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A Plan of Action [Solo]

Post by Locke » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:11 am

Three days had passed. For three days, Baron had sat in the Root Town of Mac Anu, lost in thought. The first day had been spent at the bridge primarily, and for a while he had stared down at the sunlit river beneath him, reviewing all that had happened to him within Xenobia's tower. The Freedom Fighters had made their way through the maze of traps that had been left for them, and in time, they had all reached the final room in which Xenobia had waited. They had fought her summoned guardian, the Willowman, and had eventually managed to bring him down. Once the last of her trials was defeated, the Juk Elite had deigned to finally step down and speak to them, to hear their terms and to make a decision.

Baron would have none of that. At that time, when the opportunity for negotiations had been fragile and easily broken, he had shattered the temporary truce and made an attempt on Xenobia's life. He could do no less for the woman who had captured him and infected him with Twilight, trapping his consciousness within his in-game avatar and sending his real body into a comatose state. Not only that, but Xenobia had done the same to Takua and Talal at the time, leaving two of his close companions also comatose, trapped in the world. Another friend, Sekai, had been gravely injured as Xenobia had toyed with them to prove their powerlessness. So why, then would Baron do anything but attack the woman who had caused them so much suffering?

Yet his decision had been thrown back at him as Sekai and Takua both acted in Xenobia's interest, despite the damage she had done to them, and together they had killed him, leaving him as a ghost. Oh sure, he was revived at a later point, but only when he had threatened to truly kill himself by disbanding from the party as a ghost, losing the one anchor that held his consciousness to the game rather than being deleted outright. Nonetheless, they had both betrayed him, attacked with no warning, with no holding back; a level four spell and a powerful bow skill had decimated him, and in those few moments they not only attacked and killed their friend, but protected the woman who had doomed them all.

Why? Why had they done that? Baron had spent the second day pondering, stepping out into some of the Delta Server's basic fields and decimating the weak monsters there to let off some steam. He left a trail of cleared fields and dungeons in his anger as he replayed those moments in his mind. Anger tinted every memory, anger at Xenobia for leaving them in this condition, anger at Takua and Sekai for betraying him for another traitor, and angry at the rest of the group for not saying anything. Division wouldn't have solved anything, no, but Baron would have felt better if someone truly had understood how he felt in that moment. But no, none of them understood, at least not in his mind; he was determined that they were all fools who couldn't see the forest for the trees. Xenobia would betray them in a heartbeat, if it served her interests, and they'd all be lost. He didn't care; why should he care for traitors?

“You're no ally of mine, you... you oathbreaker!”

Those words echoed in his mind, however, despite the anger that clouded it. Sekai's words had been full of a passion that was in so many ways her. Though she was a quiet and often timid individual, the small Archer had a fire to her that Baron couldn't help but like. There was something about those brief flare-ups, those surges of emotion, that just made her feel like so much more than just another person. She felt more real than all of those transparent, two-dimensional appearances that most game players put on; living in this world, Sekai felt more like a person than the thousands of people who played the game, and she had been an important figure in Baron's time both before and after the Twilight infection.

But now that was gone, erased in a single instant. And as she felt more real, so too did the pain she caused.

And finally, we come to the third day. On the third day, Baron was once more found sitting on the bridge at Mac Anu. People had become accustomed to his presence, and a few of them even checked to make sure he wasn't a quest NPC with how still he was as he stared at the water below, trying to collect his thoughts. As he had tossed and turned the night before, having found a nice spot in the Army of Darkness's headquarters to sleep, a possibility occurred to him. Was it the product of a mix of self-delusion and denial, or was it a logical conclusion whose dots he had not thought to connect? Either way, a worm of an idea had worked its way into Baron's mind, and the Twin Blade found himself staring at the water of the Mac Anu river as he contemplated it.

Sekai and Takua had betrayed him, something he would have never expected. They were his friends, and they would have supported him rather than work for the woman who had trapped them all in The World. None of the others had made an attempt to act, nor had they said anything, almost frozen in place as the internal conflict was dealt with. Why had Talal not spoken up? A Flashmail sent later said she agreed with him, yet she had been as still as the others. Why were they all acting so strange, and why had they fought against him so suddenly when their cause was the same, no matter the target? After all, all of the Elites would have to be defeated in the end, and that included Xenobia. So why wait, and not take her out now?

And that was when the idea had come to him: They were all acting strangely, in his mind, and he couldn't explain the oddness in their behavior. They had acted contrary to what Baron would have expected from his friends. Could something, anything be controlling them, causing them to act differently? Could something be influencing their thoughts and behaviors? Those questions led him to one conclusion, one he had somehow not thought of before then: Xenobia's Twilight item, the Master's Crown. The Crown allowed her to take control of her victims, though Baron did not know the extent of its power; he remembered having his body's control wrenched away as they had first clashed with Xenobia, back in the Juk Field, and how he had been completely unable to do anything. It had seemed like such a simple task, too, at least as an Elite went; who was to say that Xenobia couldn't go further than that, influencing another's mind and actions as much as she did their body?

From there, things suddenly began to fall into place, and a picture began to form in Baron's mind. It all just... clicked. They weren't acting themselves, that much was obvious, but the reason why was just so... apparent. Why hadn't he figured it out before? Xenobia's control over living things was absolute thanks to the power of her Twilight Item, and paired with her spear, the mysterious Treeweaver, who knew what she could do? It was very possible that the Juk Elite was playing puppeteer to a crowd that didn't notice the strings tied about them. And it would explain everything, at least in Baron's mind; the betrayals, the anger, the hatred... they hadn't turned on him, no; Xenobia had turned them on him! It all made sense!

And if you're wrong? You weren't under her control, after all, and you were there as much as anyone else. Why would you be excluded from her control?

Well, what if it was subtle or something? Like, only for those who were at least willing to try and make the alliance? I know the others might have been reluctant, but I'm pretty sure they were willing to try where I wasn't. Maybe that allowed me to avoid being snared?

Whatever you want to tell yourself. You may have to finally admit that you made the wrong decision, however; it's probably not too late to go back and apologize, and see if they'll eventually begin to trust you again. Higure sounded like the voice of common sense, for sure, but Baron wouldn't have any of it; he was almost completely convinced that Xenobia was the one behind his companions' behavior. Certainly they couldn't have done what they had on their own; Takua and Sekai would have tried to tie him down, or bind him, or something rather than straight-up kill him. Such aggression wasn't like them, at least not towards a party member. Clearly, it wasn't their own decisions that led them to this. He could feel Higure shaking his head, off in the shadows. Denial is stronger than any argument I can make. Very well, then what do you plan to do about it, even if that's the case?

That... is a good question. Admittedly, even if Xenobia was in control of things, Baron wasn't even sure where to begin countering that. He couldn't take out the Juk Elite on his own, and that was if they were one-on-one; odds were, Xenobia would be keeping his companions close about her, and even one of them could probably go toe-to-toe with the Twin Blade, if not outright stomp him. No, Baron needed to find help if he was going to defeat the Juk Elite, and he was going to have to find a way to get past his friends before he could even make such an attempt. Two dilemmas, and no practical solution; what was he going to do about it? It was obvious that Baron needed an ally, but who?

Logic said the Yamiyo server was going to be his best bet, given that the regular game wasn't aware of the world of Twilight and everything that went on in it. The World's admins were probably not a safe choice either, given that his friends were traveling with one of the notorious Elites who were behind everything. It would not be hard to mark them as an accessory to the crimes of the Elites, if not outright accomplices to them. What impact could that have on them, in this world or the real one? No, Baron knew that if he was going to get help, then he had to find someone within Yamiyo, someone who had knowledge of what was going on, but the willingness to act against the Elites. That, in itself would be difficult.

Well... never know until you try. Standing up and dusting himself off, Baron set off for the Chaos Gate; he knew he had the ability to head to the Yamiyo server from any point, but doing so was rather suspicious, so he quickly made his way over to the main plaza and set himself up to warp. It was the first time in three days he had shown any sort of initiative or energy, and in a way, it was refreshing. For once, he was going to act.
Character Information
Baron | Level 47 Twin Blade [100/1000 EXP] | 891 HP / 265 SP
Weapon: Fishskin
Armor: Emperor's Crown/Bone Armor/Thunder Gloves/Ninja Anklet
Accessories/Books: Ethereal Angel Wings, Silver Grunty
Skills: Thunder Coil, Gale of Swords
Spells: Merrows, GiRai Don, BiVak Rom, GiGan Zot, Rai Don, Ani Don, Duk Lei
GP: 750 (As of 8/2/15)
Wishlist: Nny Scales, Lucky Shoes, Saint Cross, Greave Sticker, Pet EX-Levels/Spheres(!)

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Re: A Plan of Action [Solo]

Post by Nighthand » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:55 am

Baron arrived in Yamiyo's root town, Luchairt Cradh, and was immediately lost in the crowds of people bustling to and fro. He was just another player, and wasn't given a second glance as people used the gate both to warp in and to warp out. He was in the Bazaar, the most crowded sector, in hopes of finding a lead. Everything was for sale, even information, if you knew how to look. Of course, Baron didn't know where to look.

He was quickly lost in the packed maze of tents, stalls, small buildings, and sheets spread out and covered in wares. Everyone seemed to be peddling odd, minor unique items or game items of questionable rarity, and no one seemed to have the guile -- or the level -- to be peddling high-tier information.

Before he got too far, though, his account chimed with a new Flashmail.
To: Baron
From: Vizcount


It has come to our attention that you have parted ways with the remainder of your group. Should you be in need of employment, the Master of the Vak district of Luchairt Cradh has extended to you an invitation to take up a position amongst his forces. If you are interested, come to the Vak district and ask for myself. My name is Vizcount, and I hold the position of staff manager. We can discuss your potential responsibilities in person.


End Flashmail
Rather than stop in the middle of the street to read the flashmail, Baron ducked in to the nearest semi-secluded alleyway. It was narrow and blissfully free of the frantic traffic of the main streets. A distance in, Baron stopped to read the flashmail, but before he could glance at the message, Higure shouted a warning in his head. Someone was approaching, in a hurry. He glanced up in time to see a young man duck into the alley, looking back as if ducking pursuers. He made it a handful of yards before he tripped and fell, sprawling in the dirt. A pair of objects fell from his hands, looking like short metal rods, or small flashlights. They skittered to a stop at Baron's feet, while the youth scrambled up and started to run again. He got halfway through the alley before realizing he had dropped the objects, and turned back. Then he stopped, as someone else entered the alleyway.

This new figure was taller, older, and had a sword drawn. Without more than a second of hesitation, he slashed from the ground upwards, sending a slash of energy racing forward. The energy struck the youth, sending him tumbling rigidly, hurt and paralyzed. As he fell, he made eye contact with Baron, and through gritted teeth managed to grunt out a few words.

"Help... Use them..."

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