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 Post subject: The Breath of the First
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:33 am 
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Golden rings fell in upon the new Hideout, setting Zan and the rest of the Freedom Fighters into their place of safety with hardly a sound. The lycanthrope knew he looked cancerous, drained and stricken of his otherwise stolid health. The closest thing he could compare it to was the flu, but the nausea and the biological knowledge of his illness was far beyond that. Zan knew, at his very core, that there was something unnatural, something wrong brewing in his bones. With all of the outward glitches of his Twilight brewing in open sight, half-changes and false starts, the lycanthrope could only wonder how he had lasted so long. There had been enough times in the previous field, in the previous dungeon that he should have simply collapsed. There had been enough times that he had come close, sure, but he knew if he could make it to this point, to this place, that things would look up. The Heavy Blade's mind told him to ask Nighthand or Nall for help or, hell, Raine and Sheena. They were here; they were (for all intents and purposes) tangible enough to offer up something of assurance.

But Zan was never one to follow his mind.

Lowen...Lowen?

Nng...yes? The voice that echoed in his head was distant, weak. Was that his doing or her own?

I was going to ask for your help on something...but...you don't seem up to it. Are they running the tests again?

No. It's been so long Conner. It's been so long since I've seen light, since I've smelled or tasted food. I still have enough water rationed away for a week or two, but it's getting so hard to keep waking up.

Zan couldn't help the audible swallow from him that followed. You have to. For me. Please. This is probably some God damn endurance test or some other bullshit like that.

Where are you? She either hadn't heard him, or simply ignored the statement.

Well, I'm in a new hide-

Why haven't you come to save me? She interrupted, her voice carrying very little energy, a lethargic octave stifled in with each syllable.

There's nothing I can do for you right now. I'm trying to find an out for you, I really am. I have a friend of mine, Dien, and his friend working on a way for me-

I love you, you know. I dream about you. You're my knight. Ceasing his thoughts with her own once more, the bland and lazy tone she held the moment before was happier, lighter. She sounded...drugged. Even in the darkness she was immersed in, Zan felt her smile.

Rather than smile himself, the lycanthrope simply slumped against the nearby wall, hiding his face in the comfort of his hands. I love you too, Lowen. Just...God, I don't know, just keep your strength up. If you ever need to talk, you know I'm here for you. I can't stand to know what they're doing to you and have no ability to pluck you out of your sorrow and into my arms.

She giggled. God help her, she giggled. It wasn't her, she was drifting away. His soul mate was fading. You're being funny. I need to sleep for a little while. So tired.

There was a reason he had started this conversation. For the life of him he had forgotten. When it clicked, he spoke up, voice abrupt. No! Wait! Lowen...wait. There's something wrong with me. I'm sick. Realy sick. I was hoping you knew what it was.

Again her response came lofted, so very light. Feel better Conner. Night night.

He mustered up the words to clear her mind, but couldn't bring himself to interrupt her. She needed her rest. If anything, it would pass the time until that test would finish. Night.

Though there was noise about him in the Hideout, Zan couldn't help but feel deaf and distant from it all, the realization of just how bad it was getting with Lowen hitting him like a steel bat in the gut. When the all-too-familiar pain lanced like crackling lightning along his arm, the word 'ERROR' streamlining in every which direction around the limb, he was pulled back away from his sorrow for Lowen back to the worry he had for himself. Selfish, perhaps, but true. Whatever the hell was wrong with him, he needed to get it fixed before he went on anymore little...adventures...with the Freedom Fighters. What were his remaining options to cure this thing? The first and only real option that had occurred to him was now sleeping, lofted away by the failing, starving organs in her body. Instinct told him the problem resided in his Twilight, but who could assist him with such an ailment? Who else knew the depth of his data, even to only a minimal degree? A close of his eyes and he pictured just who fit such a list of requirements: Truth, Salvation, and Decadence.

The pain ceased in his arm, the word stopping its incessant visualization along his flesh. Now he could think, really think. To go to the Knights of Revelation, the Three of the Four, he'd need to get out of the Hideout and leave the group once more. Zan didn't want to leave them, not now. Ego and arrogance aside, they needed him. Not because of his abilities or his power or anything of the sort, though perhaps it was that in part, but because they needed to have him in their list. Just like Senna or Dien or Reinier was needed there. With their numbers growing and increasing, to lose one already could start some harsh and troublesome trend. That said, the lycanthrope still didn't trust himself out in the big bad world of the Elites with his code going haywire. Maybe, just maybe, he could speed the process along. Or, option B, perhaps the connection he had with the field would allow him to slow how he perceived time to pass? It was farfetched, sure, but who knows how long it would take to rid himself of this inward anomaly? Either way, connection or no connection, the Shadow was where he needed to be. With only a glance to the select few players on the Freedom Fighters he liked, he stood by the Chaos Gate, whispering a request for transportation to the Aqua Capital.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The cracked earth of Sand's Soulless Graveyard graced his feet with memory, brief recollections of his first meeting with Lowen taking place in the very field the Heavy Blade now walked. The field's hazardous sandstorm whipped frantically about Zan, tousling his nigh-shoulder-length brown hair this way and that. Pale blue eyes were stung by the grains that hissed in a fury around him, his forearm lifting to protect his face but failing to keep all but the worst of the earthen beatings at bay. The sand dared him to breathe, dared him to inhale and choke on its contents. Adamantly he stood, fighting its assault until, at last, it moved on elsewhere. The familiarity of the experience was fresh, eyes scanning the endless, flat horizon for signs of the grounds of the flying Fahmor. When so such sight graced his investigation, leaving the leather-cloaked lycanthrope to view only the blurred images of wavering humidity, he began his walk. The first time he had come, Lowen had led the way to Nonworld, to the black encampment of nothingness that took him away from...something. This field? Yes, but there was something else. What was he forgetting?

The sudden presence of a growl along the back of his neck, culling the hairs to stand on end, answered his question. Zan knew better than to turn around, the essence of the Beast waiting to challenge him. It left the Heavy Blade with two options: A) Turn and fight it and have a chance of being permanently corrupted by the Beast if he lost, or B) run. The lycanthrope was sprinting before he could register having willed his body to do such a thing, the impressive pace at which he shot across the endless desert not nearly enough to escape what lurked behind him. He could feel more than hear it begin to close the distance, his heart trying to crawl up his throat, body flooding with adrenaline as he fought for more and more speed. Ap Do was called forth and it helped, but even with that extra boost he was shortly loosing the minute gain he had won. Zan attempted to yawn the wolf through him then, hoping that his Clabro form would filter and give what he needed. When that failed, when even the Garou refused to spill over his skin because of the constantly unreliable effects of his illness, he felt his body begin to concede to the fear that wracked him.

The same moment he came to a halt and spun to meet his would-be assailant, Zan found himself only in blackness. He could see himself, sure, but that was all Nonworld gifted him with. No, that wasn't true. It had given him sanctuary. Quick flashes of Gemini and Lowen's discussion the last time he was here appeared behind his eyes, quirking a faint smile upon his lips. If only he could go back to the simplicity of that time, back to when he could warn Lowen of what was to become of her and her friends. Then he could have left, he could have gone back. Jeng, Elaina, and Boros would still be alive. If only if only. Sighing, cracking his head to the right and the left, Zan turned his attention to the task at hand and tried to remember how exactly he got from Nonworld to the Umbra server the last time. As far as he could recall it simply overtook him and placed him in the Umbra's root town, The Gauntlet. The Heavy Blade called out to the part of him that was rooted in the Shadow of the World, the part of him that had connected with the very essence of the place when he wiped all of the Fahmor clean from the field of his hack's making. A split second later and the world about him began to shake, violent vibrations and a sudden attack of vertigo pulling a scream from his throat.

Here we go. A brief thought for an excruciatingly long experience.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
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Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


Last edited by Zan on Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:34 am 
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Time was nothing in the fall from The World to its echo, its Shadow. Zan didn't attempt to count up the minutes he fell through everything and nothing at all. To say he fell through blackness or darkness or anything else of the sort would be absurd. It would fall short of the truth at hand. To fall from Nonworld to the Umbra was to both hate and love yourself, to drop down and fall up, to laugh and to cry until all that remained was a stillborn recollection of who you should be. The Heavy Blade had never been the victim of deletion, but knew then as he knew before that such a transition as he was experiencing at that moment was to walk to the edge of deletion, to see Hell and the groping hands of lost and coded souls trying to break free from a sea of writhing flesh, and suddenly be wrenched back to freedom. When the illusionary falling had ceased and the lycanthrope felt a solid floor without the unfortunate side of impact, the urban smell of concrete and smog filling his lungs, Zan knew he had passed through the barrier of the Umbra and found the root town it hosted.

Leaning back on his knees, doing his best to peer through the thick fog that had permanently settled over the town like a murky swamp, Zan felt something different. It wasn't in the Gauntlet, but within himself. His illness, his viral sickness had packed its shit and left. The grin that broke over his face was priceless, true joy and celebration breathing past his lips as he rose in one graceful movement to his feet. By God he was fine! Resisting the temptation that overtook him to gleefully break into dance, the lycanthrope slowed his thoughts and went over this event. Was it really so easy? Had the key to his wellbeing really been wrapped in a child's box? A close of his eyes and Zan fought through the way he came here, trying to pick apart one stream of thought from another when he fell. The only cohesive assurance he had was the only one he needed; the moment he had entered the Umbra was when it all went away. Shit. Did that mean that he was cured, really and truly, or simply that the Shadow calmed his symptoms and brought him at ease? If he left, if he simply went back the way he came, would he be met with the same, slow deterioration he had been faced off with before? Damn it. Instinct told him yes.

All Zan wanted to do then was lay down and weep like a child. Joking...ish. To have such happiness given to you on a silver platter that suddenly rusts into broken copper is something that induces a touch of depression. Now he had to continue on. Now he had to do the one thing he had been resistant to in the first place: walk the Gauntlet. There was no sure path to the malfunctioning Chaos Gate in the Gauntlet; one had to literally walk around with nothing more than hope as they searched the fog for their independence. Using not eyes, but ears, Zan began his blind wandering, waiting for the telltale sound of grinding metal on metal to greet him. Sound itself, however, seemed to glitch in the Shadow. One moment it was drearily silent, nothing but the sound of his own breathing to keep him company, and the next that goosebump-inducing creak was not an inch from him. Opening his eyes, Zan sighed, happy to see it wasn't fruitless. The last time he had tried to find it, it had taken much longer. He had tried to find it like a human would when, in all truth, in The World he was far from it. The metaphysical grope of his senses about the town had brought him what he was looking for, however unorthodox it may have seemed.

The first time around Zan had been forced to go through the Blights; a single word field that made him confront his encroaching insanity and squash it, to get to the real field that held his interest. Now, however, he knew the keywords. A breath of hesitation and each word hit the air, a trio of rusted golden rings groaning in metallic detest as they consumed him. Unfamiliar with the events that unfolded with direct transportation into the previous home of the werewolves, Zan prepared for anything and everything that might come his way. As before the world about him shook and shuddered, harsh quakes and taunting tremors ripping through his eardrums. The vertigo that had crawled through him before found no place in his belly, in his head this time around. A new sensation found him instead. It was as if the very field itself was whispering in his ear, subtle sounds that were just this side of coming through clear. Zan strained to hear what it had to say, focusing all his energies into whatever may lay around the corner of this already precarious trip. Nothing clear came through, his thoughts bombarded with mindless babble until at last a single concept smacked him upside the head and left him in silence once more for the duration of his transport: danger.

When Shifting Lupul Moor burst around him, the field rapidly filling in details of itself like some last-second, panicked architect had expected him to come five minutes later from then. What came together wasn't the place he had remembered, but a winter's night laid upon the forest of old. Snow fell in a light decent around him, angled to touch down in cold kisses across his form as he analyzed the changed in scenery. Dense, white powder was packed beneath his feet, everything behind Zan a nature-less expanse of endless chills. Before him, however, was the forest that held the would-be Mayan temple and the wolf den that had once housed dozens of his own kind. Each branch, each leaf was painted with the pale wonder that danced above and around him. Though Zan expected to be shivering after standing a few minutes in the pseudo tundra, the natural boil of his blood kept him as warm as ever. The Beast nudged him contently towards the sky, Siberian Husky blue eyes meeting the ghostly glow of a full moon, the rest of the world above dressed in a splash of twinkling light; stars in numbers that the lycanthrope never thought possible. What had happened in his absence?

Continued analysis of the field brought his eyes upon a structure half buried in light ice. It was the obsolete watch station that had once lay on the brink of a cliff, a watch station that had allowed him and Lowen to sleep in peace and wake to war. Wait...where was the cliff? Say the station hadn't moved, that it was where it always was with the forest behind it and the cliff beyond...where was Zan standing. A glance down at the snow at his feet and he just knew that the cliff was filled hundreds of feet up with the powder the Heavy Blade now stood upon. Half-expecting to suddenly drop down like some comical cartoon character that suddenly realized he was defying gravity, Zan tried to piece together and make sense of it all. Did it just experience seasons? Was that all the change amounted to? The lycanthrope used his Beast like thermal fingers through the ice, closing his eyes, stretching his perceptions to the bottom of the would-be chasm he stood upon. Four graves greeted his power, set like compass points around the stone-encased Umbral Tear; they were lives he had taken, innocent blood that he had allowed to drench his hands. Crunching snow behind him caused Zan to withdraw his self-pity and open his eyes (though he hadn't remembered closing them), turning around just in time to see the knuckles before they collided with his face and drowned him in unconsciousness.

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Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
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Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:35 am 
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Zan knew that he wasn't awake, knew it as surely as he knew his continued entrapment in The World. That was odd in and of itself. Usually the lycanthrope had a hard time coming to terms with his dreaming self, such a thing only shaken when Lowen happened to walk inside of his head. The Heavy Blade half hoped, half prayed for her intervention, to see her face and beg once more for a solution to his problem. When it didn't happen, when he was left with his own wonderings about why things were so lucid about him, Zan tried to make sense of his surroundings. He was sitting up on a lofted, horizontal cement slab; one of four arranged much like the graves buried beneath the snow in the waking world. Something about the room and its rusted metal and cracked concrete walls was familiar. He had seen this before...but where? Sliding off from the bed or table of sorts, Zan cautiously walked around it, wondering what waited at their center. When the site of a large, gaping black hole greeted his eyes and a glance up revealed a large half circle of high-placed observational glass, he knew exactly where his dream had set him.

The memory of this place wasn't his own, but one Lowen had unconsciously shared with him upon some of the first stays he spent with her. In the real world, Marilyn and her three close friends had been shuffled through the foster system most of their lives, the homes that they had eventually settled in doing nothing for their happiness. When a man contacted them in the internet about a way he had to trap them in The World, the game they played so passionately at the internet cafes, they had met him in this field, in the same field Zan now dwelled in. The man, Michael Grahm, had infected them with the Twilight Virus as promised, but dragged them unconscious into this room, tying them all down to the four concrete tables in turn. The man they had thought to be their savior had only wanted them for his ambitions to create the perfect, bestial weapon. A glance down that endlessly black hole and Zan knew what creature lurked its bowels. Michael's first attempt at creating a weapon he could turn on one of C.C. Corp's (the same company that had scorned his programming genius on the grounds of the horrid creations made at his hand) most profitable pieces of merchandise, hoping to infect and trap millions within the game, had turned out to be a ravenous AI of sheer Twilight and unbound animosity.

In all of his eccentricity he had come up with a plan to perfect and dilute the raw initial result. By literally feeding the captured children to the first of The World's true lycanthropes, the
Lupus Nulus, and diluting its data into their systems, Michael Grahm had hoped to fight back the rage of an uninhibited Beast with human emotion. Zan had witnessed Lowen get eaten, piece by piece, stripped to the bone and consumed in whole; all while the crazed programmer watched from his lofted, safe haven above. The First Wolf did as Michael had hoped, expelling them in freakish sacs from its sides, the teens' pure, unformed Twilight tainted by the Beast and shifted into the second generation of lycanthropy. The Lupus Nulus was bound once more with code and locked into the room the hole that Zan stared through possessed. However, what Michael Grahm hadn't expected was the rebellion that followed, his successes chasing him from the field, chasing him to only God knows where. So, staring into a depth that cradled what, at his core, he feared most, Zan could only wonder why his mind had brought him here.

As a wise, though some say disturbed, man once said, "When we stare into the Abyss, sometimes, the Abyss stares back." He could feel the ancient thing below notice him, dream or not, his power calling out to the creature as it slumbered. Zan sensed it stir, sensed it begin to waken and drift away from its slumber in the waking world. Here, now, in this dreamscape the Heavy Blade knew it sized him up. It wormed its way into his mind and, although Zan did his best to fight it, he carried one of the
Lupus Nulus's cubs in his chest. Zan's Beast woke to its father and welcomed it in, giving the First Wolf free reign over the lycanthrope's consciousness, his memories, his sense of self, and even the darkest of his primal hungers. It watched from Zan's eyes as him and Lowen made love in the real world for the first time, how their mutually altered brain chemistries had made it hallucinogenic and monstrously passionate. When love began to trickle into that memory, something the Oldest Beast didn't understand, Zan felt it look into other things. It watched him consume the Knight in Mac Anu, understood and encouraged the way he gorged himself on her flesh, the way Zan had chewed into her heart like it was the only good thing in the world. That it could comprehend.

Something about Zan held its interest, held him unconscious as it drifted and drilled into his mind further, holding him hunched and paralyzed in his dream. It lapped at the rage that spilled from the Heavy Blade's very pores at the sight of Lowen being tortured in the real world, howled at Zan's overwhelming drive to hunt and kill those that were doing it, rolling in the same fury that the lycanthrope tried so hard to bury within himself. It felt as if the First Wolf was feeding off of such things and in that instant Zan knew that was exactly what was happening. It was waking after who knows how long and was, understandably, starving. It slaked its bloodthirst on Zan's animal, staved off its craving for flesh on his innermost evils. An odd sensation began to crawl and creep over Zan's skin; the pained pleasure that only shifting could bring to him. A glance at his body and his dream-self was unmarred by such a thing, leaving him to a singular conclusion. Somehow, someway, the
Lupus Nulus had called his Beast to the surface during its feeding and, in the conscious world, Zan was changing.

There was a peace about it, tranquility in the knowledge that instead of panic or fright for what such a forced change could bring to him mentally, Zan instead looked to the abyss below and thought his questions, knowing that the Oldest Beast was beyond words. Why did it wake? What did it want with him? The answers came as instinctual responses, images and flashes of things the Heavy Blade didn't understand. What he did grasp, however, was that the First Wolf was sick of that which bound it, the things that kept it underground and buried. It wanted blood, flesh, bone, but more than anything else it wanted freedom. Like Zan's own Beast, it had never tasted the wilderness and the true feel of a hunt. All it had ever known was the prisons of man, the burn of silver, and the blissful ignorance of sleep. It wanted out, and it wanted Zan to break its locks. How? How? Pleading thoughts were never answered, the lycanthrope being pulled back into consciousness, pulled away from the heart of his nightmares and the breath of his darkest fascination.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
Wishlist
Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:36 am 
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Torch light entered and exited Zan's wavering vision, blurred images of his captures barely registering in the sluggish goop that had become the lycanthrope's thoughts. The dreamscape he had slipped from still lingered in the back of his head and something, something about it told him that it had been far more than simple creative delusion on his part. The Heavy Blade could almost feel the snarl of the First Wolf on the back of his neck, slowly but surely retreating into the realm of dreams it had escaped from. Zan tried to move his head, to move anything, but came away with nothing more than a flutter of his eyes before they too came to a close. Though he couldn't keep them open, their words continued to hit his eardrums, syllables slurring together in a fashion that told Zan it was his own doing. They were talking just fine, he'd bet, but it was his own condition that prevented him from accurately accessing anything about the situation. God damn it. What had that punk hit him with? Whatever it had been, the fist that shut down his waking thoughts must have only been the first step. Whoever these intruders were, and they were intruders on Zan's fucking turf, they knew what they were doing. He felt that oh-so-familiar rage bubble inside of him, his body lethargically beginning to shift to Garou in response.

"Shit, shit, shit! He's changing!...hurry...chains..." A male voice managed to ring a few recognizable words into Zan's cerebellum before things grew groggy yet again.

Wherever Zan was, he knew he was in the field's temple. It was thick with the smell of pack, old pack, fading pack, but pack nonetheless. Pack you slaughtered. The voice in his head came through as his own, even being in the presence of the field drudging up things he had thought himself clear of. Would he ever feel the guilt of his deeds, of his rage and self-hate, pass? Never. But he hoped to one day understand that such a thing was in the past and he had to move on and focus on the things ahead. The Heavy Blade thought he had accomplished just that. Seems he was wrong. The feel of drifting, of his feet dragging behind him as his arms were hauled by just under his shoulder, ceased and settled as his knees lightly touched down on cold and clammy stone. For a moment he thought he'd fall forward and greet his face to the floor, but someone caught him and steadied him. The lycanthrope would have thanked said person if, for one, he could and, for two, it wasn't there fault he was in this state in the first place. Had they somehow been expecting him or, perhaps more accurately, had he simply stumbled in on something that his addition to the field threatened? It didn’t matter. What did matter was he wasn’t changing fast enough. It wasn’t going to happen.

Tight, metallic shackles (by the feel of them) locked around his wrists, holding his arms up to either side as his head drooped limply forward. Something in them held back his transformation and folded him back into his humanity. Suspended by hands and hands alone now, Zan could feel the steady pressure of pain begin to build between his shoulder blades. If someone didn't help him up or he didn't gather up some strength in a few seconds, something was going to break and it wouldn't be pretty. Not for him, anyway. Similar mechanisms snapped shut on his ankles and, when Zan expected all to be done, a fifth entrapment was clicked around his neck. Wasn't this overkill? No, no, that wasn't true. If they knew what he was, these were the beginnings of good restraints. However, Zan realized, not even chains and simple shackles would keep him back when he made the proper shift. A twitch of his leg came as an initial good sign, that he could move, but the sound one of his restraints made when they hit back down onto the stone took away that glimmer of hope. It hummed, for God sakes. It was silver. More likely than not, everything that was currently holding him up (the neck lock allowing him to relieve the pressure from his back) was made of that same nefarious metal. A metal that couldn't outwardly injure him in human form, but if he tried to shift would overload him with just enough pain to prevent it. Shit. They really were good.

The movement of his leg, it seemed, was only the beginning of his little recovery. In spades his muscles began to filter back under his control, his senses clearing, the feeling of complete paralysis overtaken by a nausea that bubbled not only in his stomach, but under his very skin as well. It wasn't the sickness he had come here to cure, oh no. Whatever they had given him, some injection no doubt, had pissed off his insides. Sitting up on his knees, lofting his head only a fraction, Zan snapped his eyes open, rage filling them as he eyed his two captors. To his left was a boy, looking to be no older than a senior in high school (though one could never really tell in an online game) and ripped straight from some bad eighties punk film. A shaved head had begun to grow back a thin layer of black hair, a color matched by his black t-shit and fading black pants, a monochromatic look completed by dark boots similar to Zan's. An array of piercings mutilated his right ear, a single stub hooking sharp into his left brow, a tiny steel skull in his nose, and three horned loops through his bottom lip to give his massacred face all it needed to make him look like one of society's rejects. What really did top it off, however, were the black flame tattos licking up from his neck to his right cheek.

Pointy's hazel eyes stared back at the Siberian Husky blues of Zan's own, an arrogant smile beginning to spread and stretch along his face. Those eyes and that smile shifted from the Heavy Blade to the kid's accomplice, a woman adorned in a sleeveless black trenchcoat, black boots, black pants (much like her friend) and a dark purple shirt. The obsidian new moon necklace and the purple plants tattooed up her arm gave away who she was before Zan even had time to stare into the dark, thin sunglasses she wore. Atra. But...how? She shouldn't have been able to get there. It was restricted transport, damn it. Had C.C. Corporation finally managed to break through Grahm's coding, or had something else taken place? Either way, the she-devil had managed to make her way into his sanctum. Hadn't she said she quit? Hadn't she left him alone? The blank look on her face told him far more than any actual twitch of facial muscles could have. She was enjoying his shock at her presence, was absolutely delighted at the effortlessness of his capture. The Beast raged in his blood, boiled the crimson stream beneath his flesh in a rage that brought all four of his canines down from his gums in an animalistic completion. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end as he snarled, that and a shake of his chains all he could do to vent the anger that brewed so purely in his veins.

"Shh, calm down Zanny boy. I bet you're pretty damn curious why I'm here, aren't you?" The Heavy Blade's continued growls seemed to be all the answer she needed. "Well, you see, I've been trying for only God knows how long to find a way into this place. When I told Wolfsbane to go fuck themselves, I decided I'd go on a little hunt for a way out of this damn game. I know, I know, a fruitless quest. So many trapped have tried and failed, am I correct? It was something I had given up on a long time ago, but when I allowed myself to put aside all of my issues and really think on the matter, I realized it wasn't C.C. Corporation that could give me the answers I needed, but rather those they spurned. That's where this place came in." She paused, as if that should have dawned on Zan as something frightful. When it didn't, she had the grace to frown. "You really don't know the power held here, do you? You're connected to it...and yet...nothing. If I can move data and I had a giant catalyst of sheer data, sheer energy, I could theoretically shove my mind back into my body. So you see...I needed to get here. I knew from the moment I locked the first lycanthrope in this place that it had potential."

Zan cut in this time, hoping to rain on her parade. "Hate to break it to you, bitch, but you have no way of tapping into any of the power here. I'm the only one with that power. And, well, fuck helping you. I don't care how much you plan on torturing me. I'll never release a sociopath like you back into the real world. They're a lot better off with you locked inside of your own God damn head." Once more the lycanthrope was limited to little more than snarls and shifting chains as the foot rose and collided with his face with a thud. Smiling, Zan spit a spatter of blood to his left.

"I wouldn't expect you to help me, sweetheart. But I knew that there had to be someone in that field that would. I still had the member addresses of the ones I sent to the Shadow and, after some rather colorful responses, I finally came upon Xael. He'd been kicked to some place, Malfaes, as punishment for deeds done while in this place. He told me that the current Alpha of the field had the power I needed to free myself. According to him, Lowen is that Alpha, the same one that exiled him to his prison." Laughter hit the air then, the look of subtle surprise poorly hidden on Zan's face. "She didn't tell you that more than four human beings had been turned, did she? Oh yes, but see, most of them were too uncontrollable or too...antisocial...to function in the pack she wanted to rule. Xael tried to slit her throat and poor liquidized silver into her blood while she slept." Again the woman, a single streak of purple in her short black hair, paused. Zan took that moment to eye Xael with as much hate as he could muster. The bastard only responded with a broadened smile and an air-kiss. "Anywho, when I told Xael that Lowen and her friends were out of the picture, he promised to get me into the Shadow if I got him out of Malfaes. Well, when I transported him here he went to some place in this temple and allowed access to my member address. Then, with this necklace, I was just where I needed to be. And here I am, in all my glory, about to get out of this place."

"I'm the Alpha, you dumb fuck. And, as I said, I'm not going to let you lose any damn place." The expected boot to the face didn't come, point for Zan.

"Ah, but you're wrong. When you left this place you left the Alpha position open. The moment Xael arrived he got the status, he got the power." She said, crossing her leather-vambraced arms across her chest as finished the last sentence.

"Oh, then why aren't you gone? Why haven't you left yet?" Okay, so it wasn't chalk full of the insults Zan wanted to fling her way, but it was a good question.

"Well, though he is a hell of a lot stronger than he was before, to be truly connected to this place and to have the power I need is to touch something...what was it again, Xael?" She looked to the kid as she spoke, that smug smile of his seeming plastered on his face as he responded.

"The Umbral Tear." Short, but annoying just the same. Even his tone grated Zan the wrong way.

"Right. That. When he gets his hands on it, he'll have what we need. Thing is...it's not in the chamber it should be. We've been looking all over the God damn place and haven't found a thing. You coming here is just a little bonus in our search. The code that connects you to this field, and yes I can see it as clear as day, is something that could only be contact with the Umbral Tear. So tell me, Zanny boy, where is it?" The humor in her eyes had faded.

"Aww...how cute. You actually expect me to answer you, don't you?" Idiotidiotidiot. Prepare for boottotheface. What came, however, was tight press of her lips into his own, a schoolgirl moan hummed from her lips as Zan wrenched his mouth away. "The fuck is wrong with you?!"

"I just wanted to get a taste of that pretty face before Xael reshapes it. Yum. Lowen's a lucky girl." She said, turning to Xael once more. "Do what you need to do."

"It'll be my pleasure, babe." Such words were met with Atra's laughter as she exited the room, closing a creaking and rusting metal door behind her.

No fear beat in Zan's heart. He was calm, steady, and more than ready to deal with whatever punches and kicks would be tossed his way. His confidence was aptly stolen away, unfortunately, when Xael turned his back to Zan (a white design of the Alpha symbol on the back of his black shirt) and pressed his palm into the stone wall. The wall itself was suddenly gone, replaced by numerous panels of what could only be torture devices that glinted with needles and edges of silver.

Well, fuck.

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W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
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I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


Last edited by Zan on Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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An hour or so later, give or take a few minutes, Zan smirked with a blood-stained face and opened his remaining good eye to the frustrated face of his torturer. Xael had underestimated the lycanthrope's ability to be amused under such duress. Each blade that bore into him wasn't met with the usual sizzle of silver hitting anything werewolf. No, the amateur had assumed that, in human form, when the flesh was breached that silver would offer up the usual amount of agony. In fact (whether or not Xael had figured it out yet was beyond the Heavy Blade), only the liquid form of the metal seemed to have any effect in the bloodstream when a Lycan retained their base form. Slice after slice, crimson spatter after crimson spatter, and Zan's lips remained sealed (aside from the momentary, mocking laughter from time to time). Inwardly, of course, the lycanthrope was screaming until his lungs burned, but showing such a thing to Mr. Torture wouldn't help his case at all. As long as Xael continued to do what he was doing, things wouldn't progress for the man. Good. For one reason or another, though, after 'x' number of damage inflicted, the would-be Alpha would heal Zan. Why didn't Xael want him dead? No way to get answers out of something incorporeal?

"Are you done yet? As much as I'm enjoying this little physical conversation, I have things to do." The pondering look that the hellion had held, leaning back against the far wall from Zan, melted into rage.

"Look, you arrogant little prick, I know you know where the Umbral Tear is! You can continue to hold on, think you're tough shit, or you can just tell me where to go! You do? You'll be free to go, free to return to wherever you came from. Why do you even care if Atra gets out of here? Who are you to say who can and who can't get out of this hell hole?" That rage had become desperation just as quickly, an easily destroyed facade.

"As I said, a sociopath like her is not going back to a place where she can do that much more damage. A person like Atra doesn't just wake up in the real world and become a nice little Catholic school girl. Well, let me correct myself, she does, sure. But it's in that costume that she gets close enough to you to slit your throat. I find it a little easier to know she's causing some digital terror than to think of what she'd do in the waking world. All of that blood would be on my hands." Why was Zan even talking to this guy? There weren't nearly enough insults in that little speech.

"Well, screw her then, just tell me! I promise I'll get the power boost I need from the Umbral Tear, get out of the Shadow, and leave her here. I just want out." That was a little too vague for Zan.

"Of The World?" Something was off.

"Hell no, just the Shadow. The real world has nothing for me. Here? Here I can be somebody. People will here the name Xael and shake in their fucking diapers. The only thing I need to make that happen is you, and the weapon." Xael's eyes filled with hope. Sad.

"Ohhh. Is that all? You just want my help, my weapon, so you can be let loose on The World's general populace to be a big shot? Sorry ace, not going to happen." The Lycan tried once again to sit up through the numerous restraints and, like several times before, failed. The nigh-friendly, hope-inspired expression on the would-be Alpha's face once again spilled to fury.

"That's it! I gave you your chance, I gave you the opportunity to give me the information the easy way. Obviously, torture doesn't work. Not this kind. Atra asked me to keep you whole, but fuck that. You think what I was doing before was pain-"

"No." Schwing.

"I'll show you pain. I'll give you something to remember me by everytime you look in the mirror." Turning away from Zan, Xael hit another panel on the stone wall.

The array of bloodied tools disappeared behind a sliding pane, another with a singular spike protruding from the wall appearing in its place. Oh, what, was he going to impale him? Again? Wow, a spike made so much difference. What came next, to Zan's surprise, was a slam of Xael's own hand on the skewer, blood filling the spike until it glowed a sickly red. Whatever offering that represented seemed to sate the thing, Zan suddenly wrenched back tightly to the wall behind him. Uh, had Xael had to make a blood I.D. just to stretch the lycanthrope to death? Eh, there were worse ways to go. A flash of Zan's slow impalement on the Blackest Knight's twin weapons appeared in the front of his thoughts. Yea, definitely worse ways. Again Zan's cocky thoughts failed him, a small circle of the floor giving way to the rise of some sort of...caved in vat. A closer look, a small whiff at the air with human senses, and Zan's throat dried out like the Sahara. Molten silver. Oh shit. Oh shit shit shit. Well, at least the damage wouldn't be permanent. He'd scream, oh he'd scream, but he could get through this. Whatever Xael had planned to make him less than whole wouldn't work. Not permanently, anyway.

Something on Zan's face must have shown his confidence because Xael was quick to explain. "Ah, it appears you've never seen silver from the Malfaes lake. Interesting thing about it. When taken out of Malfaes, it...changes. Cold to the touch. Like ice, really. A little less scary, right? Maybe...if it weren't for the fact that even the slightest bit of the lycanthropic virus, human form or not, sets it off. What makes this shit that much greater is that you can never go fully back to what it does to you. It scars data. Are you starting to catch on, asshole?" Sadly, yes, Zan was. "Aw, where'd that calm exterior go? Not quite so cocky now? You will tell me where the Umbral Tear is or a face full of that stuff is all that's in your future."

"Not going to happen." Once more Zan's words flowed with vague confidence, completely and totally hiding the dread that dwelled and cowered within his chest.

Just as quickly as he had been yanked to the wall, a movement of Xael's hand along his side of the room and the lycanthrope's restraints loosened their pull on the room and drooped him harshly to the floor. Grunting out the pain of his knees coming in fast contact with stone, Zan immediately wrenched himself away from the outstretching hands of his enemy. Xael, however, wasn't restricted by a handful of shackles and closed the distance just as quickly as the distance was created. The moment one hand grabbed his arm and the other grabbed the back of his neck the silver bindings unclipped and receded from Zan, leaving him finally able to fight back. Well, in theory anyway. Trying to writhe and yank himself from the fellow Lycan's grasp proved fruitless, the new Alpha of the field significantly more empowered to handle the situation. Zan's singular connection to the field, the item that could give him all the strength he'd need to send both Xael and Atra packing, was at the bottom of countless miles of snow. Hell, the last time he had seen it the Umbral Tear had turned into stone. Pulling a sword from stone was one thing, but pulling the stone from the sword was an entirely different matter.

Though Zan did struggle, and did contemplate a transformation (though Xael would undoubtedly follow his lead and remain the stronger of the two, so such a thing held no point), it was of no use. Inch by inch, step by step, Malfaes's silver came closer into view. A kick to the back of his left knee dropped him back down to both and, before he could try and stand back up, his head was on its way to liquid hell. There was only one thing he could think to do, only one thing that would save him from what was about to happen. God help him, but...

"ATRA! ATRA! HELP ME! FUCKING HELP ME!" His voice bellowed, filled with panic and the remains of his fractured and sure mask.

No help came, not in time, but an eternity too late. One moment Zan was mere centimeters from dipping into a the vat of molten metal, head turned away in the last hopes of lagging the inevitable even a few more seconds, and the next the left side of his face was alight with a sensation that no word could ever describe. Initially it was as Xael had promised: cold as ice. In an old movie that the Heavy Blade couldn't hope to name, a man had said that bad enough burns destroy your nerves and you feel cold, then nothing. Fucking lies. Zan felt every second of it, every wretched second that a piece of Malfaes chewed away at flesh, gnawed at muscle, and ground into bone. Nothing in his head registered beyond the purest of pains; all thoughts of the Freedom Fighters, of his father, of the angel's blood on his hands, and even those of Lowen vanishing. Noise had ceased to register in turn, the volume of his screams tiring his lungs and ripping at his vocal cords until the pounding in Zan's head and the force at which he pushed air out of his throat burst his eardrums and left him in bittersweet silence. Whatever happened next came in a rush of movement and nothing more.

Zan's face being pulled out, Xael knocked to the ground, and a raven-haired beauty with horror-filled violet eyes looking down at him. Then nothing. Then blackness.

Then peace.

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W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


Last edited by Zan on Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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When the haze of unconsciousness cleared and Zan came to, the first thing he noticed was the stiff feel to the left side of his face. What had...Oh God. The temporary moment of blankness upon awakening was quickly dismissed, leaving behind the horrid truth of what had happened to him. A frantic look about revealed himself to be in one of the bedrooms of the lycanthropic temple, intricate cloth designs strewn about with various and complex marks making up their entirety. Getting weakly to his feet, the Heavy Blade slowly made his way over to one of the mirror art pieces, its border circled by a pack of sleeping wolves carved into the stone, and took a moment to muster up some semblance of courage before he looked at what Xael had done. Zan's heart seemed to stop, mouth opening in a small gape of horror as a shaky hand was placed over the damage. The left side of his face was a mess with burn scars, leaving him to look only a hint better than the age-old horror character Freddy Kruger.

It had healed up rather impressively, if he were in the real world anyway, but he knew it would never get any further. If Xael had been telling the truth, and the lycanthrope did believe him, then what was done was done. His character data had been permanently altered by the viral liquid from Malfaes' lake. Lowen, if she ever found her way back in the game, would see him this way. She'd run. She'd scream. God damn it, she'd cry. Rage rising like a geyser into his throat, Zan flexed power into his arm and smashed his fist into the glass, his image spider-webbing into hundreds of miniature horrors. The pain on his fist, knuckles bloodied and torn like cheap ribbon, was nothing to him. After what he had felt in that room, pain had a whole new definition. Speaking of which...why didn't it hurt now? Unable to muster up the physical or mental strength to heal his hand or contemplate the question, he simply supported himself with a lean against the wall and made his way to the bed he had woken in. Zan felt childish for the despair an alteration of false looks was putting him into as he lay back down, but couldn't change the ache in his chest.

It was beyond superficial interest in his looks. Not only would his love look upon him with disgust should she ever find herself in The World (or even his dreams) again, but the respect he had built up battle after battle with the Freedom Fighters would be demolished. People liked to believe they were good, that deformities didn't bother them or make them uncomfortable around an individual, but he knew it was a lie. Zan would have to hide his face from the others and, for a reason he couldn't identify, he hated that. Sure, he had a tendency to hide himself behind his hood, but that was for pure privacy purposes. Those around him tended to talk to him less when it was up and it had never had purpose beyond that. Now? Now it was something that would become inwardly mandatory. It wasn't that the Heavy Blade was ashamed of what had happened, it was beyond his control, but he simply didn't want people to act any different around him. Though he knew his issue to be far shallower than the example, it went the same for someone who had lost a limb or was in a wheelchair in the real world. No matter the friends you had before, the same eyes never fell upon you again. Zan couldn't handle that. Not then.

Two silent figures emerged into his peripheral, Zan coming to sit at the edge of the bed as he eyed them. Xael seemed disturbed, the cocky and outlandish attitude he had sported during their 'discussion' now nowhere to be seen. Atra's face confused the Heavy Blade more, however. She seemed as despaired as he was. No, not despaired...guilty. Guilt was a heavy face over her expression, violet eyes staring like daggers into the ground, only lifting to meet his own (and stare at the new half of his face) before she'd look down once more. Zan would not initiate the conversation and, glancing at Xael, he couldn't bring himself to attack the man. Oblivion had a tendency to squash his anger into nothingness. Unable to handle the weight of the man's stare, as odd as it was, Zan moved his left bangs in place and hid his new...acquirement from them the best he could. He had seen such hairstyles referred to, if only ages ago, as 'emo', but didn't care. As soon as he got his trenchcoat back he'd be able to take sanctuary in the darkness the hood gave him. When words did hit the air and disrupt his thoughts, he met each note with a growl.

"I-I just wanted you to know a few things. I moved the pain data that was massing away from your face and removed as much of the scar code as I was able. It r-really could have been a lot worse." Why were her words shaky? Was the guilt that bad? Why did she care?

"Fuck. You." Zan spat, managing to muster up some strength to get to his feet with a mild wobble.

"I know you're mad and, God, I'm sorry. He wasn't supposed to do that. Xael was just supposed to interrogate you, that's all..." It seemed, more so than anything else, that she was trying to convince herself.

"And why is your bitch boy looking so shaken? He didn't seem to have a problem with doing it." Each word was gaining him strength, getting him closer to ripping Xael apart.

"...we had a talk. I made him see the error of his ways." She attempted to make it humor, but failed. Xael's eyes only widened further. "I wouldn't ask you this if it wasn't important, Zan. Please, please tell us where the Umbral Tear is. I just want out. Can you really deny me that? I know you think I'm batshit and that'll become some sort of psychotic in the real world, but that just isn't true. I just want my freedom. If you don't..."

"If I don't you'll what? What, Atra? Do you really think I care?" Each word was acid on his tongue.

"If you don't, Xael has asked me to get rid of you. You'll try and stop him when he gets out the Shadow. If you give us what we want, I'll just lock you here. It would be endurable and at least you'd be alive. As much as I'd like to think my abilities are strong enough to use his Alpha state without him, it'd a foolish notion. I need him as much as I need the Tear." There was such desperation in her eyes. Zan couldn't wait to crush it.

"If you're feeling all born again because of my face, I doubt you could permanently kill me. I'd die in real life if that happened and I know you wouldn't want that on your hands." The lycanthrope was feeling as smug as he could in his current mood.

A sigh and she responded. "You're right, I couldn't. Not even Xael is able to. But we can put you down where you'd be out of sight and out of mind. A place you would die, but we wouldn’t see. A place we wouldn’t hear you draw your last breath. We'd do what we have to to get out of our respective prisons. Don't make me get anymore desperate than I am, Zan. This can all go over smoothly if you just give me the-..."

"As I said before. Fuck. You." Zan didn't know what she had in mind, but he'd be ready. He had to be.

"So be it." Without the strength to resist more than a few hopeless tugs, arms encircled his own and began to drag him towards his end.

Not like this...

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W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:43 am 
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Zan was taken door through door that he didn't recognize within the lycanthropic stronghold, his body still drained from the trauma Malfaes had inflicted upon him. There was no real physical resistance left in him as they made their way through small underground catacombs, a place the werewolf hadn't even known existed. The walls were of the same stone-based consistency as the others, but the air was dank. It smelled like moss and dirty rivers, a scent that didn't seem to bother anyone but himself. After a few minutes of exchanging heated words, Zan had even lost the will to speak. They were off to kill him, off to put him somewhere where he'd die and they wouldn't have to see it. So what was this? Where they going to lock him away somewhere while he slowly starved to death? No, that couldn't be it. He didn't need to eat. He didn't need to drink. Although he wanted to, there was no necessity in it like there was in the real world. Hell, there wasn't even too big a craving (raw meat aside) for either. Maybe there was some room that would slowly bear down on him before crushing him to death. But with that, and just about a million other death room scenarios, Zan would just ghost. Unable to really grasp any other possibility and quickly growing bored of pondering the various methods to his demise, the Heavy Blade simply waited.

With apathy quickly settling into his bones, Zan's focus on the world around him was a fading thing. It remained this way, eyes closed and thoughts drifting, until they seemed to stop the zig-zag maze of the underground. Only then did he indulge his curiosity, lids lifting to reveal a straight path ahead. A room dwelled at the end of the hall, but it wasn't the real highlight of his interest. No, such an interest found itself captivated by the pictures on the stone walls, pictures that spoke of his doom before he could readily comprehend it. Various pictures of a crazed, black smudge with animalistic expressions and sometimes even a body that could be mistaken for either a wolf or Zan's Garou form. It wasn't the physique of the wall-paintings that told him what he was heading towards, but the eyes. The crazed yellow pupils became a steady green as they drifted further and further into the hall, becoming an emerald fire on what appeared to be its...human form...near the end of the little series of pictures. The Lupus Nulus, as he assumed the images to be about, had a human form? Or was there something he had missed in the pictures? It wouldn't make sense otherwise. The First Wolf was too crazed, too bestial and inhuman to ever hope to take on something even vaguely resembling humanity. But then again, what did he really know? Most of this, sadly enough, he was just pulling out of his ass and combining with past experiences.

Graphical contemplations had to cease as they emerged into the room, huge, rusted doors slamming shut behind them. It didn't take Zan long to recognize where he was, pupils widening at the four stone sacrificial slabs oriented in a compass-like manner around a large hole in the ground. The werewolf knew, even before he looked up to check, that there would be a half-circle of observational glass near the ceiling. It was where Michael Grahm had watched the Four be eaten alive and assimilated into the Nulus. Luckily for him, his captors didn't want to watch him die. A glance around the room and already he was formulating a strategy for fighting off the First Wolf. There was room. Not much, but if he made all the right moves, he might be able to defend himself. The weakness of his non-transformation against the Primal back in the previous field with the Freedom Fighters had gone away when he had first arrived in the lycanthropic homeland. So he didn't have to worry about his abilities failing him. The Heavy Blade would have all he needed to fight for his life. Oddly enough, he found confidence in that information. The hopelessness of the unknown had been shot and killed. When they dragged him to the edge of the hole, he wasn't afraid (stupid, but true) to look into its depths. He'd wait for the First Wolf to come out. He'd wait and attack with all he had. He'd--

Get shoved into the hole.

All that confidence that had been so carefully stowed away was stolen from him, his quiet turned screams as he fell through nothingness. This wasn't like going into the Shadow, where he fell in much the same manner. No, he knew that, when he hit the ground (if he ever did, really) that only death waited for him at the bottom. When Zan finally hit, it wasn't cushioned, his right arm and both of his legs snapping with audible breaks. The lycanthrope found that, now that he had stopped, he was far too afraid to transfer pain to screams. Instead, he shifted himself into his Clabro; mind clear enough to begin to work at his injuries. For a while there was nothing beyond a stirring in the darkness, nothing beyond a subtle breathing that could have very well been his own panicked breaths. By the time he had healed up his breaks, Zan's fear had welled up to a point that transformation to his war form seemed impossible. The Clabro melted away to full-on humanity in a second, leaving the once-again weakened form of the would-be Alpha to shake and shudder. He could feel the Lupus Nulus wake, could hear it skulk about and shake its chains as it moved. Maybe, if it was chained, it wouldn't be able to get to him. Yea...that could be a possibility. He could still be safe. Pulling his Horse Killer out, the lycanthrope called upon the Vak skill it possessed to illuminate the sword with flame, giving him more insight into where exactly he was.

Zan seemed to be in the center of a particularly small room, the flames light revealing an empty half before him. A few ink-black chains were pulled taught and stretched to a space behind him. Wait. Behind him? A breath on the back of his neck and he indulged himself in a horrified scream, the panicking Heavy Blade scrambling to the other side of the room and whipping both himself and the illuminated weapon around. The First never quite entered the proximity of the light, but seemed rather to blur through the patches of darkness as it watched him, those wild yellow eyes glinting with the light of his weapon's fire. Zan could only wonder why it wasn't yet attacking, why he hadn't been torn limb from limb. There were more questions there, sure, but they were halted by a single "thought" alien to his own. The same brand of telepathy, or whatever one would call how this thing communicated, used in his dream was brought about then. It converted Zan's thought into something it could understand and responded, flooding his mind with images of the Umbral Tear and filling his nostrils with what Zan smelled like to the Nulus. Master. Oh bullshit. It couldn't really believe Zan was its--no, it wasn't Zan. It was the remnants of the Umbral Tear from his previous visit, its memory on Zan, that it was calling master. That little revelation came too late, however, as his doubt had the First Wolf doubting in turn. A blur of motion and Zan slammed his eyes shut, the sudden unbelievable heat of the creature and his weapon bearing down upon him.

It was testing his scent, making sure he had indeed touched and bonded with the Umbral Tear. Zan didn't make a sound, didn't even signal the pain of the monster's drool, a black oil, as it dripped onto his arm and burned through the material and layers into his skin. Confirmation had arrived and it was gone from the light once more, allowing Zan's failing courage to open his eyes once again. A flash of information in his skull and he knew that the First smelled that he didn't have the Umbral Tear on him, that he was no real master. Only one thing stopped it then from destroying him, from doing exactly what Zan had expected it to all along. The lycanthrope had one of the First's cubs within his data, and the cub was sick. The use of the word 'cub' to describe something like his Garou form would have been amusing at any other time, but it was simply factual now. The First was trying to find a way, through all of its bestial solutions, to help its child. Zan, hubris aside, knew that the problem was data and, thus, needed human intelligence to bring it down. Maybe, just maybe, he could find his cure here through the most unlikely of candidates. How would he rid himself of the strength of the PVM, how would he strengthen his Twilight in such a fashion that the assimilation between the two viruses would cease and he'd become who he had been before the sickness once more?

For a split second he tried to imagine himself like a hacker, burrowing through what little he knew of the craft himself and what others had mentioned to formulate something. When it hit him he looked up, the Lupus Nulus having been scouting his brain during the process. It heard his idea of an overload, of a mass infusion of Twilight into himself, and did as it always did - converted it to something it could understand. Zan didn't know how he'd find the raw Twilight, but the First Wolf did. In his mind he was shown what the First thought of Twilight, as a primal wild and rage. It was such a creature, such an entity of pure wild and rage, of nigh-pure Twilight. Even in its animosity Zan felt it call upon the cunning of its creator, offering up a solution to both of their problems like a mediatory wolf in the pack. It would be that fusion into Zan, it would be the cure that humbled and destroyed the strength of the PVM within him. This would be done if, and only if, Zan allowed it to not become a part of Zan, but a symbiote instead. It wasn't to retain what it was. It didn't want to die in the depths of Zan's psyche. The werewolf was terrified at the ramifications of such an action, but did he really have any choice? What would become of a true bond between the First Wolf and the mostly-human Zan?

A breath...and Zan could do little but nod, something quickly interpreted as acceptance.

The Heavy Blade felt something familiar, something that wasn't the wolf, stir within him then. That cold absence of the Umbral Tear, its echoed memory, began to feel life again. He watched through the metaphysical and metaphorical eye of the Tear as a smiling Xael reached for it, as the bastard's fingers outstretched to wrap around the treasure he had finally found. How Xael had discovered it so deeply through the vast field of snow was beyond him, but it didn't matter. In that moment Zan knew that the First could steal it away, and so it did. As soon as it had been about to be in Xael's grasp, it had vanished to float in all of its majesty (no longer incased in stone, something else he'd have to investigate) before him. The First Wolf told him, in its own way, that it needed familiar grounds, a familiar scent to carry it through the sound wilderness of its home (the Shadow, Zan took it to mean) and into the urban cold of man (the rest of The World, perhaps?). The Umbral Tear would fuse with Zan as well, becoming a part of the lycanthrope as he traveled across the barrier between deleted and real. For a brief moment he was happy to be able to bring something of such power with him, before the Lupus Nulus rained down on his parade. The power it would take to make deleted real and keep the First from losing all of itself in the crossover (what it displayed as a wolf in his mind emerging from a forest and onto a street corner) would sap and deaden the Tear. Would he be able to make it a weapon again someday? Maybe. Hopefully.

Zan watched as the Umbral Tear shifted itself around, a twist and convulsion of data becoming two open, obsidian pieces of semi-cylindrical armor. They drifted over to him, stopping just before Zan, as if to give him a chance to reconsider. Ignoring the screams inside of him to stop, the Heavy Blade placed his arms inside. The open pieces of armor snapped together then, going five inches from his wrist down. Sadly enough, to be a true fusion, there seemed to be pain necessary. The armor burned onto his arms, melted in with the flesh it now covered. Just as soon as it had done that a myriad of black designs (hardly recognizable on top of the dark hue of the armor itself) covered the would-be surface of the vambraces, a half-sphere of the dark metal appearing on the center of both. Before he would really ponder what exactly such spheres contained, before he could get over the pain of the bonding of metal and skin, the next step was taken. The First Wolf seemed to explode into a cloud of black ash over him, each breath taken by Zan a horrid gasping one as lines of the ash swam into the tear ducts of his eyes, into his nostrils, into his mouth, and into the cavities of his ears.

Unable to scream, barely able to breathe, Zan felt the third stage of the symbiotic bond begin. The Heavy Blade felt his human intelligence bleed into the First Wolf as it swam through his data just as readily as its animosity poured metaphorical Everclear onto the flame of Zan's Beast's already crazed nature and violent tendencies. Even though Zan knew that the First Wolf would be able to separate from Zan's body (the Umbral Tear vambraces acting only as anchors for its existence in The World), he was aware that the psychological assimilation was a permanent thing. Now equipped with intelligence, the Lupus Nulus bore through Zan's memories and understood them as they were, stopping when it blurred across the Xael's actions against Zan's face. The First Wolf, for the first time, felt a thirst for revenge. A human notion, something alien to the animal kingdom, it reveled in its anger. Xael could not get away with the betrayal of a real Alpha. Such degeneration in the hierarchy could only be met with death. No, that wasn't exactly it. The sociopathic, humanity-tainted thing that the First had become wanted deletion. Zan let his own morality fade away then, his shattered vanity and welling shame at his disfigurement allowing him to indulge in his bitterness and let the First Wolf take control.

God help Xael.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
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Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:47 am 
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Atra and Xael screamed at eachother as they fought to figure out why the Tear had vanished from them. Such arguments halted as the ground at their feet shook, forcing them to stumble away from the ripple of cracks that began to cave in to a pit-like crater. Both mouths fell open, in both horror and awe, as Zan floated up from its center. The left side of the lycanthrope's face was alight with green balefire, both eyes ignited with the same flame with a smile to compliment the eerie air that seemed to cloud everyone's breathing. Each foot that the Nulus-controlled Zan floated towards the pair, they took a few steps back. Nulus, a name it had given itself based on some obvious factors, watched in amusement as Atra tried to escape, tried to flee with her abilities to The World. A quick lock down of such things from the field and she was stranded with her partner in crime. Halting, coming to land on its feet, Zan's feet, Nulus spoke.

"Xael, you have betrayed your king, your Alpha. You have acted against the pack and for that you will end." Zan's voice was doubled over, played in unison with one much lower, one oddly...demonic?

"W-what pack?! There is no more pack! I was only acting for survival! Certainly you, the First of us, can know what that's like! The desperation you feel!" Whether through lucky guessing or instinctual knowledge, Xael knew exactly who he was dealing with.

"DO NOT COMPARE ME WITH A SQUIRMING CUB LIKE YOURSELF! Lowen sentenced you to Malfaes, sure, but with others of your wretched kind. You had voices outside your own. Thoughts outside your own. I HAD ONLY MYSELF! I EXISTED IN NOTHINGNESS WITH A MIND OF AN ANIMAL!" Each yelled word boomed across the field, rattled in the skulls of the two before Nulus until they fell to their knees.

"P-please! Don't do this! I'm s-sorry! Zan, if you're in t-there, I'm sorry!" Xael's voice quivered with tears, with the fear of his own life washed to nothing in only a few moments.

"Even through your betrayal, I will give you the dignity of dying in a visage of honor." Finality in his tone, the talking was over.

Nulus lofted out its hand at Xael then, a thought and an impression of will and suddenly the traitor was convulsing, forced to rip into a transformation into the Garou within. Whining, wheezing on the ground, Nulus walked up to the man and shook its head. Any second thoughts Zan may have had were too little too late, Nulus burrowing its will into Xael's data, ripping it binary by binary until the man's screaming died out and all that was left of him was air and the memory of who Xael was. With Zan's connection to the lycanthrope, through his bond with Nulus, he felt Xael's real world body flat line, felt his heart stop and his lungs cease their inflations. When Nulus turned to Atra it was only the horror of murder that forced Zan back into control, the green flame of his face and his eyes dying down to nothing more than the Siberian Husky blue pupils he always sported. A glance at his vambraces was given, however, as the half-spheres opened up, like eyelids, to reveal the glowing green flame of Nulus' eyes beneath. Such eyes were quickly blinded by the pull of Zan's trenchcoat over the vambraces, his attention turned to Atra and the all-consuming fear etched on her face.

"Leave. Now." Zan spoke, voice flat and trying not to shake with guilt. It wasn't his fault. The actual death of Xael, in the real world, couldn't have been predicted. Zan was a good person. He was a good person. A good person.

The quick relinquishment of the lockdown on the field and Atra disappeared, gone to wherever it is she'd go to breakdown. Only with her gone did Zan finally feel the presence in the field he had wondered about as soon as he had landed, the Knights of Revelation. They appeared before him, the Three, and there was nothing but silence at first. However, Truth let off an aura of sympathy, understanding in his words as he went on about it not being Zan's fault, about Zan needing to get some company. A pet. A grunty. Hardly listening, Zan mumbled a promise to do what the doctor ordered and turned away from them. A twin-phrase was all that kept repeating in his head as he left the field and appeared back in the Hideout, the whole ordeal probably having past in only fifteen minutes or so (counting his...run in with the Archer, of course) with how time seemed to function in the Shadow. The series of words never ceased, never ended as he hid behind the darkness of his hood, hiding his disfigurement and the thing that now stirred inside of him.

It's not my fault. I'm a good person. It's not my fault. I'm a good person.

He could only hope it was true.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
Wishlist
Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:32 pm 
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Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
Zan --> + 1000 GP, + 2 Health Drinks

And, you know, all the hack/pet stuff discussed.

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