Author Topic: Story Thread I. Introduction  (Read 5500 times)

Symmetry

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Story Thread I. Introduction
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2004, 11:45:19 pm »
Scene 30 - Another Unexpected Meeting.[/b]


Sessimine enjoyed making life difficult for her students. The way she saw it, an enchantress had to be mentally resilient to stress as possible; to successfully control the minds of others, one first had to be in control of her own mind. Of course, there was a nasty paradox to be found in this philosophy, one the instructor was quite aware of. As an enchantress became increasingly proficient with her charms, she would eventually reach a point where began to lose control over them. It was a well-kept secret within the higher echelons of the field that incredibly talented students of the art actually had to work harder at charm suppression than they did at manipulation; only a select few – a group of enchantresses with greater power than Sessimine’s – ever regained full control over themselves.

At the moment, the instructor was amusing herself by closely observing a student who still had a considerable amount of an exam to complete with only but a few minutes left on the clock. Without making physical contact with the student, there was little Sessimine could have done to be more obnoxious; at the moment, she was lying on the table where the student was working, one hand pressed firmly against her cheek, the other rapidly tapping the desk. Her gaze was fixated not on the student’s exam, but rather on the learner’s eyes; ever so often, their eyes would meet, but Sessimine won the stare-down every time. Needless to say, the student was somewhat relieved when the bell marking the end of the period finally rang.

“What a shame! Looks as if you didn’t manage to complete the exam on time.” Reaching for the paper on which the young woman was still writing, Sessimine plucked it from the student and began grading it on the spot. “Oh no! This is not good at all! Why, you barely managed to complete half the test!”

The student turned around to see how many others shared her fate; two other young men sitting toward the back remained in the classroom, both still staring mindlessly at the Provostia - completely enamoured - and neither realizing that the bell had rung moments earlier.

“Let’s see… Well, you got the question about shading right; unfortunately you missed virtually all of the questions relating to Kobayashi’s Principle. Of course, given that you barely answered half of the material, there’s no way you can earn a passing mark, is there?”

“Apparently not.” The student looked back at the two men once more. “Are you planning on letting those two go?”

Sessimine continued to look over the test. “Not really. Unless they’re particularly handsome – no, unless they’re beautiful, I don’t care for men attending my school. They’re almost always subpar students, so I have little regret in speeding along their acquisition of failing marks; besides, the school of summoning has long practiced similar discriminatory methods of weeding out women from their ranks. I might keep them around for demonstration purposes, but don’t expect to see either of them make anything of themselves – except fools.”

The student snickered, attracting the instructor’s scrutiny once more.

“Well, any last requests for mercy? Rumour has it that I’m more than willing to let students perform chores and maid service for awhile in exchange for a passing grade. You never know… You just might end up passing this exam after all – in exchange for a day’s worth of servitude, of course!”

“I’ll fail and save my dignity, thank you very much.”

Sessimine grinned from ear to ear. “Excellent! Excellent, excellent, excellent! I was hoping you’d hold out! Never let anyone rob you of your pride! No respectable enchantress would never demean herself by groveling for the mercy of another – save royalty, of course.”

The student was somewhat taken back by the Provostia’s outburst. “I was being tested this whole time, wasn’t I?”

“I was clouding your thoughts from the very moment you walked in the room two hours ago! You seemed unwaveringly confident; I couldn’t let such heart go unchecked. I must admit however, for awhile I thought you weren’t going to pull through! Now hurry along and enjoy your weekend. I must attend to my daily routine of holding office hours.” Giving her star student a quick hug as she exited, Sessimine collected her things and was about to turn off the classroom lights when she realized the two young men were still staring fixatedly at her. With a smirk on her face, the instructor tossed the pile of books she was holding into the air and clapped her hands twice, dimming the lights and employing the students’ aid in a single motion.

I knew there was a reason I chose this field all those years ago! Tickled with herself, the enchantress walked out of the room and closed the door behind her, leaving the two students to collect her belongings in the dark.

~~~***~~~

My oh my, am I tired! I hope no one’s waiting outside my door for tutoring. Hopefully they’ll be busy enjoying their weekend already. Surely no one from my introductory class will be there due to the test, but that obnoxious child from Theory of Illusion always shows up when I least want to see her… I swear, if she does, I’m find something for her to clean! Today is not the day to stress Sessimine any further! The enchantress held her breath as she turned the final corner leading to her office; thankfully, the usual cluster of students waiting outside was pleasantly absent.

Fabulous! If I’m lucky, I just might be able to catch up on my sleep… This is going to be such a busy weekend; the ball tomorrow evening complicated my rather uneventful schedule quite nicely. They really should announce these sort of things further in advance! Why, I was looking forward to sleeping this weekend away in my bed at Enhasa… Sessimine continued to play the role of a drama queen as she entered her office and shut the door behind her, failing to realize the presence of the visitor waiting behind her desk even as she sat in his lap.

…And honestly! I didn’t even have the time to purchase a new dress! How terrible! I’m sure I could find something I haven’t worn before in my wardrobe, but still… Had I known ahead of time about this little social event, I could have had something new woven for me! Why, I could have been the talk of the town given ample time to prepare myself! Of course, that’s why they never tell me until the last minute… It’s that no-good Chihari’s doing! She always wants to be the star of the show and she’s the one who arranges… Her train of thought suddenly coming to a halt, Sessimine picked up one of the books lying on her desk. Strange… I don’t remember leaving my diary out like this for all to see; in fact, I specifically remember placing in back in my desk when I finished writing in it just before class… And dear me, this chair is incredibly uncomfortable! I don’t ever remember it being so… well, unaccommodating! Before the enchantress had the chance to turn around and discover the source of her confusion, the visitor finally made his presence known by means of a reserved cough. Startled, Sessimine jumped out of her seat and onto her desk.

“Prince Aias! Oh my! I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t even realize you were here!”

The prince rubbed his temples. “No, no. I was so busy reading through some of your books here that I didn’t notice you enter. The clicking of your heels caught my attention just as you approached the desk, but before I could say something I suddenly felt a strange aura come over me. My thoughts scattered and my mind went completely blank… I’m assuming you had something to do with this, but what exactly happened, I’m not quite sure.”

Sessimine took a few more deep breaths, her hand resting over her heart. “Okay. I think I can pull myself together now. Forgive me, Prince Aias, I seem to have let my mind wander. I’m becoming a regular Madame Idane!”

Aias arched a brow. “What do you mean?”

“Well, we enchantresses manipulate the minds of others with our own, right?”

“That’s my understanding.”

“Yes, well, this becomes so second-nature to us that we often fail to realize that we’re doing anything out of the ordinary. Occasionally, an enchantress will start daydreaming or get lost in her own thoughts and start imposing her feelings upon those around her. There was a famous enchantress ages ago by the name of Masumi Idane who was notoriously bad for her absent-mindedness. She was a brilliant woman and made a number of notable contributions to the field, but she her daydreaming became so frequent that she had to resign her position as Provostia of the school of enchantment. Anyway, I must have transposed my own state of mind onto you without realizing it.” Sessimine giggled to herself and stood up momentarily to adjust her dress before sitting back down upon her desk. “You’ll have to forgive me for saying this, but you make for a terrible cushion! Now what exactly where you doing in my office, anyway?”

Aias grinned. “Waiting for you to come back?”

“A charming response.” The enchantress glanced down at the diary on her desk. “I see you were also making good use of your time by reading through my personal thoughts. Even though I suppose they’re yours to read through as you please, being the prince and all, I’d appreciate it if you’d refrain from such invasions of my privacy.”

“My apologies. If it provides any consolation, rest assured that I would never violate your privacy without good reason.”

“Oh really? And might I ask what your good reason is?”

The prince stood to his feet and began pacing about the room; for the first time, Sessimine realized exactly why Aias had been talked badly about behind his back. The heir to the throne, besides lacking arcane talent, was not a physically imposing man, either; in fact, with her clogs on, the enchantress was nearly as tall as he was. At face value, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the man, save his royal birth. Still, there was something about Aias – something she couldn’t put her finger on – that just wasn’t right; being the woman of curiosity she was, Sessimine had to find out just what this was.

“Well? Have you nothing to say?”

Aias stopped in front of a life-sized statue of Montlasalle. “Do you really think you’ll be reborn a goddess when you die?”

“Of course I will! My dearest told me so. Its not that hard to believe, is it? I won’t be the only one, either – I just happen to be Montlasalle’s favourite. Now are you going to answer my question or not?”

“Very well. If I’m going to be sharing my dreams with someone, I want to make sure she’s trustworthy. My visions are very personal and I do not desire them to be public knowledge.”

Sessimine extended her hand and examined her nails, her back still facing the prince. “Fair enough. So have I earned your confidence?”

Aitrus

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Story Thread I. Introduction
« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2004, 12:20:06 am »
Chapter 31 - Revelations in the night

Aias gazed at the woman, regarding her for a moment before making a reply.  “Not yet, Provostia,” came Aias’ reply.  “Not just yet.”  He stood and leaned against the desk where Sessimine was sitting, sighing as he did so.  “Tell me, what do you know of the Council?”

“The Council?” she replied.  “What does that have to do with you and I?”

He smiled at her condescendingly.  “Just humor me for a moment, if you please.”

“Well,” she started, “not much.  After all, they keep everything about themselves a secret.  All that anyone knows about them is that they exist, and are continually buying up resources and hiring everyone they can lay their hands on, or impressing them into servitude depending on the rumor you hear.”  She sighed, and looked at Aias.  “I normally don’t spread gossip,” she lied, “but there’s a rumor going around the higher circles of the major universities that the Council is mostly interested in Temporal magic.  However, everyone over at the School of Temporal Magic claims to know nothing about that.  But you know how far you can trust those wackos over at Temporal.”  She snorted at the very idea.

Aias smiled.  “Not very far, exactly,” he replied.  He looked at her, noted the impatience in her eyes, and grinned.  “As for you, however, I also know exactly how far to trust you.”

She smiled back.  “And how far would that be, your highness?”

He sighed and stood up, walking around the desk, heading for the couches in the raised mezzanine just past the doorway.  The window, with its mountain of pillows, was not much farther away, but this wasn’t that kind of a visit.  “You remember the dream I came in to talk with you about a few days ago?” he called over his shoulder to her.

“Of course,” she said, sliding off of the desk and following him.  “It was one of those dreams that’s hard to forget.”

“Tell me about it,” he muttered under his breath.  Sitting down on a couch facing Sessimine as she approached from the desk, he continued “Anyway, those shadows we saw at the end of it, did anything seem familiar about them?”

She frowned in concentration for a moment as she lay upon the couch he was facing.  “No,” she said distantly, still trying to think about them.  “Nothing at all.  I could tell that it obviously meant something to you, or at least your unconscious mind, but I wasn’t inclined to press the matter, as you obviously weren’t willing to talk about it.”

He sighed and looked at her.  “The reason I didn’t tell you anything wasn’t so much that I wasn’t willing to talk about it.  On the contrary, sometimes I wish I could tell someone everything that’s going on.”  He hung his head slightly, staring down at the floor instead of at her.  “But I can’t divulge all that is going on, because much of it I don’t even know.”  He stopped, trying to gather the piecemeal thoughts rattling through his brain.

She walked over and sat down beside him, putting a hand on his shoulder.  “It’s alright, highness,” she said soothingly.  “Just say what you wish to say.”

He almost laughed.  “No, it’s not what you think,” he said.  “I’m alright, I’m simply trying to figure out how much of what I know I can tell you.”

She balked.  Obviously, she wasn’t used to people keeping secrets from her.  “If you were any other man…” she started.

“Yes, I know.  You’d get all the information out of me just with a thought.”  He smiled at her.  “However, I doubt you would get much from me if you did try.  I may not be able to use magic, but I do know how to keep anyone out of my mind if I want.  There are still places in the world where non-magical techniques are remembered, though few now care to remember where.”

She scowled at him.  “However,” he said, trying to head off the storm that he saw brewing in her face, “that’s not what I came here to say.  I do want to share some of this with you, as I can tell you are trustworthy.”  Her face softened somewhat, but not by much.  “The Council, as you could probably guess, is a very secretive organization.  They don’t let anyone find out anything about them, not even their immediate lieutenants.  The only people that know anything about the Council’s activity are the Council members themselves.  All five of them.”

Recognition flashed across her face as she caught the connection.  “Five.  The same number of shadows as in your dream.”  She looked at him in disbelief.  “You can’t be…”  She trailed off, not wanting to say it.

“In discreet ways, only,” Aias reassured her.  “I oppose them, but can take no action against them.  After all, the Council is literally the most powerful organization in all of Zeal.  No one, literally no one, can oppose them.”

“Not even the royal family?” she asked.

“Not even us.  The Council effectively runs the show now.  They tell my parents what they need done and they do it.  I don’t know exactly what they do or how they got this power, but it’s there and it’s real.”  He fell silent, not wanting to say anything else.

She just looked at him for a moment.  “Dearest Montlasalle, help us.  To live in a day and age when the King’s power has been usurped by people who don’t even exist to the vast majority of us…”  She looked back up at him in pity.  “It’s simply unthinkable.”  Slowly she turned away, when a thought flashed across her face.  “Wait, how do you get your information out?  If they’re as secretive as you say, how can you know anything about them?”

“I have my sources inside the organization,” he said.  “I get the information out and piece it together from my end.”

“Someone may have been compromised,” she said, a faraway look in her eyes.  “Someone came by here a few nights ago, a representative from the Council.  He was asking me about different methods of interrogating prisoners using enchantments, about how effective each method would be.  They said that they had captured an enemy of the crown, but he was proving tough to crack, asked if I would come and help.”  She looked at him, sincerity in her eyes.  “If I had known, I wouldn’t have been so cooperative—”

“But that would have tipped them off immediately,” he interrupted, “and tipped them off to the wrong person.  Even knowing what you now know, the best thing you could have done was exactly what you did.  I have fail-safes in place to ensure that, even if one of my operatives goes down, it won’t take me or the rest of them down as well.  No one knows me by name, none of them have even seen me, so nothing can be traced to me.  And none of the operatives even know that there are others like them, so one operative being caught won’t even scratch the rest of the group.”  

He looked her dead in the eye, to make sure she got what he was trying to say.  “Now, I don’t want you doing anything out of the ordinary,” he said.  “I didn’t tell you all this so you could become my partner, or so you would start working for me.  Sea of Zurvan, I don’t even tell this much to my operatives.”  He scooted a little closer to her.  “I told you all this because, if I didn’t tell someone soon, I was going to fall to pieces, and you were the only person I thought I could trust with this.  Do you understand?”  She nodded, a little overwhelmed at all of it, something she obviously wasn’t used to expressing.  “I’m sorry I had to tell you this, but like I said, you’re the only one I could trust.  The palace is bugged, my sisters hardly ever leave, and my parents are too close to the Council for my taste.”  Sessimine balked in distaste at that, but he shook his head.  “They don’t like the Council, either, but they’ve been coerced into working for them.  If a Council representative should walk in as we were talking about this, it would mean death for both of us, even though we’re royal.  The same applies to my sisters.  But you, you've already been entrusted with many secrets by virtue of your position, and you’ve proven both your trustworthiness and your loyalty to the royal family.”  He smiled.  “Plus it’s not so bad coming back to see you, either.”

She smiled at that, and perked up somewhat.  “Of course,” she said as if he had just stated one of the fundamental laws of magic.  “What else would you expect from a master enchantress?”

“Nothing else but what you did,” he replied.  He smiled at her and stood.  “Thank you for listening, Sessimine.  If you ever need me, simply call upon me and I shall be there.”  

“Thank you, your highness,” she said as she bowed.  “I shall ever be here to serve you.”  

He nodded, motioned for her to rise.  He was about to turn and walk out when he stopped.  “Actually, Provostia, there may be something you can do for me.”

“Name it, highness,” she said.

“About a week from now, there will be a ball held in the Palace, in celebration of my younger sister’s birthday.”  He smiled at her.  “I currently have a gift for her, but I have no one to take to the ball.  And, of course, it would be unseemly for the Crown Prince and Heir to the Throne of Zeal to appear without a companion.”  She could hear the capital letters as he said his title, but was that a hint of sarcasm she heard in there, as well?  “Would you care to join me for the ball?”

“Certainly, your highness.”  She curtsied, playing the role of love interest instead of servant.  “It would be my honor to accompany you to the ball.”

“And it would be my pleasure to have you there.”  He smiled at her again.  “I shall send someone by with the details tomorrow,” he said after noticing the darkness now looming outside.  “Until then, I guess.  Good night.”  He turned and walked out the door, feeling better than he had in a long time.

Claado Shou

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Story Thread I. Introduction
« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2004, 11:17:10 am »
((OOC - This is the introduction piece for my third character, whose name, location, and characteristics I'd rather not divulge for some time.  But at least you can hear what he's about to say.))

Scene 32 - Intercepted

Year: Unknown
Place: Unknown



It had been a long time - the longest time he could ever remember, even stretching back into the days before the Apocalypse - that he had stayed in one place, let alone a place of such cramped, and yet so spacious, design.  It was one thing to be placed in a cage...it was quite another to be trapped within a place you never had the urge to leave.

His name was of no significance now.  His place of birth, date of birth, and all other information pertaining to his distinct identity - erased.  He remembered them, of course...who wouldn't remember their own past?  But he was the only one.  All of his friends, all of his comrades, those of his blood and heritage...a side-effect of his doom was his total enclosure from the outside world.  That meant his life, forgotten.

There was no worse fate than being forgotten - and, he thought, I have suffered many fates.

Looking at the red walls of his home, he recalled a day when Zeal was still a center of prosperity and forgiveness.  He remembered a world of pleasure and commerce, where trade was as commonplace as fresh air and black magic had not yet been conceived.  It was all for the bettering of the society as a whole - an undrugged utopia, a conglomerate of peoples realizing that if they strayed from the path of goodness, they would fall to ruin.

One person failed to realize that, however...and it was pretty obvious, in hindsight, that she had never endeavored to be forgiving, only prosperous.  And she did become that way...ensuring her own death and the death of all her people.

But there was one thing that the Queen would never steal, never destroy - me, he thought, his fingers shuffling over a ream of papers, each sheet filled with the scribbles of his life, lest he forgot as well.  I am invincible in this place, he realized, a smile growing on his face.  I will be remembered.

Claado Shou

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Story Thread I. Introduction
« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2004, 05:20:39 pm »
((OOC - I know I just posted something, but since we'd all like to get this thing truly started...well, here goes (again).))

Scene 33 - The First of Many Final Encounters

Year: 2313 A.D.
Place: The Zenan Mainland

Serian could sense the unnatural movement even as he was walking.  The thunder around him was deafening, the lightning blinding, and the rain painful, but he knew the sound of a Lavos Spawn when he heard it.

Ironically, Serian had just found a stockpile of metal only a few moments earlier.  In a dome-like structure a half-mile or so from the base of the tallest mountain in sight, there was nearly 10 tons of the precious substance, of the purest grade he had ever encountered.  He had attached 5000 pounds of it (the minimum necessary) to a thick harness that he then tied to his back, and began pulling the incredibly troublesome load across the storm-stricken sands towards his boat, and then onward towards home.  

But he was only a few minutes into his journey when he felt the trembling in his feet, then travelling to his arms, and his head, as his neck instinctively twisted towards the cause of the vibrations.  In the distance, several hundred feet away, sat a Lavos Spawn...one of incredible size, a well-nourished specimen, sitting atop a bed of jagged spikes, its flame-covered tentacles (grown in the third stage of development) preventing its fall.

And only a short distance from Serian, a ball of fire and light, massive and bright, pounded through the torrential wind in a path straight at him, burning the raindrops that crossed it.  

Serian quickly unharnessed himself from the load and dived out of the way as the blast hit the ground, throwing metal shards everywhere.  Serian backflipped away from the explosion (and the dangerous debris falling nearby) and took a defensive position, finding his bearings quickly, spotting the creature once again.

A second and a third blast had already been launched from afar, and Serian ran as fast as his densely-muscled legs could carry him, which was just fast enough to outrun the energy bullets.  A human might have clocked the warrior at speeds of 55 or 60 miles per hour, but to Serian, it was all part of the hunt.

Leaping high over the fourth attack, Serian reached into his leg-strap full of knives, grabbing one of the larger blades and tossing it at breakneck speed towards the creature.  The Spawn barely had time to recognize the danger and deflect the weapon with his fiery extremities before it would have hit him dead in the face.

Landing hard on the ground, Serian could tell by the black aura lifting from his foe, now only thirty feet away (but twenty feet above him), that the attack had enraged the creature.  He could almost feel the anger lifting from the Spawn, the energy building exponentially.

"This is gonna get ugly," Serian muttered, kneeling in preparation of running, and holding a thick metal knife in the hand behind his back.

From atop the spiky peak, the Lavos Spaw erupted in flame, his tentacles extending to the sides, lunging, each a rushing spine of fire, that pierced the ground around Serian.

As the tentacles plowed into the sand, Serian ran quickly along the base of the mountain, his feet barely outperforming the rapidly-oncoming arms, each of which came up again and continued to dive at him, hoping for a kill.

As Serian nimbly dodged each powerful thrust, he leaped from platform to platform, nearing the position of the Spawn.  As he came within range, he did a twist in the air to avoid seven different tentacles, and threw his knife at the unprotected beast.

The blade struck and stuck into the Spawn, forcing it to screech loudly, and its tentacles to writhe.  Fiery blood began to spurt from its face, and drenched the stone, eating at it like an acid.

Serian landed on his feet just in front of the Spawn, who looked at him for a fraction of a moment in what appeared to be pain.  This temporary image made Serian falter, and the Spawn, sensing opportunity, blasted him with an energy bolt that ripped at his armor and threw him into the air.

The many tentacles immediately began to dive at Serian again, and he tried his hardest to deflect them, but as one struck and injured his arm, another wrapped around his waist, and a third hit him in the chest, weakening him.  

It was in that moment, bleeding and wheezing, staring at his soon-to-be killer, that Serian realized that he would never see his parents, or his brother, ever again.  And as he looked to the Spawn, he saw a bolt of electricity and shadow gather in its mouth, tentacles aching for meat to tear apart, and closed his eyes for the final blow.

It was also in that moment that a miracle happened.

((OOC - My last pre-EoT post, coming (very) soon!))

Leebot

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Story Thread I. Introduction
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2004, 01:55:28 pm »
[OOC: I haven't received any complaints in the WIP thread, so I'm going ahead and posting this.]

Scene 34 – Echoes

The End of Time


/Stabilization: 34.5%
Optical input restored.
Optical input connected to visual stream 1.
Testing vision…
Possible error: Optical input resolves no recognized pattern; chaos: 100%
Diagnosing optical input…
No errors found.
Analysis: Chaos is ambient.


As coherence returned to Backer, he replayed the events leading to his current state of affairs. His consciousness had been persuaded—or perhaps overridden, he couldn’t be sure—by an entity which identified itself as LEGACY. It had connected with his mind and transmitted vast amounts of information to it, so much that his subconscious was still sorting it out. It had then told him a purpose awaited him at the End of Time, then guided him on a set of actions which sent him there, apparently through tearing a hole in space-time.

Prior to that, he had been in contact with the artifact known as the Frozen Flame. It had tried to tempt him with power, but a logical override had saved him. Once he had the situation in control, LEGACY had connected with him.

Even earlier, he was searching through the cave, with two others, Hunter Deschain and Amy Millian. But, what had happened to them? Backer replayed his vision up through his arrival in the End of Time. As he fell into the rift, he noticed two figures falling towards him from nearer to the Frozen Flame. They had most likely fallen in after him.

He looked around, but saw nothing distinct from the chaos that seemed to characterize this place. He sent out a pulse to see if that avenue yielded any results. /Fire… ------^^`’*’`##---/

Interesting results. There was a lot of interference, but he could sense something coming from one, definite direction. He knew he hadn’t seen anything in any direction previously, but when he looked again, he could see quite clearly a structure floating in the distance. It was too distant to resolve many details, but it appeared to be oblong, tilted 20° off its axis.

/Applicable information found in LEGACY data.

Location type QC:
Certain dimensional locations lack normal physical parameters. Apparent physical parameters of such locations can be shaped by sufficiently powerful and ordered minds. Those without sufficient mental ability will perceive the environment created by another, if such is present. Otherwise, they will perceive only chaos./


That seemed to be consistent with what he was observing. He decided to test this hypothesis.

/Hallway, leading from here to the structure ahead, with door connecting to it./

A drab hallway formed around him, leading up to the structure.

/Gravity and atmosphere, standard./

Backer fell to the floor of the hallway as the environment returned to what he perceived as normal. He started walking towards the structure, but then decided to see if exactly how malleable the space there was.

/Shorten hallway to 2 meters, with same destinations./

The hallway obeyed, and two more steps took him to the plain, wooden door that had been created at the end. As he was about to open the door, he felt a surge of null energy from beyond. It passed in a few moments, and he proceeded to open the door.

The door led to a small staircase, which in turn led to a moderately-sized room with solemn décor. At the center was a brown-clad man standing at the foot of a streetlight, staring at him in surprise. He was surrounded by an assortment of odd individuals, who were either staring at Backer or at the hall across from him, where another group of people had arrived in confusion. Among the crowd he picked out Hunter and Amy, to whom he gave a quick nod. His mind briefly registered a slight discoloration of Hunter’s arms and Amy’s legs, but he deemed it inconsequential.

“I hear you’ve got a quest for me,” he stated.

[EDIT: One, measly slash.]

chronotriggerfreak

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Story Thread I. Introduction
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2004, 10:48:21 pm »
Scene 35 - Eyram Green

Gargeth Wardell found his accommodations most unpleasant. For one thing, the secretary chick who hung around in the entrance hall outside his door attended to every resident of the Choras town hall (that is, what they called the rooms where all of the elder’s friends who were too dirt-poor to live alone resided in luxury)—so she could only attend to his needs every hour or so. And for another, his wooden chair was stiffly uncomfortable and didn’t lean properly.

He was halfway through the process of discovering this by falling over backward when the secretary rudely intruded, bringing in a guest. From the looks of him—swanky suit, collection of fancy stationery-based documents in his hand, that stupid bowler that he so elegantly rolled off his head and hung on the hat rack—he was one of the elder’s higher-ups.

Garg quickly collected himself from the floor whereupon he fell and discovered that this interruption pissed him off. It wasn’t the embarrassment of being caught falling over backward, no, and it wasn’t that this guy was once probably just as lowly scum as Garg and still got better treatment, not that. It was that the secretary only said, “The elder will be in to see you shortly.” That was it; then she left. No, “Hello, Mr. Wardell,” or any, “Would you like anything, Mr. Wardell?” Not so much of, “I had some real fun before, Garg; when can we do it again?” as of nothing. Of course, it wouldn’t be appropriate with such a fine gentleman in the room, but still, could she have been any colder? It was like a bad omen, for a chick he’d had an experience with not to mention anything about it the next time she saw him... it was almost as if she was sure this would be the last time she saw him.

Well, if she didn’t have time to worry about him, then he couldn’t afford to spend any time worrying about her, either, not with the elder’s lackey standing in his doorway. So he set his chair upright, sat down, and then made the gesture of standing up again to invite him in. He didn’t bother to close the door behind him; he obviously didn’t think much of Garg’s privacy, which meant neither did the elder. How could the elder treat him that way, when Garg had promised him so much, and both of his treacherous families had expressed their support? Surely the elder knew he was not a powerful enough man to deal with his own nobility and the eldership of Porre.

“Good morning, Mr. Wardell,” said the gentleman.

What was he doing here, anyway?

“A fine one, thank you,” Garg replied, “but I’m not quite sure we’ve met.”

“Oh, excuse me, I forgot that we haven’t. My name is Eyram Green. I’ve been assigned as the legal counselor in your case against Mr. Levine—“

“Who?”

“I believe his first name is Toma. As I was saying, I will represent you in the case of the Rainbow Shell.”

“Will you? That’s nice, but—“

“Excuse me for being late, gentlemen,” said the Choras elder as he hobbled in, leaning heavily on his cane. “I see you’ve met Mr. Green, Gargeth.”

Garg shuddered. What was his mother thinking with that name? Gargeth. Honestly.

“Please, sir, call me Garg.”

“Nonsense. If I’ll call you anything, it’ll be Mr. Wardell. We are all, after all, men of stature, are we not?”

“Yes,” said Eyram, “and that is why I must insist that we hurry this along.”

“If you don’t mind my asking,” said Garg, “why did you call us, Elder?”

“I believe I can answer that.” Even as the elder opened his mouth to speak, Eyram circled around into Garg’s view and interrupted. Garg wouldn’t forget his disrespect for authority, and he would be sure no one else would, either. “Quite simply, your requests to study interregional law and represent your case in any pending legal proceedings have been denied. It has been concluded that your experience with scholarship is insufficient when considering the imminence of the matter at hand.”

Oh, Mr. Green spoke well-cultured enough, but despite whatever confusion he may have hoped to achieve, Garg understood every word he said—and probably could have spewed it back with more verbiage that the man could handle. Again, Garg would remember this subtle spite, but for the moment he found it more suitable to play dumb.

“So you’re telling me that the elder won’t sponsor my legal studies, is that it? With his infinite income spent on infinite corrupt things that I could reveal at any moment, he can’t—“

“Please, please, Mr. Wardell, settle down,” the elder said, himself finding a small, wobbly wooden chair to rest in. “It’s not that I can’t afford to let you study, but I just—“

“Well, if you’ll excuse me for saying it, Elder, then I don’t see why I can’t just study it no matter how useful it will or will not be. I mean, with the favor I’m doing you here, I think it’s the least you could do.”

“Why would you ever want to study something you won’t find use for?” said Eyram mockingly.

“You seem to be making yourself a fine living with your useless studies,” Garg mocked in return.

“That’s enough,” the Elder said as loudly as he could at his age. “If we can’t behave civilly here, then we won’t be here at all. Now, Mr. Wardell, I’ll be fine with it if you want to go ahead and study interregional law, but I’ll take no blame for your disappointment if I don’t think you’re ready to win whatever case we find ourselves up against in this whole debacle.”

“Thank you, Elder.”

“Let’s depart, Eyram. If there’s to be something for Mr. Wardell to take over, we have a case to prepare.”

With that, Eyram Green and the Choras elder walked out of Garg’s dormitory, shutting the door behind them. Even as the door clicked softly shut, Garg could hear Eyram’s furious explosion at the elder’s submission. Chuckling in the growing silence of his room, Garg leaned backwards in his stiff wooden chair and fell over.

Claado Shou

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Story Thread I. Introduction
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2004, 04:24:05 pm »
((OOC - Alright, this is my last pre-EoT post.  BTW, it's from Gryph's point of view.))

Scene 36 - Where The Time Egg Grows

Year: 2313 A.D.
Place: The Zenan Mainland


He could feel the darkness swelling within him.  A black pool of ash and oxygen that seemed to invade his every pore, a thick mask of smoke and liquid, gaseous and solid at the same time, a drenching rain before the thunder and a clap of lightning before the eye of the storm.  

As he exhaled, slivers of light seemed to escape from his body, his breath the only light within this place, illuminating the air it touched, pointing his direction for him.  And looking past this fleeting torch, he saw a point at the end of the tunnel that beckoned to him, flowed toward and from and through him, and he pushed with his will, with his body, trying to break his chains.

Please...let this be the end...

The next thing he knew, he opened his eyes and looked at the ground, his clothes in perfect form, undirtied, unruffled.  Torrential sheets of rain poured upon him, but he could sense them passing through his ghostly body, not allowing him to get wet.  Fiery metal was strewn everywhere, but the flames did not harm him, and he could not feel their intense heat.

Then, looking into the sky, towards the mountain just ahead of him, he saw something...a massive beetle-like creature whose flailing limbs, each set aflame, struck the ground repeatedly in search of a man, running nearby.

The man was not human - its body was mutated, and glowed with a slightly irridescent tint that made it impossible for the rain to truly touch him either, as it bounced off the glow around his form.  He leaped along the mountain base, towards the beast, tossed a bladed weapon at the creature, and then was immediately tossed aside and grabbed by the thing's many limbs.

Gryph did not know the man-like creature...he knew nothing of its name, or its origins, or any of the things that might have made them acquaintances, or perhaps friends.  Gryph knew only one thing...that this person was far more human than the thing that was now about to kill it, and that could not go unnoticed.

Stepping forward, just as the beast was about to shoot forward a powerful bolt of energy, Gryph put out his hand, and focused on the sound of the thunder, the lightning, and the storm, and then the creature...and let his powers work.

A bolt of energy from the sky came like a whip of electricity and struck the beast, using the knife protruding from its mouth as a conductor and electrocuting the monster.  The man-like captive dropped to the ground, regained his footing, and wasted no time in taking advantage of the situation.

Running with a furious scream, the humanoid leaped above the beast and proceeded to hammer it with blades, punches, kicks, and even a form of magical energy, though Gryph was unable to pinpoint exactly what it was.

Whatever the man was using, however, the beast began to waver in its power, its limbs flailing to no avail, vision corrupted, pain attacking it from within, and an assault so ruthless bombarding it that many human structures would have fallen from its force.

As if in a final strike, the man-beast jumped a good thirty feet into the air, his last remaining blade held downwards in both hands, magical energy soaring from his body.  Gryph summoned his own powers, and three bolts of lightning converged on the man's weapon, enhancing its power a hundred-fold.

As the sword entered the creature, incredible waves of electricity and magic flowed into the beast, its shell unable to withstand the shockwaves and exploding for hundreds of feet in all directions.  Fire erupted in plumes so large that Gryph's hair was blown back, and the sand, though wet, shifted beneath his feet.  

The man, in the midst of it all, contained his power tremendously well, pulling the weapon at just the right moment, leaping from the exploding beast as the point he had just been resting on went up in a flaming spire of debris.

With the carnage as a backdrop, the man landed safely on the wet sand, the slight glow from his body now used up, as he watched the creature's end come to fruition.  Looking into the sky, undoubtedly wondering at the storm's choice to lend him its power, he smiled, and the rain finally hit his stilled armor.

Quickly washing away the ash that remained of the beast, the rain then proceeded to stop, its purpose seemingly jaded and finished.  In reality, Gryph had decided that it should stop, and with a quick thought at such a notion, it did.  That was his gift, and, soon to be realized, his curse.

Because as soon as Gryph and the man were seeming to get back on-course, an unintentional darkness enveloped them.  Gryph knew that he had not done it, but he felt himself being drawn in anyway, the man-beast with him, as they floated into a chasm of light and shadow in the air and disappeared from that tattered universe.

((OOC - Just so nobody is wondering, Gryph and Serian are being pulled by Gaspar into the EoT, where they will meet up with the other characters...hopefully.))

((OOC2 - Additionally, it might be a good idea for everyone to know that I will be unavailable for the next two or three months (boot camp, sorry) so this will be my final post in quite awhile.  I hope you all can keep this going without my input for that long.))

chronotriggerfreak

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Story Thread I. Introduction
« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2004, 01:07:21 pm »
Scene 37 - Lenina Crown

The knocking at Garg’s door was faint, but he heard it clearly. He’d been waiting for it since the elder and Eyram Green had left his room an hour ago. His reply, an invitation to enter, was just as soft, but the caller at his door heard it just as well. The door inched forward and the elder’s secretary slipped in, slowly pushing the door shut until it clicked. Meticulous, it was. That’s what Garg liked about this one so much.

She turned to face him and they stared intently at each other for a while. The corners of Garg’s lips curled downward a bit, and she seemed to recognize this; her gaze grew more and more anxious. He was upsetting her, and with damn good reason, he thought. She’ll soon learn what it means to screw and screw with Garg Wardell.

It wasn’t long before she cracked, broke down into a fit of sobs and incoherent mutterings and rushed to him, arms outstretched, taking it for granted that he would catch her, hold her close and whisper assurances into her ear. But he didn’t stand up, and when she fell down on her knees and wrapped herself around his neck, he didn’t move. She could cry into his shoulder all she wanted, but he wasn’t moving, and every second she continued to blubber about, the risk of some passerby noticing the sound increased—just what she had been trying to avoid in her careful entry.

She seemed to realize this, as her bawling trailed off and she backed up, looking inquisitively at him. He tried to stay sober, but it was difficult. He turned his head to the side, glancing into her eyes, as puffy and watery as they were. He wouldn’t give any sign of emotion, no, but damn if he couldn’t help thinking that she was a pretty one all right, and if ever there was a one worth keeping it’d be her. Too bad he couldn’t.

“What’s wrong?” she sniffed.

“You come in here howling and leaking your face all over my shoulder and you’re asking me what’s wrong!” he said. “Bloody hell, Lenina, I thought you were more fashionable than this.”

Lenina broke out wailing again, choked out her words in between sobs. “What happened, Garg? What did they say?”

“It’s not what they said, girl. It’s what you didn’t say.”

She shook her head, not understanding. Garg snorted.

“You come in here as prim as can be and all you say is ‘Elder’ll be here soon.’ Nothing more, not a word.”

“B—but, Eyram, Mr. G—Green—“

“Don’t give me that. You know perfectly well as do I that you were deliberately aloof as possible. Tell me, did the elder say he was kicking me out? That he was going to let Eyram run the case without my testimony and take the spoils for his own eldership? What did you know!”

“Garg, I—I don’t un—understand, I just—“

“Or did he know he was too much of a plum fool, and that he’d screw up the case, and so he was going to kill me and drop the matter before it became public embarrassment? Tell me!”

Lenina couldn’t stand to face him anymore, buried her head in her hands. Garg stood up, kicked a thing or two around. He’d been saving up all this cruel rage since she walked off earlier, but he hadn’t thought to be this angry with her. He must have been channeling some of his anger at that smug Eyram Green, too. Either way, he was letting it all out now.

She finally composed herself enough to let out a whole sentence in one breath. “Garg, please don’t be so angry with me... I l—love you...”

He rounded on her, slammed his foot upon his chair and leaned forward on his knee, drawing as close as he could to her face without touching her. “Not one person has ever loved me, and I think I’ll be able to tell the difference when one does.” He stared into her eyes, already regretting how far he’d taken this whole ordeal, and searched for the hint of deceit in them, the sign that she knew what she had gotten herself into and would be able to get over it soon enough, that she knew he was right and she’d be fine with it. When he found that, he held onto it, because it was the only thing preventing him from breaking down.

She had touched a nerve, all right, and it was an acid touch. Even as he tried to concentrate on the purpose of things, he found his stance deteriorating. The thought of his parents never did anything but destroy him. They loved each other, sure, and they had treated him fine, but they never had any love left over for him. He knew that. If they had loved him, it was guaranteed that his families would love him now, but they obviously didn’t. They had disinherited him, and for what? To come crawling back twenty years later, when they realized that he had a shot at becoming more of a lasting legend than they could have collectively in their entire lives? And Garg had patronized them, had let them in on the fame and fortune, all because he was too compassionate, too human to deny them because of his dead parents’ negligence.

The dead parents who wanted him to study interregional law years ago...

“Get out,” Garg said.

“What—“

“I said—“

“Shut up, Garg, and listen to me, for your own damn good.”

Garg dropped the deceit and saw the spite in her eyes. She held some malice, too, it seemed, and Garg noticed that she was still pretty even with her face all scrunched up.

“You want the truth? Honestly, you’re a bitter asshole and the only reason I argued with the elder not to throw you out was because you know how to please a girl.”

A game, that’s what it had all been. She’d only just begun to play her part. Well, Garg wasn’t going to let her take her crown.

“Doll-face knows how to hate, huh?”

She slapped him and stood up, storming away. She was serious, but that didn’t make it any less of a game, and the simple fact was that she didn’t realize it soon enough to win. She turned around at the door.

“I’m not surprised no one ever loved you. You’d probably have no idea of how to react and wind up slitting their throat, you miserable thief.”

It was a strong blow, all right. Garg commended her for playing valiantly, but still, it took more than that to make a last-minute comeback against Garg Wardell.

“Listen, Queen Leene, would you mind doing your job while you’re busy running away? Tell the elder that he couldn’t throw me out if he wanted to, because with or without his funding, I’ve already got a ticket for the next ferry to Porre and I sent my formal request for schooling to the dean there a week ago. I leave in an hour, toots.”

She slammed the door behind her.

* * *

The image of Garg's victorious grin burned in Lenina's mind. If she had something to throw at him, she’d have taken out one of his eyes, or maybe walked closer and took a shot somewhere lower on his body. She rushed past the main desk, grabbed her coat and, without stopping, made for the exit.

“Idine,” she called over her shoulder to the other secretary at the desk.

“Ms. Crown?”

“Tell Elder Openhal I’m out for the day, Idine, and that if that Gargeth Wardell hasn’t made good on his promise to get the hell out of here when I come back tomorrow, I’ll get rid of him myself.”