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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:52 pm 
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Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
Rested, restored, and done with everything he wanted to do, Nighthand didn’t really have much else to do before they headed out. He simply wandered from place to place in the hideout for a while, before settling down with a snack in the common room, where he could watch people as they went about their business. He appeared unconcerned about the upcoming confrontation with a being that was more mysterious than any they had fought previously, but inwardly he was in turmoil. Talk raged back and forth between himself and Silverblade, who had plenty of concerns of his own.

This Marionette concerns me.
How so?
Besides the obvious? He know far more about all of us than he should, including people I don’t even know that well. Nall, Raine, and Sheena haven’t heard of him before, yet he’s an important guardian of the hubs. He-
Stopping you there. How do we know the hubs are important?
Raine said they’re central locations for the transmission of the hacker flashmails.
So? We’ve brought down three, and that’s bound to have had some effect. Yet the Elites haven’t closed in on us, which they no doubt would have.
Marionette must not have reported us and our activities, I guess.
Why? Is he an ally, in the hacker society? Is he baiting us to take the glory of our defeat for himself? Is he really an Elite using a pseudonym to confuse us?


Nighthand paused. It was a good question… why was Marionette doing all this? On top of that, the heavyblade could only think of one hacker with the ability to see the future well enough to know what they were going to do as soon as they wanted to do it.

Melzas? Do you think the Elite of Ice is behind this?
I don’t know. It makes some sense though. Why else would the Elites not have crashed down on us?
Even so. You know we have to go.


Silverblade was silent, and Nighthand sighed. His counterpart had been silent more and more often recently. Something was bothering him, something he was spending a lot of time thinking about, and keeping it away from Nighthand himself.

”If only this were easy…” But of course it never was. It was a war, and they were the losing, uninformed, weaker side.

Nighthand abruptly stood and stretched, then headed for the gate. Putting in the keywords of their destination, he gated through alone.

When he arrived, he found himself in a single room small room. There were four couches laid out in a square around an empty table. The room itself was made of solid stone bricks the size of his torso. So was the floor, which was bare, and the ceiling, which held a single simple chandelier. As he watched, an envelope appeared on the table. He picked it up and opened it; inside was a card.

Wait here. When the rest of your party arrives, you will be shown the way.

Flashmail
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Nighthand
Subject: Next Field

Whenever you’re ready, gate to the field. I’m already here; you appear in a waiting room. Seems safe so far.


--------------------------------------ooc:

If you’re coming, gate in, and next week the quest will progress. If you’re doing a solo and aren’t done by next week, you can still finish it if you do it quick, like usual.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:38 am 
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Location: The "Who's Online List," Stalking People...
So much had happened. So much separated him from the rest of this group right now, and made him feel that much more distant. During his time with them prior, he’d never really made many friendships. Yeah, sure, he knew Zan probably closer than any of the rest of them, but he’d left. Something had happened to Zhao during the first attack on the hubs, and he’d disappeared without a word. Reinier had also vanished (but had since then made his way back and had turned into an asocial creature), and now Senna, Canti, Rayo, and Nall were also M.I.A. Even the rabbit who’d proven slightly more than useless in one of their battles was gone, which left him more or less without many friends. Phoenix, he reminded himself. The team’s other fighting blademaster had never been that close to him, but at least he had some idea how the man fought. With everyone else, he had no clue.

Cobalt and Amy were fighting his fight. There was no telling how they’d fare: he didn’t know their powers, if they even had any. I can help them, he thought, eyes closed to the world around him, I can use my power… Power? Since when had he acquired power? He’d fought against Leek with something, but there was no way to tell if that had carried over at all. Hell, he didn’t even know how it worked. He needed someone to teach him-PING!

Flashmail? Eyes glazed over in an all-too-familiar sight as he accessed the control panel, reading the message from the group’s current leader. He was already at the field? How the hell’d he get through here without me noticing? Then again, he hadn’t exactly taken notice of the other players who had been moving through, and none of them had really taken notice of him. It didn’t much matter. Apathy took over, and he rose, buying a few items from the store before following Nighthand to their destination.

“Hopeful Tempting You Chance,” he said, and golden rings left him standing in the midst of…another room. It was about half the size of the common room, with a handful of couches surrounding a table. Only one other person was there:

“Nighthand,” the player said, addressing him for the first time since having returned to the group. What was there to say, really? “...I’m back.”

Uh... kay. You and everybody else it seems like. Reinier and Asgard at least. But then, no Nall.

“Yeah,” he said, knowing the first name, but not knowing the second from a hole in the wall, but, “...no Nall?”

Nope. Not sure where he is. Sheena’s out searching where he was supposed to be, anyways.

“Kinda sucks,” he commented, taking a seat in one of the couches and recovering the posture he’d taken so easily in the hideout, “I’ve got a few things to talk about with him.” Then the thought hit him, “Hey, you’ve been around a while, right?”

Yeah, why?

“Well,” he sighed. Did he really want Nighthand to be the first one he talked about the Expanse with? Yeah, sure. He’d probably be able to offer the best answers of anyone still around, “maybe you can help.” He paused for a moment, trying to figure how to best order his thoughts.

“It’s...complicated, to say the least,” he began, “but I was wondering, how many people have the Elites enticed into their service?”

It’s tough to tell. It’s scary as hell too. They have more slaves than the Admins have Knights, and they have more soldiers than that. They have their own server, just for them, and it’s as busy as Mac Anu.

It wasn’t very encouraging. Thoughts swirled anxiously through his head, and he closed his eyes and leaned back his head to try and settle them. He really wanted to know about Leek, about how they operated, about how they chose their victims, but unless Nighthand had been with Nall before he turned coats, there was no way he’d know those types of things. Still, maybe he’d be able to help ease his mind about Amy and Cobalt.

“The virus, then,” he said, changing subjects, “how strong can it make a person?”

That’s a good question. The Elites are top tier, and they’re pretty damn strong... but they rely on their Items. The rest of us... I don’t know. I suppose there’s nearly unlimited potential.

“Right,” he said, trying to sort out just what he wanted to know, “I guess...I mean, I- I,” the words wouldn’t come. Will they survive? “Do we know what happens when someone like us is killed?”

We die. Our minds can’t go back to our bodies, that’s why they’re stuck here. When our minds here have nowhere to go, that’s it. Game Over.Shit. So they’re gonna die on my account?!

“Damn it,” he said quietly, fear and worry gripping his form to the point of him actually shaking. For a moment, the thought of asking the heavyblade for help did cross his mind, but that was quickly dismissed. Why chase after a small fry, when the Elites were still at large? Leek couldn’t have been any stronger than Suraisu had been, and Nall himself had said that Suraisu was nothing compared to the power the Elites had displayed. Still... “I don’t know what you know about how Canti, Zhao, and I got here, but how long do you think it would take for someone to get to be about as powerful as Zan or Reinier?” They could beat Leek, right?

I couldn’t tell you. It’s not a linear progression, and it’s not even, or similar for everyone. On average? I dunno, around a year or so. It depends how much you work at it.

He let out a sigh; that didn’t help. “Thanks,” he forced out, letting the word hang in the air as more people joined them. Thoughts ran through his head at a million miles an hour while he waited for the damn quest to start.

Whenever it would, at least.

EDIT: To fix a tag...

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Wishlist: EXP, Ends of Earth, Armor with Status Effects


Last edited by Dien on Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:06 pm 
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I sat quietly, contemplating my conversation with Dien, unable to stop thinking about what might have happened to him. I wanted to help, but he so clearly needed time to himself... two pieces of me were waging war inside of me, and I knew that one of those sides was influenced somewhat by what remained of my other side. That part wanted to confront Dien and force him to let on what went on in his little side trek, no matter what I had to do to him. The other, more reasonable side was all for letting things lie until he was ready to divulge the details. Unfortunately, the battle was a lot more even than it should have been.

My inner turmoil was conveniently interrupted by the sound of a new flashmail arriving.
Quote:
Flashmail
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Nighthand
Subject: Next Field

Whenever you’re ready, gate to the field. I’m already here; you appear in a waiting room. Seems safe so far.


The last field... so it's time. I rose from my seat and made my way to the Chaos Gate. “Hopeful Tempting You Chance,” I said, and closed my eyes as the golden rings surrounded my body, whisking me away to my destination. When I opened them again, I was surprised by the simplicity of the room. After Angel's mansion, anything this undecorated seemed almost like an insult to our group. I glanced around the room a second time and realized that I was but the third one in the room. Only Dien and Nighthand? I was usually a slow one... and that got me worried. Who else was coming? Would it really be just a few of us to take on Marionette? Would we get one more ally? Two more? Only time will tell, I suppose.

I took a seat on one of the couches, merely waiting. If it was just the three of us, so be it. But I hoped to whatever gods there may be that we'd get some more backup. I really didn't want this to be the tower all over again....

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Miakita hazu no tasogare ga
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:28 am 
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Phoenix was getting a bit bored sitting next to the new guy. He was wondering if he was ever going to wake up. Without Suzaku, it was very dull. Besides being useful in combat, she was someone to talk to during the downtime between quests. Phoenix could not deal with the silence anymore. He stood up from the chair and decided to take a walk in Carmina Gadelica.

The root town of Lambda was basically the city of lights. The blademaster felt bad that he had to bypass the town every time he went to the hideout. Some people prefer Mac Anu, others Dun Loireag, but for Phoenix, Carmina Gadelica was his personal root town. He jumped onto a roof of one of the buildings and laid down on it. He observed the artificial starry backdrop, trying to remember if he had done this in the real world. The real world was Neverland to Phoenix. Just another faraway place that cannot be reached very easily to most people Phoenix thought. I wonder how Suzaku is doing right now.

“She’s doing quite well actually, Phoenix-kun.”

Phoenix was caught very off guard by the cheerful voice. He should have felt a change in the wind if someone was closing in but did not. Also she knew who he was which what he gathered, his existence to the regular players of the World was the stuff of legends and rumors. Only people who have been Twilighted or powers above the normal boundaries of the World would possibly know what he really looked like. He immediately got into a fighting stance and looked directly at the girl.

The girl was petite and cute looking. She had purple hair with front bangs and a ponytail. Her skin was brown with leather pants and a red leather tank top. She does not appear to have weapons on her but with the type of enemies that Phoenix faced, which definitely means nothing. “Who are you and why I shouldn’t attack you now?”

“My, my, my, Phoenix-kun. Didn’t your mother tell you that you shouldn’t point sharp objects at people? Oh right, you can’t remember your mother.”

“Wind Blade!”

Phoenix swung his sword at the girl to generate the Wind Blade but the attack did not hit at all. The girl was there at one moment and the next, she was right behind Phoenix. At first he could not understand the speed that this girl could possess but then again, he has seen this ability before. It was not that she possesses sonic speed but it was ability to manipulate time. “You’re a time manipulator aren’t you? That’s why I couldn’t sense you coming.”

“Bingo, Phoenix-kun! But I’m not at the scale of Nall. My ability is a bit more limited. So you realize what I can do now. Let’s be a bit more civil now.

The girl took a more serious tone now and Phoenix realized that fighting would be useless at this point. He put his sword away and spoke to her. “It seems that you know much about me. It’s a bit unfair that I know nothing about you. I don’t know what to call you besides time girl.”

“Sorry, my name is Miki. I’m an emissary to Miaka. She has been observing you and merry band of Freedom Fighters for quite some time. Unlike the one called Marionette, she has only detailed personal information on you. The reason that I’m here is to tell you something very important.”

“I’m listening.”

“Your guardian is slowly figuring her true self. It won’t be long until she can rejoin you in your fight. Also, things are beginning to move because of this. Forces that were previously sleeping will be awake soon. You will be meeting with Miaka soon. She will be the one who can answer your questions. I’m just only a messenger. When the time comes, I’ll contact you.”

“Miki, wait…”

Before Phoenix could ask her any questions, she disappeared quickly as quickly she appeared to him. Phoenix was now in a state of confusion now. How Suzaku is related to Miaka? She was the original pets to the Freedom Fighters. Then again, no one really knows how the originals were created in the first place. They just appeared. Now the really confusing question is how Suzaku’s true self will stir sleeping forces. It looks like my peaceful downtime is ruined. I can’t wait for Suzaku to come back from her vision quest. I have to rejoin the others.

Phoenix returned to street level of Carmina Gadelica and headed back to the chaos gate. He did not want any unnecessary attention about heading to Marionette’s place. So he went back to the hideout and immediately gated to Marionette’s field with Hopeful Tempting You Chance.

The blademaster found himself in a small room like a waiting room in a doctor’s office. Nighthand, Dien, and Xhao were in the room when Phoenix arrived in the room. He took a seat one of the coaches.

“Feels like we’re waiting to get the big, nasty shot with the extra long needle from the doctor.”

There was more waiting as he had to wait for more members of the Freedom Fighters to arrive. He wonders if Suzaku is having more fun than he was right now. Maybe she’s fighting some monsters right now.

_________________
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Level 48 Blademaster
Equipped Skills: Vak Revolver, Gan Revolver, Dek Vorv, La Repth, Juk Kruz, Rue Kruz, BiVak Rom, GiGan Zot
Other Skills: Rue Kruz, Rip Synk, Rip Saem, Crack Beat, Rue Slash, Ani Slash, Gan Crack, Gan Revolver

Wish List: Phoenix's Fire, Gold Necklace
EX-Spheres: LV 3 - Overdrive, LV 3 - Curative, LV 3 - Elemental Breath


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:56 am 
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Raven lay on the bed pondering his current situation. He had heard about this group of people before from Nemera, in a rather colourful combination of words. Now, here he was, in their hideout, and in the same condition as all of them. When he had spoken with Raine earlier, he had been full of confidence that he would be fine with this change, but he had either been too tired or too out of it to think things through completely. Things were just then starting to hit him, how his life in the real world was more or less over unless something happened to change his condition. His parents had to be worrying about him, though they didn't know completely what had happened to him. His friends at school, well, he really didn't have that many. He had spent so much time away from school that he barely knew any of them in the first place. The one he knew would actually worry about him seemed to have literally vanished off the face of the planet all together anyways. Other than that, due to all that time he spent at home with nothing to do but use the computer, pretty much all of his friends played this game. Its not like he wouldn't be able to see any of them ever again, though it'd be a pain in the ass to explain it to those who knew what happened to him in real life.

That thought right there nearly made him choke as he realized that there was really only one person that fell into that category. Asuka, his clanmate and close friend. He had only given her his actual phone number recently so they could keep up with one another in real life, and now this had happened. She was all there was to worry about though, as the only other people he knew in the game that would know what happened to him in real life was Horel and therefore Victoria as well by proxy. Horel would probably understand the whole thing though, he always understood more about this game then he told anyone. Through all of his thinking, he once again came to the logical conclusion that this wouldn't be so bad, and yet he still couldn't shake the negative feeling he had. It was like he was overlooking something that he should have realized easily. He just couldn't quite put his finger on it. He didn't have any more time to ponder that though, as a ping went off in his ear. He had recieved a flashmail, and his face went pale. Who was it from? What was he going to say if it was one of those people who actually would know about his coma? He hadn't given it enough thought yet, damnit! He opened it up anyways, staring at it like it was part of the ceiling he was looking up at.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Nighthand
Subject: Next Destination
Message:
It looks like when know where to go next. Marionette has, so it seems, been leading us through challenges to get to his fortress. He’ll no doubt be stronger than any of the minions we’ve fought thus far, so be sure to stock up. Get what you need done out of the way, and be back here tomorrow, so we can all go at once. The destination will be Hopeful Tempting You Fate.


Raven just stared at the message for a moment, not quite sure what to make of it for a moment. Who was this Nighthand guy, and how did he get his member address? Better yet, what the hell was he talking about? Judging from who it was sent to, he was the leader of the Freedom Fighters, or at very least the one giving orders. The only problem with this picture is why he had gotten it. He wasn't one of the Freedom Fighters, was he? No one had informed him of this, no one had come to him to introduce themselves. So far, he had done nothing but lay on a bed recovering from the last insane hacked field he had found himself in, and gotten himself into a coma because of. Was he already on their roster of people to help them in whatever little quest they had going? They really didn't waste any time with dragging him into their crap the moment he was fit enough to walk again, now did they? He was getting dragged into another confrontation with another hacker already it seemed. At very least from the flashmail, it seemed like only one hacker as opposed to an army of them like the last field. As for who exactly this Marionette was, and what connection he had to the Freedom Fighters, it looked like Raven would find out soon enough.

He let out a long sigh as he sat up on the bed and turned himself towards the floor. He was going to have to make his way to the Chaos Gate whether he liked it or not. He put his feet on the floor next to the bed, and went to stand up. Unfortunately, he immediately went down again, as if his legs just weren't working. He sat himself up again on the floor, and looked around to make sure no one else had seen that. He tried again, but once more his legs would not hold up his weight. It was now officially worrying him, was it a flaw in his avatar data, something that hadn't been fixed yet? It wasn't for another few minutes that reality hit him like a brick.

It's not my avatar, its me. I haven't been able to walk in years after that beating I took...but now I'm using a body that can. My avatar can still walk, but I haven't done it in years so I'm out of practice... he realized.

He slowly helped himself up against the wall, and began to slowly wobble his way to what he assumed was the exit to the place. The entire time, he was entirely focused on his feet, trying to get it right as he went. This was going to be a long walk.

* * * * *

Raven continued to wobble and hold onto things as he walked through the Root Town. It was quite an interesting sight for everyone around him he was sure, since everyone around seemed to be staring and laughing. It was not a laughing matter for him, as he found himself lost as well as unable to walk properly. He had never been to Carmina Gardelica before, so the sights were a bit new to him. He was also about eight levels too low for any field on this server, so anyone looking at his level might also find it odd that he was there. Finally he found his way to the Chaos Gate, and stumbled up to it as fast as he could.

"Hopeful Tempting You Chance." he muttered.

The set of golden rings picked him up and warped him to the field in question, an odd sensation running down his spine in the process. It was a new feeling to suddenly be transported from one place to another when you could actually feel it. It was like jumping into freezing cold water only to suddenly find yourself on dry land again without a drop on you. He found himself in what appeared to be a rather simple waiting room with a few other people. There were four of them aside from himself, a Heavyblade, two Blademasters, and a Twin Blade. The Heavyblade and one of the Blademasters seemed much higher level than Raven, but the other two seemed more his level of strength, or at least within the general area of it. None of them were familiar at all, but then again, he knew that there wouldn't be a large number of people he knew here. Then again, he had kind of been hoping that Raquar or Sekai would have been there to help him break the ice with the others in the group. Oh well, there was no sense in acting all anti-social with them if he was going to be fighting alongside them. He walked up to the group already there, and took a deep breath before introducing himself.

"Hi, I'm a bit new here, so I'm hoping you guys can show me the ropes. My name's Raven, nice to meet you all." Raven said, trying to lighten the tense atmosphere with a bit of a lighter greeting.

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Level 23 Blademaster
2400 Gold
Skills: Rue Kruz, Juk Kruz, Vak Crack, Rai Rom, Gan Crack, Ap Corv | Skill Drain
Items: x30 Health Drinks, x12 Mage Souls, x5 Resurrects, x4 Gale Breaths, x9 Speed Charms, x9 Meteor Swarms, x5 Warrior's Blood, Nightblight, Plasma Storm, Fire Tempest, x4 Ice Floe, Sprite Ocarina, Fairy's Orb, Fortune Wire, Hermit's Bane, x3 Ice Storm, x2 Ice Strike, Cygnus, Matoi, x2 Dark Night

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:08 pm 
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Location: Carmina Gadelica Alleyway
"Zzzzz..."

*tug tug*

"Snrk!.....Zzzzzz"

A sharp pain awoke the Fist Fighter in a flash, which prompted him to react to surprise like he always did.

"Rue Cr-!" He stopped mid sentence as the flow of blue energy began to coalesce around his hand, not suffering from the sting. It was Terro who was the source of his discomfort. "Terro, that was probably something you could have gotten iced for."

I've been trying to wake you from your sleep for about ten minutes now. Terro looked very discontent with his master, even though he had just purposefully bit him. I believe that the group is on the move, as the fact that I have just returned and most those who were here before are gone. Asgard looked around hastily, and saw that he was right. There were a lack of humanoid bodies of what he had noticed before. Not to mention, there was a message waiting for him in the form of a flashmail:

Quote:
Flashmail
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Nighthand
Subject: Next Field

Whenever you’re ready, gate to the field. I’m already here; you appear in a waiting room. Seems safe so far.


"Oh. Then thanks for waking me up." Asgard shot off the bean bag, using his hands as the springs, with legs forward, landing on the ground. "We better get going, or we might be locked from helping the group." He began to walk to the door, but was stopped by a rough statement from his beastial ally.

Ahem!

Asgard turned back to the earthen colored gryphon, confused. "What?!"

Cleanliness before Godliness.

The Fist Fighter looked back to the bean bag to see that he might have been a little restless in his sleep. The file folders were on the floor, unorganized.

"Okay mom, i'll clean my room. Just a sec." Asgard went back to the red bean bag and began scooping up the files. He sat back down in an attempt to reorganize them in a chronological order. This seemed like a perfect time for a debriefing. "So, if you're back so quickly, that must mean that you found Abacus." The lion-bird nodded in approval. "And he has gotten my letter with no witnesses." Terro nodded again.

I did. In the Alpha Server. He told me that they are blaming your escape as your own machination and that Abacus was only forced to take your GM request. Aside from one less junior admin, nothing has really changed. He said that Mortuus was 'severely' punished for his actions, but not enough for Layla, Viking, and Genaba. They're on the verge of resigning their power.

Asgard shook uneasily as he set the Marionette files in order as the last thing he needed to do. "It just doesn't make sense."

He knows...he being Abacus. Even many others loyal to you in the past, as well as loyal to Abacus, believe that the higher ups decision of what happened was somewhat of a cover up.

"Indeed." Asgard packed down the file folders so that they stood evenly in his hands and headed down to the control room. However, no one seemed to be home. He placed the file folders down on the control panel so that it did not fall on the floor, along with a little handwritten note.

Quote:
'Thanks for all your help Raine.'
- Asgard


"There's no use in worrying about what the suits have planned. I'd like to interact with them as little as possible while we're encountering things dealing with the Twilight based hackers."

Very true. Abacus also wanted me to tell you that he will contact your father to try and create a masking program. And he had no information on who is after you. Asgard sighed in response to the last part. He knew that asking him would be essentially helpful, but essentially pointless. Asgard changed the subject of conversation quickly.

Lets go, we don’t want to keep Marionette and the others waiting for our hero’s comeback.

True enough.


The Chaos Gate in Hopeful Tempting You Chance shimmered and created the entities of Asgard and Terro. He looked forward to see Nighthand, Phoenix and three other characters that he was unfamiliar with, but had seen earlier at the Lambda base. He didn’t bother saying anything, with his naptime drowsiness catching up with him. Strolling forward, the Fist Fighter raised a hand to signal a wave at the players in attendance, and then yawned. Ignoring the furniture, he sat down on the brick floor, cross legged and waiting for the show to begin. Terro circled three times, much like a domesticated dog, and lay down next to him, head down to the ground.

"I guess I'm just in time. This is going to be awesome."

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This is my non-banner profile. Read at own discretion!
Wishlist (Bolded sections denotate priority, in descending order)
In General: LEVELS
Pet-Related: EX-Levels, [Lv. 2]Overdrive Sphere, [Lv. 2]Ressurect
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:30 pm
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Location: Here and there.
In the midst of the battle at the final hub, Hac slowly found himself disappearing from the fighting to explore other items of majestic properties. He found himself lost in wonderment of the entire situation unfolding in front of the group. Due to his nature of not seeing a challenge, Hac inevitable left the mansion itself to follow his own ambitions for the time. Even though the group was getting closer to the answer of where the puppet master named Marionette was located, the character could not help but feel the answer would be grim; it would need stronger players. He knew the large group would easily be able to conquer the events left in the mansion, and even defeat angel. After all, they were the Freedom Fighters. However, it could be said that the same faith did not exist for the field Marionette was truly in. As the ‘things’ name suggests, Marionette is a great person who pulls the strings in all of his environments. Even if one believes they have figured out the correct solution for one of his tricks, the problem ends up evolving to suit the puppeteer’s. Even though Hac believed his mental authority was high in stature, it proved worthless in the midst of Marionette’s mind.

"Look how he played us all…” Hac called to himself as began to think back to the time where Zan first seemed like a traitor to the entire group. It ended with the character named Zan actually helping his fellow Freedom Fighters in a way. He was playing Marionettes game to shield his friends from the Elite Hacker’s sights. It was unbelievable how Hac could think of a friend as such a traitor, but to his defense, Zan played an excellent role. His power hungry and aggressive nature only further advanced the persona of someone who could do a dastardly deed. However, if one was to delve further and notice the relationship between Zan and Sekai that had formed a kind nature to the character surfaced. It was either because Sekai seemed to be absolutely pure and innocent, or because Zan felt a type of guilt. The true meaning is unknown for their relationship, but the soft side of the Heavy Blade character should have easily given some type of clue of his innocence. Too bad it was overlooked, maybe a few words of hate and despise would not have surfaced from the group.

A chiming tone signaled the arrival of a new message to Hac’s inbox as he was deep in thought from the matters surrounding the characters he was involved with. Quickly snapping out of his trance, the character breathed a sigh of almost grief. However, instead of being fully saddened by the news within, the character just hated seeing the keywords presented within…it was calling for a trap as suspected.

Flashmail
To: The Freedom Fighters
From: Nighthand
Subject: Next Destination

It looks like when know where to go next. Marionette has, so it seems, been leading us through challenges to get to his fortress. He’ll no doubt be stronger than any of the minions we’ve fought thus far, so be sure to stock up. Get what you need done out of the way, and be back here tomorrow, so we can all go at once. The destination will be Hopeful Tempting You Fate.

End Flashmail


What could the group do though? This was their only lead to actually find Marionette and give him what he deserves; a good punch in the sternum. Even though the character was not excited about the quick movement to the next field, Hac knew he was required to help. He had already made it so far with the group that defeating Marionette was within the group’s grasp. A sense of uneasiness slowly began to creep up the spine of Hac…it was not because of the contents enclosed by Nighthand, but instead of one of the system perks to sending messages: a timestamp. The small line attached near the top of every message for some reason read the wrong date. Hac could have sworn a message he received the day before was the same. Could the program which included all timestamps in the messages have hit a segmentation fault or an infinite loop? No. that was quite unlikely. A sense of utter confusion began to make the character dizzy. Closing the large messaged box, Hac was met once more by another one of equal size.

Flashmail
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Nighthand
Subject: Next Field

Whenever you’re ready, gate to the field. I’m already here; you appear in a waiting room. Seems safe so far.


“Seems…I was a bit late in message receiving this time….guess I better leave…”

As the wind brushed his face in the theta server, Hacorie looked up into the sky as he closed the second box hoping another would not pop up; luckily, there was not one. Sensing the warmth beat down from the sky above, the brilliant blue aura erupting from his eyes began to grow a minute amount. His skater type blond hair bounced the sunlight directly at the star. With a sense of peace instilled within his heart, the character slowly turned to the Chaos Gate from where he just appeared from. Hac had just finished an excellent duel which had changed his perception of the character named Sekai. Who knew, the battle could have either ended or stregnthend the relationship created by the Freedom Fighter bond. Their next meeting would give the conclusion.

“Lambda: Hopeful Tempting Fate…”

Hac called letting the Chaos Gate know to switch servers and warp directly to the specified field. As the three golden rings whisked him to the designation, the character realized a few characters had already arrived before him. However, one was yet to be seen…

Senna…

One of Hac’s closest friends had disappeared in the mansion, and had yet to contact the Heavy Blade…her presence was still unknown….which gave Hac a bad feeling. Senna and he had formed the group known as Team Moron after the result of the second hub. Their bond would forever exist in the team, but there is no ‘I’ in team; Hac could not do it alone….leading a group of two with only one person was crazy….he had to find her whereabouts.

Flashmail
To: Senna
From: Hac

Hey, you disappeared from the third hub with no word, and I have not heard from you since….Senna….where are you? We need your help with the whole Marionette ordeal. It leaves me sort of worried since you have yet to contact me as of late…well send me a reply as soon as you get this…

~Hac
End Flashmail


With his duty done in contacting his friend, the Heavy Blade finally spoke up.

“Hac, reporting for duty…let’s finish this whole ordeal with Marionette, shall we?”

(OOC:: WORST post ever...there may be an edit after work for grammar, but I thought I would put it up to say I am in the quest XD)

_________________
Hacorie
Level 36 Heavy Blade
Gold: 21237

Equips
Oceanic Aura/Sharktooth-Ice Helm-Winter Coat-
Shiva's Rings-Bondage Pants
---Water Magic, BL Yokohama

Wishlist:
Level Meh Up
Weapons: Sakabatou/Rock n Roll/Peace Blade
Body: Knight's Armor
Other: Earthlore/Feng Shui
--------Water/Earth Scrolls


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:45 am 
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Elevated Player
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:27 am
Posts: 37
It looks like it is… RHYME TIME WITH SILK THE FIST FIGHTER!





Not much going on today,
Looks like maybe it’s a holiday!
Oh wait, here comes a flashmail,
Aw, with Nighthand, it never gets stale!
Gather, gather, Freedom fighters,
And strap your armor even tighter,
Because today we fight the master bloke,
A dick-choke who’s really stoked
About leading us by the ear, in fear, for years,
I guess, and I confess, it’s a lot of stress,
And it’s turned one of us into a mess!
Senna!
That long arm who got bent a
Wrong way, a fighter who got lent a
Sweet set of items from a friend of
Silk’s!
That Fist Fighter who apparently never drank milk,
Because damn, he’s short!
Well you’re a cock-munch,
Hey that’s a shitty retort,
Now, now let’s not get our panties in a bunch.
Proceed.
Chaos Gate, three rings, oh what kind of fling
Was this?... type of a field a silly joke?
A place for them to sit around and choke
On some mari – jo – wanna, otherwise known as weed?
Here there were couches and a table,
Maybe a few grouches and an unstable
Set of individuals who were mostly unable
To get along with each other despite similar circumstances
Earned through a set of chances taken
Raked in, baked in a stove by a weirdo
Named Marionette who steered though
He was a mysterious freak with a tendency
To blend in, see, he was more of a behind the scenes
Type of guy.
Would the Freedom Fighters now fry
in the baked potato he had made for them?

Man look at these fancy guys,
How could Marionette possibly win?
Asgard, Hacorie, Nighthand, Phoenix,
Next to them, Silk was a small fry!
And newcomers too,
a couple Blademasters,
And one of them Silk even knew,
It was Dien, that old scumbag,
This guy that the Fist Fighter knew from this longass drag
Of a quest that lasted until their brains turned blue!

The other guy, a dude named after a bird,
Seemed to be unperturbed
By the mass of excellent warriors
Gathered here today.

And of course there was the staple Twinblade,
Zhao Xun,
A man who was never afraid to enter the blaze of the fray.
His twin blades flashing,
Slashing and gashing through the enemies’ skins,
He took more than his ration,
Of their foes’ blood.

Anywho…

It looked like this was going to be a sweet showdown
A throwdown,
A sweet battle to the death against this clown,
Marionette!

Was he really a threat?
Or was he just some tool,
A little cog, or perhaps fuel,
For a greater being that didn’t even fret
Over little groups like theirs.

Never one to ponder what he couldn’t control, Silk actually dozed off as he and the others waited for any final arrivals.

_________________
Level 25 Fist Fighter
Boxing Gloves | Nny Scales | Dice Gloves | Iron Anklet | Time Headband

Skills: Ap Corv, Ap Torv, GiVak Don, Ap Torma, Ap Do, Repth, Kiwami, Double Mortal Scorcher

Wishlist:
1.) Rare Foot Armor
2.) FF Belief
3.) Any stat-altering items


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:51 pm 
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Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 289
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(At this point, some of the people would have to wonder just where the hell Canti was at this point. He sure was taking his sweet time getting around. In fact, hadn't it been a good while since he was last seen? The only one who would've known that he was out to begin with was Raine, and she didn't ask where he was headed anyway. What happened, though, according to the action logs of the hideout, was this...)

Log Index 4-5-1 On Subject "Canti".

0001 - Subject asleep. No aberrant behavior.
0027 - Subject Canti's brainwaves spike, eyes moving underneath lids. Possible nightmare.
0035 - Nightmare continues. Energy flux aligned with "Ani" skills detected.
0042 - Smoke detected rising from subject Canti. Nightmare still proceeding.
00XX - Virus detected. Log corrupted.
0059 - Subject awake and leaving barracks. One bed is destroyed by unknown Ani skill.
0063 - Subject is using shops.
0087 - Subject is now composing Flash Mail.
0096 - Subject Canti using Chaos Gate. Direction: Dun Loireag.

0124 - Log resumes. Subject Canti returns from Dun Loireag and heads for Training Grounds.
0133 - Subject Canti standing at Training Grounds. Traces of Ani-type energy are detected.
00XX - Virus detected. Log corrupted.
0139 - Subject Canti speaking with Raine over unidentified items. Nearby wall damaged by unknown Ani skill.
0145 - Subject Canti uses Chaos Gate to transport to Dun Loireag. Ani-type energy still present, and rising.

0618 - Log resumes. Subject Canti returns from Dun Loireag. Ani-type energy still present...


(...and so on. That was what had happened with the Twin Blade before he had basically disappeared for a few hours. If anyone tried to contact him or find him, they would hear nothing from him at all, especially since he hadn't been paying attention to his Flash Mails that much anyway. From the Chaos Gate had come a figure that looked to be in questionable shape. Fully-healed from his latest encounter, Canti was both a physical and mental wreck. His tolerances and limits had been met for the time being...and so he went to the barracks to zonk out for a while. The funny part would be the fact that nobody would see him in there for a while, the reason for this being that he was under one of the beds, his black wings curled up around himself as he took the embrace of nightmares in sleep.)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(Time passed, and Canti managed to get through a fitful uneasy slumber without causing an explosion in the barracks. Still underneath a bed, the Twin Blade opened up his black eyes, feeling a shudder. It was pretty bad, really, this feeling. Ever since the confrontation with his own virus, he's felt like a stalked animal running away from cancer. And cancer always wins. He couldn't stop shaking... It was slight, but there it was. He had control for now, but it was distinctly possible for him to fall out of control and go mad. Mad as a hatter, mad as a man called V, mad as a maniacal mastermind with a "Mwa ha haaa!!" after every sentence. And WHAT was with this sudden alliteration?! Canti felt as though he was calm, but...not collected. He needed something to soothe his mind. Stepping out from underneath the bed, he walked over to the cafe and...stopped.)

Canti: This is crazy. I have a weird craving...for something, but this place is totally fake. I'm being fed and looked after in a hospital, so what could I possibly get from a bogus cafe?

(And then it hit him. This place catered to the mind because of the habit of eating, even though he never really fell into that category, that of the needy hungry fellow who can't recall that he's not actually living here. But there was one thing that struck him, something that he'd almost forgotten... He was once an addict. Drug abuse. Not a serious amount, but he mixed in a few unessentials with his regular medication and supposedly it changed the chemistry of his brain. It was how Reyome was even able to speak to him. But his sudden thrust into The World had forced him to go cold turkey, and the withdrawal from it had been harsh. So now...)

Canti: Gimme 40 Silk Cut, cheers.

(After identifying to the cafe what a "Silk Cut" was, Canti found himself taking a drag on a cigarette. That was what he needed; piece-of-mind in a tube. Feeling a bit more at ease, he began to check his accumulated Flash Mails, namely from all the others who had been sending mail to everybody. The important ones came from Zan and Nighthand. Seems that Zan had cut a deal - Man, he wondered why the guy had been acting funny... - and Nighthand had now proceeded to the new coordinates. They were going to see the puppetmaster. Since it wasn't dated long ago, Canti assumed that the reason the place seemed kind of empty was because people had left. Alright then... So was he!)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(So, they were right. Those words that had been found in the clues were the coordinates to another field, a place to go after the Hubs. Well, it was good to have goals to look forward to. At first, it hadn't even been clear what it would be for, but later...Marionette had made it clear that he wanted to meet. Finally, after long last, they would see just what this enigmatic guy with the weird-ass font was like. Zan had apparently met already, but that wasn't the same as this formal meeting. This guy... He alluded to knowing so much...and Canti wanted answers. Where was Suraisu? Was he alive or dead? Where do they find the Elites and how do they beat them? What does this Marionette want and why does he twist real people into his Guardians? And most important of all... How the hell was he to get out of this game before it ended up killing him? Oh yeah... This guy was gonna have alot of questions, and the answers HAD BETTER BE FORTHCOMING!! So...new transportation rings manifested to bring in Canti the Twin Blade.)

Canti: Oh man...I overslept. The gang's all here and waiting. Ah well...

(For those of whom had not seen him before - like the two guys that Canti himself did not recognize - the Twin Blade had an evil appearance about him, though it was more than likely that he wasn't really that bad of a guy. For those who DID know him...well...anyone with decent senses or at least good enough eyes could see that something had changed. The last time the group saw him, he'd been violently attacking Angel like a crazed animal. Now...he seemed better, though there was still that feeling of the darkness element. And what was with the cigarette in his mouth? He looked around, and immediately noticed something out of place.)

Canti: Dien? Where the hell have you been?

_________________
I'll have a doozy of a sig later, I swear. It'll reflect ".hack//CODE" an' everything.

Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:06 pm 
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Awakened Player
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Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:28 pm
Posts: 150
The next time the portal activated, bringing yet another form into the waiting room, its light revealed a woman, dark-haired and all dressed in blue and gray. Her arms were folded, and a lengthy spear rested in the crook of one. As the rings faded, she blinked once then took in the room at a glance.

Her expression had been somber, but something she saw in the room caused a momentary quirk – amusement at what they were doing, perhaps, or just happiness at seeing certain people? It was difficult to say. The motion was brief.

She’d arrived pretty much as Canti was directing his question to Dien, and apparently decided not to bother him until he had a response to his comment – one she actually wondered herself. Instead, she took a moment to walk over to Hac and offered a brief, possibly out-of-character looking salute using the blade-end of her spear. “Sorry about that. Had a bit of a Flashmail problem.” The smile that accompanied this suggested that the problem was not entirely a source of amusement, but she shrugged it all off almost immediately. She instead turned her attention around to Nighthand, walking over to him.

I’m here to help, with your leave,” she said, the words coming out stiff and formal. When they were done, she simply waited for an answer.

_________________
Senna, level 33 Long Arm (710 HP/180 SP)
Most common kit: Ichigou, Racoon Earcaps, Air Bracer, Snow Panther, Winter Coat, Graceful Book
Spells/Skills: (Critical Hit/Death) Repulse Cage, Ap Corv, Ap Vorv, Rai Rom, Rue Zot, La Repth
Click for full equipment and items
14300 (1/23)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:30 am 
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Well-Oiled Machine
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:59 am
Posts: 176
Location: :noitacoL
((OCC: Due to sheer length, the Mews will be cut from Kit's 'thought' dialogue.))

Everyone is leaving... It's pretty clear the team is starting to head to the next field.

What is an adorable kitten to do?!

Lighteria is practically CATatonic for some reason and I can't seem to snap him out of it! He's not answering flashmails... he didn't even notice the scratch I gave him on his ankle! ...Actually maybe it's best he doesn't snap out of it for that reason...
...
NO! What am I saying?! He's my milk and backrub provider! Without him, my life contains an almost criminal lack of pampering! This is as much my problem as it is his now... which brings me back to my first question.
What IS an adorable kitten like me to do?


With a look of grim determination... ya know, for a cat... Kit leaps down from the couch cushion she had been pondering on and plods swiftly across the floor towards the chaos gate, leaving the timid twin blade sitting in his apparent stupor.

Somehow, I must show him that The World is still going on without him. Maybe when he sees that he can't afford to sit around thinking... whatever he's thinking... maybe then he will snap out of it and get back to his crucial job of belly rubbing.

Though slightly unorthodox, the task of following the members of the team as they gate out is astoundingly simple given that people tend to mutter the field name before gating out. It takes only a few menu selections for the gray tabby kitten to appear on the field is what looks to be the smallest set of golden rings EVER. She takes a quick scan of the room before deciding on her next course of action... an announcement. Clearly this table that was placed in the center of the room was made for this purpose and this purpose only. Assured of this, she quickly leaps onto the table, sits at full height and dignity and lets out a very small cough to get attention on to her. ...Of course it's a quiet, cute cough so it really doesn't do much, but the theatrics are really for her own personal ego rather than actually being effective.

"Mew! Mew mew meow-...(Attention! Since Lighteria is currently-...)"

She looks to the side and seems to do a shift in her throat.

"Right, you can't speak cat..." She sighs. "Like I was saying, since Lighteria is currently zoned completely out for some reason, I will be taking his place. Yes, yes you'll all get the chance to bask in the glory of my amazing battle and oratorical skills soon enough, but for now I ask that you restrain yourselves and allow me to take a brief nap before things start getting dicey. A girl needs her rest after all."

With that, she leaps from the table and curls up on a couch arm rest, yawning and twitching her whiskers. A moment passes before her head lifts suddenly, having forgotten something.

"Oh, one more thing. Back rubs are allowed at any point."

She nods, having explained everything she felt is needed to have explained, and curls up again, ready to have a nice dream of tuna and yarn balls.

_________________
Lv. 37 Twin Blade (180 SP)
Weapon: Rashou (Thunder Coil- 30, Suvi Lei- 20, Mumyn Lei- 30) (Life Drain)
Armor: Holy Tree Mail (Juk Kruz- 20) - Scarab Earring (La Repth- 20, Rip Maen- 40) - Time Sandals (Ap Do- 15) - Forest Gloves (Juk Kruz- 20)
GP: 14384

Wish list (In order of priority): Angel halo accessory, chibi angel wings, Bone Armor, Professional

Lighteria: "Obsessively updating my profile since Fri Oct 01, 2004 7:10 pm"


Last edited by Lighteria on Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:25 pm 
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Master of Games
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
Once the majority of the party had gated in and were steadily growing more and more anxious in the waiting room, something finally happened. Marionette, who was no doubt watching their every move with avid interest, removed the ‘please wait’ note from existence. Soundlessly and instantaneously a door appeared in one of the walls. It was a simple door, serving it’s purpose without being uselessly ornamented.

Nighthand surged to his feet with all the pent-up energy caused by his waiting. The longer he had waited, the more likely he thought the chances of an ambush to be. When nothing poured through the door with death in it’s eyes, he opened it and walked through himself.

Beyond the door was a long, narrow hallway, only wide enough to allow a single-file line. Hopefully the party could put the skill they learned in kindergarten to use and not bicker over position… in any case, the ‘leader’ of the party went first. It was only reasonable that Nighthand be in the lead anyways; he had the greatest chance of stopping a surprise attack.

The hallway was long and dark, but a light at the end showed them it was perfectly straight. So, it wasn’t long before they all emerged and stood in what appeared to be a small, sunny garden. Outside? Or close enough, in any case.

Sitting on a small stone bench in the garden, the room’s sole occupant when they arrived was Guardian. Marionette’s recurring deus ex machina in a can looked idle, though with a face made out of black plastic, who could tell?

”You have arrived, and have many questions, no doubt. The Master had bid me be under your command, for the moment. I am to answer any questions you have to the best of my ability. My only directive is for the protection of myself and the Master. Also, allowances have been made should you wish to fight rather than speak. I cannot take you to the Master yet.”

”Yeah, I have questions.” Nighthand said. ”What does your master want with us? How does he know so much about us?”

”The Master will tell you of his expectations in person. His knowledge is gained through reason and research.”

Reason and research? What the hell?
That… is interesting, actually.
What do you mean?
Well, for one, it means he doesn’t know everything, just what’s been shown. Well, that, and what he can guess.
He’s said things he couldn’t possibly have known, though.
That only means we’re dealing with someone with far more processing capability than we expected.

”What do you mean about allowances if we fight you?”

”Should battle become necessary this room will become an arena suitable to combat. That is all.”

”How do we progress past you to find your master?”

”The Master will tell me when he is ready to see you. If you wish to find him earlier, you must pass me.’ Nighthand looked beyond the Guardian, but the garden ended in a wall.

”You mean in combat.” There was no answer.

So… they had their terms. Wait on Marionette and pump Guardian for information, or fight Guardian and get to Marionette as fast as possible.

-------------------ooc:
I’d like to go to twice a week now, since the conversations could be short and/or scripted, but this depends on all of you being able to post quickly. My plan will be for the next post to come on Sunday, probably in the evening. Also, go here to see Guardian’s picture if you haven’t before.

_________________
My items and such
Image
Wishlist: Any Armor or Weapons under level 50, Any Scrolls (prefer level 2+)

EXP 500/1000


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:07 am 
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Exalted Player
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 1:59 am
Posts: 226
Location: The "Who's Online List," Stalking People...
Dien? Where the hell have you been?

It was a strange provocation of an inquest, though the blademaster had to imagine that everyone else had been silently asking the same thing. He didn’t much care. Eventually he’d have to tell them, but why push the bill? Turning to the twinblade, he noticed something different.

“Didn’t know you smoked,” he commented nonchalantly, half wondering what the acrid stuff would taste like for him, and half wondering if there would be any effects for himself besides aesthetics.

I don’t...’till now. I just...needed something, you know? I haven’t even had my regular medication in here, so I...” He seemed to trail off, someone behind the blademaster catching his gaze as he watched. Over the twinblade’s face came a look of shock, though oddly relieved, before he returned to Dien.

Sorry. A lot of shit’s been happening while you were out.

“I can imagine,” he replied shortly, “a lot of that shit followed me. The World’s just a shitty place, I guess...” As negative as it was, the mild humor was there, to which Dien smiled. It was Senna that Canti had noticed: he recognized the longarm’s voice.

“You two got something going on?” he asked, not much caring for the twin blade’s potential embarrassment, but not seeing any reason why he should be. It did, though…

Er, what? No, we’re not- I mean, uhhh…shit.” For a brief moment, he was lost in thought until, “I dunno about that. She went missing during the last Hub. I thought she was leaving us. It really bummed me out.” Dien nodded, in some small way understanding exactly what Canti was going through. It was almost like what he had with Danielle, if not slightly more tangible. They were friends. They were more than friends, but less lovers. They were…

“At least you got yours back,” he finally concluded, for the first time giving any hint as to what happened to him. Without noticing it, his teeth had clenched tight together and his hands had both become fists. Did he really care for her that much?

The ‘yours’ part seemed to click in his mind, as though he wasn’t sure of something. He watched the wheels turn in his comrade’s head, a shade of pink overtaking his face before he narrowed his eyes.

Uhhh, what’re you talking about?

Laughter. Dien couldn’t help but let it out, escaping to release the tension that had suddenly risen in the room. This no doubt grabbed the attention of almost everyone in the room, if only for a moment, but he laughed anyway. It made perfect sense that he would be oblivious yet. It had only been a few days since they’d been infected, and even less since she’d shown up. If anything had developed, the blademaster seriously questioned its longevity. Besides, seeing Satan blush was a funny sight.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized, cutting off his laughter but still battling its side effects, “I didn’t mean that you were together. God, there’d be something wrong with something like that happening so immediately. No, I meant that your relationship with her is roughly the same as mine, with...” the smile had vanished from his face. It hadn’t sunk in yet: he hadn’t gotten Danielle back. And now, there was nothing he could do about it. He didn’t even know where she was, let alone if she was still safe. What had Hakouin done to her? What had Leek?! For a second, his face scrunched together, letting tears out of his eyes, but then it was over, and he wiped them away as though they’d never happened.

With who? Dien...where were you this whole time? What the hell did you do?

Great regret and sorrow, if they hadn’t been with the blademaster, were definitely there now. Nighthand began to move, and the rest of the party began to follow suit while he sat silently, running through events of his excursion silently in his mind. It was still too much to digest, even for him. He stood, but instead of answering Canti’s question, he answered another.

“In the tower with Suraisu,” he began, “do you remember Futune? His character had been hacked not long before, and as a result he had the ears and the tail--but more than that, he had a super-intelligent AI with him. Her name was Danielle, and originally, she’d been created to take over his real-life body. Anyway, through the course of events, she wound up installing herself on me, before Futune lagged out.” He silently began to walk forward, following in suit behind whoever happened to be in front of him, not really caring one way or the other. When they’d made it into the garden, he continued.

That’s who.”

I guess I can’t really understand what that’s like.” he finally said, having followed the blademaster through the hallway, “You, Zan, Sekai... You’ve all got these AIs attached to you. I didn’t know Futune had one. He just told me he’d been hacked and that was that.

“Yeah,” Dien said, wondering if Zhao had overheard any of it. It was all stuff he’d told him before anyway, right? “the funny thing is that I could have stopped her. When she began installing herself, I caught it in my firewalls, and was literally asked by dozens of prompts if I wanted to let her in.” He paused slightly, reflecting a moment while staring blankly at the open sky. “I could have said no.”

Why did she do it? Errr, uhhh... Ya know what? Nevermind. I don’t need to know that badly.” He had a look that understood how hard a guy can get hit in life as he took a drag on the cigarette. “Some things are better left out, ‘cause they’re too ugly to face.

“Nah, she wasn’t ugly,” the blademaster smiled, “anything but. She installed herself ‘cause she was curious and intrigued by how I interfaced with The World. No dark intents there.” Eyes closed as he tilted his head back to face the midday sun, and began to walk forward again.

“Now that she’s gone, though, I can’t help but wonder if I never should have let her install in the first place. Would not knowing her have been better than not having her now?” He looked down at the twinblade, “these questions I ask myself, they have no answer.”

Well then I can’t help ya. I didn’t even know you had her.” He seemed to have things on his mind as well, tossing down the cigarette butt and crushing it.

“Heh, yeah,” he said, reminiscing, “she was rather self conscious about letting people know about her. In fact, I think that it was only Zan who knew.” If he’d been paying attention, perhaps he would have seen the character in his path, but staring into the sky made that rather difficult. As it stood, he brushed by Guardian’s legs, and so fell flat on his face, not noticing until it was too late to even brace for impact.

Zan?! Heh. Figures... So anyway, let’s harass the doorman,” he said this with a sudden grin.

“Doorman...?” he asked, pushing himself off the dirt and muttering a quick healing spell while Canti remained upright, “oh right, you’re Marionette’s Guardian.”

Sorry about that, guy. My bad, really. Say ummm...are you human like the others? Never really figured that part out.

Perhaps I once was. I am beyond such limitations now, however.

“Limitations?” Dien asked, sitting up and on the ground next to the black-faced man, “how do you mean?”

You are limited. Pain holds you back, biology weakens you, morality stops your decisions.” Oh great, a psychopath.

So, in other words, you’re pretty much like Angel, Devil, and Primal were. Correct?” That was right. Canti had direct experience with the other two hubs. Primal he knew. Primal had nearly been the death of them all, and he could only guess that Angel and Devil were the other two hub-keepers.

Incorrect. I am beyond them.” There was something in how he said it, some blunt and overconfident tone that reminded the blademaster of 343 Guilty Spark from Bungie’s timeless classic Halo series. Cocky and self-absorbed? Not quite, but close.

How far beyond?” Canti seemed upset.

There is no proper scale on which to measure our relative ability.


“Then I’m glad you’re more of a diplomat than Primal was,” Dien commented, jumping in before Canti went ballistic, “‘cause if you’re stronger, then I’d rather not have to fight you.”

I am simply performing the service the Master bid me perform.

“So if he says ‘fight,’ you fight?”

I would.” So he wasn’t as deceptive as Guilty Spark had been, but the resemblance was still uncanny.

And the service is to block us from advancing any quicker than he wants. I heard. So lemme ask you... Is it that your master placed you here because we’re suppose to fight? Or is he really just preparing for us and he’ll tell you to let us in if we’re just patient?

“Don’t provoke him, Canti,” Dien said, jumping in, “I’m fairly confident it’s the latter.” He had to admit, though neither option sounded pretty, and he couldn’t imagine many other alternatives.

The Master is prepared. He tests your curiosity and your desire to meet him. Whether you fight me or not is irrelevant to his plans, only to yours.” Whether it was his similarity to the character, or just the fact that his face bore no emotion, something set off within the blademaster that this one couldn’t be entirely trusted.

“So then this is the Rat’s Gauntlet,” Dien said, “tell me this, Guardian, do you know what became of Nall?”

That is a question for you to ask the Master.” So he didn’t know either? Damn, if he wasn’t impossible to get a hold of.

Okay, so you either don’t care or are not informed of the big questions. Tell me then, O man-of-the-door, what are you for, aside from Marionette’s top bouncer? Does he even have any power beyond making guys like you?

He knows more about you than you do.” Impossible. No, not quite impossible, just highly improbable.

“Then how much does he know?”

There is no scale on which to measure his knowledge.Bull.

“In terabytes, then? Petabytes? He’s in The World - he has to have some quantifiable database or resource book or something...”

Dien, we’re not getting anywhere here,” Canti said, cutting in and looking slightly annoyed, “he’s a blocker for us AND our information. He’s a blank slate. Nothing to give.” It was then that Guardian began his move. The mask was turned, and it spoke to Canti:

Reyome works hard, doesn’t she? It’s too bad she’s powerless.” It set him off – even more than Dien’s comment about Senna had. Still, who was-

A shame you had to leave your comrades for this.” That did it. Without any warning, he ripped his sword out, not caring which weapon he’d equipped so long as it had a sharp edge as in what felt like an instant, the blade was pressed to the character’s throat. His Corona was let out for the first time, angering his rage as he threatened the doorman.

“What do you know about it?!”

Canti’s reaction was not as dramatic, but it carried impact as black fire rose from a pointed finger. He didn’t fire yet. It just got his hackles up is all. “Fuck you, ya friggin’ zombie! If you’re so smart and tough, how come you’ve got HIS hand up your ass?!

If you initiate battle mode you will surely be destroyed.” Guardian stood, his cane floating on front of his body, pushing Dien’s blade away. He placed one hand on Canti’s finger, and the other on Dien’s forehead. Abruptly, both of their graphical effects disappeared, while simultaneously Dien’s sword snapped in half.

I follow the Master of my own volition. Not like the Enslaved Primal, the Sorcelled Devil, or the Deluded Angel.” Then, abruptly, Guardian was sitting once more, his cane flat across his lap. Dien’s sword was intact, and both of their hacks were active, though they were now aimed approximately seven inches off.

What the hell?! Canti’s face mimicked Dien’s thoughts perfectly, and the black stuff at the end of his finger vanished. Another cigarette was in his mouth almost as soon after, and he spoke.

Wouldn’t bet on that, ya know, keeping Angel in mind. She said the same thing. ‘I serve him of my own free will’. Told me so. It’s bullshit. You’re nothing to him. Just a tool waiting for the hammer to fall.” He grinned confidently, “Tough or not, he’s master. He’ll end you, no contest.” The blademaster said nothing, simply standing down from the fight, though still keeping an ugly glare on the Guardian.

No such confrontation will take place. The Master’s goals are my own. I work with him in fair exchange for my abilities.

“And, it would seem, your knowledge,” he had half a mind to ask Canti for a cigarette, but it wouldn’t suit him, “I’ll tell you what, Guardian, you can talk all you want about our abilities, about your pathetic master, about how bad you could own us in a fight, but let me advise you of this: if you touch our personal lives? Things are going to get real ugly down here, and you won’t want to stick around to see it.” He scoffed, turning away. “I don’t give two shits about Marionette,” he said, “and you know it. I’m just here to follow with this band of Freedom Fighters ‘cause it’s what Amy wanted. I don’t really know their goals, but I do know that killing you would give me no grief.” Peering over his shoulder angrily, he finished, “So don’t fucking push me.”

You speak well of friends you left behind. Were it only that they could see you as you die from such overconfidence.” It wouldn’t work. He was just trying to provoke him to a fight, and it wouldn’t work.

Right. Of course.” He paused for a moment, taking another drag, “I’m curious. What kind of goals do you have? What are you for? And hold off on ‘His Master’s Voice’ for a second. I just want to know what you DO. Gimme... ‘A Day in the Life of Guardian,’ alright?”

I do what the Master requires of me. His orders are my guide.” To which Canti facepalmed.

“So you’re nothing more than a boy on a string,” Dien said, “you were right Canti, this guy has nothing for us. Though I would like nothing better than to see his head impaled on a stick, he’s not worth the effort of killing to make that a reality. Let’s just stop talking: no need to kill anyone yet.”

Nothing but aggravation,” he muttered, “Totally unreasonable. I can’t talk to this guy.” Dien couldn’t blame him, and walked away himself, taking a seat on another bench elsewhere in the garden to let himself cool off. He couldn’t have said it better, there was no need to kill anyone yet, despite many desires to the contrary.

_________________
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Image|||Level 35 Blademaster (+200 EXP)
Wishlist: EXP, Ends of Earth, Armor with Status Effects


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:18 pm 
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Canti and Dien were talking. Senna took a moment to look over the people she didn’t really know. Her mind was trying to work over what might be Marionette’s plan, but this wasn’t a word puzzle, it was a people puzzle, and Senna was notoriously bad at those. It occupied her mind well enough until she heard sounds of movement in the room beyond the typical.

Ever the mysterious one, Marionette couldn’t just come out and get on with whatever he was planning. Instead, they were invited through a long hallway, and at the other end… a garden? Senna wasn’t particularly nervous – perhaps it was leftover from earlier, but she was just angry. Falling into line wherever she happened to be, she followed along until they came out in a little garden with a familiar face in it.

Face? Perhaps not. Mask. Whatever the thing was, it was apparently in a chatty mood. She tuned out. Maybe not the best idea, but then, she wasn’t known for being smart in matters that counted in this group, was she?

"Senna...” A familiar voice with a different tone than the last time she’d heard it. She turned and nodded a greeting to Hac as he spoke. “I was worried something had happened after the last hub...you sort of disappeared, and never answered my Flashmail...I almost thought Team Moron would be disbanded."

Oh yeah. There were some ways in which that disappearance hadn’t been the best of ideas. Trying out a neutral expression for the time being – scowling being somewhat painful to maintain – she said, "Yeah, I'm sorry about that. But it'll take more that a little side trip to break up the team eh?" She offered a “V” sign along with a smile.

He returned both the gesture and the expression. "Heh, yeah...So it seems we will finally be able to meet the one behind all this...you ready?"

This one she already knew the answer to, though she couldn’t say it with a smile. “No.”

He sounded surprised. "Not quite the answer I was expecting...what's wrong?"

She shrugged. "It's been watching. And now, it had eyes on the inside of the group. It wanted us funneled somewhere specific. It has every advantage, and all we get is a thing that might as soon lie to us as not. How can any of us be ready, eh?" She tried to smile again. It didn’t even feel close to convincing. Apparently some things took a while to shake off. Or maybe, it was just this place.

"Touche.” he said. “however, one can only hope to be prepared in these times. While your technical response is the most sensible in nature, my naive response at least leaves room for hope; that is something we need right now."

It was a sign of how much more concentration this situation called for that it took her a couple seconds to process what he’d said. It was more analytical than she’d been expecting. Well, she chided herself, just because you’re thinking stupid lately doesn’t mean EVERYONE is.

All she said though was, "I suppose that's true. So, what do you make of that?" She made a careless gesture, almost a shooing motion, toward the lone occupant of the room who wasn’t a part of their little group.

"Hmm...Quite the extraordinary predicament we are in. We could shoot off some questions and try to get some answers. If you noticed though, it acts to preserve its own being as well as Marionette's. So fighting may be a good option to eliminate the future threat."

Speaking of talking, it looked like Canti and DIen were doing just that. From their expressions, it was maybe not the most productive of situations. Still, at the moment no one seemed particularly prone to violence and if it wasn’t trying to feed them a load of crap, odds were good one of those options was better than the other for someone who cared to do either.

"Heh. Asking it questions is the last thing I want to do,” she said. “But if you want to, maybe you'll get something out of the answers."

"If not...we could always...pull another stunt if you know what I mean," he said, smiling.

For some reason, it almost made her chuckle. It brought her back to when Team Moron wasn’t so… serious. "Depending on how long Marionette would have us wait, perhaps it'll come to that either way, neh?"

"Well it's crunch time...time for my question...wish me luck."

"Of course! Good luck.

"Thanks..."

She offered a wave, then turned her attention toward Marionette’s conversation with Dien and Canti. Huh. It didn’t seem to be going so well. In fact… it seemed to have ended rather abruptly, and after a bit of threatening on the Freedom Fighters’ side. It was nearly funny. And by that, she meant not funny at all.

Shaking her head, she shouldered her spear and wandered toward Canti to see how his chat with their host had gone.

_________________
Senna, level 33 Long Arm (710 HP/180 SP)
Most common kit: Ichigou, Racoon Earcaps, Air Bracer, Snow Panther, Winter Coat, Graceful Book
Spells/Skills: (Critical Hit/Death) Repulse Cage, Ap Corv, Ap Vorv, Rai Rom, Rue Zot, La Repth
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:51 am 
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After waiting in the waiting room, a door appeared from one the walls. It’s about time.

Phoenix got up and followed Nighthand and the others through the door. After walking through a long hallway, he arrived to a garden full of sunlight along with Marionette’s guardian. After hearing the Guardian’s words that they would have to wait a bit more to see the puppeteer himself.

Great even more waiting. It feels like waiting for hours to ride a big roller coaster but instead of being rewarded of riding it, it breaks down.

The blademaster walked around the garden trying to bide time. While looking at the artificial sky, he noticed that Canti and Dien were talking to the Guardian. He observed the conversation and got some useful information like trying to attack the Guardian now would be pointless now.

Phoenix already figured that the Guardian would not know much of Marionette’s plans or knowledge. Its main purpose was to protect and serve him regardless how severe the order was. Trying to talk with the Guardian was pointless. It was better to play out Marionette’s game instead of trying to force the issue. Dying now would defeat the point of coming here. His only wish at this point was to have Suzaku now since she acquired a very powerful sphere. He wondered how much time before Suzaku would wake up and return to the fight.

The boredom was beginning to set in and Phoenix decided to talk with Nighthand. It has been a while since he talked to Nighthand one on one.

"Hey Nighthand, how are you doing?" It was the best thing that he could think of to start the conversation.

"Um... decent enough, I guess. As well as can be expected, living in a video game."

"Of course. I'm okay at the moment except for the fact of waiting twice to meet the puppeteer."

"I'm sure there's some sort of purpose to it. Of course the option is always there to kill Guardian and forcefully move past him.”

"There's that but from what Dien and Canti did, fighting him isn't such a good idea at this point. Don't get me wrong. I love a good fight but that fight can wait."

"I agree. After watching him effortlessly kill Angel's pet, I'm not so sure we are even powerful enough to beat him." For Nighthand to say that meant the Guardian was very powerful in his mind. Phoenix would rather think that the Guardian was able to kill Angel’s pet so easily because he probably knew how to kill it from Marionette. Then again, the Guardian should not be easily underestimated but at the same time, not easily overestimated.

"The Guardian is more a butler to me. Very loyal to Marionette. It's not in his nature to question him or even desire to know what's going on. He'll just follow orders. Getting information out of him would be very pointless."

"So far, anyways. We might just not know the kind of questions to ask." The blademaster did not even thought of that. Maybe talking to the Guardian was worth it after all.

"You maybe right about that. Most of the questions asked were about things aquired through reason and research by Marionette. There's one thing that concerns me. He probably knows about the current hideout and able to spy on it."

"This is probably true... but then, the Elites knew where our last hideouts were. So far, we haven't been attacked."

"It's the spying that worries me more. Too bad that the only person who has seen Marionette isn't here."

"Yeah. We might have some questions for him too."

"Well, I think I'm going to talk to the Guardian to get some idea about Marionette."

"Go for it." Phoenix left Nighthand’s company and walked over towards the Guardian. He decided to approve the conversation in a serious and respectful way towards Marionette.

"Guardian, how is Marionette as a person? A flashmail doesn't give me much insight to such a great person he is?"

"The Master is neither great nor terrible. His goals are his own."

"I wasn't asking about his goals. I was asking about his personality. Last time I checked, personality doesn't equal goals."

"Your goals speak much about you." The Guardian seemed to have a philosopher side or had the ability to dodge questions with ease. To Phoenix, either choice was fifty/fifty.

"Answer me this, do you get a reward when you helped him accomplished one of his goals? Or better yet, do you feel any sense of accomplishment when he accomplished a goal since his goals are your goals?"

"Our goals are as yet incomplete." The blademaster suddenly decided to try to appeal any sort of humanity within the Guardian.

"If you were human before coming to the service of Marionette, you must have been one pathetic human. I never met anyone such of you. Even Angel had more sense of self than you."

"Angel was weak."

"Perhaps but having some sense of self is better than have none at all. The only way that you're beyond them is how much a puppet you're truly are. You follow every order without a second thought and yet you don't care if Marionette decides to throw you out to the burner."

"As long as I perform my service, I will not be discarded." At this point, Phoenix did confirm that the Guardian had no sense of self except towards its own survival. It cannot serve Marionette if it dies. Besides that, there was nothing. He has devoted himself towards the service of one man. A man would not hesitate to throw him away once he has no more use to him. The Japanese would love a man like that since they do not valve the individual at all. Phoenix decided to switch the topic of the conversation back to the original point.

"I see. Tell me this. What does Marionette look like?"

"You will see for yourself soon enough." Fair enough. That was a pointless question.

"Okay. How much longer until we see your master?"

"Time is relative here. Soon."

"Then why make us wait in here? If he wasn't ready to receive us yet, what was point to coming here to wait instead in the waiting room?"

"Here you make choices." This was the first time throughout the entire conversation that really peaked Phoenix’s interest.

"Choices? What kind of choices?"

"You decide to stay or leave. You decide to fight or remain passive."

"I see. I guess I will have to wait before I could know what choice I will make. It's been fun talking to you, Guardian."

Phoenix leaves the Guardian to be and leans on one of the walls pondering. Choices? It has always been about choice hasn’t. Choosing to fight or succumb to the fate given to you. Choosing the reason of why you fight. If the Guardian says that your goals speak much about you, then my goals would say that I have changed my mind many times. I been changing why I fight. Fighting for myself, for my memories, for the Freedom Fighters, and for the ordinary players of the World. Or maybe there’s no one singular reason of why I fight? I guess I have many goals to complete and Marionette is standing in my way to complete them. Suzaku, do you have goals as well?

_________________
Phoenix
Level 48 Blademaster
Equipped Skills: Vak Revolver, Gan Revolver, Dek Vorv, La Repth, Juk Kruz, Rue Kruz, BiVak Rom, GiGan Zot
Other Skills: Rue Kruz, Rip Synk, Rip Saem, Crack Beat, Rue Slash, Ani Slash, Gan Crack, Gan Revolver

Wish List: Phoenix's Fire, Gold Necklace
EX-Spheres: LV 3 - Overdrive, LV 3 - Curative, LV 3 - Elemental Breath


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