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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:41 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 288
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(When Talal and Shadow arrived, he smiled. Canti had full confidence in their ability to navigate a town without drawing undue attention, but it was better to know, you know? With nearly all of them there and nothing going on, Shadow had gone to somewhere near the center of the room, rotated ones, and plopped onto the ground. And what had Canti been doing before they got in? Looked like Tetris on a window similar to his music selector. He was interrupted when the call came in from yonder Flash Mail.)

Quote:
To: Party
From: Raine
RE: Briefing

Come to the main hall, I’d like to get us started.



(As soon as he stood, Shadow's ears - followed by the rest of him - perked up and the two of them headed for that black-and-gold Steeler meeting hall. Honestly, you could pick up a Pittsburgh accent just by standing in here. Once everybody came in, Raine announced that she would be accompanying them into the Rue Tower. This was a bit of a surprise to the Twin Blade, who had basically never seen Raine in anything other than a support role, even more in the background than a Wavemaster would be. She barely ever removed herself from whatever base they were using at the time, as far as he knew, so this was news. The statement about the dangers of Melzas was not entirely news. A prophetic ice user couldn't be any more dangerous to the dark and fiery Twin Blade unless he were also immune to his own fire-based abilities. Even more to the point, he was not the wizened sort of fellow that Canti thought he might be. He was an undead-looking chap with armor and a big-ass sword. In short, he was anything but squishy. Now, perhaps that meant his casting power was low and his fighting power was high, thus picking off our winged fellow would not be as easy, but as the Elite of ice...he'd probably have all the abilities anyway, which was what Raine certainly indicated. The man was basically SubZero with a sword. As for the prophecy business...)

Canti: Well, either it does exactly what we all think it does, or it reads something off from us like a cheat-sheet into our characters. Either way, that kind of ability is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

(following this, Raine presented them all with the other half of the low-down here. Out of all the heavy hitters, Nall, Sheena, and Demorian were out. One was being looked after by another, for which we could not blame her since Nall wasn't quite in the pink yet. Demorian, as stated, was too icy to be of actual use here, which of course made Canti himself indespensible. What they needed to do now was carefully decide...on the three choices that Raine had put before them. They basically boiled down to... 'Key or not?', 'Convince or not?', and more personally 'Participate or not?'. On the last part, canti wasn't even aware he had the option, or that any of them did. The less that went, the less-likely this was going to work no matter what went down.)

“Go ahead and take a bit of time to think and discuss. We have about a day to hide out, rest, recuperate, and get anything done in town that you needed to do. After that, we’ll leave. I recommend anything with ice defense you can grab. I’ll be here to talk if you need, and you can Flashmail the others if you need; they’re not at risk of compromise in this instance.”

(Without really waiting at all, Canti stepped forward.)

Canti: I don't really need to think about it. Actually, I kind of had already, so everything after that is a bunch of retread for me. See, we dunno how his Item works, but there's a chance he's seen this coming, in which case... Hi.

(The Twin Blade kinda' waves at no one in particular with a smirk, then turns back to Raine.)

Canti: I think we should use our key, because while the thought of using it to attack Royce or Garaa is tempting, I'd rather not do it on their home turf. Even Ani Sector itself is better than fighting Garaa where he's at his strongest. And I know luring them out may not be that easy, but I'd rather use our key on this one and get it over with. We should give the guy a chance, but that doesn't mean we have to give his tower a chance. And as for participating, I say the more, the merrier.

(And that was it, really. Canti had far more pressing matters than to discuss more about his decisions. He had a life to get back to. Better to head for it than drag their feet on the matter. Whatever they decided, he personally still had to go there into a place where he was both at his strongest and his weakest to do something incredibly dangerous. For now, he needed to determine how well he could survive such an encounter...and purchase a sound effect.)

_________________
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.


Last edited by Lord Canti on Sun May 29, 2016 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:26 pm
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Location: Victoria, Australia
Before Maoh could say anything more, Velvet leapt into the fray and began attacking Nighthand with a ferocious string of attacks. As exhilarating as this was, Maoh just couldn’t get into the mood of watching the exchange. It was something about how the day had basically gone from one unfortunate event to the other, ending with him as a cat. That said, it took more and more effort to remind himself of a time without a tail as time went by. It was time to find a cosy spot somewhere within the hall and bunker down for however long it would take for the others to get back in contact with what their next plan of action was to be.

There was a spot opposite the stairs leading down, up against the wall near the door to Velvet’s office. He was sleepy, and his eyelids began to slowly droop. As soon as he felt as though he was about to fall asleep a sudden clang of weapons clashing rouse him from his rest. It was clear that there wasn’t going to be an opportunity to get some sleep here, but the uncertainty of what was about made him stay with the two having at it. Something about the devils you know being better than the ones you don’t; although for ‘devils’ they were pretty alright. Looking down at his paws, Maoh flexed them so his claws extended, seeing them glint. While Nighthand used a weapon and Velvet seemed adept at twin daggers, these were his weapons now.

Rolling over onto his side, Maoh tried to get comfortable, watching the battle through half closed eyes. About a minute later, a familiar white haired woman came into view from the other side of the hall, drawing a close to the sparring match. A couple minutes after that, Sekai was joined with some other woman with black armour and an equally edgy attitude. Then they were on the floor, then they were arguing about something. Maoh stopped caring, or rather he didn’t know where to begin starting to comprehend what was unfurling. There was something about betrayal or confusion of who an ally was or something; it was beyond the responsibilities of a cat to have to deal with other people’s relationships. Sure, they were in this together, but this was his first day. Someone could surely just give him the abridged version later.

Maoh held out his paw and a book materialised in his hand. In his other formed an ornate box of almost pristine cards. This was their game-exclusive card game that had been in circulation since the conception of the game. Some of the last few event rewards he’d heard about included the character’s avatar to be on some of the collector’s editions. Granted, given they weren’t in general circulation, Maoh was surprised to find some of them in here. This was going to be his activity for the time being it seemed, at least it seemed to be a structured exercise than watching people arguing about politics. When Velvet was free he’d as for some instruction as far as she could offer in lacking a formal weapon, at least to bridge him over until he could ask Sheena the same.

Time rolled by, and soon enough a Flashmail came to his attention. Cards littered the floor around Maoh’s spot in the hall, so much so that there were organised stacks and layouts of cards with no real rhyme or reason as to what it all meant; essentially he’d been just following the steps in the book hoping to understand the tactics of the game better. His eyes flicked across the mail instructing them to come to the hall. He paid it no mind given he was already there and continued with his card arrangement. Raine, the person who sent it seemed to just stand in the middle of the hall waiting, which he gave kudos to given there was no telling how long she was likely to be waiting. When everyone was gathered, she began to deliver her address to the group.

What she sized up their opponent to be was some heavily clad Skeletor wannabe that loved ice and was half-assedly cosplaying some anime character. Raine gave them a pouch of what they’ll potentially need to shake off some of the Ruem damage they would take in their mission, although from how Raine explained what was going on it wasn’t going to be as simple as that. Given he could see the future, or so they said, it was going to be a tough one to puzzle out. Maoh glanced back over to the mess he had made on the floor and began to wonder. If this guy could see the future, and even if he couldn’t, it’d be good to have moves and potential countermoves stored up their sleeves. Canti seemed to have the right idea, although his execution of that point seemed to be a tad childish.

Maoh wandered over to his TCG encyclopaedia and brought it over. ”Moves and countermoves. If it comes down to straight combat, and what’s-his-face can see the future, then we have to force the future in which he can’t take an action that leads to victory.” Maoh held the book out to Raine, continuing. ”If he can dodge, then create an environment where there’s nowhere to go. If he knows where you’re going to move, make it dangerous to pursue, right?” Maoh frowned, visibly uncertain about even going into it thinking combat is even an option. If it comes to a fight for survival, there wasn’t going to be a chance he’d just lay down and die; but this all came down to being outclassed.

Raine looked down at the book, even if it was the tiniest of glances, and nodded. "Imagine that, but on a much larger scale board. Less like the TCG, more like Go. We don't know how far ahead he sees, or how specific his sight is. He might be taking preemptive action against us already, or he might not know until we're in his presence. You have the right idea, though; if we're going to succeed against him, we need to limit his options and prevent him from limiting ours."

"If that's the best course of action, then our best option is to play the odds of him not knowing until we have the drop on him and use the key." Maoh was uncertain, and it was as plain as day on his face. This guy didn’t seem like a pushover, and the gap widened further between his own statistical numbers and their upcoming foe’s. "How likely is he going to see that as a threat? Climbing up through Xenobia's tower gave us the chance to gather some resources, so we're giving up that opportunity as well if we take the shortcut." Maoh thought back to his two major finds and then his three lesser ones, wondering if there would ever be the chance of heading back to that junk room and rummaging for more things.

"Honestly, what scant resources we might find in the Frozen Spire would pale in comparison to the challenges. We could fight our way up, but it wouldn't be as benign as Xenobia's tower was for you folks. Xenobia, for lack of a better phrase, likes to play with her food. Melzas is a much more efficient predator." Using the word benign to describe what they just went through from Xenobia’s tower was a tad insulting. He went from human to cat in amongst all of the other things going on. Perhaps it was just tame in comparison to what the rest of the group had been through prior to his arrival; and if that was the case then a part of him was a little bit thankful.

"Then the last question becomes: Does he know we have the key?" This seemed to be the lynchpin on whether or not their move forward was going to be in vain. On one hand, if he knew then the new train of thought would be analysing whether or not he’d expect them to use it and have already planned accordingly, or if doing so would just invite a different kind of danger. Otherwise, if he didn’t know about the key then it became a very interesting wild card for them to potentially tap into.

Raine didn’t respond straight away. In fact, the cogs were turning in her head as she stood there silently thinking over her answer. "I don't know for sure. I haven't intercepted any spies reporting to him about us, but he's never been one to use an intelligence network. He prefers the personal use of his powers, to gloat that he doesn't need to rely on others for his information. I think we managed to keep the key secret enough, but there's no telling who else knew about it before we got it."

So the oaf sounded like an arrogant bastard. "Which only creates another question: How competent is Melzas in making contingencies?" Maoh frowned, unsure if his read on the situation was right after all.

"He's still alive and unchallenged. We've had a few scrapes with him in the past and we've managed to get out alive, but so has he."

Maoh cut back in suddenly. "Then we use the key. If he can't see us until we're close and doesn't know of the key, he'll likely be planning on a swift finish after his tower has softened us up. If he's all about gloating his superiority, then he'll likely want the glory of being the one to finish us off. What he won't be expecting when we arrive at the tower will be a blitz assault." Done, dusted, plan made; time to get to work and prepare.

Or so he thought. "You'll want to discuss that with everyone. If there's a chance to get him on our side, that would be the place to start. It's only if we're sure we can't negotiate... or won't, I guess, that we should alpha strike like that."

Maoh went to interject but found he hadn’t anything to stand on. Truthfully he hadn’t overly remembered the whole negotiating aspect of their plan, and was just ready for the worst; ready for another climactic battle against a foe way outside his league. "I honestly forgot the negotiating thing. But if he's all about the apex predator in this, I doubt he'll listen to us if we come across as worthy prey. Either way, key is seeming better if we want to end this quickly, tower adventure is seeming better if we want to prove ourselves to him."

"On that note, I don't think proving ourselves to him via his tower will make a difference. We've been responsible for the deaths of several of his peers; nothing in his tower will compare to facing an Elite. I agree with using the key, at least." At least they could both agree that the key was the way to go.

All that was left was to start getting ready. Given that the topic of ice defence came up then Maoh figured he should at least look into his options. If he were truly stuck here, and his fight now was one of survival, then it was time to resort to whatever it took to make sure he came out the other end. Granted, while just sitting out was by far and wide the largest chance of survival, he couldn’t just sit by after being roped in. If anything, he has some kind of score to settle to make sure he can feel as though he got even for having to get used to this new way of life; and that’s not even mentioning the whole cat thing. "I'll start picking up supplies, then. Send a message if you need anything." With that, Maoh made for the stairs with a vague idea of something to try. Getting in on this party for protection against death was a godsend, but thankfully he wouldn’t need to rely on it as a brace.

There was only one place he truly knew in his short span of playing the game before everything went south. In addition, it was the only area that he really had access to without any work, as it was the one place that any person could go. When he got there, he was going to not exactly play by the book, but functionally put himself in a much better place at the cost of someone else. In layman’s terms, he was going to rob someplace for supplies. If they were going up against a foe who threatened their lives just by existing, then it was best to be prepared regardless of the cost.

Soon enough, he found himself in Mac Anu, tracing his steps back from where he followed Nighthand and gated out there. When he was back in the cobblestone streets, he made himself scarce, sticking the back alleys and darker corners where the canvas overhangs cast long shadows on the ground. While there were some that had visual alterations from items and event rewards, there wasn’t going to be someone else as a full cat on this server especially; so keeping a low profile meant there was going to be less of a chance of him getting found out before he was adequately stocked up.

For potential targets, he could go for a mark akin to a standard merchant, run by an NPC, or something larger and PC run. There was an advantage in sticking to NPCs in that the risk was lower although the payout was much lower to compensate. As for targeting a PC run establishment, namely a guild, pissing off other people wasn’t ideal and there was the added risk of bringing a whole army down on him as well. Sadly, there wasn’t much to compare between the two options; back home the saying was “go hard, or go home” for a reason. There was one guild in particular that struck his fancy, if only because they had been around for a long time according to the boards, and seemed to do well in a lot of event rankings, hinting that there may be some event rewards stashed away in their vaults as well.

Maoh stepped out onto the sidewalk next to the mansion, the large white structure fenced off by a jet black fence with a plaque on the gate reading “Army of Darkness”. As corny as the name was, a lot about who they were, what they did, and their activity was a mystery. The only known thing about them was that their reputation put them as one of the stronger guilds of the time. Maoh stretched his neck and surveyed the property, running his paw across the metal poles that made up the fence. He did a lap, finding himself before the gate once more with very little in the way of vulnerabilities. The only thing he did find was a lone tree which had a branch that hung over the fence, which seemed to be a possible way into the grounds but not within the mansion itself.

“Ah well. No sense worrying about it. Treat it like a bandaid; just get it done, in and out, don’t get caught…” Maoh fidgeted as he came to terms with his first felony. Although it was still a game for most, the fact that he was going to breach CC Corp’s EULA and Terms of Use didn’t exactly sit right with him. As he climbed the tree and vaulted into the grounds, Maoh struggled with his inner conflict over whether or not this was truly okay; the only thing keeping him going was the grim reminder that he was undoubtedly at mortal peril the longer he was a cat. He stood before a window and flexed his claws, wondering if that trope from the movies actually held water. With a single claw, Maoh began to trace a shape in the glass in the hopes of being able to pop it out and create an opening for him to enter through. What happened instead was the piercing shriek of glass being engraves improperly a and a resulting shape which was nothing like the clean circle Maoh had envisioned.

The window, when the shape was finished, cracked and broke into many pieces, littering both sides of the window frame alike. It wasn’t pretty, but at least there was a way inside the mansion now. Maoh looked around, and without thinking about it much more, leapt from the garden into the hallway beyond the glass. He was treated with plush carpet, which was a welcome change from the prickly grass from outside. Now it was just a matter of locating their armoury and robbing it blind. For a building so large, there were only a few places that it could be. It wouldn’t be in any of the upper levels, if only because the structural integrity of the armoury itself wouldn’t be conducive for if someone were to try robbing the place, and more than likely was going to be on the ground floor or basement instead.

The lack of shoes made moving at speed easier, and Maoh began to jog the halls, stopping at any intersection or corner to scout forward before continuing. Soon enough he stumbled across someone turning down an adjoining hallway from a set of stairs leading down. Some kind of Heavy Blade from what he could tell, but not someone who posed any sort of threat if levels were anything to go by. In fact, with a comfortable ten level advantage, if it came to a raw fight, the stats were surely going to be in Maoh’s favour. When the Heavy Blade was out of sight, Maoh skulked down the stairs and found himself before a heavily reinforced door. Again, there was a plaque on it which read quite simply “The Armoury”. “Well… That’s…” Maoh pushed on the door and it yielded, allowing him entry. “…much easier than I expected.”


The walls were lined with various types of shelves and cases suiting each of the things they had on display. There was what was functionally a whole wall section that was an organised medicine cabinet, each thing labelled with its name, estimated market value and small tag as to what it did. It was maintained almost meticulously, but in that way it made it much easier to start stocking up. Starting with the closest section next to the door, Maoh began to load things into his inventory like there was no tomorrow. For things like weapons and armour, he stuck to only taking anything listed as rare for the sake of keeping laundering the things easier later. For medicines? Everything; nothing was sacred. As for the gold that was conveniently in a large chest in the centre of the room, it too was emptied out. What he was left with was a much healthier looking inventory given before all he had were the few items that Takua had given him.

But that was when he noticed it. Right as the last item was picked up and stashed away, he noticed the blinking red light above the door leading out of the armoury. Maoh steeled himself, expecting there to be a party waiting for him on the other side of the door. What awaited him though was that lone Heavy Blade that he’d seen wandering the halls not ten minutes ago. The pair looked at each other, the Heavy Blade visibly confused but he was not wearing a smile. Maoh however was wearing a smirk in contrast, pockets lined. “Oh, hey. Was just looking around for the person in charge; y’know, interested in joining and all that.”

“Bullshit.” The Heavy Blade drew the weapon off his back, a long and slender katana. “How did you get in, and what did you take from the armoury?” Maoh looked the other man up and down, assessing his rate of success. He’d set of some kind of alarm, but so far there was only this level twenty odd avatar with sub-par equipment to meet him. Were the others out? If so, that made getting out all the easier.

Maoh, braced himself as the Heavy Blade drew into a fighting stance and charged forward, left paw gleaming with blue magic. “Winter’s Strike!” As he jabbed, a torrent of ice and water burst from the point of impact, throwing the Heavy Blade backwards into the stairs. Maoh, continuing the assault in the same way he would if he were still a Twin Blade, tumbled forward and dropped a foot down on the Heavy Blade’s midsection, spring boarding off the man to land further up the stairs. He was impressed with himself, and in awe with the added athleticism that his feline body was capable of, but made his getaway up the stairs without seeing if his quandary had been put down for the count. Then it was back through the window, and into the garden; up the tree, out into the road, and finally the gate back to Yamiyo.

It was weird coming here on his own, but he figured that the code for returning here was added to his list when Xenobia came back with them. He was in the middle of the bazaar that they left her in, and very little seemed to have changed between when he was here last, and now. There were still people bustling to and fro, some people dealing and trading in hacks and other sort of things while others were just browsing for wares. Now that he had the time, Maoh took inventory of what exactly it was that he ended up with from his raid. The medicine cabinet seemed to be what benefitted him most, if only because everything from it was inherently useful. The rares he managed to snag were all of the low end variety and ultimately a lot of them weren’t even for his class. What he did figure was that what he couldn’t use, in combination with the GP he was able to retrieve, should net something worth getting for the adventure ahead.

Maoh began to wander, looking across the stalls and an idea sparked. While it was important to be geared for the adventure ahead, he’d still be pinned to the wall if it wasn’t for those two. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed like he had a debt to repay, and even if they didn’t say that there was a debt to repay, it was better that he settle his own mind about the whole ordeal just in case. Sekai was going to be easy, if only because anything that was a bow should be passable as a gift and in all honesty, anything other than the Shadowflare Crossbow that he picked up should be better, if only because it’s not something that was considered ‘stolen’ by someone else. Granted, how he obtained it wasn’t any better, but how was she to know that?

Takua was going to be harder, if only because the amount of spells that a Wavemaster had access to made personal preferences and alike all the more of a contributing factor as to what staff to use. Given he knew next to nothing as to what Takua liked in the way of weapons, aside from that he was accompanied by a cat, he figured much like Sekai’s weapon he’d just wing it. The first stall he approached seemed to have an assortment of weapons, although when prompted, the guy wanted nothing to do with the items and refused to be a fence. He was muttering something about irony taken too far as Maoh left, but if he wasn’t going to be helpful Maoh would just look elsewhere.

The second stall he went to seemed to have next to everything, but with prices far beyond what he could afford with what GP he had stored up. This was made worse when the guy running the place didn’t seem to have any interest, or desire, to purchase anything that was physical. Something about clearing out the trash he did own to make room for more intangible things. Maoh left mid rant about the inner peace found within The World and true enlightenment could only be found in a healthy stock of GP and Twilight.

Vendor number three was similar to number two in that she had anything and everything one could ever desire. In amongst all of the things on sale, Maoh was able to at least find something that looked interesting enough for the two people he was buying for and made to make a trade. Pennies, and little else was all that he could get from the store owner; no amount of haggling or bargaining would change that. What he did leave with however were the names of two weapons which would make asking for stock significantly easier if this venture was going to take the rest of the day.

The fourth stall was where it was at. A little more rundown than what Maoh would have liked but seemingly successful by the many spaces on the shelves, marked only with a small apology note that they were currently out of stock of the item meant to be there. Maoh figured that it’d be worth asking for a price on his goods before weighing up what he could buy, and laid it all bare on the countertop before the elderly couple who owned the spot. They looked at each other and spoke in hushed voices before turning back to Maoh and giving them their sum. Ordinarily that’d be enough to buy both weapons, along with leaving a healthy sum of money left for purchasing other goods, but there was a small problem. The weapon for Takua was here, but the bow he picked out wasn’t.

It would’ve made a nice pair, with Takua using a weapon called ‘Heh heh heh’ and Sekai using a ‘Que Pantalones’ would’ve been a nice and most importantly themed combination, but alas it was not meant to be. What they did have was something called the Sagittarius, which seemed to be nice enough a substitute. Maoh felt lighter, both literally and figuratively now that his inventory and conscience had been cleaned. He’d stop by on his way back to base to pick up a few little things for himself, but ultimately he was done. On his way back though, he was stopped suddenly, grabbed by the collar.

Maoh looked over his shoulder, caught unaware of the fact that he was now wearing a collar and whoever had stopped him had done so in just a way to stop him from progressing without any excess force. There was a chuckle from in front of him, and he swung back around, alarmed for all of a second before he realised who it was. While she was still cloaked, and clearly amused by Maoh’s predicament, she seemed to bear no ill will against him as of right now. “Oh. Hey.” What else was he supposed to say? He’d only just realised that a collar had found its way to his neck and there were so many questions running through his mind, with no real place to start asking.

Xenobia on the other hand seemed dissatisfied with Maoh’s reaction but spoke regardless. "Your boon. It suits your new look." Maoh’s reaction to this was one of confusion and worry.

Was she aware of what he had been up to? Was it obvious that he was only really winging the whole selling of stolen goods. It wasn’t as if he had practise laundering anything aside from clothes, but then it hit him: the collar. "Oh! The collar? What does it do? For a moment I thought I was in trouble there."


"Who says you aren't in trouble? With the company you fell into, the rest of your life will be nothing but." Maoh frowned, bordering on sadness at the lingering despair of his situation sinking in further as more people pointed it out. It seemed as though she was unaware of his shenanigans up until this point and decided it was for the best it stayed that way. Xenobia chuckled, low and privately; Maoh was her intended audience and it was probably going to only look worse if he was caught talking to no one in particular. "As for the collar, well, every proper cat should have nine lives, don't you think?"

Nine lives? She couldn’t have been serious. Granted, as things developed in this world, it was seeming less and less likely that she was having him on and was, in fact, telling the truth. "Are you saying what I think you're saying? Nine lives?” It was a promising boon to have, although he’d need to get good fast if it was really going to pay off. “As for the rest of the group, I'm stuck here and have to make the best of it anyway; may as well try and get something out of it."

"That's the spirit. Nine whole lives! In a sense. With the collar on, if you die, you will revive with full health up to eight times."

How she said that didn’t seem to sit well with Maoh, begging the question: "What's... What's the downside?"

"You explode." Maoh’s jaw dropped, worry painted across his face and whiskers twitching uncontrollably. Part of him wanted to remove the collar on the spot but feared that it’d be a situation akin to the bomb planted on his arm. Xenobia smiled, and as far as Maoh could tell she was pleased with how she’d delivered that information. "Oh, there it is. Don't worry, it's not a bad explosion. When you die, the excess juk energy in the collar is vented off in the form of damage. The first death is like a level two spell, and it ramps up each time. Won't hurt you, you'll already be dead, eh? Oh, and after the eighth revive you won't be able to be revived by normal means. Someone will need to hit your ghost with a wood spell to reset things so you can be targeted resurrects. The collar restores its energy in towns, so make it worth dying for."


"That... That sounds not so bad when you put it like that. Will take some getting used to, but I'm thankful all the same." Just thinking about the collar made the spot where it sat itch, causing him to unconsciously scratch and tug at the band while he spoke. It would take some explaining to the group, and was possibly a huge downside if he was in the group and was nuked, but he’d just need to have faith that whoever was around could shake off the potential of a level seven spell. "How's your end of things going? We're in the prep stages of what we're doing apparently."

"Busy. There is a lot of with involved in making sure this situation doesn't get out of hand. Your group had better successfully deal with your target or there will be some very serious fallout."


Whatever that was supposed to mean. "No kidding. As far as I understand we might be expected, or not, depending on if the rumours about him being some sort of seer is legit. Even then, that creates a bunch of problems tackling the thing in the first place." Were they speaking in code? Maoh figured they were speaking in code. After all, as shady as some of these folks in the bazaar seemed to be, it seemed only smart to be vague about what you were referring to unless you were in the know.

"You should return. I have other business to attend to." Xenobia spoke suddenly when Maoh finished, ending their conversation before the cat could get another word in edgewise. As she turned to leave, she paused and looked back at the cat and said simply “Good luck.” Before vanishing into the bazaar. Maoh watched her leave and when he couldn’t make out her vague shape amongst the crowd he looked around. He had a little bit of shopping left to do, but before long he was back outside base with new gear, and as ready as he was going to be for the trial ahead.

=======

TL;DR
Maoh votes for the use of the Key
Maoh robbed the AoD and got swag; it was laundered into a Heh heh heh and Sagittarius (This is a result of us clearing out the old stock of stuff and finally getting a place IC to do something about it)
Xenobia handed over Maoh’s boon.
Purchases include:
1x Thunder Torque
1x Quakebeast Fur
2x The Sun
2x The World
2x The Star
GP spent: 61,700

_________________
Maoh l Lvl. 32 l EXP: 0/1000 l HP: 495/??? l SP: 140/???
GP: 31,541


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 5:40 pm 
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Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(While he had taken care of some of his shopping needs, there was a thing or two that were a bit outstanding at the moment for our dark and fiery Twin Blade. Canti said he wouldn't be long, having gone off to see a man about a sound effect. Well, no problem, as the Fire Master had said that any hacker worth his code could figure this one out. Exiting the subterranian training hall, those black eyes of his scanned around and found...well...alot of black. Yeah, this was Ani Sector. You were gonna find alot of darkness-themed places. Hell, there was a bar not far from here called 'The Red Door'.)

Canti: Well, someone around here must like the Stones...

(Of course, this sound effect thing... Should he go to the Bazaar or find someone in town? He didn't know anyone in town, and he didn't wanna linger for too long in the place where he and a bunch of his friends had not only duked it out with Raikiri, but Garaa as well. Perhaps the Bazaar was best in this instance. Canti got a move on. People right now were moving along to a certain rhythm, as nearby there was this club - loud and crazy - black as midnight, but full of neon lights. Nice, but...like many of the things around Yamiyo...not really his style. Heading for the edge of the sector and for the Chaos Gate, Canti soon found himself in the familiar maze-like structure that was the Yamiyo Bazaar. He began just by looking around to see if anyone seemed to be running a stall that worked on character edits. It's not like that sort of thing was illegal here, so they could afford to advertise. Except...they didn't. And now, he had that music stuck in his head! He approached a fairly sci-fi looking guy for his business, then. He seemed to be like the guy at an anime convention who would sell masks, hats, and other articles.)

"Hiyo! What can I interest you in, guy? You look like you could use some devil horns. Maybe something in a Cyberdemon?"

Canti: Actually, I'm not looking for anything visual. Do you do sound bites? Attach a sound effect to an item when it goes off?

"Sure do! Last week, I made a Wavemaster's staff roar like Unicron when he casted Tier-4 spells off of it. What'd you have in mind?"

Canti: I have this ring that fires heat rays. You ever seen War of the Worlds?

"Classic or remake?"

Canti: Classic.

"I think I know what you're after, and I like it! Lemme see that item."

(The vendor has a look at the Vak Ray ring.)

"Hmmm... Non-standard item. Might be a little more complicated. I can do it, but I'll have to charge you extra."

Canti: It's a prototype for something the Fire Master's cooking up for his army.

(That seemed to get his attention, but he still wanted a thousand for it. Canti obliged this and let the man get to work. Soon, the ring was making the right sound and the Twin Blade could get on with his life. He had another task to take care of. You see, he may have been given a few of those Pure Waters by Raine, but he was gonna need more, perhaps, in this issue. He had to go find some. Cue the wandering montage music! Canti began to head up one corridor and down another, looking for someone who sold perishable items AND the ones he wanted. Plenty of said items, to be sure, but the right damn things? Hell no! After a while, Canti stopped.)

Canti: Why didn't I bring Shadow?

Shadow: Rowf!

Canti: AGH!!

(Shadow was THERE!! And the Twin Blade had just leapt ten feet into a wall, looking back nervously.)

Canti: Don't you ever do that, you- When did you even get here?!

Shadow: I was following you. You did not give orders to stay.

(Canti groaned and peeled himself from the wall. This guy was like Dogmeat... Well, may as well use him like Dogmeat. Canti held out a Pure Water and had him examine it, then told him to go find more. The demon dog leapt off to go find something as the Twin Blade calmed down from that major jump-scare. Of course, as it turns out, the Pure Waters were at a vendor's table that he'd passed like three times. Shadow pointed at it like it was plain as day. Still wasn't, but he decided to ask.)

"Yeah, that's a thing I have. Not cheap, though."

Canti: Why not? Aren't they simple dungeon items?

"Yeah, and how many vendors actually sell them in towns? That would be...none. You want some, it's a thousand a pop."

Canti: Alright, alright... Gimme ten, so I don't have to see you for a while.

"Pleasure doing business with you!"

(You don't wanna know what Canti grumbled at him on the way out, and Shadow bumped the man's table as he left, knocking over a few items. So, we return now to the underground training area in Ani Sector - no incidents occurred on the way back - and this time, Canti told Shadow to stay in the place, instead of following him. Can't have the guy wandering around like that... So, now that he had said what needed to be said and done what needed to be done, there was just one matter left on the table, and it was the big one. Here he was, a Twin Blade of the flame and the darkness, and they were sending him into the most dangerous ice tower in The World... You don't shrug that one off, not one bit. If you don't prepare, you're gonna be avalanched and snow-blind, and then sat on by huskies for good measure. That image aside, we find Canti now looking for master trainer of this black marble paradise, Velvet. The black-clad lady was to be found exiting her office into the main area. She'd been in and out of there ever since they arrived, and presumably long before that.)

Canti: Hey, Velvet. You busy? I need someone to kick my ass.

(This, he said with amusement, but after the initial humor...well, he wasn't exactly joking.)

Canti: Seriously, though, I need to train, whatever it is you can offer me. This tower may be the worst thing I've faced in The World yet. I need to be prepared.

"Always busy, always available. I'll happily kick your ass, but I can't say it'll do much more than prepare you for getting your ass kicked."

(She let off a grin and bid him to follow her to a different room. The main hall was more of a meeting place right now, not exactly somewhere you wanted to sling spells and such. Instead, they were in a smaller room, though it looked roughly the same as the other. The key difference here was that it wasn't open enough for a sustained flight action. Canti was looking this over as Velvet stood opposite him, ready to begin as trainer.)

"What did you have in mind? I'm not sure how much I can prepare you for going up against someone like the seer."

Canti: That's just it. I'm worried that I'm too predictable, readable. Regardless of what this guy's item may do, he may be good at anticipating things as well. This is where I'm going to be my most vulnerable. I need to narrow the margin of error, make it harder to be exploited for my weaknesses. I may be getting by alright as is, but suppose I'm not up to your standard and this guy owns me? Or one of his high-powered minions do? Can't have that happen without saying that I at least did everything I could to prevent that.

"Hmm, well, technique and control I can teach."

(She pulled out both her weapons and a pair of scrolls, tossing one to him.)

"Cast that thing on yourself. It's a sparring spell I had made up for training. Ever used save states?"

Canti: ...No. But I've heard of them. I'm...thinking Groundhog's Day?

"Something like that. When we cast the spells it'll take an image of where we are, what our health is, and so forth. This particular spell will allow us to fight but will reset if either of us would die, or in my case, if you land a few decent hits. There's a bit more to it, but I don't feel like explaining the details."

(More details weren't necessary. The explanation was near enough to what he thought was going to happen, so he just accepted her explanation and moved on. Canti opened the scroll and...yes, of course it was labeled 'Deja Vu'. He cast it upon himself and, like the lady said, he was invited to come at her. She actually said "Come at me, bro." after casting the spell on herself. This was a mistake, because he'd seen this movie before. The guy charging in usually got his ass not only beaten, but done so easily that it was embarassing. Oh well, he'd asked for this. After all, he had NO idea what Velvet could do. For now, he stuck to his base knife skill, drawing his Vampire Blades for now and attacking. Come at her, he did, moving in low to the ground to perform some upper slashes as his opening move! ...which didn't turn out so well. Velvet weaved to the side and, instead of completely dodging it, used one of her blades to send his own attack along while viciously stabbing him in the guy...which of course did even more damage because he'd been moving at speed. Canti felt the jab, and then suddenly everything changed back! He was standing back at the other side of the room again, as those The Great Will of the Macrocosm had willed the universe to reset, complete with a humorous Ploink! sound. Okay... That was weird.)

"Too obvious. If you were a heavyblade I'd expect you to be dragging a sword along the ground like some cartoon character. Again."

Canti: I think that's their default stance.

(He was still determined to do this without using his special abilities, because if there was something wrong with his basic attack strategy, there was something wrong with everything. Canti began again by zig-zagging his way in, then at the last moment to leap up and strike down at her instead, both blades in case she used both of her own. In return, she blocked and heaved, shoving Canti back. No retaliatory strike comes, though. She was just standing in place. Odd...)

"Melzas is a heavyblade himself; I'll try to avoid using too much agility to counter you."

Canti: Good to know, but I should be pushing the envelope.

(The shove made him skid to a halt, then return with a low leap that's made to slash at a leg with one blade and parry overhead slashes with the other. The aftermath would send him into a tumble, but the attempt was worth trying at least once. However, rather than parry at all, Velvet jumped up high and casted a Rue Rom where she was. She landed just outside theradius of the spell, aaand Canti went through it, himself. Dammit! We now pause for station identification and Canti removing icicles from his face, then resume with a sudden side-leap to wall-hike and launch at Velvet with one blade to intercept attack and the other to stab after initial impact. This leads to the trainer swinging her weapons in a big baseball bat swing - like a Heavy Blade - which caught one of his blades and threw him off course for the others. Canti landed and-)

Ploink!

(Starting positions again, the both of them! Velvet must've done it somehow, kinda like resetting Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em fighters.)

"You'd be dead half a dozen times over. Your problem isn't predictability, it's the limited range of options available to you. If all you're going to do is stab me, it doesn't matter what you do; you gotta get close, and there aren't many ways to do that."

Canti: Limited range is definitely a problem, but I'm a Twin Blade so I have to live with that much. I didn't want to resort to spells and special powers so quickly. Makes me feel like I'm just a cheap bag of tricks. Still, I can't break a Heavy Blade's defense even with a greater effort, I guess. Shall we take his up a notch, then?

"Are you going to hold back against Melzas? Are you going to hide your tricks until half your party is dead and they have a lower chance of slipping in under his notice? If you're giving anything less than your all against him, I might as well kill you here."

(This seemed to genuinely piss her off. Canti held up his hand defensively on the matter.)

Canti: Hey, whoa, chill. I thought there was something wrong with the general way I fight, and there are. That's just something I needed to figure out first.

"That said... you can hold back a little here, on the off chance he's somehow watching. He's stronger than I am anyways, it shouldn't take as much to overpower me, right?"

(We're not holding any bets on that. An Elite is an Elite, but they make mistakes too. Someone who trains people for a living makes less. Still, Canti didn't appreciate the attitude on the matter. He understood what she was saying, but the way it was said got under his skin. Well, that's enough of that, then. Canti's hand whipped out and produced a triplet of his launching Demon Spikes, heading right for Velvet. Directly after, he flew to the ceiling and threw down a few more, taking a couple more jumps to the walls to repeat this, before essentially dropping down right at whatever flank presented itself with Terror Cyclone. The point had been to keep her occupied with the spikes - and she did spend time parrying them - in order to get in a hit with the bigger attack, which he did. Velvet was still acting in the nature of a Heavy Blade, and as a Heavy Blade knocked him aside in the middle of his technique with another baseball swing. Now, on this instance, Canti did not immediately leap back into the fray. He casted Rig Saem and then still stood his ground and cast MeRai Don. The advantage of taking a couple light armor items instead of medium ones. You get some stronger spells, like a Tier-3 lightning bolt from on high! Velvet avoided this, however, and dashed towards him...the way he had in his opening move?)

Canti: Okay, she's going to do something tricky...

(She wouldn't be doing it, otherwise, not after making special note of the act, earlier on. Canti was on the defensive, but Velvet actually slid past him and halted suddenly, attempting to stab him in the back. Well, this seemed like a good time to duck low - although he could swear he still felt the tip of the blade along his back as he did - and try to sweep kick and slash at what he hoped to be an off-balance opponent. He definitely made the hit, since-)

Ploink!

(Back to starting positions. Velvet was smiling now, perhaps in approval.)

"I'm guessing you're one of the more active attackers in your group. That's what you need to encourage; relentless assault. I can handle you alone, but you probably expected that. I can handle Nighthand, as much as he likes trying to show off and overpower me. At some point, there are just too many attacks to dodge, too much flying through the air to soak, and too many enemies to keep pinned down. The more you can keep up the assault, and the more you can get your party to join you, the better off you'll be."

(She had one of his spikes in her hand. She casually flicked it at him and he caught it.)

"I like these, by the way. Not many expect a non-spell ranged attack from our class."

Canti: Thanks. I have...no idea where they came from. They just started happening and I took some time to do a little target practice.

(He'd been trying to find a way to put it away, but he could neither return it to his body nor put it in his inventory. Giving up, he let it drop. They usually faded after a little while.)

Canti: So, what you're saying is what I've known along, that it's never so much about what I can do and how well I do it, but who I have on my side at the time.

"Well, sure, but it's always good to do your part. You can never fully rely on the assholes around you, right? Just be aware of what's going on and who else can attack. You might see an opening that you could jump in and do a slash, but what if by doing so, you get in the way of someone else with a more powerful attack? I doubt many on your team are about to shoot through you. Also, you can see if some of your attacks can be used for zoning and positioning rather than direct assault. Those spikes weren't too hard to block, but if you shot, on, three or four times as many of them to keep me pinned down so someone else can attack, that's an equally effective means of using them. Maybe you're not doing the damage, but it doesn't matter so long as damage is done."

Canti: It's a thought. Just as long as nobody else needs to get nearby.

(We can't have our friends becoming pin cushions, after all.)

Canti: I haven't found too many problems in battle chemistry that I've noticed. I can wait for other people to act, but I made myself one of the major frontlines people so that others who aren't impulsive can have their time to plan and react. 'The guy who does stuff' is pretty much who I am.

"I haven't seen your party in action, and you've admittedly made a lot more progress towards dangerous objectives than most people I know ever could have dreamed up. You're obviously doing something right. Back to your original concern, predictability. I think your best bet isn't to try to be unpredictable, but to make predictability not matter. You either make yourself such a pressing concern that your opponent has to react, creating an opening for someone else, or you become so overpowering that even if they see it coming they can't do anything to stop it. I don't know that you can overpower an Elite that way, but then, I didn't know they could really be killed until recently, so there's that."

Canti: I think the latter is more likely. If this guy actually sees half as much as I think he does, we've got problems, but I didn't want to leave myself open to other things. Like...he could be a normal badass in his spare time and that would suck even worse. I hadn't even considered that he was anything but maybe a Wavemaster 'till I was told otherwise. I thought all prophets had to be the wizened type.

"You might say he wizened up to the weaknesses of a caster class, eh?"

(Wow, you could hear that facepalm. He might've lost HP over that one...)

Canti: I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that, and thank you for your help today.

Ploink!

"You might say he wizened up to-"

Canti: Dammit!

(She cracked up at this, of course, having done that on purpose. Once she was done, though...)

"No problem. I'm invested in this suicide mission of yours now, so I'd prefer it if you didn't all bite it. Anything else you wanted to bring up?"

(He paused in thought there for a second, then said...)

Canti: Just one thing. Any tips for Shadow? I dunno if you've done any work with pets, but he's a tough guy, himself.

"I have no idea, man. Is he a pet? Who's is the cat, then? All these animals are strange, you don't see them even here in Yamiyo, just hackers that turn themselves into animals for whatever weird reason they have. I could study him and see if I can come up with anything, but I can't guarantee anything helpful before you all leave for the tower."

(The Twin Blade sighed. He'd forgotten about this.)

Canti: Maoh is a player and he can turn into a cat. I dunno why. Shadow is a pet written by someone outside of the game I know. May as well have a look at him, on the off chance you can do something for 'im.

(So, he'd go out and bring Shadow to Velvet's office, and he patiently waited while things were carrying on. Shadow would cooperate well enough with whatever Velvet was doing...provided she didn't try to impair one of his functions.)

_________________
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.


Last edited by Lord Canti on Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:48 am 
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Velvet collapsed on the couch in her office, alone for a blessed moment. Running her school was tough, but nothing compared to wrangling the gaggle of bizarre personalities and strange people Nighthand had brought to her doorstep.

She didn’t envy them their mission, but she devoutly hoped they would succeed. She had felt the tension in the city recently. People were on edge. One by one, Elites had gone missing. Initially, they had covered it up; they were out on missions, they were off working on projects, they had closeted themselves up. After all, most of them were reclusive figures anyways. When more and more of them died, and died publicly, though, it became impossible to hide.

Rumors of the party that was hunting them circulated with all range of truth and nonsense. She had heard anything from one player alone to a party of 30+ responsible for the deaths. She heard about monstrous horrors in the guide of people, and even those who can exploit data beyond what most hackers were capable of doing. The reality was… different, but she couldn’t honestly say they weren’t monstrous in their own way.

The noise of her door opening stirred her back to attention, and she saw Nighthand slip his way in. For once he wasn’t using his speed to suddenly appear. He sat down next to her, staring at the far wall.

“Looks like we’re heading out.”

“Huh.”

“Are you sorry you agreed to shelter us?”

“Nah. I’m still alive, no one has attacked and destroyed the place, and you’ve all been generally well behaved. I’m surprised, really.”

“We’re not normally this calm.”

“I believe it. I’m just glad there aren’t more of you.”

He was silent for a second. ”There used to be. I’ve seen probably fifty or sixty people pass through this party.”

“Oh? Why aren’t they here, then? Seems like this is a pretty critical mission.”

”The usual. Some of them died. Some disappeared. A couple turned traitor and had to be put down. A few wandered off to stock up and never returned.”

“Oh.”

”Yeah.”

“Well. Um. Good luck, out there. I really don’t want to have to hunt you down and kill you.”

”Gee, thanks for your concern.”

“No problem.”

They sat in silence another few minutes, before Nighthand perked up. ”Time to go.”

She watched him leave, neither saying more. What more was there to say?

-----------------------------

They gathered in the main gymnasium, where Raine had given her speech. Maoh, the untested feline. Canti, essence of a demon in human form. Talal, representing subtle power. Sekai, the regal recluse. Takua, blind yet seeing. Nighthand, all power and confidence. And Raine, looking like a valley girl, wearing clothing entirely inappropriate for a jaunt into a tower made of ice.

With everyone present, Raine confirmed. The votes were cast. All of them would be attending the event, so to speak. All of them voted to use the key, to get up in Melzas’ face as soon as possible. The jury was still out on diplomacy versus all out assault, but it seemed like the diplomatic route would be at least attempted.

The group was somber. This would be their most dangerous challenge yet, even for Nighthand, who had fought with Melzas before. This was truly do or die; they couldn’t let Melzas escape without being firmly on their side.

They walked in silence through the town, drawing some attention as they didn’t all entirely fit in the Darkness sector. Nighthand and Canti were close enough to fill as an escort, so glances turned away, and eyes didn’t follow. They passed through the central plaza with the gate and into the Earth sector, and once again to the gate they had left for Xenobia’s tower.

It was always a minorly noteworthy event when someone ventured into the wastes. Once more they drew attention, and there were a few whispers as they were recognized. Not as freedom fighters, not as those Garaa hunted, but as those who had left for the wastes before and had not only lived to return, but were venturing out again.

Nighthand spread his wings and took to the sky immediately, his sword drawn. His speed was cranked up, so he was little more than a shadow passing over the ground. He guided the party through the shifting terrain, and as they walked, the passed the corpses of mutated monsters and failed experiments. Ferocious monsters existed in the wastes, but after their fight and defeat of Tritoch, Nighthand at least felt more confident in his ability to handle just about everything in there. Thus far, nothing had proven him wrong.

As it was, it was still quite some time walking before they reached the Frozen Spire. It loomed tall before them, like an icicle inverted, rising into the sky. The ground around it was springtime forest, trees and sparse underbrush leading almost all the way to the tower itself, and yet the ice gave off a bone-deep chill. Even outside in the sun, their breath fogged up, and it was an incongruous feeling. It didn’t look like it should have been as cold as it was.

The heat of the sun, or perhaps simply the coding of the tower, made it sparkle with melting snow. Small rivulets and a pattering of drops of water fell, some from higher than they could see, turning the ground around the base of the tower to mud. The ice was predominantly blue and white, with cracks and broken chunks looking like the remnants of an ice carver’s newest project. Here and there, stretches of ice shone in other colors, giving it the appearance of crystal. It was serenely beautiful.

Off to their left rose the tree tower of Xenobia, their oh-so-recent victory still lingering. To the right was a tower of brick and shadow, the blackened castle of Garaa, the Twilight Citadel.

And, of course, looming higher than all the others, the ever-imposing, twisted glory of World’s End, the tower of their ultimate foe, The Master. It was hard to believe, after all this time, and Nighthand had never laid eyes on whoever The Master was. Yet one day, he might find himself scaling that tower.

The entry door to Melzas’ Tower stood before them, a surprisingly modest iron-bound mahogany set into the ice. Raine opened it, and they could see inside. They could see the icy walls and floor, the gloom, and the ominous ice spikes on the ceiling. They could see holes in the floor and more in the walls, reeking of a challenge none of them wanted to face.

Raine closed the door.

From a pocket that didn’t look like it could exist in her jeans or tank top, Raine drew forth the small wooden branch that was their shortcut key. Enormous value in one tiny package, usable only once, Raine pressed it where a keyhole would have been in the featureless door. It resisted only a moment, then pressed in. She turned it and a resounding, deep, resonant CLUNK echoed through the calm, chill forest.

Raine pushed the door open again, and revealed a much difference scene. What lay before them was a staircase, long and straight, longer than it seemed the tower was deep.

“We’re in.” She said, and took off up the stairs. The rest of the party, in varying levels of anticipation, dread, and hesitance, followed.

Once the final member was through the door, it closed behind them, fading out and revealing more stairs down. Their retreat was gone; they would have to face all of Melzas’ challenges to escape, should they fail to recruit or kill the master of the tower.

The end of the staircase came on suddenly, first as light and then as sudden openness. The room was the full size of the tower around, a perfect arena for combat – or for an audience with a man who considered himself dominant above all others. The walls were the same ice as the outside of the tower, thick in some spots and thin in others. There were no windows, but refraction through some patches of ice gave off plenty of light, and other spots were virtually clear enough to be windows of glass. The ceiling was, of course, layered with sharp-looking icicles, a threat to any who approached and a problem for anyone who liked to fly. Fly too high and they would pierce wings and bodies alike.

Still, the room was open and the ceiling was high. The rest of the room was featureless enough, save for an icy throne on a raised platform on the far side of the room. It was framed to be bathed in light, the obvious central feature.

On the throne was a man. The man wore a long coat of blue with darker blue accents, almost trenchcoat length. Black shin-height boots and black gloves completed the ensemble. All in all he looked like any other player of The World, save for his head.

Melzas’ head was unmistakable. It was an almost fleshless skull with a taught layer of thin, bluish skin, as if an emaciated man had died in a blizzard. One eye was cloudy and frozen, unblinking. The other was glass, with a slight golden tinge to the brilliant blue, and chaotic tendrils of gold reaching out and grasping the outside of his head from the bridge of his nose to where his ear would have been, almost down to his jawbone, and up into the hairline. His hair was patchy and thin, blue that looked like frost more than hair.

True to his nature, Melzas had a heavyblade weapon, one of the great blades the size of a small car that heavyblades were so fond of. It was casually leaning against the back of the throne of ice.

”Welcome. I’ve been exssspecting you.”

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:56 am 
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They all gathered again, and a quick look across the group showed just how motley they were. Then again, it wasn’t as if they had anyone else willing to come in and assist with this particular adventure. The only others that Maoh knew of already checked out at the very beginning. Everyone seemed in favour of using the key though, which was a plus given that’s the only logical choice given all Maoh understood of the situation, so navigating a tower and dealing with, potentially, more randomly warping teleporters wasn’t exactly efficient.

All they had on the trek to the tower was silence. Everyone seemed to some extent on edge or nervous about all this was going to go down. Maoh was in the nervous part, if only because he offered very little in the way of combat potential. As they got ever closer, the people they passed seemed to recognise the group, or maybe a couple of the members and began whispering amongst themselves. The last time this happened, Maoh was a human and in the real world, and it was more about keeping tabs on your wallet from potential theft. Soon enough the large tower loomed before them, with others looming off in the distance. The largest set Maoh on edge, shifting him from nervous to something he wasn’t quite sure. It was a foreboding structure, one that just screamed abode to the head honcho of whoever was running the show.

Next came the ascent, presented through a seemingly infinite staircase leading upwards at an angle that would suggest their perception of the dimensions of the tower be wrong. They stepped through, finding that the stairs extended an equally far distance in the opposite direction. Perhaps this was just the key at work, but it was clear that they weren’t going to be taking the easy exit on their way back if Melzas wasn’t going to give them a shortcut back to their base. At the top, essentially an arena if there ever was one to be described with the owner of such perched on his throne in the middle. He looked like a pirate that died on Everest, for probably closer to an Englishman from the dark ages, right down to the giant sword.

”Welcome. I’ve been exssspecting you.” The extended lisp made him sound almost serpentine, causing Maoh’s ears to twitch. This guy was going to literally be the best to talk to, and he couldn’t think as such without the most viscous sarcasm one could imagine.

Not bothering to check, and barely upon them even entering and Melzas speaking, Maoh stepped forward. "Then you know why we're here and we can expedite everything?" Best get this underway as fast as possible, and concluded as fast as possible too. At least Maoh thought so.

"Ah, but wheresss the pleasssure in that?" Maoh couldn’t tell if he was taking some kind of delight in Maoh’s impatience, or how the cat’s ears twitched with every additional lisp.

"But that doesn't change the fact that you do, in fact, know why we're here? If anything you already knowing takes away part of the pleasantries of us imposing on your hospitality."

"You think thisss isss hossspitality? You exissst only asss long asss you amussse me." Again with the lisp. Also, he was avoiding the question; approaching this with gracious politeness wasn’t working.

"Maybe not, no. I'd have expected something like a beverage if you were a good host, but we're hardly ideal guests.” Maybe humour was the way to go? Maoh looked back at the group if only for a second before returning his attention to Melzas. "Am I right in assuming our overall objective is amusing enough to you to hear us out?"

"Not if you keep prevaricating! You wassste my attention." Now he was just being rude.

Maoh recoiled. He really didn’t know how to process what Melzas has said. "I... don't... know what that word means. Either way, it's simpler if you just ally with us and we move forward. You know what's going to happen if you don't, right?"Also, what was this with rationing out his attention? Maoh seemed to be the only one at least engaging here.

Then came a slow, dry laugh. One that Maoh took as mockery, but steeled himself and put on a strong front in an attempt to avoid being faked out. "Pleassse, enlighten me. Comparing delusssions to reality isss the sssweetessst."

"Well, I may not have some kind of whacked out eye, but if you don't 'come quietly', then it is going to end up in some kind of fight. But one I don't see being very entertaining."
Maoh shrugged. "But what do I really know? Our teamwork working as a clockwork machine or your acclaimed superior hunting skills? Either could be the victor."

Again came the laugh. "Ssso you try to take me prisssoner? Are you sssure you underssstand your own goalsss?" At least the conversation was moving forward.

"I don't understand our goals, literally, at all. What I do understand is that it's either join us or die. I don't think prisoners are a thing." Maoh stood confidently at the front of the group, hardly leader material but delivering his statement all the same. What Melzas retorted with was silence. Silence and a strong stare. He’d struck a nerve potentially, and returned the cold look back at the man. He’d either made things a lot worse, or potentially only a little bit worse given the reaction he faced. In Maoh’s mind, an ideal situation would have been something a little clearer in what Melzas was going to do next, but it was clear that diplomacy wasn’t Maoh’s strong point.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:54 am 
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Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(Okay, so that wasn't all of everything that happened between the completion of Canti's training and that of the beginning of their next mission. There was still a'something more. Before the Twin Blade had actually gotten around to getting Shadow for Velvet to examine, Talal was revealed to have been watching. And did anybody know? Not our boy, no. If Velvet did, she didn't show any particular indicator, nor was there any surprise involved. Talal had come in question to the Ani-aligned trainer about her special powers, the sound-related stuff more than her superior hearing. Canti stuck around out of curiosity, letting them speak in regards to the idea of 'created silence', except to clarify on a point about quick and stealthy assassinations. Thus answered, Talal left Velvet for a moment. The woman smirked at Canti now, ever so slightly.)

"You going with her?"

Canti: You kidding? We've been a team since the prison.

(He was being just a little coy. No need to pry, Velvet, even though it was certainly true. Talal stopped before leaving. Why not test herself and see if she could really do it? To create a controlled zone of silence, that is. with Velvet and her getting clear, the other Twin Blade instructed him to scream as loud as he could when asked. Once signaled, however, Canti began to rock out and sing 'One Vision' by Queen. Given that it's Freddy Mercury, it's quite loud indeed. That voice had power, and it was a hard thing to match. How do we know? Well, at first, Talal kept him quiet, but at the first chorus, Canti's voice came back with a vengeance! Talal got a thumb's up for managing the new skill, and Canti got one for his choice in music. It was after THAT that he retrieved the demon-y dog for Velvet to look over. From there, he was gonna get a little rest, about as much as he could before they had to leave. And yeah, he was going with Talal. There wasn't exactly much reason to keep it a secret. They liked each other. About how far that would go depended on them, but after breaking that barrier to real trust, things were looking up.)

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

(So, at the appointed time, Canti retrieved Shadow and the group headed out as planned. As stated, the likes of he and Nighthand kept the attention off of the group, although it was all the more likely that Talal's mysterious lady cloak helped, not to mention 'El Diablo de los Perros' close by. Suffice it to say, though, it was starting to become a bit of an attention-grabber that the same group was going out into the wastes like that, especially since they also kept coming back. That was going to start turning too many heads. Still, as they headed out into the wasteland, you could now hear a well-known tune echoing through the place instead of the regular music. It seemed alright enough, considering how they were fast-becoming veterans for survival in a hostile environment. Given that Nighthand had taken it upon himself to clear the way, Canti merely kept an open eye for hidden whatsits trying to blindside them. None did. Of course, once they reached the area of the Ice Tower itself, involuntary shudders are abound. Did you ever...see Conan The Destroyer, with that wizard's tower? The one in the lake? This was kind of like that, but a full icicle, and surrounded by foliage instead of liquid refreshment. Raine made use of their special key, the one-use shortcut to the Elite of the tower, the Heavy Iceman, Melzas. When she opened the doors, there was not an icy hall as before, but stairs leading up.)

“We’re in.”

(They ascended, and soon found themselves in the arena-like room of the Rue Elite himself. The dead man stood nearby, because that is exactly what Melzas looked like. That and Skeletor. Well, points for style, at the very least. He was every bit as cleverly-designed as an icy bad guy as Canti was in darkness. Naturally, as he had the great claim to see all, he said that he was expecting them...in a sinister voice. It was here that Maoh began to speak with the man, but...Canti didn't like it. Was this the way a cat acted? Blunt and forceful? Well, the guy was NOT a real cat, but somehow this seemed off to him. So now, Canti stepped in at this point with a look of irritation, shaking his head.)

Canti: Way to blunt it there, Maoh. Couldn't you talk to him normally?

(Although you can't ordinarily tell where the gaze of a freaking skull was focused, Canti had the definite impression that the Elite was looking his way now. He knew blank eyes well enough to know when they're actually looking at him.)

Canti: So, here's the delusion. We're all in this place and some of us wanna go back to our lives in the outside world, but we can't really do that without the full complement of Twilight Items, I think. What's it worth to you never to see our mugs again, causing you guys all kinds of hell?

"About 50 sssp."

(Hilarious.)

Canti: Guessing there that you like a good fight, a good challenge?

"Asss if I've had one in yearsss. Why would I keep a power like thisss if I wanted a challenge?"

Canti: Most Heavy Blades like to test their power, show their superiority. You saying you don't?

"I'm sssaying I don't need to. It doesssn't matter. None of thisss mattersss beyond what we do with it. I have built my plassse, and it will take more than what you have to offer to dissslodge me."

Canti: I see, so the Master will never demand something of you that you'll be unwilling to give. You'll be safe and sound, and he won't take away your power, your freedom, your life - none of that - for any reason or even for no reason. Ya absolutely positive of that? Or do you just hope it won't happen?

"You really don't get what ssseeing the future meansss, do you?"

(Well, there's seeing the future and then there's seeing the future. We dunno how genuine it is or how functional it might be, so this was the sort of thing that became a bit of a mind game. At this point, Talal stepped in to speak her mind on the situation.)

"Boredom. I would think always knowing what's going to happen would eventullay become an extremely boring way to live. You never have anything to look forward to, no surprises...good or bad. Do you not miss someone giving you a really good surprise?"

(That gave the Skull Man a pause on thought. Not long, though.)

"Perhapsss. Yet when a sssurprissse in your world endsss in your death, do you want that sssurprissse? I prefer knowledge."

Canti: Well, how's this for knowledge? If my name was The Master, and I gave one of my cohorts the ability to see all, don't you think I'd make myself immune to it? He's the master-coder, Melzas. I think you know he could do it.

"You argue againssst yourssself. With Hisss power, why would I be sssafe with you againssst Him?"

Canti: Safety in numbers. Watch your back. Isn't that why you have that thing? Let's say the worst happens. Your actual items switch off. Where do you want to be when it happens? Here alone, or with help when you need it? I don't need your sight to see which way is more surviveable.

(He laughed his laugh again.)

"Meet The Massster, then tell me that."

Canti: The first time is the last time, one way or the other. I'd rather you helped, because if I'm wrong and you see clearly without fail, then you're already safe and assured, but you could give us a hand and be the new master after we get back to the real world. I mean, come on, if you see danger in this, then you know you can't trust the guy. And if you don't, there's no reason not to crush him.

"You fail to underssstand. I do not wisssh to leave thisss world. You accomplissshing your goal would purge thisss world of Twilight, forcssing everyone out, and leaving me with nothing."

(This is where the conversation he had with Talal back in Gan Sector came in handy: A little self-examination to speak to others.)

"I too did not wish to leave this world, even while I fought side by side with my companions towards that goal. But then I was reminded of the things that can only be had in the life that exists outside of this one. You can't possibly tell me there is nothing you miss in the outside world? Friends? Family? The warmth of a real sun shining down on your face? Sinking your teeth into a juicy, flavorful steak?"

Canti: Oh god, steak...

(Aaand Canti's train of thought just stopped in its tracks. However, the Elite of Ice merely replied "Nothing." to all that. Damn surprising, really.)

Canti: You must've had a pretty terrible life, because my life sucked and I want it back.

(Self-examination! This time, however, the Heavy Blade remained silent. Canti tried to press it just a bit further...)

Canti: You're not exactly doing much here, Mel.

"I built the life I want. Consssider thisss retirement."

(Now, Canti had no response. 'Retirement' made him wonder. What if Melzas was older - way older - and at the end of his rope? Even if he wasn't, he truly believed there was nothing for him outside. Somehow, this was what he wanted, even if he didn't do much with what he had. No wonder he was being so stubborn about it... For now, the Twin Blade had nothing more to say. The others could try to tackle it, but somehow it looked like...instead of him lending his power...they were really gonna have to take it.)

_________________
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:23 am 
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Talal hadn't realized how exhausted she was. Soon after arriving and sitting down in the chair, she dozed off. Unsure of how much time had passed, but probably not too long at all, she woke to the ping of a flashmail from Raine calling for a meeting. The young Twin Blade hadn't been with the group long enough to fully understand who Raine really was other than one that stayed in the background most of the time and one that had never accompanied them on a mission since Talal had joined. The dynamics of the group had just changed for yet another time. Something it would seem was a constant with this group and the older members handled it with grace...or at least they had when she arrived. Her eyes drifted lost in thought about their newest member of the group for a moment. A moment of guilt had fallen upon her having not properly introduced herself to him. Surely he had figured out a few things in their battle with Xenobia but his actions told volumes of how alone he felt within the group. Now wasn't the time to make up for lost time as it were so Talal stuck the item on her mental 'To Do' list and hoped there would be a proper moment for it in the future.

Following Canti, Shadow and Nighthand into the grand hall, she took her place in the circle and listened. There were many things that Melzas could do that Talal felt in her heart that she could counter. Ice in the real world anyway, was very susceptible to sound vibrations. Of course, she didn't know the full extent of her abilities yet but one would gather that anything she could think of that sound does...should work. Right? Perhaps, Velvet might have some fresh ideas from an outsider's view not having seen Talal in action or know much about the Twin Blade. It might be worth asking if she got a few minutes alone with the woman. Back to the matter at hand however, Raine didn't...and wasn't trying...to paint a very pretty picture for the group and their upcoming mission. In the end, they just needed to make three decisions to which Canti stepped right up to the plate. No surprise there, especially after the discussion they had earlier. A small subtle smile warmed her lips but disappeared quickly. They were being given time to think about it and although Talal needed no time, she would think on it just the same. Maoh too stepped up with his own take on it. The young woman listening and watching the now cat looking player. He may not be their strongest link physically but it seemed he had a good mind for strategy and wasn't afraid to step up and voice his thoughts in front of the group. A trait she both admired about the newest edition to the group, and mostly lacked within herself. The quiet and subtle approach suited the woman best seeing as how when she did decide to open her mouth, things never seemed to turn out how she had pictured them.
The group disbanded with much to consider. Some, like Canti and Maoh had people to see and places to be it would seem as she watched them go up the stairs towards the exit. She didn't feel much like leaving and had already shopped and purchased a few extra waters on her last trip so the ones Raine handed out should be good. The long dark haired woman walked away towards the corridor's that lead to the rooms, finding an unoccupied one fairly easily. Laying down on the cot in the room, Talal tossed and turned for at least an hour. She was exhausted but also had much to think about. Somewhere in the midst of her thoughts, she finally fell asleep and slept until awoken by the faint sounds of sparring. Straightening herself up and combing her fingers through her long locks a few times to get rid of whatever bed hair she might have, Talal wandered back to the main hall to find Canti and Velvet. The banter was entertaining and so was the reset button action that was happening making her chuckle softly to herself. When things were all said and done and the pair seemed to be finished, she walked towards them.

I like that nine lives thing... a useful tool. Have you had much practice with anything sound based?

Not a lot. I've seen sound powers before but they're not very common, beyond like, flashbangs. Which can be useful themselves, of course.

Canti appeared slightly confused not having noticed Talal there before. Too occupied being on a looping re-boot of sorts so Talal chuckled again when he did a double-take motion with his head as the ladies spoke. How long have you been standing there?

Shooting Canti a smirky type smile, Long enough for some excellent entertainment she said chuckling some more until she looked back to Velvet. I see, I too heard it was rare which makes it that much more difficult to learn anything about it sadly.. She smiled and then had a thought as Talal really wanted to know what an outsider to the group might think about sound powers. Let's say anything that could happen in the movies with sound, could happen here. How would you use it? Her head tilted slightly peaked with curiosity as she awaited a response.

Personally? I'm thinking covert ops. Silent footsteps, silent weapon usage, silent death throes. Umm, the flashbang idea is good but without the flash it loses some oomph. Maybe a concussive blast of some kind? I dunno how what I assume is your power works.

Again the female Twin Blade smiled and let out a laugh. You and me both...but yes, I do know it works. It has come in handy against both the Rai Elite, although I admit I don't remember much about that battle, and against Xenobia. I like your ideas though. I hadn't considered the silent aspects of its use yet. Canti is, in the meantime, smirking and letting them talk. He looked curious. Talal on the other hand paused for a moment in thought.. No real use for silent approaches. The key will be silent and instantaneous enough for our entrance. Can you expand more on what you mean by silent death throes? Am I that out of touch with things? Death throes... flashbangs?

I think she means assassinations.

Bingo. Can't alert the guards if you can't make a sound.

Ahh, yes of course.

Well, yeah, I also see your issue. Against someone like Melzas... I don't know. maybe if you could stop him from hearing anything while the rest of you strategize? Which only works if he needs to hear you, which he probably doesn't. Tough one.
Talal just nodded in agreement. Going up against an adversary who could see the future was going to be tough. Precisely. I think I will be more useful on this trip as a defender for the overall group. If he uses mostly ice based weapons, they can be deflected and/or shattered via vibrations. I've only used my power that way once before, but it worked...on a smaller scale of course but I've grown since then so fingers crossed. She smiled hiding that her confidence didn't really match her words but no one needed to know, especially an outsider to the group. Thank you for the ideas and your hospitality. I think I'll head back to my room.

You going with her?
Velvet askes Canti with a very slight smirk.

You kidding? We've been a team since the prison Talal simply smiled and gave Velvet a polite farewell bow and she started to turn back toward the door to the hallway.

Hey, well, have fun. I'll be around if you want to test anything out before you hit the road. Velvet's words made Talal stop in her tracks thinking. Perhaps now would be the time to test if she could create a silent atmosphere. She turned back to the Head Mistress of the school. Velvet, could you go stand over by the wall for a minute. I want to try something. She looked at Canti. When I give the signal, I want you to scream as loud as you can. With luck, she won't hear a thing. She looked back at Velvet for confirmation that she understood, to which Velvet simply shrugs and moves into position near the far wall. Once Velvet was in place, a few moments passed. Talal closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. Opening her eyes, she nodded to Canti.

Rather than a simple scream that she had asked for, Canti belted out a tune and began to rock out in song. Talal did her best to keep her composure but the sound shroud she was attempting to create lost it's umph by the time he reached the first chorus because she couldn't keep her concentration. This of course also allowed Velvet to hear what he was doing. She gave both Talal and Canti a thumbs up since she obviously liked his choice of songs and Talal succeeded at blocking the sound, if only for a short time. Finally, with a smile that hadn't stopped since Canti started singing, she bowed once again to Velvet. Thanks for the help. She turned and walked towards the hall and onto her room. Canti had stayed behind, apparently not quite done with Velvet. The young woman could hear them talking as she walked away. Velvet wanted to take a look at Shadow seeing as how he was different from the average pet of The World. Talal let her hearing fall off as she got farther from the room, letting the pair have their conversation in peace. Finding the room again, she stepped in and sat down on the edge of the bed, slowly stretching and taking some deep breaths to relax. Not soon after Canti walked in.

I hope she treats him alright. Come to think of it, I hope he does too.

Understandable was Canti's concern considering Shadow was an uncommon sort of...guy. Brown eyes turned up and looked at her fellow Twin Blade as he walked towards her. I'm sure she will, although she strikes me as the curious type. How else would she have gathered so much intel? Shadow on the other hand, will be a perfect gentlemen unless she tries something he doesn't like. He's getting a new shrugging thing down pretty good so maybe he will give her lots of those she said chuckling.

Canti sat down next to her on the bed. Well, as long as she doesn't use him as a telephone, it's fine. Already being in an odd mood from Canti's singing episode, an image from the movie E.T. popped into her head and she couldn't help but laugh uncontrollably which of course sparked a look of confusion on Canti's face. Quickly before the moment was lost to the abyss of oddness she tried to use her best E.T. voice...E.T phone home. Knowing of course that her humor was already poor and a bit off, she wouldn't be offended if he didn't get it or didn't laugh. But something clicked with the dark clad man, surprising her a little as he joined her, falling backwards laughing at what she assumed was either her joke or an image in his head.

Scooting closer to him as the laughter finally died down I'm sure things will be fine with Shadow she said reassuringly. They both knew he was just a pet made of code, no actual living person behind his character. Yet, at least Talal had come to view the large hound as a true companion in the game and cared for his well being. She knew Canti felt the same, possibly on a different level but still.

(For Canti, Shadow had become a true and proper companion. He valued him, not as a tool - as he initially seemed - but as he was, a talking hound.)

I know he will. Velvet wants out of here about as desperately as the rest of us. (He couldn't help but smile right now, the two of them laughing it up in this cot, and over their favorite furry friend.) Nice work with the power, by the way. I think between the two of us, we've done just about everything we can until we go.


She was happy to see him smile. As jokey as he was sometimes, the smile didn't appear often enough as of late. Thanks. it was good to get someone else's perspective. It gave me some ideas. I truly think though when it comes down to it, I'll be of most help on the defensive side of things with Melzas if he goes on the attack. If we end up having to fight and kill him, I can try that thing we just did so his guards don't hear anything.

Worth a try. A grin appeared on his face. So, was I any good?

She smiled. Yes, you were. Your sparring was top notch. Talal tried to hold a straight face to appear she didn't know what he was truly asking even if she did but she couldn't hold it and finally broke with a grin of her own. And you had perfect pitch she said giving him a shoulder bump to which he gave her a playful shove back.

First time performing. Honest! 'Least I know what I'll be playing when I head your way.

The lavendar clad woman chuckled. You were great. I look forward to the encore. Talal looked over at him, glad to have had this time with him before they headed out to yet another unknown outcome. We should get some rest or neither of us will be of any good to the group.

Yeah, last thing we need is to be the walking dead, marching on the ice tower. Canti began reorienting his wings as he prepared to go to sleep. (They were a curiosity about the nervous responses with those, feeling limbs he didn't really have. He was gonna miss them when they were gone.) He glanced back over at Talal. Care to join me this time?

Talal caught the hint in his words that recalled a joke they shared early on that his wings were a tent of privacy. I'd love to. She said smiling and let him finish getting situated before she moved closer, snuggling in close laying her head on his shoulder watching his black wings close in around them. The young woman laid there in his arms - and wings. Her mind had stopped racing for the first time in a long time but where her mind left off, her heart seemed to pick up. Moments like these could do that to a girl. Settling down, it didn't take long and they were both off to sleep.

Who knows how long they were asleep but eventually brown eyes slowly opened to peer upon Canti's face. In that split second moment, an overwhelming sense of comfort and security rushed through her and it felt really good. Unable to tell if he was awake within the dark shroud of his wings, she whispered Are you awake?

There was a slight murmur and then... No...? (How do ya answer that without being awake, anyway?)
Hoping she hadn't fully woke him if he still needed to rest, Talal didn't ask anything else, instead she nestled her forehead into the crook of his neck and closed her eyes. She was more than content to stay put. However, it would appear that she had indeed woke him.

I wasn't being entirely serious.

Keeping things at a soft whisper I see. It's okay...I'm not awake enough for serious yet. She felt his chin move into what she thought was a smile on Canti's face making her grin. No problem. I kinda' like this. Me too. They laid there for awhile longer but in the end, it was time. The couple could no longer linger in the comfort of each other's company. Talal let off a soft sigh. Time to get up. We will be leaving soon I would imagine.

Yeah, gotta pick up the hound from the vet he said with a chuckle that Talal joined in with her own as Canti's wings opened and she stood from the small cot and stretched. Once he was standing she looked at him. Thank you. I think that was the best sleep I've had since becoming stuck here.

It certainly was for me. C'mon. Best foot forward.
And with that the pair left the room and joined the group in the main hall to head out. It felt strange to travel in a group through town towards the gate now since they had tried so hard to arrive at the school in cognito like. It was definitely garnering attention giving the young dark haired woman another opportunity to work on her...appearance. She kept near the center of the street but stayed near enough to Canti and Shadow in case a quick getaway was needed. The only thing to happen though were the scores of conversations taking place. To everyone else, they may have seemed mere whispers in the distance but Talal could hear them all, her eyes slowly traveled from one group to another as they passed. The wasteland came not soon enough for the Twin Blade, because with it came a happy silence.

With nothing daring to attempt or wanting to stand in their way, the group made pretty good time across the Wasteland and arrived at the Ice Tower. Parts of it glittered in the sunlight and if had been any other day, Talal might have oooo'ed and awwww'ed over its splendor but not today. Instead, Raine used the key and the group was in and on their way up a long staircase. At least this one was enclosed so she had no issues climbing it. Once at the top, Maoh started in right from the start with his two cents as did Canti, Talal chiming in here and there as thoughts struck her. One in particular she knew could garner her some backlash or at minimum a confused or scornful glare but at least she was being honest...with everyone. All in all, Melzas wasn't budging hardly at all but his need to pause at some of their questions led her to believe one small, but perhaps..huge, thing. Either his ability to see the future was just a rumor or maybe it was like using a skill where it only worked when you wanted it to. Either way, he wasn't using it or was simply playing with the group. Otherwise, he would have had his answers all prepared and there would be no need for thoughts or pauses. Time would tell but it didn't look like getting Melzas on their side was going to happen so Talal stopped interluding into the conversations and concentrated on gathering ripples. Enough to give her an oomph but not enough to cause suspicion from lack of sound in the room. Just to be on the safe side.

_________________
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Walk beside me that we may be as one.
***************************************
Talal
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Level 39 (0/1000 EXP) Twin Blade

Weapons/Armor: Mukuro (Swirling Dark, Dark Dance), Ice Hunter Cap (Repth), Wristbands (Juk Rom), Fishing Gloves (Rue Kruz), Wyrm Hide (Gan Don), Snow Panther (Ap Vorv)

Wish List: Scrolls, Tarot Cards, and Armor higher than level 30.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:25 pm 
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"Melzas." The voice that broke the silence next was Raine's. Dressed entirely inappropriately for the bone-deep chill in the room, she nevertheless didn't even look cold. "You know why we're here. You know what the outcome of this fight will be. You've had a long time to reign over The World, but that time is ending."

"Confident." His golden eye turned towards her.

"You know we're not all here. Even if you kill everyone in this room, the others will gather even more power and will return."

"You ssscertainly have been pessstsss throughout my life. Not wissse of you to sssplit up, though. For asss long asss you have been fighting usss, you ssstill haven't learned to bring your full power to bear."

"We don't need to, for one of your caliber. You hide behind lies and deceit, not true power. This is your last chance, Melzas. Join us or die."

"You missstake me for Roycssse. I have all the power I need."

For the first time, Melzas seemed to breathe. His chest rose as he took a deep breath, and let it out in a long, slow hiss. Then, as though moving bones long frozen, he stood. One hand reached back and gripped the handle of his heavy blade. It looked much like any other, the wide sheet of metal etched with black patterns, but it was coated in ice as well, thick and jagged. With a wrench, he snapped it from where it had frozen to the floor, and heaved it up to rest on his armored shoulder.

Standing, he was an imposing figure. Though thin as to be skeletal, he still wore a frost-touched heavy coat, which moved as though armored inside. Bits of ice periodically cracked and fell from his coat and sword, but were replaced by the ambient cold radiating from his body itself. Even the room seemed to get colder when he stood, though it hardly seemed possible.

"Looks like chatty time is over, eh guys?" Nighthand, ever the overconfident one, stepped forward. His hands reached inside his coat and withdrew two scrolls, one in each hand. His voice deepened and he almost chanted. "What is bound once can once be freed, with such power to sate its greed. With power given, all take heed; I do this now in time of need. A razor's edge to make foes bleed, I call you, Wryneck. Time to feed!"

The twin scrolls of Bind Wryneck, powerful summons on their own, burst into black and ragged orbs around Nighthand's hands. He cast his arms to his sides, and the orbs stretched out into long, monstrous claws of shadow. Those claws had a life of their own, twisting and writhing, grasping for purchase in the air. Finally they seemed to meet and catch hold, and yanked apart, ripping a hole, a portal into a realm of darkness. As if relieved, they calmed and stretched into the portal, disappearing.

A moment paused, Nighthand, the portal, and all else in the room still. Then a beam of darkness shot forward, piercing Melzas in the chest, driving through the back of his throne, and stabbing into the wall behind him. The smoky beam dispersed, leaving the Nightblade embedded in the far wall, the whip attached to the handle stretching back to coil around Nighthand's arm and shoulder like a snake.

Melzas' laughter hissed sibilant through the room. The form before them cracked and shattered, an icy mirror broken. Nighthand yanked the sword back to his hand as the real Melzas -- at least, what they might assume was the real Melzas, with his doppelganger destroyed -- appeared a mere foot to the side.

"Figured." Nighthand said. "Guys? Let's take him down."

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:00 pm 
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It had finally come to this. A part of Maoh figured it always would be; they were in a game after all. Not only that, but the conversation thus far hadn’t given him much hopes in the way of progressing through this meeting without needing to draw steel. Melzas was almost as stoic enough to be the Elite of rock, but when the time for talking was over he stood all the same and drew his weapon, resting it on his shoulder. Nighthand stepped forward and chanted with a deep voice, scroll in either hand before calling forth a portal and from the portal a weapon that streaked through the air and through what turned out to be a mirror image of the true Melzas. "Guys? Let's take him down."

Maoh didn’t need another word before he flexed his paws and charged in. An audible whoosh later and Maoh’s front two paws were engulfed in a fierce fire from the level two skill Fireburst. If there were duplicates rolling around, there was a chance that he’d strike at the real one in some capacity as well as fend off a surprise attack being the first one into the fray. A large portion of his confidence in being the first into melee range was because of the collar he wore around his neck; the boon that promised immediate revival made the fear of death seem significantly less than the hours prior when he first awoke to find himself in his new hell.

As he got close, Maoh started swinging, surrendering control to the automated movements of the skill. In wide, sweeping motions, Maoh began to unleash punch after punch, kick after kick at the skeletal man. Jab, jab, left hook, axe kick, right back-hand, tail whip; and the string of attacks continued as a flurry until the fires died out. What had transpired though was something out of a martial arts movie, with Melzas almost effortlessly dodging around every single strike. Small tendrils of steam billowed off the frosty surface of Melzas’s armour only to freeze back over from the residual temperature of the room. Ultimately, Maoh’s skill had had no effect.

Flipping over backwards, using a paw as a springboard, Maoh gave himself some distance between him and the keeper of the tower. He needed to reassess his method of attack. He was not the strongest of their group, and arguably had the least to bring to the table in terms of innate resources; especially if he couldn’t even hit his target. For a while he watched, seeing the others start kicking off the battle with their own tactics. They were working as a group, that’s for sure; but they weren’t working in unison just yet. Spells were flying, attacks were getting lined up, and that’s when it hit him.
Quote:
To: Takua
From: Maoh
Subject: N/A
Attached Item: Heh heh heh
Hey. I got this from the market; hopefully this'll help?

Why bother being the one that pelted Melzas with ineffective attacks when he could be the one to amplify instead? Combination of a new staff, as well as diametrically opposed elements to the enemy could only be made better. While Takua dealt with whatever he was doing, plus potentially the Flashmail, Maoh drew two cards from what remained of his coat and flashed them before lobbing them skyward. Firstly, a Hermit’s Blood gave Takua’s magical attack a solid boost; almost a necessity for any spellcaster looking to deal out the big numbers. Following that was a tarot called The Sun, one of the rarer ones found specifically in the Yamiyo bazaar; this one had the neat effect of setting the target’s elemental powers to their maximum limit. All in all, Takua would be effectively optimised as best as he could be without being max level on top of everything he’d already provided.

Raine set about working buffs on all of them as well; giving them all regeneration of both health and magic, as well as the increase of speed through Ap Do. As Maoh figured out what best to do next, Canti and Nighthand piled on, resulting in Melzas putting up some kind barrier made of ice. It turned as black as the fur on Maoh’s back, although nothing happened at first. The cat watched eagerly for some kind of follow-up as he drew two more cards, figuring the next point of action would be to debuff Melzas in the same way he had dolled out the buffs to Takua. As he drew the first card, The Star, the barrier burst open with a shadowy figure leaping out. In his haste, Maoh threw down the card to drop the target’s elements to zero but didn’t get a glimpse as to what the target was before it went off.

For whatever reason, their new target seemed to be a doppekganger of Canti, except made of darkness and on fire. While the card seemed to have an effect, Maoh held off using the second card he had grabbed not seeing the being he was expecting to. As Canti danced with his duplicate, Maoh readied himself to jump back into the fray again and rushed in when he saw an opening. Paws ablaze with the same fire he had before, he concentrated his assault on the Not-Canti and delivered blow after blow to whatever part of the body he could reach. Leaping back at the end of his attack and taking a few more steps away to reassess. Nighthand had become a blur on the battlefield, dashing around in an attempt to do… something. Talal, Canti and Maoh were all on board with dropping the clone as soon as possible in the meantime.

As it seemed to crumble away, Maoh’s perception of time seemed to slow as Melzas appeared from nowhere and grabbed Canti, freezing him, and shattering all in the span of a second or two at most. Canti’s pet seemed to want revenge and leapt forward, only to be knocked into Raine. Maoh frowned and flicked up a Resurrect to get Canti back up, figuring that a continued, joint assult would be best. In another moment, Maoh was atop Melzas again with a fiery barrage of kitty limbs, this time proving to be much more effective than his last, direct assault. What he wasn’t expecting was the blizzard that sent him sprawling across the room, the damage of which mitigated thankfully by the Ap Ruem Raine had bestowed on them all before. Then Nighthand charged in, and Takua dropped a heavy fire spell in the room which seemed to combo off with some kind of implosion skill Canti had set off as well.


"You land blowsss and think yourssselvesss ahead... Perhapsss I ssshall demonssstrate the power gap you truly facssse."

Maoh frowned, grip tightening as he picked himself up, readying himself for what was to come.

_________________
Maoh l Lvl. 32 l EXP: 0/1000 l HP: 495/??? l SP: 140/???
GP: 31,541


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:49 am 
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
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Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(Negotiations had, as you might have imagined, broken down. Melzas wanted to be king of his own personal mountain and didn't really care what anybody thought of it. He had it, he had no wish or desire for anything real, and he was going to defend it. Now, the winged Twin Blade had a slightly different theory that - in a way - Mel had no desire to give all this up for reasons of having nothing, absolutely nothing, to really go back to...and that that was pretty darn tragic...but we may never know for sure. The thing of it, though, was that it kind of made Canti pity the Rue Elite. Not to any extent of relenting on what they were about to DO, but in his heart, he wouldn't exactly be cursing the poor bastard too loudly if it turned out to be so. If this turned out to be a deserved sympathetic vibe, he would toast him in the real world. 'Till then, it was game on.)

Canti: And trust Nighthand to take the first swipe.

(Big swipe, really. He summoned Wryneck, among other things. Problem is...what his opening move hit appeared to be a Decoy Octopus. That is, something of a doppelganger standing in for the real skull-faced Heavy Blade. It was a good shot, but it proved that Melzas had prepared for their attacks. Now, what follows is what mostly happened that our darkly-elemented Twin Blade could see and/or did along with his trusty deadly hound. Canti, thinking that this may not be the last shatter-y fake, decided to test those particular waters with some quick actions. After downing a Pure Water, he flung his Demon Spikes in a layered volley - low, midway, and high - to expose whether or not the Melzas they were seeing was the real one...or if there was another hiding around. The point of it all was less about damage and more about exposure of a hidden hacker. And if there WAS another one around...)

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

(Velvet hooked the big-ass dog up to a few machines, and waved a wand around that looked like one of those airline metal detectors. She appeared to be stumped until a bit of data came out of one machine, and causing her to whisper "Ho-ly Shit..." under her breath. The large canine tilted his head in confusion, of course. He'd heard it. He could hear everything, in that his hearing function processed all public dialogue in a given area.)

"Is THAT what these things are for?"

Shadow: What things?

(The big Bogie's inquiry remained ignored as Velvet dug through a pile of small boxes before finding one that's got a couple dozen marble-looking spheres in it. Shadow recognized what they were immediately. Experimentally, she took one out and tried to give it to him, but received an error message. It was a water spell and he was the dog of darkness. However, with a little searching and something akin to a jeweler's loupe, she found one.)

"I knew they had spells of some sort but man, I had no idea how to use these things. Looks like I can't!"

(But HE could, and that meant...)


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

(...Shadow would be casting OrmeAni Kruz on it! Well...that's assuming there was a hidden Elite. If not, the recipient of same Level-3 swarm of converging bats would land on the one target available. As it happens, Canti did NOT find anything invisible and the appareny REAL Melzas held himself in a defensive stance against their efforts. With the real Elite Rue-man established, a deluge of actions converged upon him. Nighthand attacked directly, Takua blasted him, Talal attempted to... Okay, actually, Canti couldn't guess what Talal was doing when it was related to sound...because you can't see sound without a condition called Synesthesia, but that's not important right now. Since things were happening awfully fast and awfully simultaneously, our dual-wielding boy didn't quite get it all down. He was, for instance, distracted for a second when he noticed that Raine was giving him some support that he might have cast upon himself, had he needed so. That said, they were supported against the worst...maybe.)

Canti: Thank you, Raine. Now, for a double-teaming. C'mon, pal!

(Thus imbued with niceties, two things happened. Canti flew around to slide in and grab the currently-busy Melzas by the ankles from behind and Shadow jumped on the Twin Blade's back to start mauling his ass. Mauling...the Elite's ass, not his master's. Now, why should Canti grab his ankles? Well, the cold and sneaky bastard might pull a fast one if he went charging in with daggers, but if he were using one of his powers...like the Explosive Touch... Even an accidental touch of Nighthand would be nothing, but if he could grab the Elite by the ankles long enough, he could concentrate the darkness power...and there would be a lovely ani-based explosion. Nighthand obliged and Mel was stuck taking it due to being rooted to the spot. A well-placed surgical assault, from behind and ON his behind. Canti was unable to see what exactly happened next, not until something icy and forceful knocked him and Shadow back. When they looked, Melzas was in some sort of ice egg...thing, and that the shadowy explosion had occurred inside of that, making it a rotten ice egg thingy. And then, Vulcan was summoned on top of it, pretty much allowing hell to literally break loose! The egg shattered and out came...)

Canti: What the what?!

(It isn't what he meant to say. What he meant was something a bit more vulgar. Don't dwell on it. It was just that he was seeing one of his friends being assaulted by...himself! Canti the Twin Blade leapt out of that egg, on fire and looking pissed! It was a cold version of him, and obviously the manifestation of one of Mel's powers, but the sight was still a bit surprising. Not so surprised was the REAL Canti, though, that he could not defend himself against the sudden attack that the false Twin Blade launched at him next. Could he so-perfectly mirror his mirror image? Why yes, yes he can!)

Canti: Come on, you amateur! Who knows me like ME?

(He attempted to get in a good Darkness Slash while Shadow tried to grab and pull the fake by his ankles to give him an opening next. Not...exactly successful, as while he could execute the move and the Bogie clamped down and pulled, Canti found himself mirrored as well, thus they damaged each other. Go figure. Maoh used the opening to hit his doppelganger with a Vakz Rage, and that...well...left him not looking so hot. With some of his friends now taking the fight to the fiend, Canti backed off to top off his HP mark. His double may not have had the defenses applied, but he could still use a Health Drink for the element damage, and then to switch his weapon to Kurenai while Shadow ran interference with a tackle, just in case the fake decided to take advantage of an opening. Following that, Canti set the thing on fire again with GiVak Kruz. The combined efforts of all those involved crumbled it into bits of melting ice, leaving the dark Twin Blade...to explode. What?! Yes, explode. Or more accurately, Mel snuck up behind him, pulled a Subzero Fatality, and left him as naught but a hovering ghost. Canti's disembodied spirit shivered there for a moment.)

Canti: Well, I WAS gonna say something clever, but for now...

(He flipped Melzas the bird as Shadow casted another OrmeAni Kruz attack before going for the Heavy Blade's crotch. That didn't go as well as one might hope, as the shadow spell didn't do much and Shadow got himself tossed across the room...directly into Raine. Ouch. As one might expect, though, the Twin Blade did not have to stay dead for long, as Maoh revived him and went back on the attack. Several flame attacks and - while Canti was busy refurbishing his Rue-defense and SP count - Melzas cast a spell on himself to make the room suddenly go all blizzard-y. Not fun. Fortunately for Canti, being alive had made him alive and WELL, and therefore not on death's door again. He regained himself, and then went wide in the eye because Jesus Christ, it's cold! Fortunately, Shadow had returned to his side, because after the Elite batted away Nighthand and his latest attack, he had a thing to do. They both focused on the icy foe and suddenly...the surroundings seemed to compress on Melzas. He'd been busy, so what're the odds he could do much about their Overdrive? The Catastrophe spell imploded in on him until reaching its critical mass, and then exploded! It had no element, much like Stuck, so it's unlikely that he'd have an easy remedy for this. This SEEMED to do some appreciable damage, along with everything else that was happening to him, but he then summoned a localized snowstorm around himself and had himself a nice gloat.)

Canti: Oh, so we've gone from the untouchable to merely the overpowered? Progress. Bring it on.

_________________
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.


Last edited by Lord Canti on Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:52 pm 
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It would seem all of their hopes to get Melzas on their side through calm, cool, and collected discussion had failed. He had no want or desire to do things the easy way or side with the Freedom Fighters for that matter. Melzas made his move. Maoh rushed in which...she had to give the new guy credit for bravery. She was nowhere near that when she first joined the group, or at least not that she remembered. For now, she was going to stick with her plan to be defense for the group so they could concentrate on attacking. Talal was certain there should be more things she could do at this point with her abilities, especially after Xenobia's tower but as they say, you don't know what you've got until you try it.

Canti of course joined in the fray doing what he does best and Talal watched from the sidelines per se. Subtle hand movements continuously collecting just like in Xenobia's tower. One never knew when a build up would come in handy. Melzas appeared after Canti's attack but the question remained...was it the real Melzas? Her brows furrowed a bit flicking a finger. The point of it all was to cast a sound behind him like footsteps to see if he would flinch or move. Nothing notably happened so either the Melzas they were seeing was a clone, it was the real Melzas and he just wasn't a flincher, the fact that Nighthand lunged into battle at that same exact moment and destracted him, or her attempt at something new failed entirely and there was no sound for him to flinch too. Talal sighed. Too many unknowns. Including why Takua seemed to take a step forward but then several stumbly ones back. Too long had it been since she had a decent talk with him. See how he was faring, but now wasn't the time for such things.


The group as a whole began their attacks. Not necessarily coordinated but Talal kind of felt that was the plan. Anything overly coordinated would be on everyone's mind as they tried to remember what their part of the plan was and the timing, etc. Something Melzas would be able to pick up on easily if the rumors of his foresight were true. No, the only plan was to attack and attack often so while Raine was buffing everyone up, Talal waited for Canti's attack to complete and released a scroll of Raining Rocks enhanced by the FengShui item she had picked up early on before she became part of the Freedom Fighters.

The one thing about uncoordinated attacks...or war in general for that matter is the eventual ensuing chaos that occurs. This fight was no different, the Twin Blade watching the story unravel before her eyes. Canti and Nighthand both keeping Melzas busy, the earth stones bombing him from above. Somehow within all of this Melzas manages to incase himself in a shield of ice just after Canti sent down an attack of darkness that got stuck inside the shield with Melzas. For a brief moment, Talal thought that would be it. The blast went off inside, the ice turned black and hard. Certainly a close quarters blast like that would do a lot of damage. Only one way to find out.

Using what sound she had gathered, Talal stretched out her hand and opened her fist, palm aimed directly and the black ice globe. It shattered without issue releasing a shadowy figure of some kind that was running around like a chicken on fire thanks to the Wavemaster's fire attack. Suppose it was payback that the figure struck back and slashed Takua across the chest. Maoh and Canti go on the offensive and tag team the what now looks like a Canti clone but as clones tend to do, it fought back and got a few hits of its own in.

Fire and Ice seemed to be the theme of the current attack. Searching through her inventory, Talal equipped the new set of blades she received from the Fire Master and joined in on the attack. The theme song from Star Wars hitting her as the trio attacked the lone clone while Nighthand ran around the room looking like he had no direction. Was he okay? Did he take one too many hits to the noggin? Meanwhile Raine was staying out of the main fight but was doing her part with buffs for the group which was good...someone needed to. Finally it hit what Nighthand was doing and she tried sending a submarine style sonar ping out but there was too much going on to get a clear read and it would seem that possibly the real Melzas was scurrying about as random and as quickly as Nighthand was. They needed a better tactic.

Canti threw out some more flames, re-igniting the clone and lighting up the room but it didn't last long as the clone disintegrated. Maoh then started rummaging around in the ashes making Talal tilt her head in a combination of curiosity and confusion. The sound of strangulation caught her attention and Talal turned her head just in time to see Canti turned to ice and explode into a million pieces. His pissed off looking ghost appearing. Shadow attacked instantly and was tossed like a rag doll over into Raine. Talal noticing the subtle movements but was unsure what exactly Raine was trying to pull off. The full extent of her skills still unknown to the Twin Blade.

Fury filled the long haired woman seeing her companions thrown around and killed, an attempt to send a wave to shatter his arms didn't work so she ran into the fray blades drawn, with a war growl coming from deep within. A quick thought of dumping something...anything on her blades that would give them an extra boost as they drive through Melzas crossed her mind but in her momentary rage, finding the right thing in her inventory wasn't working out so well and distracting her and she doesn't get a hit in at all. Melzas turns the room into a tiny blizzard and Maoh and Takua take the torch...literally. Puddles form and re-ice over almost instantly before Melzas spouts off another line of threats to the group.

Oh God! What now? She thinks to herself heading over to check on Shadow seeing that Canti had been revived and was regaining his levels. The female slamming down a health drink to help against the damage from being too close to all the fire bombs that were exploding.

_________________
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Walk beside me that we may be as one.
***************************************
Talal
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Level 39 (0/1000 EXP) Twin Blade

Weapons/Armor: Mukuro (Swirling Dark, Dark Dance), Ice Hunter Cap (Repth), Wristbands (Juk Rom), Fishing Gloves (Rue Kruz), Wyrm Hide (Gan Don), Snow Panther (Ap Vorv)

Wish List: Scrolls, Tarot Cards, and Armor higher than level 30.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:53 pm 
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Location: Walking the line of madness
Diplomacy had, rather unsurprisingly, failed miserably.

This left them against one of the Elites, something that Takua wasn't really prepared for- and knew it only too well. Garra had nearly killed him after all- deleted him rather, and it was only through luck itself that he'd ever woken up from the most painful experience of his life. But getting back to the real world would have them fighting him too eventually, so they might as well get this one out of the way now. Away from anyone who might support him.

Unfortunately, it was them that needed the support, not the hacker.

To make his life that much better it quickly became clear that one of Melzas' powers included the ability to make clones of himself. As though Takua needed additional reasons to be paranoid. They were going to have enough trouble just overcoming his raw stats and power, but if he went ahead and added trickery to the mix, then life was less and less fun by the second. So he had to do something- would there be any way for him to narrow down if the figure in front of him was, in fact, Melzas?

Maybe. It could also be dumb beyond belief. Elites were insanely powerful, and they'd remained like this because they had a healthy amount of paranoia and power. But just for a moment, Takua tried to reach out and find the perspective of Melzas.

His 'vision' such as it was shattered into a thousand little pieces. The blinking eye of an insect, fractal and split across perspectives, unfurled around him. Every person from Melzas' perspective was moving at different rates and with different actions, shifting and blurring across the room impossibly. The Wavemaster flinched, a sudden spike of pain driving itself between his forehead with a powerful hammerblow. Takua staggered, releasing his ability reflexively and banishing his ability to see. Everyone else was beginning to attack, trying to overwhelm Melzas, and for the moment he couldn't even do anything to support them. Only nurse the worst headache of his life and try desperately not to wince as each sharp noise drove the wedge further into his head.

It was only a little bit later, as the sharp ping of a flashmail popped up and disgorged its message and contents, that Takua actually felt able to join the fight. Relinking with Vesica, the Wavemaster looked at what was going on in the battlefield...right as Melzas retreated inside of an egg shell made out of ice made suddenly and startling opaque by something someone had done, turning it black.

Well, if you want ominous, you have to do it right...

Thankfully, it appeared Maoh had come through somehow. Swapping out the Firedrake Bone, a new staff appeared that Takua had never used before. He'd wanted it ever since he'd heard about it, but until now the Rue and Rai based mage hadn't ever gotten his hands on it. Lifting the staff up high, Takua grinned...and slammed the base of the staff into the floor as the magic surged through him. A glyph glowed under him, spreading outward as two simple words broke the air, “Vulcan Rf.”

He'd gotten used to the power that a Yarthkins Rf could bring. Which was just as well, given the power that it could put out. The god of fire descended, made a gesture...

And the egg of ice exploded into fragments.

Which was why the incredibly fast figure that bolted out of it, all fire and fury, came as a surprise. Takua flinched, trying to bring his staff up as Vesica moved to cover him, but there was no time to do anything. He simply took two blades across the chest and had to accept that. A third of his health vanished in the blink of an eye, and he only got a single look at his attacker before it vanished, running at Canti.

A...twin blade made out of ice?

Well. That only spoke of troublesome things.

Takua took to the back lines, handing out an Ola Repth to heal himself back up to full and take care of the minor injuries caused by the formation of the ice shell. Gritting through the pain, Takua kept watching the flow of the battle from there on- a ghosted player here, more attacks landing there...until it seemed like it was time for him to step in again. Through it he was crafting a flashmail, and he'd just sent it off when Melzas countered a bunch of smaller fire spells with a PhaRue Rom, and the air was, for the moment, clear for another Vulcan Rf.

Which, oddly, was far, far more focused than it should have been. Someone else had done something....who? Oh well. Didn't matter. What mattered was that the man was clearly about to go on the offensive again to turn the tables, so they had to prepare.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Takua
Subject: Vision
Can't tell if that's another ice clone or not. Tried to see from his perspective, felt like I saw a thousand versions of us doing different things, all from the same viewpoint. Just stay ready for more deception.

_________________
Takua - Lvl 57 Wavemaster
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:28 pm 
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Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(Our current situation thus: The battle with the Ice Crusher had been a situation fraught witth peril, ice, damage, ice, dodging, and more ice. Did we mention ice? It's only because it was so damn cold and Canti still vividly remembered the sensation of having been shattered. That was only a short while ago, but much like when Royce vaporized him on a previous occasion, that was going to stay with him a while. Nevertheless, Canti was alive and sassy, waiting to fight again as Melzas appeared to be doing whatever it was that an ice-based character did when he was just getting warmed up. Chilling out? Staying frosty? Going mighty glacier? Exact terms escape us for the moment. Unimportant. The issue here was that things were staying on something of an equal footing. They were enough to give him trouble and were fairly good at covering each other in cases of death, damage, or de-buffing...and he was one very strong player who only had to look after himself, standing in his element in the center of his place of power. A bit problematic for both sides, you see. Canti found Shadow rejoining his side after his tumble into Raine.)

Canti: You alright?

Shadow: My horns ache, but I'm okay.

Canti: Good, 'cause it's Round Two now.

(Yup, even though Canti had been hit with a Fatality, even. Still, just as they were talking, Melzas threw his hand up and his localized snowstorm became alot less local and alot more inundating! What the...? Oh shit. Slowing down like when your body loses circulation and his fire power was starting to go down. It wasn't as much per se as the normal debuff, but it was some kind of combo that was dragging him and the others down. From there, the Heavy Blade swept by Nighthand and killed him with his blade, turning then towards Raine. Canti felt others buffing and he tried to Speed Charm himself, but his body refused the spell of Ap Do entirely!)

Canti: Son of a bitch!

(That didn't usually happen. This guy literally hit him where his strengths were. He was a Twin Blade of fire and darkness who loved to make use of speed. Two out of three just got themselves hobbled, and they wouldn't UNhobble themselves. Canti realized the full magnitude of this, though, when he saw that Nighthand, having been revived, couldn't be Speed Charm'd either. They were stuck like this... Pulling out a card of the High Priestess for undetered SP flow, Canti pointed his Vak Ring at Melzas and fired. At the same time, though, he noticed Talal trying to sneak a hit on the Heavy Blade Elite and it...not working! Jesus, he blew her apart and then turned to him, but then a HUGE fire spell knocked the guy sideways! Guess there was a fair point to diverting him from Raine, huh? Redoubling his efforts, the currently-freezing-his-naggers-off Twin Blade applied a Reflect item to himself - which might help - and basically consumed Mr. Ice Elite in a massive amount of the Darkness Flame shortly after Shadow had gone and started mauling at the small of the bastard's back for ghosting Talal. Canti didn't like it either, so he was all for it. Guess kamikaze runs through both of their minds. Since Raine's heavy Vak spell hadn't warmed up the place at all, they could assume that this was a Twilight ability that would need more power to break, or possibly to break him to be rid of it. Canti was all for the latter.)

Canti: If you really have nothing else, there's nothing else we can do for you.

(To add to his own attack, there'd also been a great fiery summoning, a big lightning bolt, and a...small ice spell? That was from Maoh. Did...he think that Mel had weirdly inverted defenses and that ice was his actual weakness? It...wasn't impossible, but really...what were the odds? After all, it DID look like they were hurting him through all this. None of it was dire, as of yet, but it was kind of showing, and they DID annoy him, which usually meant they were getting somewhere. However, amidst the smoke and the flames, there was a yelp from Shadow as his ghost was thrown against a wall, a sword flung at Raine that she only just missed enough to keep from dying, and then a- WTF was that?! It sliced out of the smoke, battered off of Nighthand's sword, winged Canti himself for half his HP, and back to Melzas...who appeared to only be scorched and holding one of these in both hands.)

Canti: Oh shit. He's got Pred Discs.

(Yes, he did, and he was quite good at using them. With his sword in the wall and Maoh apparently trying - and failing - to loot it, they had a whole new ball game on their hands. Dunno what he thought he was doing. Yeah, let's attack the Icy Heavy Blade with his own sword, sure! That really didn't seem like a good idea at all, though, so Canti was working on bringing back his faithful hound and healing the both of them. However, at about that time...)

Quote:
Flashmail!

TO: The Party
FROM: Talal

SUBJECT: Loud

you might want to plug your ears


(Oh shit. The next thing you know, the entire area is reverberating with shockingly loud loudness! Talal was giving Mel the fullness of her sonic power and everybody else just had to grin and bear the noise it was making. Putting aside that this was a game and she was using her Twilight ability for this, it should be noted that Mythbusters totally confirmed the soprano glass-shatter ability in real life, and this was a game where they had power. Try to imagine what that was like for Frozen Skeletor, for a moment. He immediately threw his weapons at her, and...while one of them shattered, the other...took off her head! That was enough. Canti had had enough of this motherfucking Heavy Blade and his motherfucking ice! As Melzas had made the storm thicker and their speed even lower, as he avoided attacks from Raine and Nighthand, Canti went to war. He used Bind Vulcan on the Heavy Blade Elite to give him a heavy flame summon to think about, then during said explosion Vital Target and Unity - once Talal was alive again - and cue the Popeye music as he launched himself at the not-as-well-armed-as-he-had-been-a-minute-ago Ice Elite for a Flame Vortex strike!)

Canti: You will stop taking apart every single person I know!!

(Of course, during this Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Canti could not have been aware that everyone else around him was acting as well, and that shortly he would be Ground Zero for pretty much World War Seven. That was why a sudden soundwave knocked him out of the sudden flames and disastrous explosive attacks that were suddenly turning this snowstorm into a full-on maelstrom of monstrous proportions! And because Melzas was ducking and dodging around while casting ice spells on himself - Sorry, he didn't have inverted defense, Maoh. - Canti had to suddenly book it and work on a little recovery before he somehow got dead. Meanwhile, the Ice Elite had started moving towards Takua, source of most of the boom around here. Shadow stepped between them as a physical barrier, determined to keep the Wavemaster able to super-cast his spells as long as possible. He growled as he spoke now.)

Shadow: You cannot pass, icy doom! You shall not...huh?

(The devil hound cocked his head up in confusion as Nighthand scooped up the spell-blitzer behind him and ran off like a flipping cartoon character. And even as that continued - along with Canti himself having used up his last two Bind Vulcans - he remained where he was, watching this with wonder...as well as a sense of awe and concern.)

Shadow: I feel as though this has gotten slightly out of hand.

(Really? Why would that be? Was it because their snowstorm-filled throne room and battleground was now filling up with massive detonations and just about any spells and spell scrolls you could think about? Or that Canti had made use of another High Priestess so that he could hold down the trigger for his Vak Ring and fly around the room, following Melzas with a fire beam like some kind of obsessive kill-sat? At what point had things really gotten out of hand during this whole 'Take down the Elites' thing? Possibly, it was a whole lot longer ago. SO! We now have a room that has been blasted ugly with all manner of blitzkrieg attacks, and then there's a swoosh of motion as Melzas recovers his sword and...seems to be facing off against a smirking Raine now. Wait a minute...)

Canti: Oh my god, he's unarmed!

(Mel had only one arm and...Canti made a bad pun. The Twin Blade's shoulders slumped as he sighed.)

Canti: Yeah, I'll go see myself out.

(Melzas was not dead, but DAYUM had he taken a helluva beating there! It seemed like Raine was going to do something next. Everyone else would wait and see, or aid it along, or something. Just something. We shall see...)

_________________
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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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