helen would try to pick her up. She just had to catch her first.

"Hello Helen." Said Illiana, phasing out of a tree ahead and to her right, "You don't have to run you know, she's going to tire herself out pretty quickly here in a bit."

Helen had very nearly ran straight into a tree at Illiana's appearance, her pace slowing into one that the Deus Ex could trivially keep up with. "By Yeshua's palms, what all haven't you told her? She's acting nearly as scared as the first time I saw her."

"I told her not to worry about you, that you buried her and all that. etcetera etcetera. Doesn't mean she internalized any of it though. What do you think of her new self by the way? Pretty? Ugly?" Illiana said. Helen slowed to a walk and gave Illiana a look. The look missed and the mage hunter had to cast her eyes about for her. It seemed that the Deus Ex was moving around, but only when Helen wasn't looking at her.

"That's awfully considerate of you, to think of 'it's' appearance like some kind of parent?" Helen pressed. Illiana shrugged noncommittally, so Helen dropped it. "Maybe you can shed some light on this whole stealing business?"

"She's going to need a bit of a guiding hand I think, and I'm not going to be around much to do it. I'm afraid my hand would be just a bit too frustrating for the poor thing. Hm. Also this whole mess with the stolen property, I think it's best she explains it herself. Don't you?"

Helen simply nodded, though clearly less than pleased by all this as she followed Branches' trail. "Very well then. Seems I'll have to get her to do the explaining herself..." she said softly, making full use of her mask and the rather obvious swath of utter havoc to keep pace, until the moment was right to close in and make her move. They walked along, Illiana moving in her own way just beyond Helen's periphery, walking clearly too plebian for her at that time and place. The destruction lessened until it stopped entirely, and the trail became harder to follow. Illiana pointed the way after that and soon enough, Helen was glaring down at Branches. She huffed heavily, scooping air in great gulps like drinking water and plainly exhausted.

"So, have you learned something?" Helen asked.

"Don't... Run...?" Branches puffed, "You... only... die... tired...?"

Helen rolled her eyes behind her mask. "No. You may have the strength of ten, but you clearly aren't in good enough shape to go sprinting off through trees and boulders. Get up." Branches didn't get up. Whether she was being belligerent or was simply too tired to do so wasn't really clear. Perhaps both, but she didn't get up. Helen again rolled her eyes and grabbed the homunculus's feet while Illiana quickly hefted Branches shoulders.

"Hi sweety." She said, "You got some 'splainin to do missy."

Jenny felt a tension in her senses just as she reached out to pick the mushroom and stopped. The sensation faded quickly and pulled her attention to her right where she spotted more fungus of another kind. Orange jelly like growths on the side of a fallen log. Jennifer, with Cheena's prodding, got the idea that these lumps of rubbery looking orange would be "okay" in every aspect. Cheena herself had never indulged in mushrooms of any kind, but she knew which ones the less picky animals enjoyed or stayed away from. They weren't slimey like she thought they'd be, but they did fall apart when she tried to pull them with her fingers because of how solidly the deceptively soft mushrooms were rooted into the wood. With a showy flick of the wrist, more to make herself feel cool than any practical reason, Jenny opened her knife and sliced the fungus from the log. The benefit was that the roots remained implanted in the log and the mushrooms would grow back. They tasted very plain. Jenny would go so far as to say that they tasted "boring" and it wasn't just Cheena's influence that made them so. They reminded her of a salad with no dressing or croutons. No bacon bits, no sliced boiled egg, no nothing. Just leaves in a plain white bowl.

After she'd delivered her resignation and proposition to Catalina, Jenny had opted to go out for a bit of a nature walk. The next few days would be her time to get used to Cheena, and time for Cheena to get used to her and come to terms with what had happened to them. The young fox spirit had taken it all in stride at first but now that things had calmed down and there was a good meal in them, it had become just a little too much to handle. Cheena's family, friends, and mentor were dead. Cheena herself was dead, technically. She found herself in a strange place with strange creatures, trapped in an unfamiliar body that wasn't her own. Her situation brought Jenny's similar adventure back to the forefront, making her uneasy and a little agitated. So she did what she thought Cheena really needed, and that was to offer distraction in the familiar.

"You know what would be really nice?" Atomos said aloud, "A dip in a hot tub. Just us and an iced tea. Or maybe a sauna? That's not quite the same as a long soak in a tub full of hot water, but it would certainly get the blood pumping and give us some time to relax and unwind." A sauna would be easy to put up and there was less risk of boiling herself alive if it was done wrong. Jennifer could just imagine it now. Sitting back on a wooden bench, wrapped in a towel and sweating all the days problems away. Letting the steam melt the stress out of her like an ice cream sandwich on a hot sidewalk. The hot tub was an enticing image too, or maybe just a hot bath. The center only had showers, no good old fashioned bathtubs. Jennifer laughed the thought away, saying "No use anyway! My tail would soak up all the water! Still, the sauna isn't a bad idea. Why don't we talk to Catalina and then see if anyone would be willing to help us put one together. Maybe that mechanic lady over at the farm. She still has the centers ATV I think."

That sounded a bit like work to her, now that she thought about it. Then again though, Jennifer wouldn’t actually be doing any of the heavy lifting or building and really, it wasn’t that much work anyway. The real work would begin after her little vacation. This Hoyt guy she’d been hearing about. Asking around and a long talk with doctor Maskens gave her the impression that the man was a hassle to deal with. The center traded with him for medicine of dubious origin and kicked his dealers out at least once a month. The short of it was that he was a drug dealer that New Paris had no choice but to deal with. They wanted butter and milk? Hoyt. They wanted penicillin or antibiotics? Hoyt. The unpleasant drug dealer had a stranglehold on some of the most basic necessities, and Jenny thought that maybe she should do something about it.

Juanita Alvarez left Catnip’s home happily formulating her next sermon in her head. The subject; the wonders of creativity and the need for artists and dreamers in these latter days. Juanita had been one of Catnip’s associates at Pinky’s Pleasure Palace, a misling who’d been unfortunate enough to break her contract by getting pregnant. Rather than let her be put out on the streets, Catnip had requested she be allowed to work with her as an assistant. She wasn’t the most creative sort, and certainly no good with tools or machines, but in her own way she had helped out. In time, she’d even picked up on Catnip’s strange god and gained a zealous revery for her saviors unconventional god.

“Kathrine, could you let the next person in and make sure ‘Nita get’s back to the chapel alright?” Catnip asked. Kathrine agreed hesitantly and was off. She wouldn’t be gone long of course. As soon as Juanita was back in the chapel and squared away, she would hurry back as though connected to Catnip via a rubber band.

After the next meeting, which didn’t take long at all, Kathrine arrived just in time to see the irritable last guest out. After that bit of business, she began the process of tidying up only for Catnip to stop her. She found herself face to face with the mechanic, a pair of dainty but strong arms wrapped about her waist.

“Smooches?” Catnip asked, and of course Kathrine couldn’t say no. Catnip stole several kisses before going on. “So, I was thinking, we have a lot of that thread from Mica right? Maybe we could do something nice for her with it? You know our birthday is coming up?”

Kathrine, who had never even heard Catnip mention anything about she or Mica having a birthday before, leaned back. “Oh? When is it?” She asked. The idea that she’d finally have a consistent day to celebrate Catnip’s birthday was thrilling. Catnip made a noncommittal gesture, not quite as solid as Kathrine was hoping then, but it would be “soon.”

“Dee and Mica are getting married too. I was thinking, you and I could make some fabric out of Mica’s silk and then we could take it to the lady who made your kim-oh-no to make a special dress with. People wear special clothes for weddings don’t they?”

Kathrine nodded enthusiastically and Catnip kissed her again.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 11:25:39 pm by saltmummy626 »
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5107 on: December 14, 2018, 09:07:04 pm »
After the little talk with Hector, him and Roxanne went about putting the posters she had made for tomorrow’s event. She was excited; tomorrow marked the beginning of her new vision. One where it wouldn’t just be hoarding arms and supplies until the need to fight the next enemy arose. Roxanne stood in front of one of the posters smiling at its contents.

“To the hardworking residents of Walkerville and elsewhere.

How has life been treating you so far? You, yes you, the one reading this. You surely are clothed and fed right? That has not been a problem here for some time. But one thing has been, strife. Those of you who have been here a while or have hear the stories know of the various enemies we as a group have fought against. We have overcome each and everyone of those challenges and we will overcome any that are to follow. But, what about those who didn’t fight? Those who stayed behind and made sure this place kept running?

Are we to only celebrate the warrior and not the builder, the farmer, the medic, or the craftsmen? All of you, yes you, we all contribute our part here no doubt. We all work hard to not only make this place run smooth but make it better. However, do you ever feel you could be doing more? Do you feel you could offer more? That your skills are being wasted? I for one do. Who am I? I am known as many things but my name is Roxanne Luna, the blade of sodom as some call me.

I was one of the warriors, one who’s niche was to fight the next enemy but no more. In my time here I have made many discoveries and new abilities and I feel I could help elsewhere. How? By helping others find their niche, to become the best they can offer. Self-Actualisation. Let me help you help yourself. Let’s make a journey of self discovery for the better.

If any of this peaks your interest, I am holding a small meeting down at the ruined hotel near the necropolis. Don’t worry, it’s safe; I made sure of that, former warrior remember. Just come, listen to what I have to say and if it’s not your cup of tea I will at least thank you for your time. But if you like what you hear, hopefully we make great things together! For those interested, see you tomorrow at noon!

Roxanne Luna, Blade of Sodom”

Roxanne was rather giddy about the whole thing. She wondered if anyone would show up but those thoughts were quickly dismissed. Whatever happens would happen regardless if she stressed about it or not. For now she would go to her room and get ready for tomorrow event. Hector had gone back before hand so maybe she would catch up to him. As she made her way back she heard them; explosions, gunshots and then people scrambling. She simply shook her head and continued her merry way, Once this would’ve been a call to adventure but this wasn’t who she was anymore.

Eventually she reached her room and found Hector wasn’t there. She gave a deep sigh; he probably went to check out what the commotion was. He would be fine, he always was; unlike herself. Roxanne shrugged and got to work on her preparations. Something seemed odd tho, an uneasiness in the air. It probably was the sounds from earlier; with that in mind Roxanne pushed those thoughts aside as well as she went to her “secret” stash to get some item.

A pair of hip pouches was the first was the first set of items; she could attach them to her belt in front of her revolvers for easy access. Currently she was wearing a messenger bag to carry her items but that seemed too cumbersome for what she needed to carry on her person. She had become sort of a minimalist and as such the number of items was now small.

The next item was a vail with a strange and suspicious black liquid. It appear to be nothing more than a test tube with a cork. The vial and a pipette went inside one of the compartments in her drop pouches. Next was a syringe with a white liquid in it; the liquid looked familiar to the untrained and easily recognisable to researchers such as Quinn and Dervish: Purifier Serum. The syringe, in a proper contained for carrying, was placed in the compartment next to to the vial.

The final object she pulled out was the all to common auto-injector loaded with RX-12. She used to carry it everywhere but stopped once she, well, didn’t need it anymore. But now she grabbed some and promptly put it in her pouches.

After that she took off her messenger back and emptied it of its contents. Most of the items inside were place back in their appropriate place but her speed loaders for her revolvers and her vials of essence went into the pouches. As she went through the contents of said bag, she came across one that made her snicker a bit; the silver athame Victor had entrusted her after the two had had their “I am done with this whole thing” talk a few days prior. She smiled and shook her head playful before putting away next to her ritual and ceremonial items. When she did so, she noted some stuff was missing, nothing important or that couldn’t be replaced but still odd; she would ask Hector about it later.

What wasn’t gone, however, was another set of items not in her stash that she was looking for. The first was a white sundress. The type that was light and was supported by a couple of shoulder straps; the kind that also would show off cleavage with the excuse that it was to be worn when it was hot outside. Roxanne took the dress and set it on her bed. The second item was her ceremonial robe; the one she used when performing any of her rituals; it was a red silk robe, the kind that looked like a sheet with a hole on top and a couple to stick her arms out. Normally she would wear nothing underneath it as part of the ritual but she was thinking of an exception.. She took the robe and placed it next to the dress.

Roxanne undressed herself setting her accessories on a nearby table and her outfit on the bed next to the other two items. She was left in nothing but black panties as she removed even her bra. After putting her old outfit that consisted or a leather one piece biker suit and a green cloak, she took out a rather big roll of bandages and started to wrap them around her chest. This would have two effects, keep her breast from moving all over the place and create the illusion of being smaller than they were under clothing. Once she finished with the wrapping, she put on the white dress; banges visible due to the design made to show off what she was now trying to conceal. Next she put on the robe. It concealed the dress underneath rather well but still left a portion of it stick out from underneath as the dress was still longer. The bandages were still visible from the sides but it didn’t matter. The contrast of white and dark red appealed to Roxanne as she approved of her now completed new outfit. Finally she put on her belt with the pouches, her holsters with the revolvers and on her back the katar.

Looking good Roxanne!”, Eris said taking control of their body momentarily.

Thank you! Looking fine yourself Roxanne!”, said Luna taking back control and smiling some.

Before she could continue with the self-congratulatory ceremony of sorts, she hear a knock on the door. It was firm but quick, a tell-tell sign of desperation. Roxanne, confused, went towards the door and opened it. “Rey? What are you doing here? Where is Christina?

“Don’t know, let her out of my sight for a second and she went around flirting with the various mice-girls here.”,Rey responded. He looked up and down Roxanne noticing the new outfit; he also noted how she was now trying to “downsize” but that was something he would not comment on. “Special occasion?”, he asked.

You could say that. Anyways, what brings you here?

“I am starving...”, Rey responded, he look weary and fatigued. His expression was that need and he clutched his stomach somewhat when he stood still.

At that Roxanne gave a deep sigh and hanged her head low momentarily. She then looked back at Rey as to address him properly. “Come on, step inside.

Rey nodded and followed Roxanne through the door. He closed it behind him but Roxanne spoke up again before he could step away from it. “Look the door if you will.

“Lock the door? Why?”, Rey asked.

I don’t need people walking in on this. It’s weird.

“What about Hector?”

He has the key.

Roxanne gave another deep sigh; she moved towards the mirror in the room before speaking up while not looking at her reflection. “Damn it Rey, can’t you wait a bit more?”, Roxanne exclaimed as she adjusted her ceremonial robe. Rey shook his head almost shivering.

“I really can’t, I am feeling cold and am going numb... It has to be today...”

Roxanne gave a deep sigh and shook her own head in annoyance. Then she looked at herself in the mirror and smiled at how her outfit had come together seemingly ignoring Rey’s pleas. Eventually she turned around and addressed Rey once more.

Ok, fine. I can’t give you a soul right now but; how about you have me instead?

In his growing confusion, Roxanne just added more; he tilted his head as he responded with a simply question. “What?”

At this Roxanne threw her head back as she huffed in exasperation; she was seemingly annoyed at his ignorance. “Me! I am ghost, a soul. Do I have to spell it out for you?

Rey’s expression was now not that of confusion but concern. “Roxanne… just what are you proposing?”

She didn’t answered him, instead asking a question of her own. “How do you harvest souls exactly?

“Hmm? Oh, that? Well, attacks from regulator’s weapon harvests what I need and then funnel’s the soul to me.”

So you need to physically strike someone with your summoned weapon?

“Yeah, why?”

Once again she did not answer instead making a request, no, more akin to a demand. “Can you summon your regulator weapon as a hatchet please? And for the love of Anomon tone down the edginess...

“Edginess? What do you mean?”

Oh please spare me! Look at the way you are dressed. Gray Combat books, black work jeans, gray shirt, a tac-vest and fingerless gloves. You are just missing the shades and I would expect you to ask if my papers were in order.

Rey just ignored her and grumbled to himself. As he did he summoned a plane looking hatched that had a wooden handle and a red glowing line going through from bottom to top. Roxanne grabbed it and looked at it. “See, this looks decent. I knew you would do it.”, she commented.

The next series of events happened too fast for Rey to rect. Roxanne went towards her altar, she placed her left arm on it, raised the hatched and then with a swift motion brought it down on her arm. She screamed bloody murder which was thankfully muffled to the outside thanks to the sound proof spell. Rey rushed to her.

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” He looked closely at the wound. The hatchet was now placed next to her arm but the arm itself was quite the sight. It had been a clean cut; the hatched slice through it like butter. However, while the arm was severed it was still being held together by...her tattoos. The arm had been cut at the elbow and it was separated by an inch from the cut but the tattoos around it glowed purple and they extended out of the arm like ribbons. In her arm the tattoos were three bands wrapping around the length of her arm in a spiral going down until they landed at her wrist wrapping around it; a final band then formed and went towards her middle finger wrapping around it. But now, where the wound had been made it looked like they were ribbons peeling off and stretching to keep her arm together.

Roxanne kept screaming. “Holy fuck that hurts way more than I imagined it would!

“You chopped off your own arm you fucking psycho! What did you expect?!”

Pain hasn’t been a problem before so why no- ahhhhhhh!

Her words were interrupted by another scream as the tattoos forced the arm together. Each end of the severed piece was glowing purple and soon those two sides touched and a familiar purple mist formed around it as it seemed to heal. The experience was excruciating to her but it was short lived for the hatchet started to do its work.

The hatchet’s red stripe started to glow and soon the entire section of Roxanne’s arm that had been severed was turning into the purple mist. The tattoos appeared to peel off that section of her arm as the hatchet began to consume the mist. Roxanne kept screaming and now embraced Rey settling her head on his shoulder; the pain was getting to her and out of instinct she bit down hard on his shoulder. Rey didn’t react, he simply looked at what was going on with the hatchet and the arm.

Eventually the arm was fully consumed and the tattoos dangled like ribbons. Roxanne let go of him and collapsed on the floor having gone limp. At least the ritual had worked; Rey felt somewhat more energetic but just barely. He wouldn’t die today but he still needed to feed within a couple of days. But none of that mattered to him right now as he looked at Roxanne passed on the floor and his hatchet now disintegrating being called back to him.

“What the hell just happened?”, he asked himself.

It had been a relatively quiet day for Melody. She went about doing her daily tasks which today were rather few. She had finished a short while ago and was now returning to her assigned bedding. Something had been bothering her however. It was as if something was calling at the back of her head, it wasn’t despair but she couldn’t make out what it was. Well, that is until now…

She who is guided by rage… answer my call… bring with you the broken man… seek my trial… and become whole once more...

“What the… who is there?”, Melody asked aloud. No one responded and her aura spell suggested very few people were around and those who were were doing their own thing. The voice didn’t speak again and the nagging feeling went away. However, she didn’t have time to relax as another voice picked up.

“Mel? We need to talk…”

Melody jumped at that but then gave a sigh of relief as she recognized that voice.

“Don’t scare me like that Dez, I am still human you know?”, Melody responded.

Despair gave a half hearted chuckle. “Yeah, that you are…”

“Anyways, what do you want to talk about?”

“Well, something feels off you know? Can’t pinpoint what but…”


“You heard that voice too?”

“The one about being whole again?”

‘Yeah, so you did...hmm…”

Melody’s expression turned to that of concern. The flurry of stimuli from the aura spell made it hard for her to sense what Despair was feeling; things would be much easier if she could wear the blindfold to filter it all out but she could not risk being discovered that she was blind.

“What’s up, what’s going on?”, Melody asked.

“Listen… this is going to sound counterintuitive but… I need to speak to Roxanne…”, Despair explained.

Melody was shocked at hearing that and expressed herself so. “What? But we are here to hide from her in the first place! Now you just want to ignore that and dream ghost’s warning? Still have that medallion you know?”

“I know, I know! Just… I need to ok? Hard to explain… Please just trust me on this on... “

“So you need to speak to Roxanne?”

“Well, not so much her but Assimilation… but now she is assimilation so…”

“Ahhh, I get ya now… Sword business… Alright, I’ll go ahead and see if I can request to leave for the day… Done all my work for today.

Just as she said that a familiar aura was sensed. Melody smiled to herself, got up from her spot and approached the man. It was the same man she had spoken to when she “applied” for the job here. It had been nothing more than a ploy to hide out here for a bit but now she seeked the opposite. The man was, just like last time, holding a clipboard looking over stuff; he looks up to see Melody approach and he flashes a smile of familiarity.

“Well hello there little lady! Melody right? Working hard from what I am hearing. How are you liking it here so far?”, asked the man

“It’s really neat, work is something I am used to and the people are nice. Thank you once again for giving me a chance!”

The man gave a slight laugh before responding. “Don’t mention it. Not like we were running low on personnel in that department but hey, better over prepared than under.” Once he finished talking, his expression turned from amusement to a semi-serious one; one to signify he meant business, not that Melody could tell either way. “But something tells me you are here to ask me something aren’t you? Go on kid, spit it out.”

Melody was surprised by what he said; he had seen right through her. Just how much did he know? Did he know of what she was going to ask? She stood there thinking a bit until she was interrupted by him waving his hand in front of her eyes. “Hello? Are you alright there?”, he asked. The gesture would’ve been one that would’ve bothered her if he was being deliberately mocking her due to her blindness but due to the fact that she was hiding that fact to the center, he knew he wasn’t doing that.

“S-sorry about that. Yes, I have come to ask something. Was just lost in thought about what to say, that’s all…”, Melody responded.

“Ah, well, don’t be nervous kid. Just say what you mean, do it like you own the place. People respect confidence and if you show some more likely than not you will get what you want. Just a little tip from me, up to you to do with it what you like.”

Melody gave one last gulp of nervousness as she took his words to heart. She then remembered a thing Randael, of a people, had taught her; one of the few lessons she had kept from him despite what he turned out to be. His advice was meant to be used before combat but she applied to everyday life. “Let your anger, your anxiety, your nervousness, let all those emotions that cloud your judgment do their worst. Ten seconds. Give them ten seconds to claim you, to eat your soul. But once that time has past, discard them like tissue paper and focus on the task at hand.”

And so she did. Once more she went silent for ten seconds. The man was about to ask her again if she was alright when Melody began to ask her request. “I am thankful for what you and the center have done for me, I really am. I wish to stay here for a long time if I am permitted; this place is really inviting. But, a little thing has come up; something personal… It is a bit delicate and I need to take care of it… So, I wanted to ask you if I could get a few days off so I can do so. 3 days, tops, and I’ll be back. I have already finished my work for today and if you check my review I have no marks. S-”

Before she could finish her remarks, he answered her. “Granted.”

“What?”, Melody asked, a bit confused at the sudden conclusion.

“Granted. Take a whole week if you need to.”


“Yeah, no kidding. You said personal stuff right? I get that, we all have a life and I assume yours is still outside of this place. I don’t know your past or really care; that is yours alone. But if you need to take care of something, well, you do what you have to do. Besides, it’s not like we are starving for bullet loaders.”

Melody smiled at his statement. She was about to thank him but then another though crept in and made her smile go away a bit. “W-what’s the catch?”

The man simply smiled. “Smart girl, I like you more already. Yeah, there is a small catch. Like I said, we are not really starving for bullet loaders, what we need is fighters. It’s getting harder to justify those numbers to those I need to report to. So, consider your time off a suspension of sorts. A week long suspension. When you come back, you and I will have a little interview and see if we will still keep you on board or not...among other things. That seem fair? Really the only way I can grant you those days off”

Of course there was a catch, Melody knew it; nothing came for free, especially to her. She was a little disheartened but she did need those days off. There was no choice but to accept. “Alright, I accept…”

The man nodded and closed his clipboard. “Understood. In that case; see you in a week kid. I have to go and do paperwork now. You take care.”

“Thank you… for everything…”

“Don’t mention it. Really, don’t, you’ll kill my reputation.”, the man joked.

“Ugh...w-where am I?” The air felt cold and everything was dark. A numb sensation was felt but it was ignored in favor of figuring out what had happened. It wasn’t until a familiar voice was heard that it all became clear.

“Oh thank god you are awake!”

A little smirk formed upon hearing those words. Weakly she spoke. “Which one? There are so many now…”

“This is not the time for jokes Luna!”

He was right, but Roxanne didn’t care. Humor what was kept her going, her own specific brand of humor anyway; verbal pranks if you will. The numb sensation was quickly registered as her now missing arm. She opened her eyes to find herself in her bed tucked in by her blanket with Rey watching over her sitting in a nearby chair.

“D’awww, you did this for little old me? You really do care~”, Roxanne teased.

“Shut it! I was panicking ok? What the hell was I supposed to tell others if something happened to you?!”, Rey asked half angry, half worried.

“Hey guys, Roxanne did it again. She played with stuff she wasn’t supposed to. Let’s see what unintended consequences we have to deal with now.”

“...That common?”

“You have no idea…”

Roxanne grabbe the blanket with her good hand and pulled it off her. She then sat up and stretched a bit yawning before rubbing one of her eyes. The way she nonchalantly did this as if she was waking up from a nap was what was bothering Rey the most, not that she cared. Then she went ahead and looked at her “wounded” arm. It had been neatly bandaged as if to stop bleeding; all it needed was a tourniquet and it would look like a first at job. “Bandages? Seriously Rey? It’s not like I am going to bleed out. I am waaaaay past that point.”

“Panic, remember? I did the first thing that came to mind, give me a break.”

With a playful roll of her eyes and a smile, she started to undo the bandages slowly. “Did it at least work?”


“The ritual, did it work? Are you not gonna die on me yet?”

“Yeah, it did. It feed me enough to grant me about 3 more days, 2 if I use my abilities. It would’ve been four but you did bit me pretty hard on the shoulder...that took some energy to regen…”

Roxanne looked away a bit embarrassed. “Heh, yeah, sorry about that… force of habit… “

“F-force of habbit? Wh- No, you know what, not even going to ask...”

“Yeah, it’s better if you don’t…”

With that being said and done, she finished undoing the bandages and took a good look at her arm; Rey too looked at the wound intently. The end of the arm still glowed purple and her tattoos still protruded like ribbons. They had been wrapped around her arm to put the bandages on but now that she undid them they resumed their position to dangle as if they were still attached to the arm.

“That is going to heal up, right?”, Rey asked nervously

“Eventually.”, Roxanne responded calmly.

“Eventually?! What kind of response is that?!”

“Christ, lower your volume Rey. I am right here, no need to yell…”

“Sorry, just… please tell me you have a way to fix this…”

“Relax, I do, just, let me do my thing ok?”

“Last time you said that was about an hour ago and you literally chopped your arm off…”

“It’s been an hour? Huh, thought it was longer. Anyways, fiiine, I’ll let you in on it.” Roxanne stood up from the bed and stretched again before going to her drawer to retrieve something. Upon finding it, she turned around and showed Rey a gem while smiling with selfrightouness. “This is a soul crystal, you know what this is?”

Rey stared at the gem dumbfounded. “A-a soul crystal? That is 5 soul shards into has the same properties as a human soul but condensed into a crystal form...y-you have one?”

A simple nod confirmed that he was right. “Yes, a looooong time ago we were dealing with a higher spirit of harvest who started to use soul shards to power himself and other things. We defeat him and cease the shards. This is the last one that remains, 5 shards combined into a crystal. This is the purest form of spiritual energy there is. You could get so much essence from it, it’s packed with energy… so, if I consume this like so…”

Roxanne held the crystal in the palm of her hand and then made a fist. Suddenly her tattoos started to glow purple and from her arm wound the purple glow inside her arm extended out and formed the shape of her arm and hand. The tattoos wrapped around it as it formed the shape and outline and then it materialized as her hand should be. Her hand was completely restored. The process took but a minute to which Roxanne smiled all the way through and Rey stared at in awe. Once the arm reformed, she moved it gently and slapped at it a couple times to confirmed it “worked”. She then extended it to Rey as if showing it off. “With this I can accelerate any of my process to an absurd degree. This would’ve taken about a week to heal, but with it it took only a minute.”

Silence permeated the room after that. Rey looked at Roxanne in disbelief and she reveled in that with triumphant glee. However, he wasn’t in that state for the reasons she expected.

“S-so… let me get this straight… You chopped off your arm to feed it to me… knowing you would regenerate it...then used, of all things, a soul crystal to accelerate the process… is that right?”, Rey asked slowly.

“Yup, really smart right?”

Rey tried to utter something but he only ended up stumbling his words. Eventually he gave a deep sigh and facepalmed. “This is so fucking stupid…”

Roxanne was no confused at that reaction. “W-what do you mean?”

He looked up at Roxanne, an expression of slight disappointment and annoyance. “Roxanne… I could’ve consume that crystal and not have to feed for a whole month… that was the equivalent of a human soul… not only did you make the process much complicated that it needed to be...doing something incredibly dumb… it ended up being that much more inefficient…”

Silence once more, this time it was Roxanne who looked on perplexed. Her previous aura of pride vanished. “O-oh… is that so… You can feed off that?”

“Yes, Roxanne, I can… Alternate fuel sources, that’s what that means…”

“Well, how was I supposed to know that?!”, Roxanne asked now suddenly angry herself.

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe communicating your intentions out loud instead of avoiding questions like you know better! You don’t know everything Roxanne and people who do are just trying to help. If you had let me in on what you had planned I would’ve told you all about the crystal from the beginning. But how the hell was I supposed to know you had one if you didn’t answer my question about what you had planned?”

For the third time if a short span of time, more silence. Roxanne reflected at what he said. Is this what Hector and the others were trying to get at? Is this why they were annoyed at her “secrecy”? Maybe he, an to extension the others, was right; maybe she did need to listen and share her intentions more. It was a mute point now but would keep it in mind for later. “Yeah, guess you are right… Sorry for not trusting you then… I thought you were going to simply shut down my idea without rebuttal like many always do…”

“Well, if you explain yourself, maybe they wouldn’t. But sometime they need to shut it down, for your own good. We are just trying to help. Like you are trying to help me.”

Roxanne smiled, he nodded quietly and turned around to look at her drawer again only to close it and sigh. “You know what, I am way too over my head for this… I can only promise to take you on hunts but for emergency measures maybe we should see an expert…”

What Roxanne said surprised him. She wasn’t once to give up and seek the help of others that easily. Still, it was a welcomed change for him. “An expert? What do you have in mind?”, Rey asked.

“The Flames of Arcana...”, Roxanne answered.

“Helen and Victor?”

She nodded. “Yes. He specialist in spirits, souls and whatnot while she is an expert in applying arcan practices safely and warding against unwanted things… I am neither… so I assume it would be best to seek them out...”

“I see… so you are saying they could help in other ways than just feeding then… Well, I trust you even if I don’t know about them. Wouldn’t hurt to give that a try.”

“Yeah, they too are just trying to help. I am sure they can offer something to us. Besides, you and I could focus on the hunt. To satiate our desires…”

Rey looked at her confused and slightly concerned. “Ours?”

“Sure, I am Assimilation now remember? My primal instincts urge me to feed as well, to harvest… so when we are on the hunt, maybe I could indulge myself as well…”

He grinned upon hearing that. “Just like the old days right? Only this time more is at stake…”

She smiled back. “Yes, just like the old days… just you and me and our respective victims… those days were cut to short… time to make up for lost time don’t you think?”

“Maybe… just maybe… a lot of things have changed since they but the principle is still there. The goal should be to minimize the need to even go on hunts anymore. But when we do we might as well enjoy them...  By the way, didn’t you say you were done fighting.”

“Bah, never said I wasn’t a hypocrite… Besides, I am doing to to help a friend. It’s not like we are doing this just for the hell of it like we did all those years back. There is a purpose this time. And sometimes some people have to die for the greater good.”

“Heh, that I can get behind…”

But suddenly Roxanne grabs Rey from his collar and pulls him towards her; their foreheads meet and her expression as stoic and serious as can be. “That being said… No matter how desperate you get… If I find out you hurt anyone around here… not only will I stop helping you but I will hunt you down like I was supposed to all those years back… That is the once condition for going on this hunts with you… leave the people here alone”

Rey was somewhat shocked from the sudden change in attitude from Roxanne. The scene would’ve been comical; a 5’8” woman pulling a 6’2” man towards her by the grasp of his shirt’s collar. Weren’t for the tone of everything that had happened now, even he would’ve find it funny. “Didn’t plan to… I am sure you would be the only one after me if I did anything of the sort…”

Roxanne let go of him and step back. “Good, nice to see you are using your head...and yeah, the hypocrisy in that doesn’t escape me…”

Before Rey could make a retort, there was a sudden knock on the door; the only sound “programmed” to go through the sound spell. Rey and Roxanne looked at each other before she gestured him to open up the door. He nodded and went to do so. Upon opening the door, he found Melody on the other side. She looked a bit nervous and was now wearing her blindfold to suppress her aura spell and filter the sensations it caused. Upon sensing Rey she jumped a bit.

“Melody right? What brings you here?”, asked Rey.

“Uhhh… I-I could ask you the same thing… w-what are you doing in miss Roxanne’s room? She has a boyfriend you know?”, Melody responded.

At that Rey looked at Melody surprised and then started laughing heavily to Melody’s annoyance. Roxanne then went and checked on the commotion. “Oh, Melody it’s you. What a surprise.”

The presence of Roxanne unnerved her more as the Roxanne reacted to Despair and as her wielder Melody felt that. Still, Despair said she needed to talk to Roxanne and her she was. All that time spent trying to hide from her wasted, the warning from “dream ghost” ignored. Melody stood there as Roxanne and a now calmed down Rey looked at her patiently. Finally she spoke. “H-hey there Roxanne, Roxanne’s friend.”

“Name is Rey. Nice meeting you.”

“R-right… nice meeting you too. Sorry if I am interrupting something...”

“Nah, we are already done. It only took like an hour anyways, quite interesting experience. The logi-”, Roxanne started to respond before being interrupted by Melody, something she found surprising.

“N-never mind that… N-not my business anyways… Besides, I have to talk to you about something urgent… Maybe I come in?”
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5108 on: December 15, 2018, 01:51:24 am »
(( Branches section written with Salt. ))

Helen gave a little sigh as she regarded Branches with concern. "So. First and foremost. What do you recall of recent events? You don't seem to even realize what has passed, nor the fact you died." she pointed out, still taking care to keep the homunculus held up.

Branches hung limp between the two women, wanting to escape but unable to muster up enough strength to give even the weakest struggle. She'd put everything into the attempted escape and could have done it too, if it hadn't been for Illiana's sudden appearance. Helen's mask had been far from her mind of course. Branches didn't answer Helen's questions until they got back to the clearing by the lake and the he was laid out safely on a roughly made wooden bench. From the looks of the thing, Helen could guess that she'd probably split the log by hand.

"Recent?" Branches puffed nervously, "How recent? I remember sitting here by the lake and shaping this new body and then wouldn't you know it, all this little dirt people started bringing me things and-"

"Sweety, you are not Scheherazade and we don't have one thousand and one nights for silly stories. I swear, she isn't going to kill you so please just tell the truth? I don't want to have to issue you a court summons, it would invalidate your own credentials." Illiana scolded, "She wants to know what you can remember from before you found yourself buried here a few days ago."

"O-oh. Well... I went to that place full of people to try and find Illiana... And along the way... I think I remember a book? And a cloud? Maybe an old guy from across the lake. And a... A red cloud? I don't really remember." Branches thought aloud. She grasped at her throat, an oddly symbolic gesture that made Helen think of the homunculus swinging by a rope around it's neck, but Branches was no "hanged man" and the gesture was no more than her way of trying to remember. "Will you really not? Kill me?"

"I don't know about that girly," Steinar put in, cradling his cup. Meanwhile, the two men who'd arrived first groaned loudly, one of them with a mouth full of dirt.

Helen sighed a bit at all this, looking back to Steinar, who was simply smiling after having retrieved the items stolen from him. "So. You remember some of the events that happened. And to be honest, no I'm not going to kill you. I'd already decided against doing so before your apparent death made it seemingly a moot point." Helen explained.

Steinar shook his head a bit, regarding the homunculus with a bit of suspicion. "Wasn't expecting her to have trouble staying dead, when even normal people find that a daunting task these days?" he joked, to which the mage hunter grumbled a bit. "This is actually the first time I've witnessed a homunculus not disenchant on being slain. Then again she's also the first one I've ever heard of to end up being a thinking being with free will." she pointed out. In her experience, even the rogue homunculi she'd encountered had generally been acting out of the very basic programming worked into their being, or just as often possessed by outside influence.

She then turned her attention back to Branches. "As for what happened, there was a murder at the center, and you ended up as the prime suspect until the actual culprit was uncovered. She was a dangerous arcanist, and ended up striking you down during the fighting."

"That's because Branches wasn't made like a normal Homunculus and even then, most of the time people feed their little creation before naming it." Illiana explained. Helen crossed her arms and waited for Branches to react to what she'd just been told. The mechanic of creation and the consequences for breaking the rules were well known to most mage hunters as well as any experienced alchemist. She supposed it was fortunate Branches hadn't been fed. The resulting monstrosity would have been difficult to deal with.

"I didn't kill nobody..." Branches groaned. Helen sighed, this song and dance again. She didn't really have time for it, and neither did Branches for that matter.

"That's what she said sweetie. Why don't you take your fingers out of your ears and listen to the scary mage hunter?" Illiana suggested. Branches tried to roll over and groaned. The groan turned into an irritable rumble when Illiana grabbed her by the shoulder and stopped her. Helen waited patiently, watching the interaction with the feeling of someone watching a parent try and fail to manage their child. Furthermore, Illiana knew that Helen felt that way and for all of her omnipotence and power, it embarrassed the hell out of her because it was sort of true. "C'mon now, I gave you very specific instructions sweetie and while I'm glad you chose what you wanted to be and have gone on doing all sorts of things for yourself, you've gotta follow through on that last little thing. You can't afford to be afraid of Ms. McKinnon anymore."

"I don't wanna..." Branches grumbled. That irked Illiana like any parent hearing their child saying no to them and more. She shot Helen a quick glance, taking in the smirk hidden behind the mask and the much less hidden wide grin on Steinar's mug. Branches had crossed her arms and taken the prone stance of an indignant teen. "Nope, not gonna-"

Helen was just a little too late activating her masks noise dampening effects when the shout came. Steinar unfortunately had no such luxury and was knocked backwards off his seat before throwing his hands over his ears. The bandits unfortunately, were totally deafened.


Helen gave a little wince, still momentarily shocked and stunned by the sheer volume that Illiana so abruptly displayed, such that as the wards of her mask finally eased the ringing in her ears, she heard the radio piping up. "Sister McKinnon? We heard more gunfire and now what sounded like something shouting into a megaphone..."

Helen grumbled a bit, recognizing Solomon's voice through the handset, grabbing it to answer while still doing her best to keep Branches held up just in case. "We have things under control, just a local spirit and her toddler, plus two bandits we've already subdued." she said, before turning back to look at Branches expectantly.

"Well then? I'm not here to hurt you. And gods know Illiana seems to have enough to deal with, it seems. Plenty of people to hand out frivolous citations to." she said jokingly, though she knew full well that the entire cause of Branches' creation was one of the prime examples of an intervention that was well-warranted.

Either she was ignoring them, or Branches ears were more sensitive than Helen had given her credit for. Instead of slumping into Helen's arms, Branches was now tense and jittery as though jolted. If the homunculus got her feet under her, Helen realized, it would be trivial to start the chase all over again.

"OOOOOW. WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS?" Branches shouted, clearly compensating for her blasted hearing, "SHE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A CLASS SCHOOL THING, WHY CAN'T I JUST WAIT AND-"

"And hope I forget? Sit around and play with your new boobs? You want to be your own person sweetie, but you don't want to take on the responsibilities of being a person. You're young and chaotic, you know the rules but not the ways. Knowing the rules is all fine and good, but they don't mean anything if you don't practice them. Look at your current situation sweetie. you've got all the magical talent and aptitude an instructor could ever want, but look. You could have been killed, and not by Helen. Do you even know who these men are?" Illiana scolded.

Branches managed to stand on her own while Illiana spoke her piece and now stood unassisted, drawing circles in the grass with her foot. Illiana's special influence ensured Branches could at least hear her above the ringing no doubt sounding it's solitary note in her ears.

They sat side by side on Branches simple bench, Illiana doing most of the talking until her hearing had returned. At some point, the talk turned private, and the two shifted into using a language that sounded nonsensical, having no similarities to any language Helen knew. Or even to one another. Branches sounded high and flighty, like chirping birds, while Illiana's version sounded oddly blocky and rough. The talk went on awhile, and so Helen decided she didn't want to be on the outside of it anymore.

"You know, I do already teach some people over at The Hall." She mentioned. To her surprise, her little interruption didn't seem to put them off or even surprise them at all.

"That isn't what she's talking about..." Branches said simply.

Helen regarded Branches with concern as she said that, before looking back to Iliana. "Then what is it you wish for me to teach her? I've been trying to ensure the others don't go burning down The Hall or getting into trouble with magic, but..."

It was then that Steinar spoke up, having removed his helmet for a bit, seemingly as though trying to dislodge the ringing in his ears, or simply to get comfortable during a moment of respite. "I'm sure a magical creature that's already gotten herself slain once has learned half your intended lesson the hard way." he pointed out, before looking Branches in the eye.

"She wants you teaching the girl how to actually handle all the things a person learns during their life, isn't it? The small stuff you don't just crawl out of the ground instinctively knowing." he suggested, before glancing back at Illiana.

"Exactly!" Illiana said, popping up in a manner that should have been next to impossible in her current professional business attire, "My Homunculus is smarter than your average Homunculus in every way. Smarter, faster, stronger better!" She gave Branches a long glance. She had done a perfectly acceptable job shaping herself. From one eyed child to a somewhat slight of frame one eyed young lady. Helen may have missed the little glimmer of pride in Illiana's bespectacled eyes, but Steinar didn't.

"Sure'n any parent thinks their spawn'r better'n anyone else's." He said, putting on an old fashioned sort of accent. Illiana gave him a glare that would have withered grass had she decided to, before shifting her attention back to the Homunculus.

"Er... Well, I suppose you don't have to ask right away..." Illiana said, embarrassed. "But for starters, your going to make amends for what your little toys did. Return everything. Got it?"

Branches nodded solemnly, knowing that the "private" conversation they had just been having would almost certainly come up again. Illiana still had business in this world after all, and Branches needed to be ready to work on her behalf.

Helen hmmed a bit at that, before taking something out of the backpack she had concealed under her cloak. A few small gold and silver tokens, marked with a cross-and-hammer of the Cleansing Flame, along with its material purity and intended weight. The now-quite-uncommon "coins" their armorers regularly carried for field repairs. "First, we should have Branches' golems sort out everything that was stolen, and set aside the items these brigands were seeking to return them. Add these as recompense for what's happened." she said, Steinar giving Helen a wary look as he took the small tokens, before the group headed back to sort things out...

"So...I've been lapse in my duties. Throwing away my old life in favor of living in exile. Believing our mission was a failure..." the hermit said, regarding Horace. "But it seems there is still hope. I have something for you, meager though it is." he said, retrieving a small pouch of some stranger creature's leather. From it, among sundry old items and dried herbs, he retrieved a dagger.

Or at least, it used to be. Whatever leather or wood had once covered the tag had long since crumbled and sloughed off, and the blade had at some point shattered into pieces. But what remained of it still showed the familiar engraved runes, matching the otherworldly script of Horace's axe. "This can no longer fulfill its purpose. But so long as one of his gifts remain, it isn't useless yet."

"Right." Horace remarked, accepting the broken dagger, seemingly dismissive of it at first. But there was a faint glimmer of magic left in it, wisps of essence seeming to flow through it and drift through the plates of his armor, conducting through him to flow into the axe he grasped in his other hand.

"So, you're here for more than handing out an old artifact, aren't you?" Horace asked, and the old man gave a sigh. "Indeed. To see that someone had taken up one of the sacred relics with my own eyes as another, not to mention ensuring you're suitable for the task. Though it seems you've proven yourself already." he admitted. "However, there is something I'd like to ask of you."

"Figures. Go on." the knight said gruffly, and the old man procured an odd necklace, simple leather cord and a small talisman carved from bone. "I'm not going to be around forever. The village you passed through along the way has come to depend on the fact that this area is a place of refuge. Without my magic, when I pass, the creatures that haunt this part of the mountain will be freed from my control. And that would mean disaster for them." He held out the amulet, Horace accepting it warily.

"I ask that you venture farther up the mountain, to lay this amulet upon the stones of its peak. It will serve as the binding force for my final preparations, so that what I've done here will remain even after my death." he explained, Horace regarding the man with concern. "This seems like a rather plain request to ask a stranger to do. Too hard on the knees?" he said, the old man grumbling a little. "Where did you get this one..." he muttered.

The presence around them seemed to regard their discussion with amusement, knowing full well one of the reasons behind this request. He had, after all, made a point of saying that even a rogue priest sworn under his oath could not escape being reclaimed, not even Astor could deny what was due. The hermit had lapsed in his duties, and hoped to linger. Not merely to watch over the village, but to escape what might be due to him. If his master would permit it.

The shift in the aura permeating the area sent a clear message, and Horace stood, turning towards the path leading farther up the mountain. Whether for what Horace might find at the peak, for the hermit's sake, for the good of the village, or for his own peculiar plans, it was a request the watcher would grant.

The tank roared ahead, turret sweeping unsteadily across the surrounding treeline, following the path towards smoke in the distance. Inside the vehicle the chatter was frantic, a young woman wracked with worry at the main gun, a short fellow in the commander's hatch trying to relay the very basics of operating the turret just in case, and a knight in the driver's position, quietly scanning camera displays as he operated levers to maneuver the tank.

"Got it, I...Jesus, place is lit up on thermal, let me-" Hector finally spoke up, only for Alice to interrupt. "Who's left? Do you see him?" she asked, Nathaniel checking his own displays. "Show's over, I got a lot of cooling bodies in the treeline and some smoldering ruins. Bar looks like it's still up at least. Fuck me, this whole time I'd been meaning to visit that place..." the commander muttered.

It was then however they saw movement, a figure that was still readily apparent on the old thermal imaging, and a mere flick of the switch revealed the shine of armor on the man staggering to stand. "Stop the tank! There he is!"

Over Nathaniel's attempts to warn Alice that there might still be someone out there, the tank came to a halt just before what was once a humble dirt lot for the bar, the woman popping open the hatch and climbing out, leaping off in a frantic pace. Her rifle was unslung and shouldered before she hit the ground, and Hector was out of the rear hatch and close behind a few seconds later.

It was to their utter relief that he was battered and stunned, yet seemingly not seriously injured, the two helping him up, to fall back behind the tank while Nathaniel carefully scanned the treeline at the M2 his hatch had come into possession of.

Isaac had little to say, pale and sullen in expression, seemingly numbed by something even as he found himself assuring his daughter that he was fine, which soon gave way to his own worry and exasperation over her decision to follow after him, on the way back...
« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 01:01:44 pm by Chaosvolt »


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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5109 on: December 26, 2018, 12:45:53 am »
Helen picked through the neatly piled belongings, picking out the property of the halls residents while also confiscating other items of interest she didn't recognize. A silver athame, a jar of essence, and a pair of purple stones that anyone would have mistaken for fist sized amethyst pyramid carvings, but were actually a relatively common variety of ioun stone. The variety could hide the user from undead attention and Helen had to wonder if they would work on the modern sort of undead. If so, they would be truly powerful artifacts given the abundance of the living dead in these latter days.

Meanwhile, Branches sorted through the clothes and tossed any that seemed worn out or outright damaged onto a messy pile. Moving to one neat stack, she picked up a large black bra trimmed with a simple decorative lace, and judged it carefully. It was in good condition, and it wasn't Helens, which meant it either came from the bandits or the farm.

"It's Roxanne's." Helen said simply, then explained "too big for me or anyone else on the farm, too small for Lilith, and it's style is all Roxanne." With that, it went onto the pile with a few of Roxanne's other clothes. A lot of elegant dresses and dark colors. Branches picked through the pile a bit more and came up with a pile of underthings, shirts, and skirts. Helen had input for these as well. "Mica's. Anything that's not silk is probably her sisters. Mica can only wear silk, and Catnip can't stand the feel of it on her fur." Branches went to yet another stack, holding up each article in turn. "That one is mine, but I've never worn it. That cloak is Victor's, the jacket is Hector's, not that he ever wears it. Hm, some of this is too generic to put to any one person. You could probably hand it all over to the center, the stuff we can't put to an owner..."

As they went over and sorted the clothing, the little automatons took it away and stacked it neatly in the back of a cart. Also, as they worked through it, Helen realized something; there was an awful lot of underwear in the swiped stacks. An unreasonably high fraction of the clothing in fact, was women's underwear.

"What's with all the panties?" Branches asked, noticing the disparity herself. Steinar raised an eyebrow and surveyed the scene. Yes, with most of the regular clothing loaded into a cart, what was left to sort was an inordinate amount of underwear. Helen was perplexed for only a moment until she remembered the events over the last year. Then, she laughed.

"Mica's panty raid." She said, "The silly thing took off to the destroyed city east of here and brought back a truck load of ladies wear and a a big bag of relics." The cleanup after the results of Mica's playing around with a certain hatchet had been particularly messy, but not horribly destructive unless one counted the destruction of the barn, which Helen supposed she did. Branches was already sorting through it all without much interest. Neatly stacking or folding any of it was a fools errand, so the Homunculus simply picked up handfuls of underthings and tossed them into bags Steinar had retrieved from the hall. With the clothing sorted, they began on everything else. The stuff Helen hadn't confiscated of course. A bench, a chair, a small private libraries worth of books. Helen even let Branches hang on to some of the more mundane texts on history or more benign fields of magic. There was also food. Stuff in jars and cans, dried stuff, powders, bottles of various fluids ranging from water to oil to what seemed to be very tart but very fresh juice. For all of the trouble they'd made, the theiving automatons had picked up plenty that would keep their master well fed and comfortable.

"Ok, let's try this again." Helen said, bringing out the coins again. She had taken them out earlier to try and bargain with the two bandits, to make repairations for the trouble caused by the Homunculus. Unfortunately, at the time, Steinar had been less than successful at dealing with the two. He'd done a fine enough job trying to reason with the men but reasoning really was beyond them. What with one of them being either too stupid or too belligerent and the other with his mouth stuffed with dirt and out like a light.

"You wanna deal," the one without dirt in his mouth spat, "you can deal direct with Yellow Jacket. She'll deal, oh fuck yeah, she'll deal."

Just like with Steinar. Helen had no clue who this "Yellow Jacket" was as did Steinar and Branches. When questioned, the only answer the mage hunter could get out of them was "you'll see" and other likewise vaguely threatening proclaimations. She had other, better things, to do than assist in the sorting while standing around being unconvincingly menaced by tied up bandits, but Illiana had vanished into her own navel and the golems weren't very good at distinguishing the differences in ownership or quality when it came to sorting.

"I suppose we will." She thought before turning to Steinar, drinking slowly from his best cup. "Make sure most of this gets back to it's owners, like I said before, but ask around. Maybe someone over at the f- Walkerville has heard something."

Jenny dropped off her cargo of mushrooms at the kitchen to the thanks of a greatfull french woman and a somewhat more leery chef before making her way around to where she'd been told the new "expansion planning" office was. There she found Communications officer Khaki arguing with a stern faced man and his bubbly assistant while a tall straight faced mouse woman looked on in amusement.

"You have to give me something!" Khaki barked, "Without the antenna, we can't raise Dirtnap, Tinkertown, or any of the scavenging crews in the dead zones! Dirtnap and Tinkertown can take care of themselves for awhile, but without that antenna we can't get any logistics  to the scavenging crews and they are flying blind out there. What if we have to recall them or if they get in a jam? Oh, hey Atomos. Er, wait, it's Jenny now isn't it?"

The man looked over, but only long enough to get a look at who Khaki was talking to, and his assistant offered Jenny a seat just next to the door, an apology, and a cookie. She waved off the apology, took the seat, and was helpless to keep herself from rudely snatching and scarfing the cookie.

"Sorry..." Jenny mumbled through a mouthful of raisens and sugar. The assistant skipped away nervously. For a moment, she thought the ranger had growled at her. Khaki spared her one more long glance before returning to the matter at hand.

"Anyways, I need that antenna. It's vital that we have it." She resumed.

"And I'll say it again," said the exhasperated man, "We. Don't. Have. It. The radio equipment available isnt suitable and even if it was, the storm knocked out some of the existing towers. The only one with the kind of antenna you're hassling us for is owned by that Hoyt bastard up north."

Jenny's ears perked a little. "Hoyt?"

"Yeah, junky drug dealing ass hole moved into some ranch or something about a year ago and has been strangling the local economy and pumping out drugs ever since. He's only now started to be a real problem for the center though..." Khaki explained, the swivel under her chair squeeling horrendously when her weight shifted, "One of his guys sometimes gets the idea to use their relay to transmit shitty gachi music over the centers intercom."

Jenny stayed silent and conferred with Cheena. It felt wrong to ask for anything else with an important thing like the centers comma antenna out of commission and with no replacement to be had except in the hands of a man that they hadn't met, but already didn't like. Khaki and the man discussed setting an alternative system up, satalite radios or a kind of HAM setup. They would work fine, but not as well as the old system. It would be worrying, and the frequency could be easily monitored. Khaki eventually left, somewhat satisfied with the propositions but still deeply worried.

"I'm getting the feeling I should do something about that..." Jenny thought before listening in on the next conversation. Something about a casino. Commercial construction details, all very boring. Cheena sorted through Jenny's thoughts and memories, and came back a little confused but better educated all the same. It was very strange. That sensation, like fingers sifting through her mind as though it was a bin filled with beans, was beyond strange. Not unbearable though. If anything it was sort of pleasant. She fidgeted a little and leaned back. Talk and planning, still boring, but it gave Cheena something to focus on. Youthful and curious, Jenny liked that. It was the impulsiveness that was going to take some getting used to. It had been a day since finally settling back in, but it had already proven incredibly difficult to control her urges with Cheena's influence.

The assistant tentatively offered Jenny another cookie and this time, she was more civilized about how she took it. Cheena it seemed had decided that she didn't like raisens.

"Okay, so that's all settled then. We'll have the materials requisitioned as soon as a location has been staked out and an agreement for payment can be reached." The man said, sliding what one could safely assume to be requisitions to the rodent lady. "It's good to have transitioned into basically the same job I had before, innit L?"

"Whatever you say Chuck, as long as everybody is doing something right? The uh, special accommodations I asked for are in these plans yeah?"

"Yeah. It's all there."

"Good. Be seeing you guys." L finished before seeing herself out. Jenny had to restrain an urge to go after the woman's sleek silky tail. It looked very enticing as something to chase after. Instead she moved over to the recently vacated chair across from "Chuck" and made her request.

"Well, first off, I'm afraid it's not as simple as striding in and just requesting stuff be built for you." He explained after Jenny had finished, "You'll need the right forms, which we've got plenty of, and a bit of capital. With that said though, I'm more than happy to waive the payment stuff, but even then you've got another issue."

"Oh?" Jenny said, a little taken aback by the thought that her little project required so much in the way of bureaucracy. "It's just a tiny little building, no more than ten by twenty or so. Ten by ten even."

"No see, that's the problem. The issue is planning. All the buildings and stuff are already planned out, construction starts in earnest here next spring, but there's no room on the street plan for a structure that small." He told her. Street plan. A structure that small. Planning. Jenny was suddenly very on edge, she didn't like the sound of any of that. None of it was bad, of course not. In fact, a return to civilization on a small scale would be more than welcome. It was all happening too fast though. Too quick, too steady. "Fortunately for the Mislings, Doctor Marsh has got a fertility treatment in the works. Lucky for us as well since that means things won't be so chaotic for awhile. Construction can go slow, in other words, we can take our time. If your project were bigger, we could squeeze it onto the plan."

Jenny had a think about it. She wasn't for any kind of spa treatment, she didn't want to built an outright bathhouse. She just wanted someplace nice she could go and sit in the steam for a bit. Maybe a good place for... She hit on an idea.

"How about a lodge?" She asked, "For my rangers?"

Daniel put the finishing touches on the trip hammer he and his wife had spent the day on. He doing the heavy lifting, physical and arcane, and she doing the light work. Namely, making tea and mixing reagents.

"And this is real Otto of rose?" Daniel asked, holding up a tiny crystal flask containing a light pinkish oil.

"Yes sweetest, the last I had. Condensed it myself before we left Algol. You know, I haven't seen a rose since?" Sylvia said. Daniel took the flowery fluid and poured it into a bag, tossing it gently to thoroughly mix the contents before carefully spreading them over the anvil stone. "What is it about this rock that's got you and Helen all worked up  love?"

"You should remember ma'am, your engine ran on a stone like this."

"Oh? It's the same? Seems a shame to destroy it."

"It must be done my dear, it's damaged and it's leaking entropy into the atmosphere."

"Whatever you say love, torch?"


Sylvia withdrew an acetalyne torch from the collection of tools and materials she and Daniel had hauled to the crossroad where the arcane trip hammer was to be assembled and handed it over. It was used to fuse the silver spread over the anvil surface and finish off the project.

"Lovely day for it." Daniel said, and it was. The sky was blue, the few clouds racing through the sky, a gentle breeze. Just the sort of pleasant weather Daniel wanted for this. It needed to be as nice as possible. "Perfect even. Alright, where'd we leave the bag? Ah, there we are. Just leave it in Syl, the bag won't be much worse for wear after." He hefted the bag, it's obvious slab shaped cargo putting stress on it where it's corners pushed the leather outward, and placed it on the newly annointed trip hammer. With that done, Daniel set the hammer going, and fled to a safe distance with Sylvia in close pursuit.

"So what next Dan?" Sylvia asked, snaking her hand into his. She'd never seen Daniel doing more than fighting as part of his duties. That and a little investigating. When he'd finally confronted her in the sparse counsel room of the sanguine order in Algol. The shadowy figure slipping in through the window, eyes glowing with the distinct light of hard magic, had intrigued her even while frightening her. She hadn't known then what a mage hunter was and it would be until later that she would learn more.

"We get lunch and wait. Generally, no one is going to bother a machine in operation if it looks dangerous. Trust me darling, it's going to look dangerous. We can watch from the roof while we eat." He told her, allowing his hand to be snaked into. Behind them, the trip hammer made it's first descending blow. The hammer dropped and the leather bag did little to muffle the "chk" of of stone on stone. As it went through it's operation, the bag began to look worse for wear. More obvious was the death of the grass, the cracking and degradation of the concrete and asphalt, the rusting of the signs nearby, and the general appearance of great age overtaking the intersection while leaving the trip hammer itself utterly untouched. By the end of the day, the time slab would be reduced to nothing more than a fine grit.
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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5110 on: December 28, 2018, 01:25:22 pm »
Foster adjusted his trench coat as he walked down the road. If he were honest this wasn’t exactly his style but given the fact it was raining it was better than nothing. Still he could do with something a bit more comfortable than the bullet proof vest and trench coat.

That was if he lived long enough to actually look. At the moment he found himself staring at a couple of people holding a woman hostage. The man holding a gun to her head had said something about paying them or he’d kill the woman. This simply resulted in a sigh from Foster as he stared at the man for a moment before continuing to walk away. The man stared at the back of Foster’s head for a moment before asking “Wait so you’s just gonna walk away? Not even try ‘n help this lady?”

Foster shrugged in response as he continued walking. He didn’t need to explain that he had nothing of real value to give them. Nor did he care to explain that he’d seen their little charade before and knew the woman was with them. So he kept walking as the trio stared after him and wondered what the fuck was wrong with him.

It must have been a few hours later when he found himself walking along an abandoned highway. Cars still littered the place along with more than a few gruesome scenes. One of which made Foster stop for a moment. Sitting on the hood of the car in question he stared at the trio of dead bodies before deciding to use some of his magic.

Faint outlines of what had once been actual people formed around the skeletons as his magic replayed the last moments of their lives. From what he could gather the car had died, and he wished he could hear whatever it was they were saying, but he could tell one of the outlines had pulled a gun.A few seconds of arguing and then swift action left the form in the drivers seat alone.

Foster pushed off the car and started walking away. If what he’d already seen didn’t provoke a response watching the form shoot itself in the head wouldn’t. Though he did have to admit the fact he’d shoot his wife and kid before himself was somehow admirable.

Lighting a cigarette as he walked Foster took a drag and kept walking. He wasn’t sure why he smoked if he were honest with himself. Probably just another thing he’d gotten from working in a cubicle farm while he tried to puzzle himself out.

A few days later TJ found himself running yet again. The trio of voices that were shouting at him didn’t exactly make him want to stop either as he darted around the corner of a building and caught sight of some zombies. That seemed to be his best escape plan he figured as he started sprinting towards the mob of undead.

A handful of the zombies peeled off from the group at a sprint and ran past TJ. Pushing into the mob he ignored the frightened screams of the three people that had been chasing him. Better not to focus on it he thought as he pushed his way through the zombies.

He’d made it past the mob and had turned the corner onto the nearby highway when he heard an unfamiliar voice call after him “Nice trick there, running through those zombies like that. How’d you do it?”

TJ stared at Foster as the man sat on the hood of an old car and smoked a cigarette. He was half tempted to keep running but something about the man made him stop. He was about to say something when Foster hopped off the car and said “Eh, probably some sorta magic. Question is, why’s a little punk like you on his own?”

TJ shrugged at that. He didn’t really have a reason for him being on his own. He could have stayed at home, but that would have come with other..problems. So he said “Don’t really have anyone to go to.”

Now Foster could tell this wasn’t a normal kid just like TJ could tell there was something odd about him.So he stared at the kid that could see through the bandages wrapped around his head and covering his eyes for a moment before shrugging. Starting to walk he said “Well I ‘spose neither of us have anyone or anywhere to go to. May as well walk together.”

TJ stared at Foster for a moment before deciding to follow the man. If Foster had meant him harm then he likely wouldn’t have bothered to talk to him. If he meant him harm anyway..well TJ did know some magic of his own even if he hadn’t demonstrated it yet. But for now the two walked in silence save for the occasional sound of nature as it creeped back into what had been civilization.

It was only after about a half hour that Foster looked over at TJ in the morning rain and slid off the trench coat. Putting it over TJ’s shoulders he shrugged at the puzzled look. “Ya just looked cold is all.”

After a moment TJ pulled the coat on properly, the tail end of it dipping into the water that had collected on the surface of the road. He also took stock of the pistol tucked into the front of Foster’s pants as he said “Thanks.”

Present day

Foster inspected the jar of preserved meat that a trader had given him as he contemplated just what he was going to do today. He was still cold, what with not having a jacket and it being the early morning, and he and TJ would need some more food than a couple of jars of preserved meat. So..his choices were to find somewhere to trade the few goods he had, namely some older jewelry and a few pieces of tech that he’d found out was somewhat hard to come by, or find someone to rob.

The second option wasn’t one that he particularly liked. Well it wasn’t that he didn’t like it, more that he just understood it wasn’t something that was okay. But if he brought TJ with him to a settlement he’d probably have the usual questions to answer, chief among them being why TJ was covered in bandages. It hadn’t been uncommon for him to have to ward off curious folk who tried to pull them off. And TJ didn’t really like big crowds either..

Picking up the pistol that he’d set on the ground Foster stood up and tucked it back into his pants. Taking a few steps he spotted TJ, with the trench coat now tied around his waist, drawing in an old notepad as he looked at a butterfly that had landed nearby. Leaning against a tree he watched.

After a minute TJ stood up and asked “So where to today.Foster.”

Foster started walking as he said “Some place called the Refugee Center. Or the Center, depends on who you ask.”

The two walked in silence as they made their way towards the Center. After three hours of walking Foster noticed TJ getting tired and picked him up. Not long after he was asleep.

Foster wondered about the kid, and he had no doubt that he wasn’t an adult, but respected him enough to let him have his privacy. If Foster had to hazard a guess TJ was sixteen, seventeen at most. Granted his little ‘condition’ made that a bit hard to tell. Hell if Foster was right the kid had only existed for the past eight years, when the world went to shit, when Foster himself got his own magic.

Sighing to himself Foster wished he had a proper lab to test some things. He knew he’d get some answers to some of his questions at the least. But then he doubted he’d get the answer he was looking for.

Soon enough they were nearing the entrance and Foster set TJ down. The pair walked up to the busy entrance and noted the damage. “Alright TJ, I have a few things I need to go get. If you want to go by yourself just be careful and make sure folks know you’re with me. And remember to stay away from medical staff yeah? Last doctor we ran into nearly beat me half to death to try and get those bandages off of ya.”

TJ shrugged but checked to make sure he still had the combat knife Foster had given him. “To be fair that guy was a bit..crazy. Besides with these sunglasses no one should worry too much about my eyes being bandaged over, kinda hard to tell through them after all.”

And with that the two split to go find someone to trade with. Foster was after food and if he could get some info on a place where he could settle down and find some work. Or some place where he could rig himself up a lab. TJ set off to find some clothes since his were somewhat worn and he wanted to get something for Foster.

Foster had lost sight of TJ in the crowd as they went inside. He knew the kid would be okay, and that he had an uncanny ability to find Foster, but it still wasn’t the best of situations. Regardless Foster made his way into the building and found someone who was trading for food.

After a few minutes of haggling he’d managed to trade for a few days worth of food and some additional bandages. Not quite as much as he’d hoped to get for what he’d had but it would do. It would last long enough for them to find somewhere TJ would be safe.

As far as he could tell there were two places around here that people stayed, this place and somewhere called Walkerville. He needed somewhere he could discreetly build and operate a small scale lab. Somehow, looking at how busy this place seemed, he doubted he’d be able to do so here at the Center. At least not without some kind of oversight by someone else and that wasn’t likely to end well given some of the subject matter he’d be delving into.

So..Walkerville. Of course he’d have to see if he could actually live there, some places didn’t welcome strangers to stay after all, and what kind of place it was. If there was a more authoritative structure he likely wouldn’t be able to sneak around with the kind of technology he’d need. Even then he wouldn’t have the same level of tech he was use to but it would be something. Now where was TJ?

Meanwhile TJ had found a trader that was selling clothes and was willing to work with what TJ had. Thanking the man TJ slid on the dark green hoodie he’d traded for and started looking for Foster to give him the turtleneck sweater and other things he’d gotten. Now to find Foster.

Foster gave TJ a reassuring smile as the pair reunited a few minutes later. Telling TJ about his plan to inspect Walkerville and determine where would be better for the pair to stay he was surprised by TJ producing the sweater. Taking it and tucking it under his arm Foster thanked TJ. “Don’t you want to put it on? I know you hate that shirt.” TJ said as the pair stood there.

Foster looked down at the pink shirt he’d been wearing. He’d stolen it off of a colleague he’d had to kill eight years ago when his own clothes were too torn to wear. It had always been a bit..garish for his taste. With a sigh Foster closed his eyes and removed the sunglasses that had concealed them “Hold these.” he told TJ before removing the shirt.

Being in front of him TJ saw the dozens of scars that Foster had. An educated eye would see the tally marks on his left shoulder and some of the larger ones on his chest and stomach and note they were self inflicted. Others were caused by injuries from his work. On his back were a handful of scars as well, though the only ones of note were six marks from needles. These were concealed after a few seconds by the black turtleneck that Foster slid on.

Keeping his eyes closed Foster asked “My glasses please.” Accepting them as TJ put them in his hand Foster put them on. Once that was done he allowed himself to open his eyes and look around. As he thought a few sets of eyes had drifted over to stare at the two while he had changed his shirt but they quickly went back to whatever it was they had been doing.

From there he accepted the shoulder holster set that TJ had also gotten him. Strapping it on he pulled the old pistol from his belt and slid it into a holster. That was when he noticed a cut in the bandages around TJ’s hand and knelt down. “I told you to be careful TJ.” Foster said as he wrapped over the bandages that were already on TJ’s hand and continued more quietly “We don’t want your ‘condition’ to cause anyone to do something dumb.”

« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 01:07:29 am by RedVulnus »


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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5111 on: January 09, 2019, 02:04:44 am »
The rodent mutants turned out to be a bit much for Jennifer's hightened olfactory sense, especially with Cheena's influence. It wasn't uncommon to get caught in their little groups loitering and wandering around New Paris and every time without fail, the mixed scent of creatures Cheena considered "prey" would hit her and aggitate the spirit passenger trapped inside her. There wasn't a whole lot she could do about it. She shuffled around, looking for the Captain and was informed that she had gone out to inspect the cleanup of the recent murder in the motorcade. She was glad that whole thing was over at least. Catalina being out and unavailable just meant that Jenny could take her time and put together a proposal. Maybe get someone to help her put together a rough floor plan or something. Also some time to think about the "Hoyt problem."

She had just begun to mull over what she'd learned of the man and his cohorts. Their domination of several "markets" in a time when she felt "markets" were the least of anybodies concerns, oh how little she knew, and how they were dealing narcotics at the center. That last, more than the monopoly on milk and butter, really got to Jenny. Cheena tried to warn her of the person she was about to walk into, but by then Jennifer was already thoroughly rankled and not really paying attention to where she was going or the angst of the other.

"Watch where you're going, don't just stand..." She began. She realized she was about to harangue someone for something that was as far from their fault as possible and changed her tone. "No, I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention."

The "guy" was wrapped up in bandages and that was curious. More curious was that the other guy was wearing sunglasses inside. The one she'd walked into was just a kid really, but the other guy, now he was an adult. A scarred, thoroughly worked over adult.

"Er, you two have been through the wars huh?" Jenny asked, trying to break up the widening silence, "Did you uh, arrive with the rest of the new people?"

Branches dragged the last of the goods out to the road and looked back at the now obvious path through the foliage near the rivers bank. She had the feeling that the path would see frequent use and was going to get packed down. Over the course of her chore, Branches had come to the conclusion that Helen wasn't going to kill her, and that perhaps interacting a bit more with the mage hunter would be a good idea. Otherwise, Branches really didn't know what she would do with her time. Read and build golems and experiment, she supposed.

Rather than help out, Helen had gone off back to the hall and left Steinar to keep an eye on how the homunculus got on. What that meant was that he had been drinking a steadily diminishing supply of pilfered posca, and sitting in the cart while Branches pulled it along. The weak sour booze, sweetened with honey, didn't appeal to Branches. It had the same general effect on her nose as it would have had on Mica, revulsion. Of course Branches had never smelled anything stronger and really had no standard for comparison.

"Are you going to help?" Branches said, dropping the handles of the cart. This action caused Steinars cup to slosh over, sousing him with posca. It didn't seem to upset him at all though.

"I am helping." He said, "I'm managing."

"You are a poop." Branches spat. Steinar hopped down unsteadily and hauled the two bandits from the cart.

"Alright," He began, ignoring Branches last childish remark, "Now, we got a bunch o' this stuff here and Ms. Helen wants it returned. What we need to know is where you lot came from so we can bring it back to this 'Yellow Jacket guy?"

The bandits stayed silent and refused to even look at Branches and Steinar. They'd long stopped struggling against their bindings around the same time they'd decided to clam up. Branches and Steinar had discussed, out of ear shot, what they were going to do if the bandits wouldn't talk. Steinar seemed to be in favor of disposing of the bandits and the stuff if they wouldn't help them help themselves. Branches didn't want to kill anybody though, and even if the bandits did talk she didn't really want to give the stuff back. Without Helen around keeping an eye on her, and without Illiana looming over her, Branches didn't particularly care for giving anything back. Not the stuff which she didn't know the owners of. Everything else had to go back. Tools, books, panties. All of it.

"Eh, if'n they won't talk then maybe we should turn em over to Hector or the center?" Steinar mused. That got a bit of a reaction, and Steinar grinned. "Aye, I think one of them will be just the thing. Saves time too, since you can stop by the farm and apologize for the trouble. Eh, little one?" He pushed the two men back into the cart and checked the bindings and straps were secure while Branches prepared for the next leg of hauling.
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"Everything is fucked forever, and ever, and ever." -Forrest 2016


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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5112 on: January 10, 2019, 12:31:56 pm »
(( Solomon section written with Mrno, Helen section written with Wilson. ))

As the four of them made their way back to Walkerville, Alice had been checking on Isaac to make sure that he was unharmed. Certainly bruised and sore it seemed, yet otherwise unharmed. As for why he seemed so shaken, it wasn't until the tank stopped, Hector and Nathaniel stepping out of the rear hatch, that Isaac told Alice the news...

Solomon gave a sigh of relief after the radio chatter had died down, able to set it down at last. Despite the gunshots and distant thunder of Helen's hammer heard earlier, he was confident that she and Steinar had the situation under control. He'd sit down at last if not for one very troublesome thing remaining, nearly knocking him over in a flurry of panicked, trembling feathers.

Solomon struggled to stay standing, taking an uneasy step forward. "Now could you please let go? It's fine..." The offending bird-man chirped shakily, arms and legs wrapped around Solomon's left leg like a little kid.  He gave another chirp before spreading his wings out, curling them in and around Solomon's legs, stopping him from taking another step forward unless he wants to fall over.

The avian only tightened his grip on Solomon, talon-tips starting to dig in through his pant legs a bit.  Cardin tweets quietly, his wings shaking as he buries his beak against Sol's leg. Solomon gave a little whine, afraid he was going to fall over at that rate, and in fact he very much did, giving a startled yelp. "Ack! C-come on, we're not under attack...nevermind how thick the timbers in this place are anyway." he pointed out, only to grumble at the frightened avian refusing to let go.

Helen began the trip back to The Hall after leaving Steinar to handle Branches, grumbling to herself as she made her way along a different route. One that took her along the main road cutting through the woods east of the bridge, to ensure the area was clear after the disturbance. I swear...incompetent brigands. I fear this isn’t the last we’ll hear of them... she thought. Of course, her thoughts turned to the others at The Hall, and especially Walkerville. Despite the danger, she knew several of them, Hector especially, would relish such a thing.

A tall, slender man wearing a houndstooth patterned sweater stood in front of a easel, with a palette and a brush in hand. He chuckled aloud as he held the brush up to the landscape, with a nearby ruined town. “What a landscape…! A striking image!” The artist said to himself, as he continued with the painting. “Beautiful…” He was lost in his task, making small comments to himself as he painted.

Helen blinked a bit, left stunned by the completely out-of-place sight before her, quickly activating her mask to look around. No one else waiting in ambush, all that became apparent was a peculiar glow of magic of materials stowed away among his arts supplies, yet its nature was hard for her to discern with just a glance. “What in Hel’s name...” she muttered, shaking her head. The artist stood back from the painting, admiring his work. The painting itself was a more abstract version of the landscape, full of color. “It was worth coming out here for this wonderful landscape…” He whispered to himself, chewing on the end of his brush. The artist took a bottle of water and a paint-stained rag from a nearby moped. He began to clean his palette and hum softly, still oblivious to the person watching him.

After a moment of waiting in silence, Helen finally gave an “ahem” to get the stranger’s attention. “, is everything alright?” she asked, likely leading to the strange sight of a woman in a scaled cloak and copper-decorated mask. The artist let out a small shout, before composing himself. “You’ve startled me... Yes. Hello. I’m doing fantastic… Hmm…” He said, as he zoned out once more, absentmindedly washing the palette.

Helen smiled a bit underneath her mask, before giving a nod. “An...unusual place to stop and enjoy the scenery. Fields and forests giving way to swamp and a crater-filled ruin...” she remarked. The artist hmmphed at that, “I sense your sarcasm… Allow me to show you what I see.” He said softly, setting aside the washed palette and walking up to her. He stood beside her and framed the landscape he was painting with his fingers, “See? A beautiful composition… wonderful mix of new and old, nature retaking civilization. Truly amazing... “ He rambled softly.

Helen smiled a bit at that. “So I can be dangerous here at times, admittedly. Regardless, you’re right. Morbid though it may be, I suppose there is beauty to it.” she admitted. “What’s your name? I’m Helen McKinnon.” The artist smiled a bit, “My name Remi Lafonce, pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He introduced himself, before he glanced over at Helen. “What a beautiful mask… May I inspect it?” Remi asked, infatuated by the design of the mask itself.

Helen was taken aback at that, before nodding and removing it carefully, showing its design was a feminine depiction of some divine figure with an ambivalent expression. Similar to a cavalry mask in fact, well-kept steel for much of it, and copper to form the hairline that it depicted, along with brows and the faintest hint of decoration to imply eyelashes for the eyeholes. Remi held the mask tenderly, running a thumb across the engravings. “So ornate… It’s very well made, miss. Is it an heirloom?” He asked, handing the mask back.

Helen shook her head at that, putting it back on afterward. “Made by my mother, and its enchantments were put into place by myself.” she explained. Remi cocked his head to the side, “Enchantments?” He asked, raising a thin brow. Helen smiled some under the mask. “Don’t tell me you’ve paints that glow under the sight of my mask, but would be dumbfounded by mention of the arcane.” she teased. Remi blinked at Helen for a moment, before cocking his head in the opposite direction. “The arcane?” He asked, legitimately confused. The Artist thought hard for a moment, “My peinture de la prêtresse? He asked again.

Helen gave a nod at that. “Surprised that you seem to not know what I speak of...” she said, before sighing. “Your paint, yes. It has some manner of effect to it beyond producing art, am I correct?” she asked. Remi hummed a bit, walking towards his moped and grabbing a small clay vessel, a bottle of slightly murky water, and a sketchbook. He tore out a sheet and set it on the ground, taking a brush and drawing a water-drop symbol. Remi set the bottle against the sheet of water and held his hand against the paper.

Helen watched with amusement, the motif evident and hinting at its nature, though no visible effect made the effect clear from vision alone. However, as the metal of her mask shifted and the faint hint of green eyes vanished in the faintest hint of a red glow, the nature of his work became obvious. “Interesting...a way to form symbolic magic, it seems.” Remi nodded, before letting out a hmm. “Appears I’ve forgotten to eat…” He said aloud, looking through his moped. “...oh.” he said quietly.

“If you’d like, my home isn’t far from here, and there’s another community just across the river. Then west of that, the local refugee center.” she offered. Remi nodded, “I’d be happy to be your guest!” He said, gripping his moped by the handlebars. Helen nodded at that. “It’s just down to the bridge, then south along the east bank.” she said, turning to lead the way. The two walked back to the hall, Remi walking the Moped along as they walked. The artist let his mind wander as he looked at the scenery around them, “Interesting…” He mumbled.

Elsewhere in Maine, Donny looked over to the nearby table in the Shepard's Wolves' mess hall, seeing Aurelia sitting across from Nashio, having spoken to Taji earlier, looking back to Jonathon. "So I last saw her skulking about in stolen clothes, but..." Donny gave a blank stare at the aging mage hunter. "Over where Ta-a-aji's friend is st-st" He thumped his chest, coughing a bit. "...staying?" The mage hunter just gave a nod at that.

"Describe it..." he said, which prompted Jonathon to give the cyborg a concerned glance. "Dress shirt and slacks. Shirt was this real tacky pattern..." Donavon pointed over to Nashio. "Tacky as *bzzt* that?" Jonathon nodded. ""

"It took you thi-i-is long to figure that out?" Donny quipped mechanically.

And on Mount Katadin...

Horace, despite his reservations and suspicions about the old man, walked along the old hiking trails. They were overgrown with plants, broken and cracked, unmanaged after nearly a decade having only ever had a single human being walking along them. At least, only one to walk the trail without be assailed by the things that haunted the mountain.

But soon, hardy snow-covered plants gave way to barren ground, seemingly along a much lower altitude than was normal for the mountains. The higher elevations suffered the full brunt of all the things that afflicted the air those eight years ago, and the plant life here had never fully recovered. He suspected this was higher than the old man ever dared to climb, and for good reason given the air was thinner. But there was something unnatural to it, a certain clarity where heavy snow once shrouded the sky, to the point of barely being able to see ahead a few yards.

The unyielding blizzard gave way to snow that fell in a peculiar swirling torrent, intense yet offering an unnatural clarity to the sky overhead. Like rain on a sunny day, yet not a cloud in the sky. More than appearing as though the sky was perfectly clear, there was a peculiar clarity as though the vastness of space itself was laid bare before him, a brilliant field of azure fading into purple, distant nebulae and a sprawling web of stars offering light that the rising sun struggled futilely to diminish.

He was being watched, by creatures of inhuman shape and form, on a peak where the little instabilities that dotted the mountains mingled, leaving not rifts but a dull haze where the world was both earthly and otherworldly. It was here that the monsters from Beyond could linger and stalk, not comfortably but certainly surviving this unfamiliar world better than they did down below. And here, among shifting stars, it appeared as though the sky offered a view of both this world, and of worlds that had no place here, a glimpse into a world humans did not belong in.

He held his axe in one hand, and the amulet in the other, continuing on towards the very summit, as though daring the inhuman things to attack him. The unearthly abominations here weren't under the old man's control, and with a heavy blow the blade sheared through the iridescent chitin of a six-winged monstrosity, scuttling in and out of reality. Other beasts began to advance on him, another smote by the axe and descending as a rain of formerly-living shadows, but a faint whisper bid him to halt, instead holding up the necklace he'd been given.

It was carved from strange, almost shimmering ivory from one of the many abominations to stalk the mountains, strange patterns etched into a rounded-off lower surface, that gave way to rune-inscribed prongs that split off and entwined together in unnatural ways, flat surface transitioning into a tangled bramble of bones, carved and trimmed into a more orderly motif that resembled flames rising from an offering chalice.

Shadowy, twisting forms recoiled and froze, halting a charge through strange time and space. Not due to the example easily made of the first attackers, but at the symbol held aloft. The armored figure stepped forward, until he looked down upon the land from the very summit. A twisted shadow of an already ruined land, warped and hinting at the reflections of strange gods and otherworldly horrors.

Horace simply laid the carved amulet on the bare stone at the peak, turning to return the way he came. Things looked different, the lay of the land threatening to lead him astray, as though he might find himself in other worlds entirely, but he felt that ethereal pull guiding every heavy step.

He found his way back, and the creatures didn't stand in his path this time.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 05:44:51 pm by Chaosvolt »


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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5113 on: January 10, 2019, 07:30:16 pm »
TJ had stumbled into Foster after having Jennifer walk into him, who helped steady him. When TJ didn’t say anything Foster spoke up “It’s okay, we should have found a better place for that.”

At her questions Foster shrugged “That we have. And uh..we came on our own though it appears we’ve arrived alongside quite a crowd.” Adjusting his glasses Foster continued “But where are my manners, I’m Foster and this is my friend TJ.”

TJ waved but stayed silent as he looked around to make sure he wasn’t in anyone else’s way. Noticing that TJ didn’t really seem to want to talk at the moment Foster sighed before saying “To be honest we came looking for somewhere we could stay but it looks like you all have your hands full here. Of course we could help around here, I’m trained as a..scientist of sorts, and TJ here well to be honest I’d prefer to keep him at my side but with proper training he’d be able to fill most jobs.”

Elsewhere Liam stepped out of the barracks sans his usual armor. Instead he’d decided to dress more casually, and modernly, in a set of grey cargo pants, a set of black work boots with blue laces, and a grey t-shirt accompanied by his brown sling bag on his back and a white and black checkered scarf wrapped around his neck and draping down along his back. Along with the new clothes Liam had taken the time to cut his hair into a mohawk, giving the sides a rough shave that he’d refine later. As per usual these days the little puff ball of light bounced along in the air next to him as he walked.

Gunnar, a bow slung on his back as he watched the terrain, asked “Going somewhere Liam?”

Liam shrugged as he kept walking “Going for a walk Gunnar. Keep an eye on things for me?” he said.

Gunnar nodded as Liam started towards the nearby woods. After a few minutes Liam found himself alone among the trees. Smiling to himself he said “Alright little guy, you wanted to come out to the woods. Wanna let me know why?”

In response the ball of light took off ahead of Liam. Laughing he started running after it as he called out “Alright let’s go for a run then!”

It was a good twenty minutes later and he’d caught up with the ball as it came to a stop. Taking a second to look around Liam wondered why it had stopped here. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary here as he said “So why’d we stop? Meditation time or are you just bored of watching me run?”

Ever since he’d accidentally made this little puff ball it had acted like it had a mind of its own. He’d pretty much come to consider it a pet at this point. And right now it seemed..confused? Maybe even agitated. Looking around he wondered why that was.

For a twenty minute run he was further out than he normally got he realized. Sitting down he shook his head and prepared to meditate for a little while. Smiling as he crossed his legs Liam called “Let me know when you figure out what’s bothering you.” and began to meditate.

It hadn’t even been a minute when the puff ball smacked Liam in the head and darted off. With a sigh the viking stood and started after it at a run. He lost sight of it after a minute and started to worry.

Soon he found himself in a clearing and stopped. The little puffball of light was currently hovering as if waiting for him. It took the sound of the young wolf under the ball of light growling for Liam to notice it.

His immediate reaction was to draw his dagger as the wolf backed away. In response the ball of light swatted Liam in the forehead and made a buzzing noise he’d heard it make before. Sheathing the blade he said “And what do you want me to do? Take care of it?”

When the light bounced up and down in a ‘yes’ gesture Liam sighed. Sometimes he wondered if this thing wanted to get him killed. Still, wolves lived in packs normally, and this one was all alone and too young to be by itself. So he kneeled down and retrieved a bit of food from his bag. “Tule, pieni kaveri, en aio satuttaa sinua.”

After a few moments of hesitation the wolf walked over to sniff what he was holding. Finally it decided to take a bite of the food before walking away and staring at him again. Looking over at the puff ball Liam sighed “This is gonna take a while.”

Ten minutes later and the wolf was following Liam. Leading the way home Liam glanced over at the puff ball before shrugging. “I don’t know the lesson you’re trying to teach me here but hey, a pet would be nice. At least one that’s not an asshole half the time.”

To which the puff ball gently rammed his shoulder. Laughing to himself Liam knew he’d get home soon enough. From there he’d have to figure out where he was going to keep the wolf.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 10:10:18 pm by RedVulnus »


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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5114 on: January 16, 2019, 05:33:48 am »
"Ah, charmed! A scientist?" Jenny said curiously, "Well Mr. Dervish and Doc Efram could probably use you then. If you guys are mutants though, Dervish will want to give you a physical and an interview. Oh, and that robot will more than likely want to do the same, but she can be a bit more... invasive..." That last point was punctuated by a quick glance up. Foster followed the glance and saw the small black dome of an obviously still functioning security camera. "I don't know about jobs, but I guess... hm."

Jenny stepped back and gave Foster and TJ a more scrutinizing look. "Hm... brainwave." She mumbled, then asked, "Can you fight? If it comes down to it I mean? I've got something I want to do but I need a bit of time to scout a few things and ask around... Listen." Jennifer pulled the man aside and asked, "Have you heard of a guy called Hoyt?"

Steinar followed Branches as far as the other side of the bridge, then unceremoniously turned back.

"Where are you going?" Branches shouted, unable to keep a little of her credulousness from creeping into her voice. "Aren't you going to help me give all this stuff back?"

Steinar shrugged, "Nah. Helen gave ya' the task. You finish it. That means all of it now. Make sure it gets back to where it's gotta go little one, you don't want ta' face Helen wrath now do ya'?"

Branches watched him go, baffled and a little upset. How was she supposed to give all this stuff back alone? She didn't know these people. Heck, some of them might even try to kill her or something. They'd be upset at least. She watched Steinar from a long time as he made his slow progress across the bridge. At some point, it became apparent that he was drinking again, now and then retrieving a jug from the several in a messenger bag at his hip to fill his cup. About the time he got two thirds of the way across, Branches started to think about it a little differently. The mischief was creeping back in. No one to keep an eye on her, no one to tell her what to do.

"Pffft. No." She said quietly, as though Helen or Steinar were hidden nearby. "Leave the cart near the entrance, keep the rest..."

"You're looking for that youngin' with the one eye? If I were less experienced, I'd say she was your younger sister but I know mutation don't work like that. Otherwise, Catnip n' Mica'd look the same."

Branches just about jumped out of her shoes, if she'd been wearing any. She could swear she'd heard the voice somewhere before, but couldn't quite place it. The man who'd spoken to her sat in a plastic lawn chair just outside the entrance, across from where Branches had intended to leave the load of stuff. An odd sense of deja vu swept over her, as though she'd been through this before. Maybe she had though? Helen claimed that she'd been destroyed once, maybe something from that hazy space. She did remember something about an old man, so it was very possible.

"Names Floyd, and you're awfully similar to that other girl that passed through a couple days ago." Floyd said. He offered the other chair at his side, but Branches shook her head and stayed quiet. "She was pretty quiet too. Must be related somehow. Alright well, I offered. Watcha got there in your cart miss?"

"Er... Stuff?" Branches mumbled, stiffening noticeably, "Got it from... Bandits?"

"Hm. Lets have a look then, might be something we can- Hey, that's one of Mica's shirts!" Floyd shot out of his chair faster than Branches would have expected, showing off that he was a hell of a lot more spry than he let on. "And this is one of Hec's padded shirts, and look at this, my old sixgun. How'd you say you got this stuff? Bandits?"

Branches couldn't become much whiter, but she was suddenly overcome with the desire to be able to. Her big purple eye searched Floyds face for anger or coming violence, but didn't see it. Only confusion and concern. "B-bandits... uh... Showed up at my house?"

"Your house? Where's that miss?"

"Across the lake..."

"And what did they want with you? Nevermind, I can probably guess. Young girl like you, bandit scum." Floyd said scornfully, sorting through the items nearly sorted into the cart. "I've had my fill of that kind of trash. But how'd you get all this from them?"

Branches couldn't think of a lie or half truth quickly enough and on impulse blurted, "I'm not helpless. I've got... er... friends... I gotta go."

"I'm sure your not, and I don't think so. We gotta tell Hector about this, and you can meet your neighbors while your at it. Nobody is gonna hurt you here. How long've you been there? Can't have been long since the lake is new." Floyd said, grabbing the homunculus by the shoulder. The urge to grab the mans arm and lay him out was palpable, but Branches resisted. It wasn't nice, this man hadn't done anything to her. All the same, she didn't want to meet the people at the farm. She didn't want to be recognized for who she was, nor for what she was.

"Please, I just want to go back to-" She began.

"Nonsense." Floyd insisted, guiding her into the palisaded farm, "Let's see what Hec has to say and then maybe we can collect your 'sister' and get a good meal in you. What did you say your name was?"

"Branches..." Branches mumbled, sure that she was going to be dead for sure soon enough.

The streets sat empty and untended, the result of a week's worth of purging and exodus under cover of night, turning New Bangor into a varitable ghost town. A once populous settlement of xenophobic, scared, people of a little over a thousand now reduced to less than a hundred staunch believers. In place of the citizenry, machines walked the streets and converted the buildings into workshops and manufactories all to recycle old material and construct new soldiers for the growing army. The army masterminded and led not by the archbishop or his cabal of close followers, but by the AI.

Secretly, Astor cared very little for the army of machines amassing itself around him. They still followed their programming well enough and had yet to break away from it. Seek and destroy mutants or cyborgs, bring any artifacts to be offered up to him. They weren't perfect though, as they didn't truly believe any of what Astor wanted for them or in what these objects could do.  What mattered was that he was at odds with the AI that controlled the robots. Astor could wipe the AI out in an instant, devour it's huge potential and be done with it, but he still needed it. Astor couldn't do anything without followers, yet. And so, he sought a replacement. After losing track of the troublesome arcane knight, and what a fool he'd been to think that the meddling lawyer would intervene in everything he did, Astor had returned to his scrying mirror, reassuming his facade so to not frighten his Bishops.

Soon, he had found what he wanted. Deep in the Rocky Mountain range, trapped within a wall of howling wind and melodious voices, a woman sat upon a throne of tendrils and twisted steel and seethed quietly to herself. Another being of great power he could wipe away in an instant, but wouldn't. She was as beautiful as the breaking dawn and as terrible as the new moon, though starvation was not being kind. Rita, The Grey Queen, sat motionless upon her throne and plotted to break free of the trap she'd closed on herself. Ahz't'ur, The Eater of Days, could do just that for her, if she cooperated with him. That was the difficulty though. Getting her to work with him would have been easy, but getting them to do so was so much harder. He knew of them. A strain of resilient infectious spores from a dead world floating around the rim of the outer dark. The men of this world had made contact with it, and had been trying to contain it's spread ever since. They were a direct competitor to Ahz't'ur.

He watched the mycus queen, judged, and planned.

Yellow Jacket paced the interior of her yurt with a growing sense of unease and anger. Anger which had already spilled over thrice that day, leading to a lot of screaming and at least one stabbing. She and her gang had come south after Yellow Jackets defeat at the hands of an somewhat different sort of stinging insect, the mutant "Lady" Apis. Self proclaimed Queen of a hive of mutant honey bees. The bitch had come down on Yellow Jackets gang like a ton of bricks, crushing her Hell's Raiders in one shot on the shore of Lake Erie, and driving them south out of her "kingdom." Banditry was a losers game up that way on account of the Queen bee and her swarm. It was good for people up there so long as they behaved themselves and paid the Queen's tax.

Yellow Jacket decided she'd had enough of pacing and threw herself on her cot. Where the hell were they? First they get thrown out of the great lakes area, then they somehow get robbed in the night and lose all the stuff they'd planned to deliver to the Astor prick in charge of God's Army, and now the guys she'd sent out to find out what the heck was going on had failed to return. It was promising to be a very shitty few days if things kept up like they'd been doing. Just about out of food, game getting scarce in this region, Hell's Raiders seemingly lost their nerve around here, and good if there wasn't a lot of freakish shit hanging around in the woods these days. She stood and looked long into the mirror. A rather slim woman who behaved about as severely as she looked stared back at her. Her face was sunken and unattractive, as it always had been. Neck and cheeks scarred from the day everything fell apart for the united clans, and the sallow unattractive body beneath it. Yellow Jacket ran a hand down her face and felt the ennui seeping back in. What had happened to the world in which a woman like her had to suffer defeat after defeat and had to reign shitheads in with an iron fist and a razored tongue? Yellow Jacket, Delores VanAllen that was, had been a kind, respected, and much loved HR director before the cataclysm. Saving people's jobs, seeing the good in seemingly scummy potential employees. Beaten down by the end of the world, a young freak with a perky exoskeleton, and a swarm of mastiff sized bees.

"God, life is shit..." She groaned at the woman in the mirror. She cleaned her face and looked again. That was a bit better. Along with the dirt, she'd also wiped away a measure of her more depressing thoughts. Then, she snatched the jacket from the back of the camp chair where it had been carelessly tossed, and she emerged into the light of late morning.

"Alright you fucks," she barked, "If those chucklefucks aren't back by five... Make it four, then we go west and hit the first thing we come across, got it?"

The men and women still following her stood and said as one, "Yes ma'am!" As rowdy as this bunch could be, they at least still respected her. In Yellow Jackets mind, that was all that really mattered.

"This is uh... Scouting party six on approach, we are coming into New Paris."

"Yeah, this is New Paris, Communications officer Khaki Jones speaking. What's up six?"

"Uuuh, Khaki, get Captain Sandell on the horn. We've got a situation up on the north side."

"Oh? I'll get her right away, but what's the situation six?"

"It's uh, God's Army Khaki."

"Aw fuck, Aw f-"

"They aren't fighting or anything Khaki, just a couple bus loads of people and uh... Khaki? New Paris?"

"What are they doing now? Six?"

"Following behind, going slow, trying not to spook us I think. Khaki, they've got mutants with em."

"Shit, okay uh, take it slow. We'll meet you by the place where the road turns sharp just before you hit the new fields, we can take em by surprise."

"I'm not sure ma'am, they ain't got those freaky robots with em, and most of these people are civilians hardly any fighters I think."

"Alright, I'll be sure to inform the Captain. Get ready for a fight though, we don't want to go through what we went through last year. Over."

Khaki let the radio fall silent in it's cradle, and gave it only a moment before hitting the big green button with the strip of tape under it reading "Cap's office."

It was going to be a stressful afternoon.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 07:03:24 am by saltmummy626 »
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