E|\|7er Th3 W0rl|) &hr0*gH t|-|3 Yamiyo 5e|2\/%R.

Moderator: Nighthand

User avatar
Master of Games
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Class: Bladesmage
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...

A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Nighthand » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:17 am

A dozen sets of golden rings descended in the center of a crowded square. As always, the golden gate spun serenely in the middle of the square, a gathering point, landmark and hub for movement about the city. Everyone in the group was there, minus one; Baron had stalked off on his own, forced to make his way to the city on his own volition. On the other hand, the had another; Xenobia, wearing her normal green gown, wearing an earthen-colored cloak. When they arrived, she pulled the hood over her head, and her spear disappeared into her inventory.

“All right. We have a shelter in the Earth district, you can join us if you like. First, though, we should report back to the Fire Master and have him tell Klive you decided to join us.” Nall said, more to Xenobia than to anyone else.

Before she could respond, a figure detached from the crowd and approached. She wore what would be normal clothing for the outside world; jeans and a purple tank top, some bracelets and tennis shoes. Her hair was long and straight black, with an unusual white star pattern bleached into it. She looked as though she would smack a gum bubble and pull out a cell phone, but she didn’t.

“Changed your appearance again, eh?” Nighthand said, and that’s when anyone who hadn’t noticed already put the pieces together; it was Raine.

“Yeah, well, I like to do that from time to time. Makes me feel better about living here.” She said. “I heard what you said.” She turned to Nall. “We don’t have shelter any more. They kicked us out while you were all gone. Said something about their hospitality being endless, but needing their barracks back.”

“Fair enough. So, I guess we get to impose on the Fire Master a little more. See if he can give us rooms.”

“I can offer an alternative.” Xenobia spoke up. “I will secure rooms in the Juk Citadel, for use until the time comes.”

Raine looked at Xenobia skeptically. “I’m not sure I want to be under your constant vigil.”

“It is your choice.” Xenobia shrugged. She gestured to the crowd surrounding them, some of whom had stopped to take notice of the group of powerful players. Some may even have recognized the Elite. “Regardless, I take my leave. Whispers are beginning, and you don’t need to have your plan spoiled before it’s hatched. Come to the citadel if you wish to take me up on the offer.” Her cloak shifted, turning into an urban camo sort of pattern, then shifting again. Abruptly, she was invisible, and gone.

“Well, that’s not disconcerting at all.” Raine said.

“Not the time to discuss it.” Nall said. “We have to decide; Vak, Juk, or some third party shelter around?”

“I might know a place.” Nighthand said. “Darkness sector, obviously. Should be safe from Garaa’s prying eyes, but let me go check it out first to make sure.”

“Alright, so, three options. What do the rest of you think?”


Time to make the first decision of the new thread! Where do we go for safe haven? Trust Xenobia and go to the Juk Master’s castle? Call in a favor from Klive and take up residence in the Vak Master’s castle? Or follow Nighthand to some hole in the ground in the Ani sector, under Garaa’s thumb where he would least expect it?

Just a quick vote post, basically is all I want here. You can post more if you want, but all I really need is your preference of where to go.

Also, this is your IC chance to head out and do a solo. Just be like “I have something to take care of, let me know where we’re hiding and I’ll meet up later” and that’s probably good enough. Or you can wait a bit; it’ll be a few rounds before we head out on the next major errand.

User avatar
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:50 am
Class: Twinblade

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Talal » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:45 am

It felt so good to finally be out of that tower. It was odd to watch the reactions of other players that were around the gate at the time of their entrance. Talal had forgotten how busy of a place the gate area was. She was surprised to see Raine but enjoyed her new appearance. It looked like something she would wear back home and it put a faint smile on the Twin Blade's face. They had gated in and she still found herself near Shadow and Canti where she had been when the vines disappeared and turned gold.

With Xenobia now gone on her way to the Citadel, no one had spoken up yet, so Talal figured she would get the ball rolling. "It's a tough decision. Anyway we turn, we risk the possibility of facing an early whistle blower. If we take advantage of Xenobia's offer, word may reach the others of a large group residing within the Citadel under her watch. Then again, Klive seemed to be somewhat on the level when we left but who knows if anything has changed since. Nighthand may have a point with the Ani sector. They do say an enemy doesn't expect to find foes within his own camp so why would he look there for us. But yet, if Garaa is aware something is happening which I would think he does after that battle we had with him already, he will be watching everything close to home very carefully." She sighed and thought for another quick moment. "My vote is to try Klive first, only because the idea of being under Xenobia's roof and her ability to "listen in" doesn't sit well. We still should think of our group first and allies second. Maybe that's wrong, but that's how I feel. Of course, I will go with and abide by whatever final decision is made."

Talal bowed politely to the group as a whole and walked back over taking her position next to Shadow. First looking at the group. "I need to re-stock a few things so just send me a message where to meet you when I'm done." Talal turned to Canti and Shadow. "Would it be alright if I borrow Shadow?" She was a little confused honestly, if she needed to ask Canti's permission or Shadow's so she chose to aim it at Canti following real world rules with people and their dog companions.
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.
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.

Lord Canti
Exalted Player
Posts: 300
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Lord Canti » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:09 am

(Well, today was certainly a day for surprises...whatever 'today' meant anymore. They'd managed to secure an alliance with Xenobia of all people, who offered them some kind of sanctuary in Juk Sector AFTER forming a plant-based Chaos Gate to get them here. That was a big enough deal right there, but then Raine showed up...a little differently than he remembered. Okay, ALOT differently. She went through more personal edits than he did! Xenobia left for the time being, and before they could decide on their next coup-move, they needed to decide on that place to stay now. What...were the Gan-people barracking it up for? It made one wonder... Talal spoke up first, and she had quite alot of thought put into it. He had to agree with her there.)

"I need to re-stock a few things so just send me a message where to meet you when I'm done. Would it be alright if I borrow Shadow?"

(The last part was directed specifically at him and the dark hound in question. Momentarily de-railed, Canti looked at her, then Shadow, and back again.)

Canti: Umm, sure. You're free, right Shadow?

Shadow: Indeed.

(And besides, he had built-in reactions to enjoy a good ear-scratching. Once Talal had gone off, the confused Canti DE-de-railed himself to return to the matter at hand, addressing the now-five seniors that stood in the room there.)

Canti: We're giving Xenobia the benefit of the doubt so that she can align with us, but I'm not ready for a sleep-over yet. All the misgivings and stuff can cool off over time. For now, I say we take up residency in the Vak Sector. Much as it might be clever to hide under Garaa's nose, we'd be in the sector with the guy that's trying to organize this plan of ours. So, I vote Klive and a little fire safety.

(That having been said, he kind of wondered what she wanted with that dog... Listening to a few more statements, Canti wandered off, stating he'd be back later and, of course, open on flashmail.)
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.

User avatar
Posts: 123
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:04 pm
Class: Archer
Location: Liminality

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Sekai » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:36 am

Ani Sector. The newcomer was vehemently for going back to the place she'd been forcibly dragged from.

December had other ideas. A favor from our patron would be most sensible; we did propose the treaty so that he wouldn't have to risk himself and his master's cover should things go sour.

Kira hated all of it and made her point rather abundantly clear. Fuck all that noise; go find somewhere else to hole up where we're not under somebody's fuckin' thumb.

Sekai had a headache and rubbed her temples as if it would provide anything close to relief. Harboring as many of them in her soul as she did, and she'd not understood just how... heavy the weight of another being held within her really was until the addition of the rather angry woman with flashing eyes and an angry countenance to her every word and movement had rather abruptly come about. She could shut them up, make them quiet by 'turning' her thoughts, and thus her communication abilities with the three of them, off... but it didn't seem right.

Willingly or not, she was in charge of them, and in charge of them she would have to be even at the expense of sleep or anything resembling peace. Wait. Let's just... let's sit down and examine things on a less... personal level. She was practically pleading with them to work with her, and not launch into a full scale shouting fest the way they had continued to get into.

Okay, so it was mostly the new woman and Kira getting into shouting matches, and if she wasn't so certain they couldn't actually beat each other up while being... wherever they were held within her, they would be trying to kill each other for sure. Her eyes closed, brow furrowing as she tried sorting through their thoughts versus her own to ensure she wasn't having one of them color her own personal feelings on the matter.

Talal and Shadow parted after giving the Fire Master a vote, Canti gave his as well before departing.

Might as well go with that one first, honestly. Klive-san does, in a manner of speaking, owe us at least one boon for securing the contract, it wouldn't be too unreasonable to request to shelter in with him.

December gave the impression of being pleased-- and more than a little smug at being the sensible one of the triad.

However, as the ringleaders of the coup being formed? It would be detrimental to their cause if we stayed with them. We are, um, a little too prominent as of late and our fame is... growing. They're starting to know who we are and that could tip off those against us in a manner that we really do not need. So... no, I cannot vote for that as being the best route. She finished, solidly puncturing a hole through the woman's swelled sense of pride.

A little emboldened by the way the other two seemed to be warily listening, December disappointed but murmured something akin to not having thought of things that way, Sekai moved forward with her analysis of the three options. I... I know we just formed the alliance, and I know I personally would not mind being in the Juk Citadel... but I know we cannot necessarily fully trust her, though she is rumored to be fairly honorable in her deal makings, as she proved to us. I do think the Juk and Gan element's penchant for neutrality runs strongly in her, and she may not even recognize its influence. She was a little sad about not being able to look around the rooms that might have been provided for them, the place, though dangerous, had been beautiful and she had been quite comfortable there.

Juk is out, unfortunately... unless we were to go the more dangerous route and split up to avoid attracting too much attention. I may ask about that to see what the older members of the group say. Her brow furrowed deeper, one hand lifted to brush the snowy strands away from tickling her cheek and tucked behind her ear. If we separated, it would be easier to find lodging, but it would also put us all at risk and make it difficult to reunite or leap into battle if something were to happen.

And then the last option... she shuddered at the thought of it and swallowed hard. A-Ani Sector is a bad idea for a multitude of reasons; we already hit him and made him angry-- he rampaged and wiped out a lot of people as a result, but it also means the sector is both on the look out and also potentially swarming with discontentment.

Your ragtag team of dunderfucks and their collective head up their asses are why the Ani Sector is fucked; suck it up. She snapped.

Sekai scowled in response-- an odd thing for those who might have cast a glance or two in the Archer's direction. I apologize that you were caught up in the battle, but you are a soldier and had to have known the risks of being involved in the battles. I didn't even know you were going to be caught up in it until it was too late, else I would have warned you. Annoyance flared hot, burning in her stomach as she felt the other woman prepare to retaliate in something that would hurt more than any attack she'd suffered in the last little while. I'm not saying you have to be grateful or anything, but at least try and look past your fanatical devotion to someone who didn't care if you were caught in the crossfire and look at what advantages you may have in this scenario until I can fix it.

Silence was widespread. Shock from Kira and the newcomer that she'd retaliated with something rather close to common sense, and amusement from December at the girl's small display of temper whipping through to smack the other woman's attitude right back into line. Any retort the women may have had was silenced by the soft rustle of fabric and a step against the stone ground that had the girl's eyes opening, slightly unfocused until she blinked a few times and looked up-- and jumped at the sudden appearance of one of their party leaders.

"A-ah, um..." Fumbling for something to say, Sekai shuffled her feet uneasily and felt her cheeks heat in response to being caught so off guard. "M-may I help you, Nighthand-san?"

A shrug from the taller man. "No idea. You just looked like you had a lot going on in there. Hi Kira."

She stared, a little startled for a few moments, and then offered a little smile of embarrassment in response. Just, um, trying to come to a consensus is all. Everyone has a lot of different opinions, so it's a little difficult sometimes..."

The fuck does he want? Kira demanded, not pleased about the newcomer's dressing down getting interrupted.

Sekai felt her face heat up all the more. "She says hello to you too."


December offered a silvery laugh in response to her mistress' way of handling the Long Arm's hostile statement.

The newcomer tried to hide the impression of amusement and a smile.

Kira scowled and muttered something uncomplimentary about political correctedness.

"I feel ya. I'm familiar with wrangling a bunch of contrarian, headstrong, obnoxious little... players." The Heavyblade's eyes turned toward the rest of the group remaining in the area as if to make a point... or so she figured.

Given that she was one of those headstrong, obnoxious little players... well, she blushed and ducked her head in guilt. "Mm, I apologize for being one of the diffuclt ones." Allowed her gaze to land on the rest of the party, noting the absent members with a trace of sadness. "...have you spoken to Raine-san and the others about Baron-san and what to do about his defection?"

His answer came swiftly. "Nope. Demorian's got a bug on him, though, so we'll at least know generally what he does. I think he's off sulking somewhere else in town right now."

Sulking... was that really what he was doing and not actively trying to thwart their best hope at getting out of the game alive? Well, getting the rest of them out of the game alive, anyway.

Oi, you're still on about that? Edgy annoyance filled the silver haired woman's voice.

We'll discuss it more later. She hastily shut down the impending argument.

December piped in curiously. Discuss what?



That's my line!"

Headache building from the women squabbling about what was and wasn't bullshit, Sekai nodded a bit at Nighthand's response, expression growing rueful. "He seemed to get along fairly well with Klive-san and those in the Fire Master's army... do you think that there's a chance they would be willing to take him in and have him work alongside them?" Her words resounded through her mind from her final encounter with the Twin Blade. The hurt and anger in her voice as she stopped merely absorbing the words, burdens, and responsibilities of others and lashed out in return embarrassed her now that she was calmer and away from the situation.

Speaking of the Fire Master, however. Brown eyes turned to the more experienced member of the Freedom Fighters. "Where do you think would be the safest place for us to shelter while we await our next move?" Her expression was curious, though her own ideas remained close to her chest and otherwise unvoiced for the moment.

"Well, you know me, I'm all for darkness. I'd go to the Ani sector and check out my connection... actually, I should go do that regardless. I'm not 100% sure it'd be safe for us, so I'd have to make sure. Of the two Masters, Fire is probably safer, just to be away from our pet Elite. Well, our other pet Elite." A moment's pause. "If we're hanging out at the fire castle, though, I'm not sure Baron would want to hook up with them. He knows Klive is the driving force behind the alliance, and that's what led to recruiting Xenobia, he might not want to get involved with them."

Drat. She was a little afraid of some of the things he'd mentioned in the response. "This is true... but perhaps hearing it from someone who hasn't... exactly been exposed to Xenobia-san very recently would be of help, if that makes any sense, and could perhaps make him less... how he is rigt now."

A long shot, for certain, but it was one idea she'd had in mind to hopefully keep him safe-- and busy-- until someone could maybe smack some sense into his head, or he had enough time to understand why his actions, and current thoughts, weren't okay.

She shook her head. "I don't think it would be a good idea to keep going back to Klive-san and the others there; the Freedom Fighters are a little, um...." She made a gesture toward the Ani Sector and the obvious damage that would still be there from before. "notorious, I think, right now. We caused a bit of a stir, a big one, really. And if we stayed at the castle, I think we run the risk of bringing unwanted attention to ourselves, and to them as well and that would ruin the entire purpose of the alliances we're trying to make."

But that would be the same case with the Juk Citadel too, unfortunately. Her expression turned troubled. And we risk bringing that attention to Xenobia-san too. Though she could just as easily wave it off as having defeated us and claimed us as prisoners... or something along those lines. She reminds me a little of Demorian-san in that way-- they're both always looking at how things outside of their own interests connect and which of those outside influences can best aid them in what they wish for."

She didn't doubt that the Juka Elite could more than come up with some convincing disguise or cover story for their presence, but the price that could come at was a little too high for her to be comfortable with, and thus wrote the option off under being too risky all the same. "...nnngh," She shifted her weight to her other foot, restless with the lack of actual safe options available. "...it truly does look as if, though dangerous, that the Ani Sector may very well be our best bet... I doubt splitting up is an option right now; too dangerous and it would make it harder to collect in one place when the time comes too, right?"

Wait the fuck a minute; you're serious? Incredulous disbelief. I'm here, you know. I get out, and you're fucked. All of you are completely fucked. I'd pay Lord Garaa and his army to murder you on the spot the second I could.

Which is why you aren't coming out until I know who you are and what you were to him. Sekai fired back without hesitation.

Nighthand shrugged again, casual seeming, and made a gesture toward where Canti and Talal had gone. "Looks like there's going to be some splitting up regardless. Anyways, we probably won't be staying in any hideout for very long, we just have to rest and decide where to go next. That is, if Baron doesn't bring the ceiling down on us. Then we just fight, and it doesn't matter so much where we are."

"The ceiling coming down is what I'm most worried about," she admitted with a brief furrow of her brow. "and is... something I would like to see taken care of sooner rather than later." She looked back up at Nighthand. "Does this happen a lot? People you work with eventually just... being unable to take it anymore and just striking out on their own or giving up all together?" If she remembered right, Nighthand was one of the people stuck in the game the longest at their current point and would have a good deal more experience than she did in the matter.

His reaction wasn't one she particularly liked. Silence, and then a response coming after a few moments of thought. Fifty or sixty since he'd come alone-- and Nall had clearly seen many more? Many of them died, some never came back or left to go do things on their own.

Her hand ran through her hair, ruffling the snowy tendrils askew in nervous habit. "...it doesn't get easier, no matter how long you're here." A thought spoken aloud rather than any attempt to further the conversation, and a reminder of just how grave their situation truly was there in The World.

Oddly enough, the mouthy new addition was the one who piped up. ...only fifty or sixty since he's been 'round? That's about how many in a month or we usually lost, that I knew of anyway. Just how long you fuckers been here anyway?

Nighthand-san has been in for a very long time. Nall-san, Sheena-san, and Raine-san even longer. Sekai replied softly.

Curiosity. And you?

...I don't know anymore. I lost track. And it was frightening how quickly she had lost track of time there within The World. Days blended together until she adapted as best she could to the way this world, rather than the one she knew, conducted itself.

...hm. No snarky remark, no bitchy barbs, just a thoughtful sound made followed by silence.

An impression of a wane smile sent to the three women as she prepared to give her answer to 'where' they should go. Sorry, Kira... but I think I'm going to need your help.

Wariness came instantly through their bond. The fuck're you doin'?

The green clad Archer didn't realize she had fallen silent, her eyes unfocused as she spoke with the others in private and came back to herself a few moments later with a start. "If everything is safe in Ani, I will put my vote in for that. The area will be on high alert, but after what happened... I don't think they will necessarily believe we would come back so soon, and if we're only there to rest before leaving, it might be a better idea to stay and go immediately after."

Kira was beyond livid. Are you fucking high?

December was not far behind in her agreement. Given your... ahh, experiences, I must object, little mistress.

Even the newcomer seemed to be a little thrown by the decision. Wait, what? Seriously? You're actually gonna head back there?

She would deal with the wrath, the protest, and the incredulous questioning later.

"Sounds like a plan. I'll go scope out Velvet and see how things look there."

The white haired girl stepped to one side, careful of the black eyed man's wing span as he prepared to launch upward and out to go check on his contact.

A pause, the Heavy Blade sent a look in her direction. "Unless you need anything else?"

Surprise hit her for reasons she wasn't really sure of at the question. Needed anything? Why would he ask her that? She didn't... she couldn't even think of things to ask from those who offered boons or rewards for completing tasks or defeating them, why would she be in need of anything?

Tell 'im you need your head checked, 'cause you've got some fucking damage in there if you're willingly going into the fucking Ani Sector. Kira muttered darkly in the corner of her mind.

Hate to agree with anyone on your side, but she's got a fuckin' point. The newcomer-- she was going to get a name out of her at some point, she swore the moment they had an opportunity to rest and actually were safe enough to do so, she'd summon her out and see just who it was they were dealing with and actually talk to her-- commented in turn.

Sekai deliberately chose not to pass along that message and offered a smile in response alongside a shake of her head. "No, not unless there's anything you can do about Baron-san yourself that won't bring the ceiling crashing down all the quicker." She could feel the smile threatening to drop, forced it to remain all the same. "Please be careful."

They'd lost one member, they didn't need to lose another.

A grin was her response, along with a wave of his hand toward the quarter of Nall, Sheena, Raine, and Demorian. "I'll be fine. You keep an eye out on those kids while I'm gone, eh?" And launched himself off to pursue his investigation.

"...kids?" Her head turned, eyes on the four people he'd pointed out.

...were they really like Gyl-san?

The idea that the four most powerful people in their party, Nall's rather... unsteady condition notwithstanding, could possibly be the same age as the young hacker from the Eventide Crescendo was just mind boggling.

I don't know if I could handle being senpai to all four of them. She thought to herself and winced as her hand found a knot in her shoulder she tried to tease out herself. Until Nighthand got back, she supposed there wasn't much she could do other than keep an eye on them as he had requested.

Name: Sekai
Level: 54
EXP: 0000/1000
Class: Archer
Clan: Army of Darkness
HP: 835
SP: 347

Currently Equipped:

Einherjar: Kira, December, Zorya

Head: Bat Earrings (Ola Repth 40, Rip Maen 40)
Body: Saint Cross (Rue Zot 10, RaJuk Zot 30)
Arm: Protect Ring (Ap Vorma 15, MeJuk Kruz 20)
Leg: Ninja Anklet (BiVak Rom 20, GiGan Zot 30)
Add-Ons: Forestlore, Wood Magic (permanently raised Wood Offense/Defense by +3 total)

Wishlist: Levels, Summon: Wood, Archer Weapons, Light Armor

User avatar
Elevated Player
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:26 pm
Class: Fist Fighter
Location: Australia

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Bane » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:28 am

Before he knew it, Maoh was being teleported somewhere from the throne room of the tower they were just in. They were teleported as a group, Xenobia providing the means to proceed forward. As they touched down, Maoh found that they’d been taken to a crowded city square, one that he wasn’t familiar with. At first he had thought it was Mac Anu, or maybe even Carmena Gatalica; but this was different somehow. Xenobia put her obviously powerful spear away and cleaked herself from being identified. Maoh didn’t really understand what role she played, but she was bound to be someone important.

Some of the ‘leaders’ of the party started to discuss what they were to do next, including someone who had approached them, seemingly another ally to their group. Maoh felt very lost amongst all that was going on; he’d been in this position for possibly the shortest amount of time of anyone here. In the crowd the newcomer came from, there were a few that caught sight of him and stared, just long enough to point out to Maoh that he was different; but ultimately no one said anything about it nor made any mention. There were other people around that struck Maoh as ‘off’ for some reason, but couldn’t quite place it.

As he was looking at people in the crowd, he didn’t realise the conversation had progressed to the point of a choice needing to be made. Xenobia said her piece and promptly left, turning chameleon into the crowd and leaving them to discuss options for whatever it was that they were meant to be deciding. As he was about to speak, raising a paw for emphasis, he got hit with the reality that he was a cat again. Words were caught in his throat as he mouthed voicelessly, staring at the paw he had brought before his face; his paw. He lowered his gaze and paw before quietly sobbing to himself. The weight of being stuck in the game, along with no longer being human hit him again and he sat down, closing his eyes tight lest he see more of his cat form.

Realistically he was going to be fine going with anyone given he knew next to nothing about any of them. Xenobia was at least going to give him… something, but there was no telling when he was going to get that. The others were in the same league as far as he could tell so in the end it wouldn’t really matter. He just shook his head, abstaining from his vote towards where the party headed from here.
Maoh l Lvl. %h l EXP: ????/1000 l HP: ???/??? l SP: ???/???
GP: 31,541

User avatar
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:19 am
Class: Wavemaster
Location: Walking the line of madness

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Takua » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:28 am

All in all, Takua supposed it had been at least a...mostly successful mission to have Xenobia join their side. They had an understanding. But only mostly successful. He couldn't count any mission where they outright lost someone due to a clear need for revenge overriding even survival to be a real success. It was close as they could get though, and if that was how Baron wanted to play the game, then Takua couldn't be too unhappy that he was gone. Keeping someone around that he couldn't trust at all would just do wonders for his psyche. To be fair, it didn't really matter that he was gone, the damage had been done in some ways. Would he betray them? Baron knew the names of the elites who had joined this rebellion. That knowledge could ensnare them all in a trap if he lost his mind and decided his revenge was worth everything. But for someone who was free to use the Eventide name, maybe he hadn't forgotten their mission.

Maybe. But that was cold hope when compared to the insane drive for vengeance that had driven him to attack someone he couldn't possibly hope to kill.

Xenobia came with them. That was...surprising. He would have thought the Elite would stay far, far away from their rag-tag group until the time came to unveil true colors. It wouldn't do for the rebellion to be uncovered so soon, would it? If this...Master truly did have so many eyes on the world, why wouldn't he be able to tell one of his Elites was traveling with the Freedom Fighters? It was maybe overly paranoid, but maybe not, and Takua didn't want to give the game away already. Part of their advantage came from surprise, and the idea of shacking up either in Juka or Vakz, with their patrons, could only deliver a massive target to their enemies on who to gun for.

So when the time came for voting, Takua had only one thought as to where they should be headed. Unfortunately...it was also the place where Sekai was least likely going to want to go. Anid sector. That was...not the best thing to suggest.

Until she brought it up herself.

The blinded man raised an eyebrow as he overheard that part of their conversation. Had he actually heard that right? Certainly not. And yet...it sure seemed like it. That was strange, to say the least. Was she doing okay to voluntarily walk into that kind of a place? Given what had...happened before, it was more than just a little bit out of character. But Sekai seemed to mean it, so he was free to vote the way he wanted to. Speaking up just slightly, he nodded toward Nighthand's fleeing back, “I'd prefer not giving the game away. If we're caught in Juka or Vakz, they know who our friends are. That's a valuable card in its own right. I'll vote for Anid sector, hiding under the nose of one of our enemies has a certain...charm to it. I can't say I'd really enjoy the place, but it's better than fucking up before the final fight. If this...Master really is as all-knowing as our new ally says he is, let's not make it any easier on him, eh?”

Takua glanced down at Vesica, who growled up at the Wavemaster as though to say 'What?'. The boy just grinned, “I need to take care of some business. We'll be back soon enough.” And with that, it was Takua's turn to nod at Sekai and then walk toward the Chaos Gate. He wouldn't be long. Just...long enough to take care of some business.

If he were going to die soon enough, there were a few things he had to do.
Takua - Lvl 57 Wavemaster
Wishlist: Levels, Stun Rod, Hag's Wand, Wand of Truth, Ex-Level, Ex-Spheres, and Myth: Demiurge, FL Fukuoka

User avatar
Master of Games
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Class: Bladesmage
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Nighthand » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:11 am



Ani: Takua and Sekai
Vak: Canti and Talal
Juk: None
Abstain: Maoh and Baron


His conversation with Sekai accomplished, Nighthand spread his wings and took off from the middle of the Chaos Gate plaza. He knew his way around Yamiyo in rough terms, but from the air it really wasn't hard to navigate. There were a few other players here and there in the skies, though many kept themselves low. Fly too high and you might attract attention. Some even said there was something lurking high in the stars, that preyed upon those who soared, but Nighthand figured that was bullshit. Some sectors had guards that enforced no flying, but that too he didn't care about. He was, frankly, strong enough to take on a majority of the players in the server, up to and including many of the guards.

His destination was a particular building in the Ani district of the Elemental sector. His first time visiting, he had followed a woman trying to lose him in the crowd in her own game of cat and mouse, not realizing he was capable of turning his speed up higher than was really reasonable. He had gotten lost among the alleys and buildings, Garaa's own halloween town, but he had marked the place on his map and he could recognize it from the air.

At least, he hoped he could. As he gazed down on the Ani district, he saw a lot of damage. Most of the district was still intact, with people milling about, but there was a bit of a muted hush to the place. Some streets were cracked, some buildings broken, and a couple of craters smoked. It looked as though, after the battle where Sheena had fought off Garaa and the rest of the party had killed Rugudorull, Garaa had hit a few areas in the town. He might have to ask someone about that later.

Thankfully, the building Nighthand was looking for was intact, and it was some distance away from any of the wreckage. He dove and landed on a roof a few blocks away, then slipped down into an alley. Wings folded tightly as usual, he walked out into the streets and walked with purpose through the few blocks and turns it took to reach his destination.

The building was tall and narrow, sandwiched between two others, with a brick facade. It looked for all the world like a grimy, blackened version of one of those high-rent London apartments, old construction. A crooked sign hung above the entrance, unreadable with simulated age. The door was heave wood that swung open on smooth hinges, though a bell chimed when he opened it.

Inside was a small, dingy shop with air filled with dust. It was densely packed with shelves and racks, with all sorts of weapons hanging, ostensibly for sale. It also looked like no one had lifted one, let alone bought one, for quite some time. Some of them didn't even work with classes in The World, and a few would only have been Fist Fighter weapons before their revamp.

At the back of the shop, a bored-looking young man dressed in stereotypical Blademaster armor leaned on a counter, reading a book. He looked up when Nighthand entered, and did a double-take, not expecting someone unusual. He more importantly didn't expect that imposing man to be walking towards him with purpose.

"Hey, uh... Can I help you?"

Nighthand ignored him and walked behind th ecounter. In the back wall was a door, half-hidden behind a bit of black cloth. Nighthand went right for it.

"Hey! You can't go back there."

Nights stopped and turned to face the kid. "Who's gonna stop me? Not you, I hope."

"It's my job to keep anyone from getting too curious."

"Oh. Well, in that case, you can leave me alone. I already know what and who is down there."

Nighthand ignored the protests coming from the kid and pushed the door open, revealing the long descending staircase behind it. He started down, but stopped when he heard a sword being drawn behind him. Again he turned, to see the kid leveling some kind of darkness sword at him. It smoked with black energy, at any rate.

"You really ought to listen to me."

"I really don't feel like it." Nighthand briefly considered the merits of trouncing the kid, but he didn't have a lot of room to maneuver. He could nuke the kid with a spell, but he didn't want to cause enough damage to draw attention to the place. So, instead, he just shifted entirely to Speed and bolted down the stairs. As far as the blademaster kid was concerned, Nighthand simply disappeared.

At the bottom of the stairs was a large, open room, similar to a gymnasium. The only difference was, it was made entirely out of stone, mostly various gray and black marbles, veined with gold and silver. Every surface, floor, wall and ceiling was polished to a shine. This was the training room, and while it wasn't currently occupied, he could hear sounds of clashing weapons coming from other parts of the complex.

Several doors led from each wall to deeper parts of the complex. Nighthand knew which one to take, though, and dashed through it right when he started hearing footsteps from the blademaster kid running down the stairs after him.

Through the door, through another, and Nighthand was in an ornate office. It was the same polished marble, but it was accented with warm mahogany and polished cherrywood furniture, with plush velvet cushions. There was some machinery against the far wall, but it was all inactive.

A woman sat in a chair, idly polishing a sword. She wore a form-fitting black bodysuit made of velvet, and over top of it was a trenchcoat of a material that absorbed light and looked like a hole in the game. She was, essentially, a silhouette with hands, feet, and a head. Her exposed skin was pale as moonlight, a blue-white that looked surreal compared to the light-devouring blackness of her clothing. Her hair was medium-length and spiked up, save for a solid curve of bangs that fell over one eye, hiding it.

She jumped to her feet at his sudden appearance in her office, sword clattering to the floor, two daggers made from pure obsidian in her hands and ready. Then she relaxed, and laughed.

"Hello, Nighthand."

"Hello, Velvet. It's good to see you again."

Her daggers disappeared, and she flashed forward. Nighthand found himself the target of a somewhat awkward hug, which broke off quickly. "What brings you here?"

"I have a few things to talk about. Let's chat."

She nodded and stepped over to her desk, drawing a pair of wine glasses and a bottle from somewhere beneath it. She poured, and handed one to him, which he accepted. Hospitality, after all, was a good thing with a potential ally, even one that he had only had a relatively passing encounter with.

They sat down and Velvet sipped her wine. Then the door crashed open, and the blademaster stopped, panting.

"Lady Velvet! There's an intruder in the complex! He's-" He stopped, seeing Nighthand lounging in her office. "Here, I guess."

Velvet laughed. "Oh my god, did you really just run past my bouncer?" She asked him. He nodded. "That's hilarious." She turned her eyes to the blademaster and waved him off. "He's fine, go back to your post."

Chagrined, and sullen, the blademaster bowed and left.


Back in the Chaos Gate Plaza, Raine, Sheena, Nall, and Demorian conferred. Sekai hovered, trying not to be close enough to overhear their conversation, but striving to keep an eye on them as per Nighthand's half-meant instructions. Takua, Talal, and Canti had all wandered off. Maoh stuck around, presumably out of a lack of anything else to do.

"You're healing well." Raine commented, to Nall.
"You're not wrong. A little more time, and I should be in fighting condition, and able to use at least some of the capabilities of each of these items." Nall replied.
"Well, I'm not escorting you through another tower where you do absolutely nothing of value!" Sheena complained.
"Go somewhere and rest." Raine told her. "I'll stick with him and work on finishing up this healing."

Sheena stuck her tongue out at the wavemistress, but she too wandered off into Yamiyo. The crowd parted before her, noting her confidence perhaps more than her innate strength. Demorian took her place in the "huddel", so to speak.

"I'm keeping an eye on Baron. So far, he's just settled down in Mac Anu."

"Good to know." Nall said. He turned to Sekai. "I believe I heard you mention something about Baron and the Vak army?"

Sekai jumped a bit, not really expecting to be addressed. She nodded, nerves showing. "Y-yes, I was looking for a way to, um, keep him out of trouble and have him under someone's eye where he won't be able to..." She gestured vaguely in the direction of the Juk district. "Um, ruin the plans put into place. He doesn't trust us, believes we're all under Xenobia-san's control... so I thought that if he worked for the Vak Army... they would be able to keep an eye on and for him."

Nall nodded. "That could be a good idea. I'll bring it up with the Vak Master when we visit. Want to tag along, or did you have something else to take care of in the city?"

She shook her head. "No, I have nothing to take care of in the city at this time, I can accompany you."

Either forgetting Maoh, or assuming he would follow, the group started off through the crowd in the direction of the Vak sector and its citadel. It was a relatively short journey, all things considered, and they were not accosted on the way.

As always, the castle itself was imposing, wreathed as it was in perpetual holographic fire. The guards seemed to know they were coming, and opened the doors immediately. They progressed up to the Master's office, where the previous bodyguard -- the one that seemed to dislike the Freedom Fighters -- was missing. In his place was a hulking, musclebound redheaded woman dressed in similar armor. She looked them over, then opened the door to the Master's chambers and spoke a few words. A moment later, she swung the door open completely and stepped aside.

"Welcome back, my friends." the Vak Master greeted them as they arrived. "Another successful mission. I can see how you have survived this long. And Nall himself, gracing us with his presence." The Master stood from his desk, and bowed. "Worth every bit of respect, and more."

"Thank you." Nall said. "We should discuss business, though. We have much to discuss."

"Indeed we do. I believe I owe your group significant rewards for attaining the alliance of the mistress of nature. Once more, I offer you a boon, though I suspect much of what I have to offer is below the threshold of utility for your group at this point."

"Perhaps. I do have one request."


"We would like to use a few rooms in your castle as lodging while we prepare for the next mission."

At this, the Vak Master balked. He thought for a long moment, before finally shaking his head. "Unfortunately, I cannot allow this. We are, after all, still a relatively secret coup. Some rumors have begun to circulate, but I have been keeping a close eye on those who know, and have eliminated a few who have attempted to reach those who would act. I now believe that Royce, if she did act to hurt Klive, did so out of pure malicious glee, not out of knowledge of the coup. As such, I would prefer to limit our association."

"I see." Nall replied. "Very well. I myself have no need of a boon from you, but I'll spread the word of if among the rest of the party."

At this point, Demorian spoke up. "There is one more thing. Surely you have noticed that one of our members has left both our party and our server."

"I have indeed. I will not eliminate him, our of respect for you, but I fully intend to prevent him from contacting the forces of Light or Darkness."

"We had an idea on that front. This young lady," He gestured at Sekai, who stood meekly aside and out of the limelight, and who fidgeted under the sudden attention from the Master, "wonders if perhaps you might reach out to him and recruit him to your army. He distrusts us, distrusts Xenobia, and believes we're all under her control. His desire for revenge has clouded his judgment. He could be more receptive to dealing with your forces, without the rest of us involved."

The Master thought for some time, all the while watching Sekai squirm. "Very well. That is indeed a good idea, and gives further reason for the rest of you to not be present should he arrive. You, though." This time he was addressing Sekai directly. "I believe you claimed nothing from me last time around. Have you thought of a reward? My coffers, my armory, and my creativity are open to you."

Her cheeks shaded a rather intense pink beneath the scrutiny, Sekai shook her head in response, looking more than just a touch embarrassed as she offered a formal bow of apology. "Please forgive me for my inability to think of something suitable. If you can ensure Baron-san's safety-- within reasonable parameters, of course-- I will feel more than appropriately rewarded."

A pause. "Um, perhaps a recommendation as to where a relatively 'safe' place might be to lie low until our next move would be good too, if that isn't too much to ask." He had to have a different sort of information network in comparison to Demorian's own... and with Nighthand checking out his own lead, and with the Vak district fairly well stricken out just as she'd anticipated, left them with either Nighthand's lead... or Xenobia. Either one would be on the risky side and could mean dire consequences if they weren't careful.

She may not have been terribly useful in battle, or even in negotiations or in claiming rewards... but she could at least do her best in looking out for the group as a whole.

"You are a most unusual person. I will see to it that someone contacts Baron, though it is of course his decision whether to take the offer. As for a safe haven, I'm afraid very little is safe in this town these days. The best I can suggest is to move on quickly. Spend as little time in town as possible. The less you are seen, the less information can be gathered about your whereabouts or goals. Much of your group is split up at the moment, which makes detecting your next move much harder." He turned away from Sekai, much to her relief, and addressed the leaders as a whole.

"Speaking of. As we had previously discussed, the one remaining Elite who has not taken a side yet is Melzas. He will be a unique challenge. His Twilight Item is presumed to give him some limited degree of vision into the future, which he can abuse to change it to his own benefit. He cannot see how the coup will turn out, or else he would have taken sides... Unless, of course, he knows something that justifies his waiting, for good or ill. There is too much uncertainty to say.

"I mentioned previously that Melzas has abstained from taking a side, and that he seemed utterly ignorant of our advances, though I believe he is not so dense as that. If he is, well, you will have to adapt to his attitude. If he is not, there are two possible outcomes. If he is leaning towards joining the coup, you should have an easy time convincing him. If he is leaning towards loyalism, you will have a hard battle on your hands.

"Unfortunately, I have no information that can help you with that battle. I know of no counter to his powers, or indeed even details of how they function. He is truly frightening, and the only reason he is subordinate to the others is a lack of ambition.

Regardless, I do suggest that your group recuperates as quickly as possible and proceeds to Melzas's tower. He needs to be dealt with, one way or the other, before word of the coup comes to light, the loyalists find out, or anything else can happen to jeopardize the operation."

With that, it seemed, the group was left to their own devices. The Vak Master was open for boon requests. Demorian stuck around to chat independently, while Nall and Raine left the audience chamber to determine their next move.


Nighthand and Velvet were thoroughly enjoying each others' company. Velvet, because she missed having anyone of significant power on her side for a change. Nighthand, because she was a new face and he was, frankly, a little tired of interacting with the same stale people constantly.

"So, what brings you here?" Velvet asked.
"Business more than pleasure, unfortunately." Nighthand replied. "My party just accomplished one of our long-term goals, and now we need a place to hide out and some information. You're a solid connection I have, so I'm scouting you out."
"So forward of you. What did you accomplish?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Nighthand smirked. "I can't tell you a damn thing until I'm sure you're not on the wrong side."
"Darkness is all one color."
"Maybe. So, let's start easy. Why is half the district torn apart?"
"Did you miss it? Rugudorull and Garaa threw down, and some bunch of wackos got involved. Rugudorull got his ass killed, and good riddance. Garaa started tearing the place apart looking for the people who harassed him, shouting about traitors and a bunch of other frankly worrying stuff."
"I see. Now where is he?"
"I don't know. No one has been able to contact him in a while. Rumor has it he went to one of the other servers to take out his stress on random civilians."
"You look thoughtful."
"Do I? That's rare. How's your school going?"
She grimaced. "Not well, but not bad. I'm still here, anyways."
"The data you got from me didn't help?"
"Help? You asshole, I'm barely even a tenth of the way through it! I managed to adapt some of it into something useful, and used that to buy my way back into good graces enough to not be fired or killed."
"So you're still training soldiers for Garaa's army?"
"Sort of. I don't think I ever told you why I was petitioning the Ani Master in the first place, did I? I'm a perfectionist. I demand knowledge and skill, mastery, out of the people I train. When Yamiyo started ramping up recruitment, they demanded a faster turnaround. I couldn't give it to them, not in good conscience. If you had any idea how many soldiers blow themselves up with powers they can't control..."

Nighthand was silent for another long moment. When he finally spoke up, it was with an air of deadly seriousness.

"I'm going to ask you one very important question, and the answer to it determines how the rest of this visit goes."
"Ask away."
"Hey. Look at me." She did, her expression turning flat. "This is serious."
"You understand how powerful I am, at least in part. You've seen a couple of my abilities in action. I have others, but that's not important. My party is made up of several individuals who are even stronger. In part, we share your ideal of achieving master over our abilities, but we have a much greater goal. All of us are stuck in the game, and we're trying to find a way out."
"That's not a question. Are you just going to brag?"
"It's not a brag. What if I told you we're close to finding that way out?"

This time it was her turn to be silent. For a long several moments, she sat, then closed her eyes and rubbed her face. Then she abruptly stood and started pacing. When she turned back to him, she was furious.

"You absolute, astonishing asshole! Who put you up to this? Who the fuck was it?"
Nighthand was surprised, though he tried not to show it. "No one put me up to this. What do you mean?"
"If you're just going to wave a bunch of false hope in front of my face, tease me and fuck me over, well I've got one thing to say to you. Get the fuck out of my school."
"I'm not waving false hope, and I'm not here to tease you. I, uh. I had no idea you were going to react like this."

She deflated, and collapsed on another chair. "You mean it?"
"Yes. What was that all about?"
"I want out. I really, really want out of all of this. I started out trying to accumulate power specifically to look for a way out. I've got a family out there! After a while, I started up teaching in the mercenary sector, trying to build connections and gather information. You know what it got me?"
"Heartbreak and ruin?"
"Close e-fucking-nough. No less than four times, I found what I thought were solid leads, only to find disgruntled ex-students or asshole hackers fucking with me. Let me tell you, I hardened the fuck up. I haven't told anyone about wanting to escape in a long time. It's just mocked, and I can't take that any more."

Nighthand nodded. "So. Do you believe me?"
"Frankly? No. I don't think you're fucking with me, but I don't believe there's any way out of this game any more. I'm just trying to make the best of the worst situation imaginable."
"Well. I do have a very good way to get out, but it involves a hell of a lot of danger. I've seen good friends die."
"Is this your way of asking me on a date?"
"No. I'm not asking you to join us at all. Just lend us your school as a hideout for a little while, so we can recuperate before we implement the next stage of our plan."
"What sort of party are we talking about? What sort of risk? Why do you need a hideout, instead of just staying at one of the million shitty inns in this town?"
"I told you; we're powerful, we're high profile, and we're being hunted by a lot of dangerous people."
"What kind of dangerous people?"

Nighthand just gestured upwards, at the town above.

"Wait. Hold the fuck up a second here. Are you telling me? Seriously?"
"Yes. We're the ones that got involved with the brawl between Garaa and Rugudorull. We're the ones that killed Raikiri. We're the ones Garaa is pissed at, and is trying to find."
"So you came here, to his village, to hide from him. Brilliant plan, there."
"He's not here, right? We won't be here for long. If we succeed, he'll never know we were here. If we fail... I don't know. We won't fail. And if he finds us, you know what? We'll fucking kill him too."

Velvet laughed.

"You are one hell of an arrogant son of a bitch, you know that?"
"I've been here for long enough to earn it. So, what do you say?"
"On one hand, I risk my school, my position, and my life to shelter your band of misfits on the vague promise of some plan to get me out of the game."
"Not just you, everyone. And from what you've told me, your position is a little tenuous."
"More or less. And on the other hand, you're giving me the best hope I've had in a long time."
"I am. Probably the best hope you literally will ever have."

She took a deep breath. "Okay. I'll shelter your group. I'll give the students a break, they'll love it. Give 'em some GP and tell them to not come back for a week, we won't see heads or tails of them."

"Great. Thanks, Velvet."

"Don't thank me. Get me out of this game. If you fail, you better hope whatever you failed to do killed you in trying, because if it doesn't, I sure as hell will."

Nighthand grinned. "As if you could."

"You want a rematch? You think I've done nothing with the data you gave me?"

"You're on. Just give me a moment to give my party the news."
To: Nall, Raine, Sheena, Demorian, Sekai, Takua, Talal, Canti, Maoh
From: Nighthand

Good news. My connection in Ani District is willing to shelter us. I've attached the location on how to get here. It's a dusty old shop with a door in the back; take the stairs down and we'll meet you. Try to show up one at a time, we don't want to draw too much attention to ourselves. Unless there's another plan?

End Flashmail
To: Nall, Raine, Sheena, Nighthand, Sekai, Takua, Talal, Canti, Maoh
From: Demorian

Ani sector seems to be the choice. The Vak Master is unable to provide lodging for us, and it was a unanimous decision to not take Xenobia up on her hospitality.

Additionally, the Vak Master has offered another book to members of the party, and is enacting a plan to hopefully keep Baron out of trouble. You're free to request a boon in person.

End Flashmail

Another freeform round. Things to do:

- Request or negotiate a boon from the fire master.
- Gather in Velvet's school. Let me know if you need additional details about it.
- Continue any other side plots you wanted to do.

Lord Canti
Exalted Player
Posts: 300
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Lord Canti » Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:39 pm

(The Chaos Gate brought them back through their wanderings of Gan, Rue, and the Bazaar Sector. Canti, Talal, and Shadow had been out for a time, and during that break there had been some surprising and ultimately hopeful revelations, including plans for the future as soon as they escaped from this game. The World was a nice place to visit, an excellent game to play, but they didn't want to live there. Canti would fight like hell to get out of here, but not just because he wanted the hell out of here, or that he couldn't stand to have people going through what he had. Now, there were other reasons: His future, for one. He glanced over at the Twin Blade that had appeared with him. He and Talal were going to Vak Castle first to ask for a boon from the man in flames there, then head to Anid Sector. They had to go there one at a time, but not necessarily here.)

Canti: Man, we're a helluva group, just the three of us.

(Honestly, the three of them did look like a real piece of work now. Canti, of course, was the dark and fiery Twin Blade who easily fit in here or Anid Sector. Talal was now a mysterious cloaked lady in black and violet. And of course, Shadow was some kind of devil dog with a spiked collar. Well, whatever. They had to get a move on. Vak Sector opened up before them and...well...everything was on fire, basically. Not as in dangerous, but just weird like that. There was a building that was a solid nuclear explosion, frozen in time. There were people there that were more fiery in appearance than Canti. Red and orange colors played wildly here. Every now and then, something ignited, for effect. Hell, he thought he spotted Dr. Evil's Secret Volcano Base passing on the right as they went further in. They'd all been here before, but you know Yamiyo. It's a hacker server. Things change. Vak Castle soon loomed before them, perpetually 'burning' in holographic fire. Canti wondered if they could do that to this place for real. Maybe. None of them received any friction, coming in. In fact, that captain of the guards who was belligerent as hell before? Gone. Canti could guess what happened there. They now stood outside the office in question.)

Canti: I'll go first. I figured out what I wanted.

(Well, there's no obstacle getting in, so here we have the inner chambers and that fire-embued man of the Vak Castle. Canti approaches him now as the doors opened, getting right down to business.)

Canti: So...I understand you're in the boon-granting mood right now. The last one's been doing pretty well. Think you can gimme one for the other arm?

"Oh, quite possibly. I would say recruiting one of the most powerful people in The World to our side deserves a little something."

(More than a little something. Tales should be carved in stone, depicting this arduous task. Xenobia was NOT an easy person to deal with, and in fact a number of them hated her. Hell, Baron had left them, but...this man knew all that. He'd been told already, but Canti couldn't help but talk a bit about their Trek Through Tree-Filled Tower.)

Canti: Lemme tell you, we had to do some damn fine talking to get her to budge even a little. She is not easy to talk to, and part of me didn't like it, so take that as a token of the faith I'm putting into this. I don't suppose you know if the other guy will be this hard.

"Melzas? Quite likely harder. He's never been known as the diplomatic type, but his powers make it difficult to surprise him with an attack. I'm curious to see what you will do."

Canti: Oh, wonderful... So am I. I think not knowing might be the best defense. The guy's so mysterious that he kinda' locks himself out on the opinion polls. Well, whatever. We'll handle it, somehow. As for me, uhh...you ever see the old War of the Worlds movie?

"I can't say that I have. The radio play was certainly interesting, though. What did you have in mind? Vulnerability to basic microbes? Stilts?"

(Canti laughs.)

Canti: The Heat Ray, man! That iconic reddish-orange blaze with that sound.

(He makes the sound the old movie made to see if it jogs a memory or two. Even people who never saw it might have heard of it somewhere.)

Canti: Turns things to ashes. It's basically a Vak-based death ray.

"Ah, yes, of course. Sounds right up my alley, actually. I think I can repurpose the damage ticks from a Vak Rom and tie them to a directed beam... I think something on the order of a level 2 spell should serve. Anything stronger might overload it, and, well, you probably like your arm, right?"

(The Fire Master had been looking through his desk now as he was speaking to Canti. The thought of his own arm blowing up surprised the winged Twin Blade.)

Canti: Uhh, yeah. I mean, I'm not left-handed, but I'm a Twin Blade. I work with pairs.

(A little more tinkering about in his drawers and he produced a red ring, saying that it was a little more Captain Planet than War of the Worlds, but it'd get the job done. He wanted to know how it works out after the fact, though, as he was thinking of mass-producing them for his army. Well...the ring is sort of a buzzkill, but at least the guy from the show had the cool power.)

Canti: ...does it make the sound?

"Good question! I haven't tested it yet. Give it a shot and see, nothing in this room should be affected by fire."

(Oh, really? How'd you figure? Because this was the Vak Castle or that they were all fire-embued here? Okay, so he puts it on, fires it, and it's more of a Fssssssssh than anything else. Also, no ominous hum. Canti was honestly surprised by this. It was more like a phaser from The Next Generation, but quieter.)

Canti: It's an SBD...

(You know... 'Silent, But Deadly'.)

"Ah well. I'm sure you can find someone in the bazaar who can customize it for you. It's the functionality that matters."

(Canti facepalms.)

Canti: I was just there and slammed a ton of dough down on items. I got some money, but they might want some more.

(He then shrugs.)

Canti: So, I wait a while.

"Completely up to you. Good luck with the Elite of Ice!"

(He winced, visibly. Oh hell, he forgot about that...)

Canti: You just had to remind me!

"Perhaps you should invest in some Pure Waters, or even a Sealore. I do understand your plight. I'm sure that tower won't be fun."

Canti: Definitely never heard of the latter, but like I said, I have some money... How much would that sound effect job go for anyway?

"Oh, probably not much. It should be a simple file tweak, though I'm sure not many of those who call themselves hackers actually have any idea how to do it. If you find someone capable and they charge more than you can afford, tell them it's a trial for my army. It should get you a discount."

(He brightens up.)

Canti: I like it! Okay, then. I think you and I are set, then.

(He headed out the door and said "Your turn." to Talal, waiting patiently for her outside with Shadow.)
Last edited by Lord Canti on Mon May 30, 2016 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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.

User avatar
Elevated Player
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:26 pm
Class: Fist Fighter
Location: Australia

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Bane » Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:14 am

Conversations continued, with no one filling Maoh in to where they were. He felt left out, or at the very least very alone. This team he had found his way into were a tight knit bunch that seemed to know exactly where they were, what the situation was, and although having trouble deciding what the next step was, all knew what the long term goal was. Maoh on the other hand seemed fine to make his goal getting back to the real world and back home, although there was a lingering fear of his cat-ness coming back with him. It was so foreign to have fur, let alone a tail. The heigh difference was something he was slowly getting used to as well, and the slightly keener senses were nice to have, but not wearing pants made him feel very exposed.

People were peeling off into groups and heading to various places. Some were just plain gone when Maoh looked to where they were standing prior, others started walking away. Nighthand, took to the skies and started to fly off after talking with Sekai and something in Maoh told him to follow. Perhaps it was some kind of screwed up instinct to hunt down birds now that he was a cat, but he said nothing to anyone in the group and started to follow, eyes locked on Nighthand high above. People were milling about the buildings and walking to and fro paying Maoh no mind; which was good because Maoh found himself not looking where he was going more than once.

As the square and blocky buildings came to the end at a giant wall, Maoh noticed Nighthand flying clear over it; a problem for someone with no wings. Thankfully, there was a large gate in the partition of the two sectors of town, and also thankfully, unguarded. Maoh wandered through and put his eyes to the sky again, continuing his pursuit of Nighthand. The architecture in this new place was akin to that of Halloween or at least it felt like it. The other thing that stood out is that the town was oddly quiet. Not creepy quiet, but an odd silence that hung in the air from something that had happened recently. The still smoking craters and demolished buildings were tribute to something that had happened here. A battle of some description for sure, but specifics he couldn’t tell.

Nighthand had begun his descent down into an alley and ducked into a shop just as Maoh rounded the corner into said alley. He caught which one it was, and he was thankful he did. It was an old, unassuming place which could have easily been overlooked if someone wasn’t specifically looking for it. As he reached the front door, paw reaching out to open the door, a commotion could be heard inside. Maoh continued in, gently pushing the door open and slipping inside just in time to see someone disappearing down the stairs at the back. It wasn’t Nighthand, so it must’ve been the shopkeep; which left Maoh unattended in the store.

Ordinarily Maoh in the real world would’ve waited for the shopkeep to come back, or rung the bell to at least notify someone he was there. However, now that he was in an unknown location where the rules have seemingly been changed, he went into survival mode. Nothing was sacred, nothing was ‘illegal’ in the common sense of what that meant. Scanning the shelves for anything of value to steal, his eyes flicked occasionally to the stairway just in case the shopkeep came back. Surely there was something here worth taking to either sell for some money or to use. Alas, it was similar to the huge junkpile in Xenobia’s tower; a whole bunch of nothing but semi-interesting but otherwise unusable trinkets. Interest gone, he returned to pursuing Nighthand by looking down the staircase that they had apparently gone down. It was long, foreboding, but the only way forward.

At the base of the stairs was a large gymnasium-sized room, floor and walls made of polished black marble with a few doors leading off to the side. One of the door was left ajar, voices coming from within. Maoh crept up to the door and listened in, wondering what was going on. He didn’t hear much, but it was presumably the shopkeep reporting that they have someone that barged in. He heard him coming towards him and he ducked into a nearby room, heart thumping in his chest. The room he had escaped to, was in all forms a locker room. It smelt the part, looked the part, and was made of stone similar to the rest of the complex. He left the door open to listen for when the presumed guard had left so he could go back to exploring.

When the footsteps of the guard faded, Maoh emerged from the locker room and went back to check on the room he was listening in on before. Nighthand and some woman named Velvet was having a discussion about lodging amongst other things. There were a few pauses when the conversation came to escape but all in all an agreement was made to let the group stay here and a Flashmail was sent out. As Maoh got rid of the Flashmail alert he noticed a little too late that footsteps were coming towards the door. He bolted back to the locker room and left the door wide open; maybe they won’t notice. "Hey kid, you can come out, it's safe enough here."

His ears lay flat in embaressment and picked himself up off the floor. Coming out of the locker room, shame written all over his face. "I don't even know where I am anymore; but safe is good."

"You're in Velvet's School for the Dark Arts!" Nighthand says with a flourish. Velvet smacks him, and he laughs and ducks out of her reach before she could get another one in. "At least, that's what I call it."
“When do you call it that?”
"Never, really. Except just now! Anyways, Velvet, this is Maoh. He's a cat."
"I can see that."

Maoh suddenly felt himself under the spotlight again, uncertain what to make of it. It wasn’t his choice to be a cat, it just kind of happened. He pouted, “ "Not by choice mind you. I was human when I woke up this morning."

"It's true, he was. I saw it with my own two eye- well, one eye."
"I don't doubt it. He's adorable, though!"

Maoh was going to suffer social whiplash at how the conversation was going. His eyes widened, stammering from the appraisal on his appearance. ”A-Adorable?”

"Sure! Big kitty ears, big kitty face, bit kitty paws! If your whole party is like this I really don't mind if they stay here." Before Maoh could react, Velvet was before him, crouched down, and giving him ear scratches as you would a domestic cat.

It was hard to do anything about this when it felt so good. He wasn’t sure why, but whatever she was doing felt amazing but he had fight it in order to continue civil conversation. "I... I would like to have a place to stay in general. And learn things too from this school you run Ms. Velvet." Maoh shot Nighthand a quick look to see what he was doing. He was torn between not knowing how to handle the situation and giving a brief plea for help.

Nighthand’s response was to laugh. "Stick with us, we usually have a place to stay. You know, when we're not out doing stupid things like getting in fights with Elites."
"Oh, you can certainly stay here." Velvet says. "It'd be like having my very own tiger!"
"Hey, he IS a real person, you know. I think."
Maoh will look between them, worried. "Well, maybe person isn't accurate anymore; but... uh..." He’ll trail off, mind still envisioning himself as a tiger versus his current state.

"Don't know what all I could teach you, though. You like darkness? It's kinda what I do here." Velvet ceased the petting and stood back up, continuing. "Built this place myself, to train people to use darkness weapons and abilities."

Maoh shrugged, wearing a confused look. "I don't think I have either of those I'm afraid. It's useful for sneaking around in, but I don't think I'm geared to actively use it."

"Oh, well, we could fix that, maybe. Later, though. For now, make yourself at home." Maoh was relieved and relaxed a little, looking over to Nighthand. It was the glint of obsidian from the knives that she manifested in a way that only he could see her do that brought his attention back to her. "I have other business to take care of." With an elegant spin she lunged with daggers poised at Nighthand.
Maoh l Lvl. %h l EXP: ????/1000 l HP: ???/??? l SP: ???/???
GP: 31,541

User avatar
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:50 am
Class: Twinblade

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Talal » Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:21 am

As the Chaos Gate revealed the trio at their Vak destination, Talal shot Canti a smile raising the hood on her cloak but not so far that it completely covered her. The young woman still wanted to see to both sides even if her hearing could technically see for her. She had to admit, walking along with Canti and Shadow gave her an added confidence that she knew she didn't have without them...at least within the confines of The World. It didn't matter how many levels she had gained through the course of her adventure, inwardly Talal still felt like a beginner a lot of the time.

They made their way quickly and without incident to the Vak Tower and its Master. A noted difference in the guards on duty and the overall atmosphere in general. Talal needed some time to think about what she wanted so Canti went first. Shadow kept her company out in the hall. Her fellow Twin Blade disappeared behind grand double doors. Her head fell back stretching from one side to the other. So much had happened during what originally was to be a simple shopping trip alone with her thoughts that turned rather quickly into a session of emotional truth and sharing. Something the girl who considered sand and ocean her best friends wasn't very good at.

Even though she was supposed to be thinking about what she wanted from the Fire Master, Talal's mind was lost in a sea of wonder and excitement. There was still that little devil on her shoulder trying to tell her that it couldn't possibly be true but she was getting good at flicking the little devil away. Shadow sat near so her fingers went into auto pilot and gently rubbed and scratched the large dog's head and side. The companionship she had developed with the canine a welcome addition to her life as it was. Whatever time had passed it went quickly and before long Canti reappeared with a smile on his face letting her know it was her turn. She stood up patting Shadow on the head pausing for a moment to look at Canti with a smile and then she herself disappeared behind the doors.

Talal entered the room giving the Fire Master a polite bow of the head in greeting. "Good Day. I am told you might be able to assist us once again with an extra special treat."

"That's one way to put it, certainly. What do you have in mind?"

She smiled. "Well, I've been thinking on that all the way here. Do you have a little bauble that might help speed up an ability? Kind of like an Ap Do for our individual special querks if you will."

"I'm afraid I have nothing so general use. Your friend is much easier to work with, as his abilities lean in my direction. Yours, though, are more the purview of one of the other districts." Talal smirked. "Indeed although I'm not sure my skills fit well into any of them per se." She thought some more having really wanted to be able to speed up the collection of sound so she could attack much quicker than recent events allowed. "Alright then, let's see if I can come up with something a little more up your alley. I would imaging someone like you might have a set of rare Vak blades just lying around maybe something we can add a little extra umph to?"

"I have both of those things, though not together as a single item. I could offer you an item that would boost your power with fire-related weapons, or I could perhaps offer you a stronger weapon that what you currently have."

"Hmm...well, the highest set of Vak blades I have is a level 16. Not exactly going to work many wonders against the caliber of opponents I may face. Can you do anything with a pair of Ankokushiki?" Having been swept into the fray of the Eventides and then the Freedom Fighters, Talal was at a disadvantage that she hadn't had a lot of time to learn the different skills on weapons and what they do.

"Hmm. Not a lot that would be helpful to you, unfortunately. What I could do, though, would be get you a set of Specter Blades. They're a bit higher level than you are, but I can tweak it so that you can equip them."

"That sounds good. I appreciate you assisting me in finding something useful. I'm sorry I'm not as easy to work with like my friend." She smiled appreciatively and bowed.

"Oh, no need to be so apologetic. It's only my specialization that has led to this dilemma, after all." He writes something down on a small piece of paper. Then he picks it up and it bursts into flame and disappears. A moment later, one of the fire-uniformed army soldiers enters and places a weapon on the vak master's desk. He tinkers with it for a moment, then hands it back, and the solider hands it to you. "I've attuned it to you so you can use it regardless of the level restriction. No one else will receive the benefits, minor though they may be."

She chuckles a little. "Of course. Thank you." She bows once more and turns walking to the door but couldn't resist saying something about the change in guard that she noticed on the way in. The brut she had a disagreement with during their prior negotiations that had Shadow protecting her with his menacing presence. She turned back to the Fire Master and grinned widely. "I like what you've done with the place." With that, she took her leave and joined Canti and Shadow back in the hall.

"Are you ready to head out?"
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.
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.

User avatar
Posts: 123
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:04 pm
Class: Archer
Location: Liminality

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Sekai » Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:39 pm

Anid District was nothing short of a walk through Hell.

Be it shadows-- her own and others'-- suddenly moving independently or shadows darkening impossibly further than a game's graphic settings should allow, the number of spooky things that could, and would, go “bump” in the night left the little Archer more than just a nervous wreck. Only through the encouragement, and often crude commentary, from two of the three voices in her head did she manage to make it to the entrance of a shop seemingly down on its luck. In any other circumstances, curiosity would have won out and she would have probably wasted time inquiring about what the odd array of weaponry had been used for-- and against.

At the moment, she was feeling a little worse than the irritated guard waiting at the front desk as she ducked in, glanced behind her to make sure nothing had followed her in, glanced down to make sure her shadow wasn't doing the scary thing again, and looked back at the stressed out man in front of her. A wobbly smile was offered along side an expression that suggested one harsh word would be enough to send her into a fit of hysterical tears. "G-good evening, m-may I inquire if V-velvet-san is in? I-I have an appointment with h-her and a f-few others..."

He seemed bothered. Closed his eyes and turned his gaze heavenward.

She understood that feel quite well.

“How many more of you are there?” He asked, a gesture to the curtain behind him leading to a lower level.

She swallowed hard and managed to successfully rein in the urge to hug him hard for being kind and not yelling at her because some of the more difficult personalities of her party had clearly beaten her there. Almost wanted to burst into tears all the same, really. "I-I'm not quite certain, how many have shown up as is?"

"Two, I think. Some speedy asshole with wings and a cat." Came the reply.

She cringed at the description of the first. "Nighthand-san and Maoh-san, then." Looked a little relieved and glanced behind her at the door again. "...s-seven more should be coming, I believe." Finally started calming down. One of their strongest had made it, as had one of their newest and most liable members.

Sekai headed for the door, paused, and gave the security guard a shy but grateful smile over one shoulder. "Thank you for keeping watch, it feels a little better knowing you're here." And bolted past the curtain before any response could come, embarrassed but determined to have at least given him something in the way of knowing someone appreciated his work.

Faint echoes of metal against metal rang out, her heart returned to its steady drum against her ribs as she bolted forward. Had the enemy arrived already? Were they already in danger? Had someone sold them out?

A woman was fighting Nighthand-- and he didn't look terribly upset by it either.

Her steps slowed, hands rested against the railing as she leaned over to watch the battle curiously. Speculation in her eyes as she wondered just how long the two of them had known each other... and why most forms of flirting apparently took the form of combat in this game. Confused, because why now of all times, but also amused because there was nothing like a good romance to distract from the looming threat of the Elites coming down on them.

Apparently she hadn't been as subtle about her observation as she would have anticipated, the black clad Heavyblade suddenly at her side fast enough she jumped. “Heya! Wondered when the next one of you would arrive.”

Paused. Noted Velvet heading away from their makeshift battlefield and zipped back down. “Where you going?”

Velvet glanced back at him, shrugged. “We'll do this later, I have a guest!”

Turned her attention to Sekai and smiled in greeting. "Hi! I suppose you're another of Nighthand's party, which makes you quite welcome. Please, please, come in! Pet the cat or something. Don't let our sparring deter you."

Sekai bowed, a little awkwardly from the position on the stairwell, in response. "Y-yes, a pleasure to meet you." Frowned as a series of rude comments from the newcomer directed themselves particularly vehemently toward Nighthand and Velvet combined. What was her problem?

A funny feeling crept over her shoulders, brown eyes refocused as she realized she was being watched and blushed, bowed quickly again and spoke up. "S-sorry, she, um, apparently doesn't..." She gestured a little toward Nighthand and tried finding a non-insulting way of translating things. "... um, like the fact that you're sparring with him."

A quirk of her eyebrow. "She?"

Sekai swallowed hard. More than a little flustered and nodded. "Sh-- um, wow she is a little... unpleasant about this but-- I'lljustmakehercomeoutandyiucanseewhyitsaproblem."

A bright blue light shading toward violet exploded into existence. One very pissed off Blademaster clad in black leather and silver trimmed armor glared out at the group with a silver chain and cuff attached to her wrist, connected to sekai's own, with her leaf blade sword in hand.

Paused, startled at the sudden change in atmosphere from hazy and mallable mental space to surprised, and immediately turned and went right for Sekai with her sword. "NOW I'mma finish what I started, you weak ass little--"

Sekai yelped and jerked back to avoid the blow headed her way-- and shrieked when the chain tightened, her foot tangled in her skirts, and hit the ground with an undignified thud with Zorya following in her wake. Blade forgotten, disappearing into shadows before it hit the ground, the dark skinned woman reached out and tried strangling the white haired girl instead.

Sekai's fist clipped the Blademaster's jaw as Velvet grabbed the black haired woman and yanked her off the smaller Archer.

Zorya glared at Velvet. "Oi! They're the enemy, why're you playin' with 'em like this? We're s'pposed to kill them, remember? Garaa ain't gonna like this shit!"

The chain dropped from Velvet's fingers, a sensation that made Sekai shudder for reasons she couldn't explain. The woman stood between the two of them, didn't quite look at either of them, but her words were pointed. "Zorya, what have you been taught about guests in this house?"

Zorya? Pretty name for a woman with a vicious temper that even made Kira look tame.


"But-- nnghh," She glared at Velvet and then at Nighthand and Maoh. "..." She remained silent, but it was clear to anyone that all she wanted to do was cut loose.

Sekai picked herself up off the floor and tugged a little at the chain and cuff on her own wrist with a frown-- and gets a really nasty look from Zorya that makes her shrink back. "S-sorry Velvet-san, but do you... know how to get this off? I've... um, I've tried but..."

"You're a fuckin' incompetant like the rest of your group," Zorya added helpfully, side eyed her teacher and scowled. "...with an okay punch. You should know better at your level."

Sekai shot her a look that was half wounded, half annoyed. "I'm trying to undo this! It's not like I asked for," she jingled the chain in frustration. "this! That's not how the power was supposed to work!"

Velvet twitched when Zorya threw the insult, relaxed a bit when she doesn't leave it hanging. Taught her better than that, definitely. "I don't know if I can break it or not. I'd have to study it more to see. First, though..."

She turned fully to Zorya. "Unless you want to be stuck with this archer forever, you need a perspective shift. These people, this group, are a lot more powerful than you realize. IF you killed her, and IF that freed you rather than killed you as well, I have absolutely no doubt you would be dead in seconds." she glanced past Zorya to nighthand, who is watching without expression or comment for once. "And I swear to god if you sabotage them and jeopardize my best ch-" she caught herself and tried again, "Let me put it this way. Until further notice, these people are my allies. Unless and until I give the order, suck it up and fucking deal."

Zorya stiffened, tried to hide the panic that rose at the uncertainty in her mentor's voice about the chain. Badly, at that. Her posture displayed a sudden insecurity and anxiety that was completely at odds with the bad girl attitude from before. "They gonna get you killed; you want 'em to be allies, ya should put 'em through classes, they need 'em." A side look at the few members of the Freedom Fighters there. Switched tactics. "Didn't ya say time an' time again that power ain't nothin' without the brains to use it?"

Sekai looked completely mortified by the exchange and protested the slight against their intelligence as a group. They had plenty of smart people!

Velvet abruptly grinned. "You're not wrong about that." and patted the black clad woman on the shoulder. "Then again, right now, you're one of the powers they have to learn to control." Moved away to get a better view of those in the room. "I'll give lessons to anyone who wants them, and you can relay that to the rest of your group. After all, I have an interest in seeing you succeed. You two," she pointed toward Sekai and Zorya, "come with me if you want me to study that chain. You," a finger toward Nighthand, "Hold down the fort until I'm back."

Zorya looked a little less inclined to start throwing a tantrum now that she'd been acknowledged as being right about something and instantly followed Velvet until Sekai's weight pulls her arm back. "You heard 'er, move it, girl."

"I have a name." Sekai retorted, more under her breath than anything else and stumble forward with a rough pull of the chain from Zorya's end.

"Name gonna be something you ain' gonna like if you don't move them feet." She fired back as Sekai picked up her pace to keep from being dragged. Zorya paused at the sight of the lab and its many gears turning and humid atmosphere. Side eyed her teacher. "Last time I was in here, shit blew up."

"...it what?" Sekai stopped studying something changing colors and bubbling away cheerfully within a round container on the table and backed hastily away.

Beckoned to a part of the room with a large machine, the two women looked nervously at one another-- Zorya switched to a glare once she realized her anxiety was reflected in the other girl's eyes-- and waited for Velvet to do her thing.

The sensation of the chain poked, prodded, and otherwise tested with tools was an odd one, disconcerting like fingers poking into their souls. Zorya got her hand slapped aside when she kept trying to pry at the shackle on one wrist as if it burned her.

The machine shut of, chain removed by Velvet herself as she studied the sheaf of papers she'd gathered. "Alright, well, good news and bad news. This chain isn't really a chain, it's just a representation of some tricky shit that went on between you two. I don't know what specifically caused it, but if I had to hazard a guess based on what I know of your party," a glance to Sekai. "and your job," switched to Zorya, “you got fucked up by Garaa. Very few other entities in this game can cause this kind of damage without killing you outright."

"Damage?" Zorya's expression was baffled. That didn't make any kind of sense whatsoever. "We took a hit, hurt like nobody's business, but it didn't kill me, or her, obviously. Nothin' bad happened, I'm fine other than, y'know, that thing." Her head jerked to the chain.

Sekai, however, looked less confused and more like she just realized how close to permadeath she really had come. "It was the Reaper-san that made the attack. Garaa-san laughed, but..." She looked up, expression uneasy toward Zorya and then back at Velvet. "Can it be reversed or dismissed? This feels solid to me, and to her too. I, um... I can't undo it on my end-- and she can't either."

Zorya turned to look at Sekai for a moment, confused in regards to her word choice. "The hell you talkin' about?"

"My ability is contract based. It's only supposed to work if both parties agree to it; that's... that's why I've been trying to find out why I can't undo it, and you can't either apparently or you would have a long time ago." Sekai stressed emphasis on the cooperative portion of her power. Nervous, because revealing how something worked usually wound up backfiring on her completely in some manner, but didn't want any mistakes or assumptions being made about forcing others to help her if they didn't want to. "Is it able to be undone without killing her, Velvet-san?"

Velvet shrugged. "Not right now, probably. That's the bad news. If you got hit by the goddamn Doomkeeper, you're lucky you're anything more than paste on the ground, both of you. When it hit you, it shredded your data, and it got mixed up. Your data used any method it had to try to pull itself together, and incorporated parts of Zorya into you. This chain isn't a shackle and it isn't a contract. It's more like... a mutual iron lung. Your infection was more powerful than Zorya's, which is why she's been absorbed into your ability. You're literally using each other to heal, and until that process ends, forcing that chain to break will kill one or both of you." she held up a hand to stop Zorya's inevitable outburst at being called the less powerful of the two. "I'm not insulting you, I just reckon that Sekai has been stuck in this game a heck of a lot longer than you and has been exposed to people like Garaa a lot more than you. The fact is, you are both stuck like this unless you know a really damn good data doctor."

"I don' even know how damn long I been here, ain't nobody keepin' track 'cause it don't matter." Zorya replied sourly and glared at the chain and cuff like she could burn it with her hate alone.

Sekai winced, inclined her head as if saying that Zorya had a point about time not really mattering. Tried to think of someone who might be able to help. Her expression brightened a little. "...we have two people who may be able to do something, but I'm not sure..." She glanced down at the chain herself. "Will the damage heal on its own or will it get worse as time goes on?"

Zorya scoffed as she searched for the one thing she knew was in there-- she'd had to use 'em once before on a silly shit Whipmaster who'd, uhh, managed to do some very interesting things to themselves with their weapon. "I ain't gonna be able to do shit attached to some backrow character like you and I'd sooner take my chances seein' ol' Reaper 'imself than waste my trainin'." Isn't having much in the way of luck. "Vel, where the cutters at? They ain' in the corner where they usually are."

Velvet perked up a bit at mention of people who might be able to offer her more in the way of help. "It should heal, it's already healing, but I don't know at what point the chain would release, or if you'll heal properly separately." she gestured absently toward a corner where Zorya hadn't looked. "Who do you know that might be able to dig into this?"

Sekai's mouth twisted into a slight frown, side stepped when her arm is tugged in Zorya's direction to help give her more room to move. "Raine-san is one of them, she does most of the data work to what little I understand... I suppose she may be the data doctor? She does have her hands full though..." She frowned. "Demorian-san might have more information than actual ability to treat it... but again, I'm uncertain and it would require asking them to take a look if there is time."

"Hold still, this ain' gonna hurt half as bad as ol' Reaper." Zorya cheerfully informed the girl. Already prepared for the risks involved and took full advantage of Sekai while the two were distracted to slip the bolt cutters into position.

Sekai paused. Confusion returned as she turned to address Zorya. "But I'm not even moving ye-- hey, wait no!" She tried to jerk the chain free just as Zorya snapped the cutters shut atop one of the links.

Agony took them both in a second. A jab of lethal, glowing pokers stabbed directly into the nervous system and through a kidney. Zorya's swearing filled the room, breathless and vehement and more crude with every word she managed to gasp out. Her face was greyish and her arms doubled over her stomach as if it would help ease the pain.

Sekai went down, hands pressed tight against the kidney that shouldn't have even hurt anymore. Snowy lashes fluttered rapidly closed and open again, tried not to cry as she sucked in sharp, shallow breaths between clenched teeth.

Velvet seemed unruffled by the exchanged. Glanced at the two women and knelt down to examine the chain more closely. "Yup, looks about right. You made it almost halfway through half of one link. You'd have to endure at least four times that to sever a link completely, and that's assuming it doesn't get worse the more you cut." She paused, a little intrigued. "Aaaand it's already repairing itself."

"Didn't. feel. SHIT." Zorya ground out and glared at the dropped bolt cutters-- and then looked back to the chain. "The fu-- why's it doin' that?!"

Sekai rolled herself over to look at the repairing chain in a mix of confusion and horror. "...it repairs itself?" Rhetorical question, but still one bearing some actual vocalization. She focused on that more than the pain to keep herself distracted and then glowers at Zorya. "Not doing that again."

"Fuckin' stop me you little--"

Sekai winced at the movement necessary and reached out to cover the repairing part of the link with her hand. "Not until we know the others can't do anything; they've been here longer than we have, maybe they can help set you free."

Zorya glared. "Ain't like you're a prize to be stuck with there, little girl."

A little something that might have been a growl if it wouldn't have been so sad escaped. "This," she winced when she jingled the chain. "means a liability; I don't want to be felled in battle any more than you do and I have a duty to make sure all the people who are stuck here can go home."

She turned away from Zorya to look at Velvet and her expression turned apologetic. "I'm sorry for the trouble, the rest of them should be here soon-- and I'm sure they'd like to talk about what you can do and can show you things too. Information, um, seems to be worth more than anything but actual power in this place, it seems."

"Oh my god that's the most intelligent but fuckin' obvious thing you've ever said."

Sekai's eye twitched and she slid a dark look Zorya's way. "...I may wish to take you up on those offered lessons."

Velvet just nodded. "Yeah, alright. I'll teach you what I can, though as you might have guessed, I'm fairly focused in my purview. As for this," she nudged the chain with a foot. Both parties winced at the echo of pain. "It's not a real chain. It's just a representation of your link as long as you're manifested. It wouldn't surprise me if breaking it just meant you were stuck inside her until it healed. I'm sure you'd enjoy that. You know, through the pain."
She took the bolt cutters away and returned them back in their corner, then led the way out of the lab and back to the main room.

Sekai and Zorya followed shortly after, neither of them looking happy.

Sekai rubbed the sore spot against her side, reflected on what it might just mean that it wasn't a real chain, but acted like one all the same.

Zorya pretended none of them actually existed and settled on the floor to stretch herself out. Might as well prepare for some sort of sparring session to see what she could do even when bound.

They just needed the rest of their party to arrive and they could begin.

Name: Sekai
Level: 54
EXP: 0000/1000
Class: Archer
Clan: Army of Darkness
HP: 835
SP: 347

Currently Equipped:

Einherjar: Kira, December, Zorya

Head: Bat Earrings (Ola Repth 40, Rip Maen 40)
Body: Saint Cross (Rue Zot 10, RaJuk Zot 30)
Arm: Protect Ring (Ap Vorma 15, MeJuk Kruz 20)
Leg: Ninja Anklet (BiVak Rom 20, GiGan Zot 30)
Add-Ons: Forestlore, Wood Magic (permanently raised Wood Offense/Defense by +3 total)

Wishlist: Levels, Summon: Wood, Archer Weapons, Light Armor

User avatar
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:19 am
Class: Wavemaster
Location: Walking the line of madness

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Takua » Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:37 am

It was only a few errands. Two, really. One, if he had to be technical about it. The other wasn’t an errand, but rather a final attempt to steady himself before what seemed like be something he might not come back from. Not that anything so far couldn’t be classified that way, but some situations were worse than others. Ganz, had he recognized it from the start. Juka, which he most assuredly had. Silly of him to do it with hindsight, he supposed, but he hadn’t really felt like he’d had a choice. Maybe he had more than a little bit of that childish longing to be a hero, to be someone who Mattered with that capital M. This was his chance to do good he couldn’t do anywhere else, to be more than just a high school student.

Of course, he’d clearly missed the rather obvious side to that equation. That the reason why those heroes mattered was because they were facing threats that most people would run from. Wanted to run from. Put them into situations that a reader wouldn’t ever have to face. Instead, they could imagine, put themselves in the shoes of someone else…all from the comfort of the home. Or, as it might happen, hiding in terror while the hero went out and did their thing.

Quite frankly, doing what had to be done, the good thing, the thing that would save others, often fucking sucked. There was a reason there was conflict in any show with a hero, right? He didn’t always win, and his life often…well, fucking sucked.

Like that whole ‘could end up dying’ bit. Life was full of would-be heroes who died with their heroics quite in vain. He didn’t really want to end up like that, but he knew very well it was a possibility. Especially after the thing that Garaa hit him with. At the very least he’d survived but…well…he didn’t need someone to tell him that he shouldn’t have. Luck alone, or maybe some intervention, had kept him from being annihilated, and when that happened there’d be a heart monitor beeping out an alarm soon enough.

And one day, maybe soon, that luck would run out.

Funny, how those little childish dreams of heroics could wind up with rather severe real life consequences.

He stood on the landing platform of Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground, watching the clouds pass under him. Or, well, Vesica watched them, and he saw through her eyes. Same difference for now, really. She hadn’t said anything now for some time, although every now and then she’d glance up at him before returning to her silent watch. Maybe she sensed he needed the time alone, maybe she was just being a damn cat and didn’t deign to speak at the moment. Either one was possible. For the moment though, he was enjoying the field that had always proven relaxing to him in one way or another.

He’d sent a message to Centrus. Might have been called a final will, but that sounded a touch melodramatic. Besides, he’d never said anything about the possibility of dying. Just that his friend might need to take care of a few things. Maybe Ian had stopped playing, but he found that option rather unlikely. Ian wouldn’t abandon a friend in need, that was why he’d been a part of the Eventide and had come back to Juka. No, the man would get it soon enough. Maybe not in time to message Takua back, depending on what was going on in the real world or how long that had been…but hopefully soon enough.

And for the moment…

“I’ve been an idiot.”

“You’re merely human, that’s natural.”

The wind rustled by them both, bringing with it the short and succinct reply from the AI at his side. Takua turned slightly, a faint tug on his lips threatening to turn into a smile, “Oh, and AI are much better about that?”

“Much. You’re weak, immature, and still a child. It shows. And even if you were older, you would be an idiot. Comes from being an illogical species. I will admit though, you’ve shown a truly amazing ability to make foolish decisions. I’d be tempted to even say it’s your calling in life.” There wasn’t a trace of sarcasm in her voice, and Takua winced at the dry slash of her voice. He opened his mouth, but she beat him to the punch with a growl, “Now how about we skip past the pleasantries, delightful although it is to discuss such a rich subject as your stupidity, and get to why you opened your mouth in the first place. Or would you like to blow more hot air?”

So delightful she was, Takua mused sourly, and he found himself somewhat seconding Kira’s opinion of the cat. She was quite the mouthy little bitch. It took him a few more seconds of watching the clouds before he spoke again, quite mindful of how close she was to placing her claws on his leg. “Because I’ve put my friends in danger. The people who are closest to me…and I nearly got them killed.”

“You’re referring to why Asorain was so angry when I first arrived.” There was no question in her voice, only push to keep him going past more of this hot air he was spouting. Silly creature that he was, after all.

“Yeah. I thought…eh. That I could do something. Against someone who utterly outclassed me. It drew his attention, and I nearly got Sekai deleted. Myself too. It’s…I’m used to being attacked. Killed, even. It’s normal in this world, right? Just so long as you have a party that can resurrect you. So I didn’t think much about being attacked, just that I could be revived. I didn’t consider my actions beyond…whether I would die or not.” Not for real, of course. But he hadn’t really considered beyond that. People would be hit, people would die, Elites were clearly like that. Xenobia had driven that lesson home very early on.

But he hadn’t considered…how Sekai would react to his suddenly being such a clear and obvious target. It was obvious in retrospect, as obvious now as the many problems he was in now that he was in a coma. Or how dangerous and not-actually-glamorous this really was. Not that he’d really embraced that part. But there was something…so very wrong about the way he’d been going about this. Trying to be a person that Mattered. Trying so far hard to be that person when he didn’t even have himself figured out. Hell, when he couldn’t even trust his own mind.

And as obvious as all of those now were, as they should have been, they hadn’t been.

He hadn’t even considered that, maybe, he was a friend to Sekai as well. And friends hated seeing each other hurt. He’d been so focused on trying to heap everything onto himself that he’d blinded himself to what he’d been doing to others. Or maybe she was just the type of person to watch out for others even if she weren’t particularly close friends with them. Just…part of her protector persona. That could also be it.

“I asked her for help. And turned around and…didn’t even allow her to immediately afterward. Different things, but that doesn’t matter. And all of this time I’ve been just so very immature about what I’m doing. How I’m looking at this. As though I need to carry more than my own share of the burden. Like I need to do everything…be someone important even when it’s more efficient to be supportive.” Takua finally just shook his head, wishing he could see the clouds and the cathedral with his own two eyes at the moment. “I’ve just been…yeah, I’ve been a dumb kid. And I’ve been a dumb kid in a place that can get us all killed.”

The words died away into the silence, wind ceasing for just a moment as the pair stood on the stone. “By Merrows, I thought you finally had it there. And then you had to fuck it up at the last minute.” Vesica’s dry, amused growl came from next to him, and Takua turned fully to raise an incredulous eyebrow as the cat merely flicked her eyes and added another twelve words.

The blind teenager stalked into Velvet’s school, the snow leopard trailing behind him with a self-satisfied swagger, and he made a beeline to Sekai. He paused for a moment on seeing the woman chained to her, but nobody else was reacting, and to be truthful he didn’t even know if what he was seeing was reality. So he ignored the woman lying on the ground, and especially ignoring the feline familiar who laid down with a regal bearing and grace. “I need to ask Kira a question,” the Wavemaster stated with a deadpan tone, “What’s the best way to skin a cat? I need too know. For a friend. It's vital.”

From where she now lay beside Zorya, Vesica let out a pleased yawn and flicked her tail, “You did say you were an idiot. I didn’t expect you to prove it so definitively so quickly.”

Takua - Lvl 57 Wavemaster
Wishlist: Levels, Stun Rod, Hag's Wand, Wand of Truth, Ex-Level, Ex-Spheres, and Myth: Demiurge, FL Fukuoka

Lord Canti
Exalted Player
Posts: 300
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Lord Canti » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:04 am

(While they were waiting outside Fire Castle, Canti had taken to listening to The Pink Panther to take his mind off of...ah whatever. There's always something, seriously. I guy needs to relax every now and again, right? Right. He shut off the music once Shadow perked his head up and Talal was stepping out, asking of they were ready to go.)

Canti: Yeah. Wait, no. There was... Oh yeah! We can't arrive at the same time. How should we do that?

"Right! We could travel most of the way together, at least to the Ani border. Then we could split up... or maybe one of us could just hang a ways back from the other but so we are still in view...just in case."

Canti: I figured as much as the border, but who goes first? Whatever the case, I'll blend in because I'm all dark and stuff.

"Why don't you go first. I need to practice my blending skills with my new cape. Besides, I should probably stick with Shadow since I originally left the group with him, although I suppose it doesn't really matter now that I think about it. Maybe Shadow would like to make his own entrance."

Shadow: You're funny and you don't look dark enough without me as an escort.

Canti: Like the dog said. He goes with you.

(Talal got a look on her face all of a sudden like she was really hurt by the comment, being so proud of her new purchase and all. Canti instantly regretted the way Shadow said that and gave the dog a disapproving look But then, she chuckled at both of them.)

"Alright alright...I get the hint. Not that I would ever turn down Shadow's accompanyment. But that means you get to go first."

Canti: It's not about sticking out, you know. It's...how you carry yourself. You can work on it. You'll be fine.

(He looked around, then said...)

Canti: But yeah, I'll go first. Let's head for the border.

(She nodded at him and they both left the castle courtyard for Vak Sector proper, aiming for the Ani border.)

"So...do you have any suggestions on what I might change?"

Canti: I don't know what other ani-users do, per se, but I would would definitely ramp up the mysteriousness in your case and make sure you look like you're never unsure about anything, from stride to focus. Keep Shadow at your side like a faithful dark hound. It completes the effect.

"I see. Alright, I'll work on that."

(As Talal began to make a few adjustments, she asked him what it was he got from the Fire Master.)

Canti: Sort of. The power, yes, but it needs a special sound effect, from the old release of War of the Worlds. He said that part was easy.

"Hmm....did you get to test it? Are you worried it won't have the sound you want?"

Canti: I did, and it's pretty quiet. So, I basically have it, but it's not perfect yet.

"I'm sure you'll make it great!"

(Canti smiled as they continued on. They soon arrived at the border entrance between Vak and gate area, and then from that to he Ani Sector border. Here was where they would institute their plan, just in case anybody was thinking of watching them.)

Canti: Alright, I'm off. Wait a few minutes, and then proceed at your own pace.

(Shadow remained at her side as they watched him go.)


(Having left Talal with the instructions to give him a few minutes' head start, Canti weaved through whatever dark crowds lay within Ani Sector. Never had he seen so much black in one place. It was blacker than the blackest black times infinity, plus Nathan Explosion. In fact, someone around here was playing Dethklok for kicks. He saw a Morgul Tower with players made to be orcs, a Black Hole Cafe that you walked into via swirling steps, a Black Dragon Cathedral of Toril, and a Little Black Book bar discreetly off to the side. Players might've looked alot like him, or bandmembers of KISS, or Rob Zombie, or...)

Canti: Holy shit, it's HIM!

(The number one superhero of America... Batman! Yes, Canti WILL brake for Caped Crusaders, thank you. But just for a moment. Moving on, he soon found himself at the shop he was directed to by mail - or what he assumed to be the place - and entered. The shop was full of packed shelves and racks holding dusty weapons, none of which looked particularly usable in the game except possibly by custom classes. It was small shop, with only a counter in the back with a shopkeep/guard looking somewhat exasperated by the arrival of yet another person wandering into the place. Behind him, no longer even attempting any concealment, was a staircase leading down that was normally blocked by a curtain. Seeing this, Canti simply walked over to the stairs, saying "Chicken Inspector", and headed on down. The Thump sound he heard soon after was from the guard, no doubt wishing he'd fall down the stairs and break his neck. It was a most disagreeable thump. The stairs led down quite a ways, mostly cold stone, and then at the bottom it opened into the large opulent gym-sized room made of gold-veined black marble. Impressive sight. The only person visible at the moment was a woman who presumably owned the place. She had black hair combed over one eye and wore a trenchcoat that absorbed light and made her look like a silhouette when it's closed, which it wasn't at this time. Under that was a pretty typical form-fitting black outfit. You know...obvious darkness stuff. Say hello to Trinity, because we are in The Matrix. Canti came to a halt when he saw Velvet, who was not exactly mentioned in the flashmail, unless...)

Canti: Nice suit. Uhh, hoping you're the connection?


(She looked Canti over, apparently studying him, as she spoke, pacing circles around him like he was something in a display case.)

"Yeah, sure. You certainly look like one of Nighthand's buddies, and my guard didn't stop you, so, here we are."

(He didn't relax until she mentioned Nighthand. So, this woman was a friend of his, then? Alrighty.)

Canti: This isn't the first weird place I've waltzed into, not even the first one underground. I'm Canti.

(He then indicated his head back at the entrance.)

Canti: Does your guard hate himself or something?

(The woman grinned at this.)

"Probably! After a speedy asshole, a cat, and the world's meekest archer walked their way past him, I'm surprised he's still here. I'm Velvet, and this is my school for all things Darkness."

(He had to laugh. That guy had met his friends alright, and after all this time of guarding that entrance, presumably.)

Canti: Poor guy, he's still got incoming.

(He could only imagine how Talal and Shadow were going to be around him.)

Canti: All things? You a multi-class?

"Nah. Don't need to be. I'm just really damn good at what I do. Which actually might turn out to be a little unfortunate for you lot in the future, given that what I do - well, did - for several years was train your direct enemies."

(And in response to that, Canti opened his mouth, shut it, and facepalmed - in that order. Then, he regrouped when he came to realize...)

Canti: No wait, this is good! We've killed some of them, so they must've been slackers. And...you could probably teach us how to counter them, maybe? Just spitballing here.

(Never do that in class, Canti.)

"If you like. I'm giving that Sekai gal some lessons later, you can sit in if you like. What I teach is mastery, control, discipline, and darkness. I taught a lot of Garaa's elite soldiers and a lot of Dark-based freelancers, I can teach you lot too. Not that you have time for a full course, from what Nighthand has told me. You've got another Elite to go kill or whatever."

(Yeah, they still had to do something about Melzas, The Wonderful Prophet of Rue. Velvet paused and looked pretty gloomy for a moment to add "...Which you damn well better succeed at.". Understandably so, though this had the hint of a personal stake in it. He could respect that, given that she was helping them and all.)

Canti: Well, one way or another, the next one's going to go fast. Either he'll like us because he predicted good things or hate us because he didn't. As for Garaa...I'm more worried about the other one, being an 'off' element. Incinerated me once. Didn't like it.

"All that really matters to me is that you succeed or that you disappear so thoroughly in failure that I can never find you!"

(She was chipper when she said that, but something in her tone reminded him of Sheena, of the more threatening side of Sheena. Yeah, the force is strong with this one, and of the Dark Side, most certainly. Yes, mmm... So now, she indicated some of the side-rooms to this place, their new hideout for the time being.)

"Anyways. Nighthand's through there in the sitting room. Sekai and her darkness pal are through there working on their people skills, and... Huh. Well, your cat is somewhere. Not sure where."

(Cat? What cat? Ohhh...she meant Maoh. Fair enough. Canti just shrugged at this and said...)

Canti: I'm more of a dog person, myself.

(He headed out to take a chill in the sitting room.)
Last edited by Lord Canti on Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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.

User avatar
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:50 am
Class: Twinblade

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Talal » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:49 am

Having arrived at the border entrance to the Anid Sector, it was time for the pair of Twin Blades to part ways so they would arrive separately at the new hideout per the directions from their senior members. It had been agreed that Canti should go first, after all she had Shadow at her side. Something the young woman was becoming accustomed and rather comfortable with.

Alright, I'm off. Wait a few minutes, and then proceed at your own pace.

Ok. She looked around with her eyes but not her head, her hand going to Shadow. The first sign that Talal had a big learning curve ahead of her if she was going to truly change her outward demeanor and not only look and act more confident but believe it herself. The latter being the hardest factor of course. Watching Canti disappear around a building, Talal took a deep breath. Just wanted to say Thanks! Shadow. As much as words sting, I'm glad I have you to tell me like it is. I mean it. She took her first step through the gate and into the Ani Sector.

I wasn't made to embellish. No, Rey made him about as blunt and straightforward as humanly possible, didn't she? The duo walked slowly, each step she took was focused and precise but not awkward looking. Talal wasn't talking loudly knowing Shadow had the capability to hear and understand her without the volume. It may surprise you but I wasn't always like I am now. This game has made me...indecisive. Her face took on a blank but regal look to it.


The question made Talal mentally stop for a moment. Sure she had started the conversation but not always had she thought it all the way through before opening her mouth. Did she know why she had changed? No...but there could be plenty of reasons so which one was more logical? Well, I suppose it has a lot to do with being out of my element. I come from a very small town where I could control my environment and the people I associated with so I knew how things would react. It gave me the confidence to be more decisive but here...I don't have that control.

Somehow, Shadow managed to shrug. I can't control it either.

They turned a corner just in time to see Canti turn around one of his own in the distance chuckling softly at his response. True, but your size, color and the type of dog you look like give you that natural, bright flashing red 'Do Not Disturb' sign. It's kinda awesome. Shadow suddenly came to a halt at the sight of Canti. We should not get too close to the Master. Admittedly, she had been trying to keep the dark Twin Blade in her sights. How else were they to know if anything went wrong in his journey? But Shadow did have a good point. If they got too close then someone watching could put two and two together rather easily. Talal stopped with him. You're right. We could take a different route? That way if we are being followed it won't be obvious. She took a step and turned left down the next street. It was lined with various shops and what looked like a bar towards the end making Talal fill with that indecisive feeling again that maybe she shouldn't have broken away from the trail.

I have the route. This will delay us well enough.

They traveled along the new route, Shadow giving her directions every now and then when a turn was coming up. The Ani sector was indeed a dark place. Dark and weird but both were more than expected. Each sector seemed to have its own color scheme and the weird just followed regardless of where you were. Talal focused on her walk and body language so the new route wouldn't get to her as much. Just to break the silence and the second guessing herself going on in her mind, So...how am I doing? She knew if anything she could count on his blunt non-embellished response.


She smiled inwardly but knew she had a long ways to go before it would be believable and even at that even farther to go before it would become part of who she really was. Finally, they turned the last corner and the shop was within sight and Canti was nowhere to be found. Worry and wonder filled Talal's mind but she managed to keep her hands under her cloak and not reaching for the sturdy and stableness of her traveling companion. A habit she would need to learn to break except when behind closed doors. Entering the shop, she heard the chime of a small bell as it was struck by the corner of the door. Once Shadow was inside, she closed the door behind him and began to walk towards the shop keep at the back end of the store.

The store lacked a lot of luster and appeal to anyone actually looking for merchandise to purchase. One would think if the shop was to be a front for what was really hidden below it, they would make it a little more believable. The stressed-looking guard looked up at the pair as they came closer seeming to let his eyes fall on Talal first and relaxing a bit but then catching sight of Shadow and immediately going back to tense. Behind him, the dark cloaked Twin Blade noted a stairwell leading down. Talal walked forward towards the guard running a finger along one of the shelves doing a dust check. She holds up the finger full of dust and shows it to the guard.

You know, it helps to move your inventory when it looks shiny and new. Unless of course you like dull and dingy? Shadow sneezed making dust fly all over the place from his level.

The shop keep makeshift guard just shook his head. We don't sell any of it anyways. It's not for sale, but of course you're not here for that, are you. Judging by the... dog, you're another of those crazy folks.

She tilted her head and smiled. I've been called many things but crazy? I don't think that's been one of them. She just looked at the guard for a moment. So how many crazy people have arrived? Shadow now placing his front paws on the counter, putting his face at eye level with the clerk. And you had better smile when you answer that.

The guard had seemed to have been ready to have a chipper enough conversation right up until shadow talked, at which point he froze up. After about another 30 tense seconds, he took a deep breath and then just waves down the stairs. He then walked around the counter and maneuvered past Talal towards the door. Just... go look. Tell Velvet I'm going home.

Talal watched with a grin on her face and then waved a parade style good bye to him as he walked out the door. Looking to Shadow with a happy smile, I guess that means we should go downstairs. Shadow hopped off the counter back to the floor and followed the woman as she crested the top of the long stone staircase.

Talal stopped when she reached the bottom of the staircase as it opened up into a large room lined by several sets of doors. A lone woman in a black form-fitting outfit and trenchcoat stood in the room. Hello. I have a message for Velvet from the guard upstairs. Would you know where I could find her? Shadow walked up next to Talal and sat down, the woman waving at them. That'd be me! Another of Nighthand's friends, eh? I like the dog.

Thank you. He is quite magnificent, isn't he?
She reached over and stroked the top of Shadow's head.
"Your guard wanted me to tell you he was going home. He didn't look very well. I think the job is getting to him.

It may have been something we said.

Well, I'm not sure he was ready for a talking dog.

Velvet was cracking up laughing for a moment. No, he certainly was not. You know, he's used to people who respect him as a gatekeeper for what is generally considered a prestigious school, albeing a niche one. The way I can only imagine all of you have trampled over him...

I don't think it would have taken much trampling to be honest. No offense. I'm sure he's great at his job but he just looked a little...fragile?

Oh, maybe a little. Maybe you underestimate the intimidation factor your party has. Even in Yamiyo, a few of you stand out.

Shadow just shrugged at Velvet's comment but voicing no opinion. He was getting pretty good at the whole shrugging thing and when to use it. It was quite impressive as dogs go. Yes, I suppose they do. Talal just grinned, inwardly realizing she had just slipped momentarily back into her non-confident mindset but recovered fairly quickly hoping it had gone un-noticed. So what now? Is the group gathered somewhere near? Or is there some sort of right of passage I need to pass?

Nah, Nighthand already bought your way into my good graces. He and Canti are through that door, Sekai is through there but probably shouldn't be bothered just yet, and your cat has wandered off somewhere.

What cat?

I think she's referring to Moah's new appearence.
Talal looked back to Velvet. Where are my manners. My name is Talal. She bowed slightly. You're probably right. I'll go visit the guys first. She walked over to the door Velvet pointed at went through it followed by Shadow. Inside was a sitting room with comfy chairs, end tables, and some knickknacks scattered about on the shelves. Nighthand was resting in one of the chairs so Talal chose to remain quiet, taking a seat in an available chair and pushing the hood off of her head letting it fall to her shoulders. Her eyes found Canti and she smiled as they waited for the rest of the group to arrive.
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.
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.

User avatar
Master of Games
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Class: Bladesmage
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...

Re: A Coup in the Making: Ending the Age of Elites

Post by Nighthand » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:00 am

Velvet’s school was bustling, but for once it wasn’t with people who paled when she looked at them. It was an odd feeling, not being in charge of her own domain, as much as she ostensibly was. Most of these people could take her in a straight fight, and the party as a whole would wipe her own gleaming floors with her. It made her alternately angry at her own weakness, and proud to have made their association. Their help would get her out of here, out of this barely-functional life she had made for herself, and all she had to do was survive until they did it.

That might not be easy, if Garaa found out she was sheltering them. She had seen what he did to the town. One fit of rage, one fight, and years of careful coding and work were destroyed. It was impressive; one tended to forget that The World was a game, albeit a complex one. Code didn’t just work like that. You didn’t remove a variable and watch the rest tumble down like a house of cards. You couldn’t remove a brick texture and turn a building into rubble. His destruction was feral, realistic, and visceral. For anyone else in the Game, even coding rubble like that would take weeks or months. Yet he caused it with a swing of his mace.

That was Twilight, she supposed. Velvet knew more about Twilight, and how it underpinned The World, than most of the people in the server. She wasn’t an expert, though; far from it. She knew terribly little. She just happened to know more than the average script-kiddy schmuck; enough to know that Twilight was reactive, Twilight was visceral, and Twilight allowed such realism to exist in a game with inflexible code.

She turned back to the reams of paper her machines had spit out, all of it data on Zorya and Sekai. That foolhardy foot soldier had gotten caught in a bad situation, and the Archer, tough as she was, didn’t know how to handle it. Between that, perhaps something to help manage their link, and her own teachings on Darkness, maybe she would have something to teach the pair after all.


Raine arrived at the location she knew the others to be in, and found it both relatively well concealed and completely unguarded. If anyone knew they were there, it would be a disaster waiting to happen. Thankfully, no one did. The one sentry she had spotted along the way – watching her, at least, Nall and the others could handle their own guard – she led on a winding path to a secluded alley before letting him know exactly who he was dealing with. He was currently in Delta server, trying and failing to find a way back to Yamiyo.

When she arrived in the school, she sent a Flashmail out to the part.
Flashmail wrote: To: Party
From: Raine
RE: Briefing

Come to the main hall, I’d like to get us started.
She waited, standing in the middle of the gym-sized training hall and fiddling with her wand. As one of The World’s most powerful Wavemistresses, that wand was a highly coveted custom item, and today it felt heavy in her hands. They were about to embark on one of the toughest excursions the group had ever faced, and they were essentially doing it at half strength. Nall still needed some time to recover, and of all of the Elites, Melzas was most likely to be able to find a way past their defenses to get to him. To lose their accumulated Twilight Items would be devastating. Sheena stuck by to guard him, as one of the pair always did. And Demorian, well, she had always told him not to focus so heavily on one elemental specialization, but did he listen? Of course not. Now look where they were.

When the party had gathered – including the woman Raine took to be Velvet, Nighthand’s contact in the area – Raine looked them over each in turn.

“I’m going to be the one accompanying you all on this particular journey, for a handful of reasons. Melzas is a slippery asshole, and I’m not going to sugar-coat things. I don’t anticipate an amicable meeting. He may be sitting on the fence, but that could be a ruse entirely designed to lure us in for an ambush. If he does choose to join our cause, I’ll be watching him like a hawk. You may think Xenobia isn’t trustworthy, but let me tell you, Melzas makes her look like an innocent child.”

She handed out small paper sacks to each person present, save Velvet. Inside, everyone would find 5 Pure Waters.

“Should it come down to a fight, Melzas is the Elite of Ice. For those of you who haven’t seen him, he’s a Heavy Blade, decked out in heavy steel armor frosted with primordial ice. His head is a skull picked clean, free of ornament save for a single golden eye. That eye is his Twilight Item, the Eye of Disillusion.”

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“The Eye is one Twilight Item I’ve never been able to study. Melzas is covetously jealous of it. As a consequence, I don’t have a clue how the thing works. Obviously, it gives him complete mastery over Ice. He has a number of different ice-themed abilities. I’ve seen him make clones, both tangible and intangible, of himself and of others. I’ve seen him make chakram’s of razor sharp ice, capable of cutting through virtually anything. I’ve seen him freeze and shatter people at a touch. All of that, and I’ve never seen him use the deadliest top-level powers of his item.”

She tapped her hand with her wand, illustrating each point.

“All of that, and it’s not even the most dangerous thing about him. Rumor is he can see the future with the Eye. While that seems impossible, all evidence has borne it out. He’s very, very difficult to hit. He knows your plans before you enact them, and is dodging before you’ve started to attack. He is incredibly hard to deal with, even when you’re on your home turf and he’s at a disadvantage.”

She waved her wand at the empty space beside her.

“Nall and Sheena will not be with us, nor will Demorian due to his ice specialization. It’s just me, and I have no viable counter to his abilities. I’m not going to do anything rash and try a preemptive strike. We’re on HIS turf, approaching him from a position of weakness, and chances are he knows are arguments before we make them.”

Another pause.

“Make no mistake; this will be difficult. If any of you want to sit this one out, I won’t blame you. I can’t even give you tips on how to try to convince him. He’s legitimately a mystery to me. Maybe Nall knew some hidden motivation of his years ago, but he’s never told anyone, so I’m forced to assume he knows nothing that can help us here.”

This time, she held up the wooden key they had decided not to use for Xenobia’s tower.

“I’m going to let you all decide a few things, but they’re heavy decisions, so take your time. The first choice: do we use this key to skip straight to Melzas’ throne room, or do we take the hard way up? If we use it, he might consider it aggressive, and we wouldn’t have the key for a future assault. On the other hand, fighting our way up the tower will drain resources and give Melzas more time to set something up to put us at a disadvantage, more so than we already are.

“The second choice: do we attempt to sway him to our side, or do we assume he won’t bite and go in guns blazing? My leaning is towards the recruitment angle, if for no other reason than we would have more time to study him and perhaps ambush him later. I doubt he’ll turn over the Eye willingly when this is all over. Then again, he could surprise me.

“The third choice, of course, is whether or not you will participate. As I said; I hold it against none of you if you choose to back out. If we had another way, I would take it in a heartbeat.”

She paused again, meeting each set of eyes in turn.

“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.”


“See? Told you it’d be good.” Nighthand said to Velvet, nudging her with an elbow.

“She has gravitas, that’s for sure.” She said.

“Want to tag along? We can always use an experienced fighter.”

“Hmm, let me thing about that for a mom-HELL no! Are you insane?”

He laughed. “Just thought I’d offer.”