Author Topic: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm  (Read 22192 times)

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5100 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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