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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 10:52 pm 
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Nighthand entered the town, ever glorious Mac Anu, not all that long after he left the Repository. The field that he had emerged in was simply a normal field, so he didn’t bother to stick around. The renowned Aqua Capital saw quite a difference today. It didn’t take him long from gating in to make his way into the rooftops. He didn’t know, of course, but this was the very spot Nall had stood so long ago, observing a casual group of newbies, of which Nighthand himself had been a part. He was long changed from that cautious newbie. He had regained his cloak, its dark blue fabric hanging heavy over his shoulders, weighed down with the number of scrolls he had accumulated. Great folded wings, the leathery wings of a demon, twitched restlessly on his back, furled as tightly as he could get them. He didn’t enjoy the wings, but like his scrolls, they were a useful tool. Who knew when they would come in handy, after all, for all the irritation they caused, and however conspicuous they made him.

He wasn’t all that had changed about the town today, however. The atmosphere of The World’s primary entry point was notably subdued. A tension, a sense of stress, loomed over them. The source was obvious, too. Around the town, patrolling up and down the bridge and the alleyways, or even just standing still at various points around the town, members of the Knights of War watched in silence. Given all that had happened since the Yoroi General had first attacked the town, Nighthand was somewhat surprised that none of them had given even a glance to the rooftops, a favored hiding place.

Something was going to happen, he was certain. What it was, against whom, or why… All questions to which he had no answer. Carefully, he faded back along the rooftops. He headed for the familiar alleyway that held the hideout. He didn’t go in, however, but rather sat on the roofs, watching for his party.

It had been so hectic when they had left… Nall, barely settled down about flipping out against Jett. Zan, struggling to control the beast within, leaving. His own very dangerous offer to take Nall to the Soul Shrine, a gambit that could have made the blademaster more powerful, but had the distinct possibility of killing him. Phoenix, trying to follow them, and the timely intervention of Asgard and Hijinx.

Nall had run off on the way to the Shrine. Something had come up, he said. Raine and Sheena told him about another hacker intervention; someone trying to ‘recruit’ more for the hackers. Nall had rushed to aid them, but assured him that no one had needed to come with him. Nighthand, shrugging it off, had gone to his father’s field and ended up on quite the adventure.

Spotting movement out of the corner of his eyes, he glanced to the side, spotting a player walking down the alleyway. The slightly feral attitude about the player identified him when his appearance failed to right off; it appeared Nighthand wasn’t the only with a change. A hooded cloak casting shadow over the man’s face in the dim alleyway, green seams barely visible in the dark. Still, Nighthand recognized the man as Zan.

”Zaaaaaaaaannnnn….” Nighthand called from the rooftops, drawing the man’s attention.

Eyes bleeding into the reflex orange-amber glow of the wolf at the sudden call of his name, Zan's head jerked towards the source, irises cooling to the dull blue of their usual hue at the sight of Nighthand. "Nighthanddddd." The lycanthrope's voice an octave or two less enthused than his counterpart on the roof.

"Feeling better? More in control? Tamed your inner wolf-man?" Nighthand chuckled to himself. Taunting his partner’s might not be the best idea, but he’d had enough of being serious for a little while.

"Two of the three, anyway. How about you, managed to get a few winks of sleep while I was gone? I do hope you didn't sit up worried night after night for little ol' me." A small smile creasing his lips, Zan leaned himself against the alley wall, his neck already beginning to protest the craning position it took to talk to the Bladesmage.

"Nah, I had quite enough problems of my own, thank you. Being deleted isn't the most fun experience. Not to mention the unfortunate bodily side-effects." He stretched out his wings, wondering what the lycanthrope would make of the great silhouette against the sky. "Well, anything interesting to say? It's about time for everyone to gather up again, I think, so if you've nothing else to do, head on in."

"Deleted? You have been busy. I hope you didn't drag poor Nall down with you." Pausing, the color completely draining from his eyes to leave nothing but a black sketched outline of a pupil behind, the lycanthrope lifted into the air and continued in a steady rise until he came to idly stand before his fellow Heavy Blade. "You know, here I was thinking I was the only one who'd come back with the handy little ability to fly. But noooo. First Reinier, now you. Way to steal my thunder." That small smile still curled upon his lips, he simply dropped backwards, a smooth fall insuing before he simply seemed to stop; now simply a man reclining on his back in the air. When the theatrics had ceased to amuse him and his eyes once more found the comforting home of blue and his feet to the ground, he finished the remaining paces into the Hideout and to whomever awaited him inside.

Nighthand chuckled; Reinier too? It seemed everyone HAD been busy. Oh well, all the better to surprise the hackers with. Except… They didn’t know where to go. Nighthand reclined slightly on the rooftops to wait for whoever would show up next.

He didn't have to wait long for the next figure to show up, someone else with a new appearance. Apparently, everything had changed over this little gap. Dark fabric of a trenchcoat, and a set of wings as angelic as his own were demonic. Still, no one but one man could have that style and fit with what Zan had said.

”Reeeiiiiinnniiiieeeerrrrr....” He called, half-hidden by the rooftops.

Somewhat to his surprise, the figure below turned and, with a gesture, a chunk of rock rose from the streets. Before he could blink, it formed itself into a saw-like disk, and shot into the sky.

Surprised as he might have been, Nighthand certainly wasn't without his reactions. A bit of movement kept him out of the thing's path. He chuckled a bit.

“Gracious as ever, I see. And full of surprises... Why, none of us look the same after all of this. Still, I'd have thought you'd retain some respec- oh right, it's you.”

"I missed your... charm? Yeah, charm. Well, I see you managed to change a bit too... I'm less elemental in some aspects now. That's besides the point, really. What're the plans, now?"

”Not much. Hoping someone found something, really. Nall had a lead, so he might have something when he comes back. For now, just head on into the hideout, I'll be out here keeping watch.”

"That's it? I go through hell just to get back here before ya'll start worrying about me, and you tell me to go to the hideout? You're such an ass... if only you knew what I've been through."

"Can't be much worse than being deleted... which is NOT an experience I wish to repeat. If you can believe it, I was, for a time, even MORE messed up in the head."

"Psh... Yeah, OKAY Nights. Fine... I'll go back to the hideout... jerk."

Nighthand waved a bit and grinned. Just like always... Still... The pain in Reinier's voice was well suppressed, but it was there. SOMETHING had happened to the heavyblade. Oh well. Nothing he could do about it now. In fact, all he could really do was move across the rooftops again to spy on the Knights. Nall was still off somewhere, lord knows where, but they had a job to do.

Flashmail
To: All Mainers (Except Dien, Canti, and Zhao)
From: Nighthand

It's about time to get back to the hideout so we can figure out what's next. Careful though. The Knights of War are out in force.


His flashmail was short and sweet, and all they would hopefully need. Nighthand moved back across the rooftops to get himself a better view of the center of the town, the rush of new players and the press of the Knights of War.

***********************************

As Nighthand left his vigil on the hideout's door, a blue portal began to appear on the wall. Four people emerged from it's surface as easily as through a doorway, and stood in the alleyway. One, Raine, quickly surveyed her surroundings and nodded to herself. The other three were less easily placated.

”Here. Go inside, say hi to anyone in there, settle in, and wait for Nall or Nighthand to return. If they question you, tell them what happened, and tell them Raine sent you. That should forestall any arguments for the time being. Oh, and don't log out yet, not until I've checked your characters for residue of the hacker.”

“But.. there's no door here...” One of them said, but Raine had already acted. A tap on a specific part of the wall and a doorway-sized portion slid open, revealing a somewhat comfortable interior. Couches, tables, all manner of furniture in a building that shouldn't exist. There were even beds! Though why anyone would need a bed in a game like this...

As the trio stood in amazement and entered the building, Raine dashed off through the town, eyes searching the crowd for someone.

************************************************

As the number of Knights in the town grew, Nighthand grew more and more concerned. Hopefully the Flashmail would call back a few of the older members of their party as well as the newer ones. They really would need all the help they could get, when it came right down to it. The more people they had, the more likely it would be that they could take out another Elite. More people meant a better chance of taking out whatever pet they summoned, leaving himself and Nall better able to deal with the hacker. That they had been able to take out Kuja back in the day was a little amazing... Two down, six to go, with Jett dead.

The ring of the Chaos Gate drew Nighthand's attention, but he was disappointed. Just another newbie. Sighing, he headed back along the rooftops toward the hideout. Even though he had no real idea where they would go next...

He made it to the hideout in next to no time, hopping down into the alley and tapping open the door. Ducking inside, keeping his wings furled as tightly behind himself as he could, he glanced over the party. Some new faces, some old faces, and some current faces. Not nearly as many as they could have had, had everyone ever to join them appeared... but then, that would have been quite the crowd for the hideout.

They had a long day ahead of them, that was for sure.



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

Alrighty. It'll be a little chaotic here for a while, while people gather up in the hideout. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves, even script a little conversation with me if you like, but do try to pay attention to other posts so you don't contradict who's in when.

Welcome, Zhao, Dien, Canti. Welcome back Armina, Rayo. Let's get this show on the road.

I'm gonna wait a week or two before I move this on with whoever is here; reason being some people have finals about this time. I'd like to keep up a decent pace of posting as we go along, though.

_________________
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 12:52 am 
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With his little interaction with Nighthand just coming to a finish, the Heavy Blade kept his languid and oddly relaxed smile smeared on his expression until he was immersed in the Hideout. A tap to just the right portion of the alley's wall granted him entry to such a place and it was in that moment, his frame passing through the Hideout's threshold, that the false smile on his face withered away at the edges like a piece of paper slowly consumed by flame. The confident rise of his shoulders drooped to a low huff as his conversation with Atra began to play through his thoughts. 'My not-so-comatose co-workers have tortured that girl in ways that would break you, mentally and more.' Words that now haunted him. This place, this Hideout, it felt more and more like a prison with each step he took. Each step into it was a step away from her, from Lowen, from the girl...the woman that he loved. Did he really love her? Could someone really feel so strongly for a person they had only known for a handful of weeks at best? No, the real question was could he love someone that held the other half of his soul in her hands, as he did hers? Zan knew the answer, knew that he loved her as much as he knew how, and that made it all the worse.

Zan had obligations, duties to the people that lived in this place, honor to be paid to those that had fought and waded waters of anguish and hardship for longer than the lycanthrope could conceive. Who has he to be considering abandoning them for one person? Maybe, just maybe, the whole thing would be easier if he didn't know that she was in their hands. Wolfsbane...they all tortured her, tried to crack into her thoughts with promises of pain and darker things. The would-be alpha was torn down the middle and he knew, in the end if he didn't piece himself back together, that he would be a failure to both. Fists clenched at the thought of his own uselessness, fingers balling with a creak of obsidian leather from the fingerless gloves wrapping about his hands. Zan had to, had to put his faith in someone. Anyone. The Heavy Blade had known the Freedom Fighters for far longer than Lowen...and yet...yet he was putting his faith in her. She could fight them off; she could resist their pained advances until the day that he could lift her in his arms and carry her from that place. He could only hope that there would be something left to save, some shard of a functioning mental and physical being. Shrugging off thoughts of her completely, a pang of guilt welling in his stomach, Zan lofted his attention to the stirrings outside.

Nighthand seemed to be talking to someone, someone whose steps reverberated in Zan's ears like they came from no more than an inch in front of him. An avian scent wafted into Zan's nostrils, telling him right then who it was. Reinier. There was something...off...about him. The crystal-bearing sonuvabitch, friend, and one hell of a warrior was making his way towards the Hideout as well. Something in that thought was off, something his sense of smell didn't agree with. The pulsating promise of power that could singe nasal cavities for those with a snozz like Zan didn't seem to come from the fellow Heavy Blade any longer. Had he lost the crystals? Gotten rid of them on purpose? As curious as he was stubborn, Zan turned on his heel halfway to his bed and took in a deep breath. Reinier smelt...strong. Not in the way of power, though that was there too, but more along the lines of foundation. He was solid. Picking past those scents, to the real heart of the mystery, the lycanthrope found a strong hit of fresh soil and sturdy earth slamming into his face. Not literally, of course, but it was then that Zan realized the change in the man. Reinier didn't simply smell of earth, but the stuff seemed to brew in his very blood. For all intents and purposes he was earth. Gan was a presence that seemed to growl at the intrusion of Zan's senses, something the Heavy Blade chose to ignore.

A few word exchanges and Reinier was in the room, a general silence casted between them. Whatever veil the fellow Freedom Fighter felt he had to pull over Nighthand either didn't apply for Zan or the man simply didn't seem him. Such a thing seemed unlikely, as the lycanthrope stood rather idly in the middle of the room, but it was a possibility just the same. Either way, he kept the syllables passed between them at zero and instead resumed his focus to get to his bed. Though he wasn't necessarily tired, he still felt like lying down would be one of his better decisions of the evening. As far as he was informed, which really was virtually not at all at this point, there was no hacker for them to be chasing at the moment. For now, it was time to recuperate and gather their numbers. Initially, it had caught Zan off guard to find the Hideout as empty as it was. Apparently, once he had left so had a lot of people. Looking at Reinier, thinking about the newly changed Nighthand as well, Zan wasn't so sure it was all for the better. Though Nighthand had set his deletion to something 'eh' and light hearted, Zan could only imagine the hell that had come with it. Nighthand wouldn't be having a pleasant dream for a long time, if he dreamed at all. At least, that's usually what trauma did to Zan and the Heavy Blade assumed his psyche wasn't too far off from the others, an assumption that was probably laughably wrong. Pushing the stream of senseless thoughts to the side, Zan willed his long, hooded cloak into a simple black leather jacket with the same dark green seams (not wanting to leave a long clump of fabric to be stepped on) and shrugged it off and onto the floor beside his bed. Kicking off his black boots with a resounding thud, he flopped on top of his covers and rested his head on both the pillow twined fingers he had set for it and the actual pillow in turn. Ankles crossing, he found his thoughts drifting to Lowen once more.

Lowen? Lowen, can you hear me? Whether it was how he had talked to her the last time or a number of other reasons, she didn't offer him a response.

It was around that time that all the others had begun to arrive at their own intervals. Some of them Zan knew, some of them he had fought side by side with in combat, and still others were strangers. Some of the mystery figures had a sense of familiarity with the Hideout and reeked of Twilight. Three others, however, seemed just as nervous to be there as Zan was to have them there. The Beast that constantly and metaphorically slithered beneath his skin, with a quick sniff, revealed them to be lacking in power in comparison with everyone else that was here. Not only that, but they were simply players. Newbies, by the look of it. Why the hell were Raine and Nighthand bringing in people like that? The poor bastards were going to get infected, no doubt, if they hung around for much longer. The Freedom Fighters weren't a 'user friendly' group. For a second Zan was tempted to grab one of them by the arm and beg them to leave. Hanging out with them would only be a long road of antagonizing pain and grief. There was little to no joy with the work they did. Necessary? Sure. But completely and utterly lacking in any real happiness or fulfillment. Sighing, he shrugged off anymore thoughts of warning with a mental 'Fuck 'em,' sounding his head.

Not having gotten up during what he expected to be a 'meet and greet' with everyone else, Zan's prone form shifted a touch and he closed his eyes. He was about to try to reach out to Lowen again when the sound of Nighthand's approach hit Zan's purposefully overactive senses at least a minute before the ever-exhausted-looking man breached the Hideout's entrance. Zan used that minute as actively as he possibly could, schooling his face into as real a smile as he could manage, legs swinging over the side of the bed as he lifted himself into a half-assed sitting position.

"Got tired of playing watch dog for your flock?" The false smile resting firmly on his lips, he studied one of the leaders of the Freedom Fighters.

"Pretty much, yeah. Anyone who's coming should be here soon enough."

"Right. So what's on the agenda? Received any threatening flashmails, any hacker calling cards? Or is this another of those 'sit and wait' sort of situations?" Though his words were light hearted in their own way, his tone was most definitely not.

"Sit and wait, for the moment. Nall should return, or send word, soon enough. I'm sure you noticed all the Admins out there... Something's going to happen, I bet."

"The Knights of War, you called them. I can't say I'm familiar with them, but am I right in guessing they're of the regular ‘hacker-hunter’ variety? Or is this something to be worried about?" Zan hoped for the first option.

"Knights of War are... well, the same organization that's been known as the Crimson Knights, the Red Knights, and so forth. They're official enough now that they might as well be Admins. Hacker Hunters, police, lapdogs of the head honchos, whatever. They're dangers to us because they think we're hackers, and they're oblivious to the Elites because they have their own server."

"Ah, the Crimson Knights. Them I've heard of. I understand that, as Admins of their own sort, they do possess a sort of danger level. But...eh...I don't know, do they really pose any real threat next to the hackers we've been up against? Maybe that sounds arrogant or whatever, but I'd like a sort of status point to pin them on in my head." The more this conversation unfolded, the more it seemed like Zan should frantically be adding these people to his already-long list of enemies.

"Kamui is their leader, and SHE is a positive bitch. Admin powers are just as deadly as hacker powers, except they're "official." And, if that's not enough, she's hunted us before. She'll delete players without warning and for no offense. If anything, she's WORSE than the hackers, because she has CC behind her. We're just lucky she doesn't show up very often."

"Huh. Well, that's absolutely wonderful. So she's an official brand of hacker and just as God damn dangerous. That's peachy. About deleting us, though, can they really do that? I mean, doesn't Twilight give us any sort of Administration-deletion shielding or something?" If Zan had been several years younger, he was almost certain he’d be crossing his fingers right about now.

"I haven’t heard of it, and the hackers seem to fear deletion just as much as we do. Nall told us a long time ago that to be deleted was to die in real life. I don't know about you, but I'm not about to try that out."

"I...wow. I didn't even think that could actually happen. I mean, I've died enough times in this game after my own infection that I assumed it was just a sort of aggravating set back." For the first time in a while Zan found his mortality staring him in the face. Yet another obstacle between him and Lowen's reunion. Fucking great. "Anyway, thanks for the heads up. I'll leave you to deal with the rest of the huddled masses in peace. Good luck."

That said, Zan left Nighthand to answer to anymore concerns and withdrew himself from the world. It wasn't time to be alert right now. No, now was the time for his eyes to close and his consciousness to drift wherever it would. The Heavy Blade had a feeling that his subconscious thoughts wouldn't be a pleasant thing to visit and would be plagued with distorted, twisted thoughts of Lowen's tortured, blood-ridden form. That and that alone kept him from perusing sleep. Eyes now opened, languid with a sort of inactive boredom, he moved his Siberian-Husky-blue gaze to the three that had peaked his interest before. Though they were indeed newbies, no doubt about that, their eyes spoke of a trove of reasons to their being here. Whatever it was, Zan certainly didn't envy them. Let them have their nightmares, he had too many of his own on his plate as it was. Moving to lay on his bed yet again, hands and ankles reclining him as they had before, Zan indulged himself in a worried breath, an impulse that his Instinct, his Beast's core, sent through him.

There was something in the air.

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


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 1:36 am 
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Running. The handful of figures continued to keep light on their feet, desperate to leave they were. Half a dozen corpses already littered their path, fallen allies that hadn’t been up to the challenge. No, this wasn’t some sort of competition any of them had volunteered for. They were all like lab rats, plucked out of their homes and used for purposes behind their control. A swordsman fell next, struck down the light of an unholy judgment, leaving the one once known as Asgard to rest. A watery serpent gushed out of the ground in the middle of the pack like a geyser, sending a pair of wave mistresses into the dirt before they were swallowed up by an undiscovered crevice. Two long arms were next, Kurai and Armina both, snatched by rampaging minotaurs and wisped away. The last, a lone blademaster, poofed all on his own, leaving a bad situation behind for someone to clean up, but without a single person to do so.

As Auth logged into The World, those last images from his dream remained in his mind. There were plenty of other people there to take care of the mess that everything had developed, but would they? Still, wasn’t the boy finally free of that particular burden? Didn’t he deserve that allowance? The real question couldn’t simply be answered so simply, could it? His situation was different, and that story was over with. Their drama, to what point had it reached without his presence? Gingitsune was able to think of the entire experience much like a play…was she hoping for Deus ex machina, where something or someone would step in and fix everything? Were they all dead, or perhaps free of the cruel spider’s web that bound them? Could they be have been captured and experimented on, much like Kayin’s experience? Things weren’t fair for them…neither the hacker’s intent nor the lack of compassion by those that lorded over the game much like the very gods required to intervene for a happy ending.

Not once since the wavemaster had parted with the party at the place where Gingitsune had acquired an peculiar staff of magic had he even caught a glimpse of any of them. Locating them now would be no easier, and they could be anywhere, any number of fields, not to mention root fields and the hacker’s own specialized Yamiyo server. However, there were still two locations that if tried, were far more promising than any other possible location that Auth could access. Well, that was assuming that access could still be gained after such a long absence. From what the spell caster could remember, was that there was a hideout in both of the standard servers his character had accessed in the past. There was one in Mac Anu, and another in Dun Loireag.

Warping in at the last location his interface with The World, Rayo, had been, Auth found himself getting out of the way of a grunty that had gotten dangerously far from the farm. Crossing over the series of wooden bridges suspended above the clouds, the lightning caster moved past the petting zoo and entered from a hidden entrance from behind the business. A quick glance revealed no one, not even the irritating winged rat. In a hurried fashion the mage crossed back over and jumped servers the moment he reached the Chaos Gate.

There was still the other spot left, but if that too was bare there wouldn’t be any useful areas to even check. The wizard could of course wait in either spot, but his physical presence could not encompass both. Who would even know if a note would get any attention at all, or if that would be ignored in the haste of their activities. Furthermore, the hideouts could potentially have been abandoned, and that would make his actions even more fruitless.

His excitement and all other thought processes died instantly once his character materialized in the starting root town. It was crowded, and not even in the bad sense of annoying buffoons and idiots. This was the really bad way, which meant that the number of players seemed to be challenged by the number of soldiers employed by the Knights of War. Either they were all planning on moving out to a field together to crush some hacker, have a parade, or something was going to occur that was less than pleasant right where he now was. Almost in synch with his own thought process, a flash mail covered the upper left portion of his screen, warning about the Knight of War infestation, ironically, by the same exact bunch the magician was searching around for to begin with.

Strolling calmly to avoid suspicion, the wavemaster glanced over the selection at the Armory before proceeding into the proper back alley for the entrance to the hideout. With a gentle and well placed rap, the wall revealed a passage and the wizard ducked through, and almost immediately his eyes came across two players that didn’t look familiar. Checking over their names granted the player some relief, as at least one of them had only had a costume change and wasn’t a brand new face. Nighthand had definitely updated his look…but wings? Rayo was perfectly content to remain on the ground with the exception of jumping, flight just seemed like a good way to become a target and draw extra suspicion. Auth heard what he suspected to be the tail end of an explanation about the knights outside as he walked over. Kamui was on his top five list on in game grudges, so it was a perfect secondary reason to be there? The first…well, that might not necessarily even need to be divulged just yet, right? The flash mail provided him with more than enough reason to pop back into existence. As the current conversation ended, Rayo sought to gain his the heavy blade’s attention with a brief greeting.


“It’s been a long time…what’s the situation? I’ve come back to lend a hand, assuming it’s still welcome.”

_________________
Rayo
Lv.47 Archer 745HP/311SP
Bell, the Silver Grunty of Thunder
Skills/Spells-Shocking Arrow of Voltage(30), Arrow of the Burning Stars(10), MeRai Rom(40), Rai Kruz(10), La Repth(20), Rip Maen(40), MeRai Kruz(20), GiVak Kruz(20), MeRai Don(20), Rig Saem(15)
Weapon/Armor/Book-Golden Royal Bow/Thunder Torque, Thunder Cloak, Able Ring, Ivory Greaves/Thunder Magic
Wishlist: YL Fukuoka, Stormlore, Winter Stone, Silver Grunty


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 6:50 am 
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Reinier held his defenses high as he made haste through the streets of Mac Anu. He moved hurriedly, not wanting to leave a trail. He almost seemed to float across the earth as he moved, not even taking a moment to peer over the bridge and take in the sights. Had he become paranoid due to the hells he had gone through in the course of that “day” in the Frame?

Hey Tai, I got a question for you. Do you think I’ve changed?

Yeah, you’re more tolerable now. Looks like they knocked some sense in to you. Dunno if this is a good thing, or a bad thing… but whatever, you’re still passing as a decent human being so I don’t think you’ve got much to worry about.

Thank you my socially challenged friend. That’s what I needed.

“Reeeiiiiinnniiiieeeerrrrr.…” A familiar voice echoed from atop. Out of sheer instinct, Reinier reached down and forced a chunk of the side walk to shoot up in to the air. He reared his hand back, causing part of it to shatter and begin to spin in a saw blade fashion. He flung his arm up, and along with it the saw blade flew.

“Gracious as ever, I see,” it was Reinier’s old friend and buddy Nighthand. A wonderful guy once you got past the fact he was evil incarnate. “And full of surprises... Why, none of us look the same after all of this. Still, I'd have thought you'd retain some respec- oh right, it's you.”

“I missed your... charm? Yeah, charm. Well, I see you managed to change a bit too... I'm less elemental in some aspects now. That's besides the point, really. What're the plans, now?”

I missed his “humor” a bit… nice welcome, I guess…”

“Not much. Hoping someone found something, really. Nall had a lead, so he might have something when he comes back. For now, just head on into the hideout, I'll be out here keeping watch.”

“That's it? I go through hell just to get back here before ya'll start worrying about me, and you tell me to go to the hideout? You're such an ass... if only you knew what I've been through.”

What an asshole… after all I’ve done for him. Somethin’ needs to die… Zan… yeah, wolf boy’ll die or somethin.’

“Can't be much worse than being deleted... which is NOT an experience I wish to repeat. If you can believe it, I was, for a time, even MORE messed up in the head.”

“Psh... Yeah, OKAY Nights. Fine... I'll go back to the hideout... Jerk.”

Drama Queen.

Reinier grumbled and continued onwards to the hideout. He began to wonder how much truly needed the group, and whether or not he should take a hiatus to get his life straight. He leaned against a wall, the hideout in view. He let out a sigh, and shook his head. He needed to get his life in order, it was in too much disarray for his tastes.

If I did leave them… and they did somehow manage to kill the hackers… would they tell me? How would I know? They would contact me and tell me, and show me how to get out of the comatose state… right?

Reinier spied four people coming out of a portal on the wall. “Only one woman has blue hair like that, and can pull it off… Raine,” Reinier muttered as he watched three people enter the hideout. With a sigh, the scarlet haired warrior wandered to the hideout, and made his way inside. With a “hello” exchange with Zan, Reinier sat down on the couch, crossed his arms, and closed his eyes.

For the first time in a long time, he didn’t feel much like talking to anyone. He just wanted to be left in alone to tend to his life, his thoughts, everything that was happening to him at that moment. He listened to Zan and Nighthand’s conversation, absorbing the information without chiming in. Reinier looked over to a Wavemaster entering the hideout, a man he had never encountered. Ages of struggle could be seen in his eyes, and this was definitely a man Reinier would not want to tangle with anytime soon.

Reinier looked over to Zan, blowing the hair out of his eyes. “Hey WereZan, what have you been up to?” Reinier asked the Lycan. The kid seemed to have changed, and whether or not it had been for the better… well, only time could tell that. Everyone had changed, and it was a bit eerie. He wondered how the group would function now. Reinier had the feeling he would be playing defense for most battles now.

“Trying to get some God damn sleep, but failing each time I try. There's too many people in here now. And just look at those three over there, they're so God damn green man. Why are we dragging in people like that?” At this point, Reinier couldn’t help but laugh.

“Green? Man... I'm from Texas and I don't even say that! But yeah... don't forget, you were 'green' too at one point. As was I... hell, I was greenER then them. I was so green, I make them look like a tint of blue. I came in at level four. Against tigers. Guess how useful I was?”

“Yea, you're right. I was. And look at my fucking life now, Reinier. I was way better off with a drunkard for a father and a rich, albeit awesome son of a bitch for a best friend. We shouldn't be doing this to people. They need to go home. Simple as that.”

Reinier laughed out loud once more. “You're just vocalizing what I felt when you started talking to Nights over there... That day... ugh... I wanted to throw you off the ledge in Theta to save you from this... I saw them enter with Raine, so I just hope my fears aren't true…” Reinier trailed off in the end, and looked in to the eyes of one of the players doomed to damnation if he continued to follow the group.

“Why didn't you?” For a second, one brief second, there was dead seriousness and a flicker of resentment in his eyes, and then it was gone. A half-smile replacing his expression, he continued on. “You know what's going to happen. We both do. More than a few days with us and those kids are going to be crawling with infection like we are now. But hey, we need the soldiers right? Fuck that. Nighthand and Nall can shove their recruiting up their collective asses.” Sure, Zan didn't know if they recruited them, but hell if it didn't serve as a good outlet for his anger.

“It's not our place, my friend... Just as it wasn't my place to toss you off a cliff way back when... If they choose to follow us, then they can. If they did indeed come here with Raine, then they should know what kind of group they're getting involved with. All we can do is guide them along the way... And hope. If we DO let them leave, and later on they're attacked alone by an Elite, game over. They'll be a slave building a castle somewhere for them. If they're with us... well... they won't be alone.”

“Yea, I guess.” For once, Zan pushed aside the general 'warrior filter' he had for Reinier and allowed himself to see the intelligence smuggled beneathe. He had never considered the man a half-wit or anything of the sort, but he hadn't really counted him amongst the insightful until right then. “I don't know, tell the ignorant three what's really going on in the World and pray they're smart enough to leave? I just feel like a jackass by sitting here and knowing damn well, like you do, where they'll be in a few days. We could stop it, be it our place or not. And yet...and yet we both know neither of us will. Cowardice, if you ask me.”

Reinier gave a nod, and then looked over to the three players. “Hey, you three. If you like living in the real world, you’ll leave. Now. Otherwise, just stick with us, and you’ll be a warrior of the damned.” Reinier looked back over to Zan, and gave a yawn. “I've said my peace... I think I'll chat it up with good o' Nights for a tad…”

“Sure.” Nodding a touch, he uncrossed his ankles and gave the winged-man a light kick to the shin. “All that shit aside, it's good to see you again. We'll talk later.” Reinier let out a chuckle and muttered a quick “totally,“ as he stood up and made his way to Nighthand.

Reinier nudged Nighthand in the side and said, “Hope you're still not sore about that whole trying to lop off your head with a skill, thing.”

“Can't be sore, you didn't hit me.”

“That's besides the point, my friend. What have you been up to? Zan seems... the same. You... I can smell different on you.”

“Not that different. Just the new look, that's all.”

"I'm still not diggin' the mysterious evil guy thing you try to pull. Though, the wings are a nice touch."

“Why thanks. I can't seem to get rid of them,” with that said he gave a scowl. “didn't want them, but got them anyways.”

Reinier smiled and held up his hand. Dirt which had collected in the room shuffled across the floors and began to converge above Reinier’s hand. Within the moment, a saw blade circulated above his hand. “Y'know, I could do that pretty easily. Two quick slices and BAM, they're gone. Who knows? It might be fun.”

“You... really don't want to do that. Besides the possible side effects, I just might have to kill you for attacking me anyways.”

“I've missed your idle threats of killing me. Who would replace me? Newbie number one, two, or three over there? You know you can't get rid of me this early in your plans. I'm too important. 'Specially with my new powers.”

“Nah. In fact, those newbies probably could do pretty well replacing you. But right now, you'd take too much effort, so... You can live. I guess.”

“Speaking of the newbies and life, why are they here? What does Raine see in them? I don't see anything special about them. I don't see them turning in to werewolves, orbs, or even merging elements. Kind of useless if you ask me.”

“You were useless too when we dragged you along with us, and now look at you. Hippo-bait…”

“I can't hear you over the sounds of remembering you get blown up by a woman in a bikini.”

“Psh, Royce has killed all of us often enough. You're just jealous she got close enough to touch me.”


“You seem to forget she's the reason you're in a coma... But I guess that's besides the point. But I do find it odd that they've been quiet over the past few days…”

“Yeah. With the Admins out there in force... I'm not feeling very safe at the moment.”

“Full force? I took the back ways... I didn't see them out at all. Makes me hesitant to use my powers now... What will we do if they manage to find this place? I can't go back to jail... fuck... I REALLY don't want to do that again... Tiny room, decent food, no social contact... it's a drag.”

“I know. Phenomenal Cosmic Power, itty bitty living space. The Knights of War are everywhere, and getting thicker as I watched. I don't think they know where this is, but…”

Reinier shook his head, looking up to Nighthand. “This isn't good at all... the Admins are out, the Elites are probably pissed and blood thirsty cus we killed Jett... This is not looking good for us. Not a bit... I hate this waiting, it's too nerve wrecking…” Reinier looked over to the nervous looking low leveled players. “Okay, they're pissing me off now. I'm going to go talk to them.”

“Have fun.”

“Oh I will… I will…” Reinier walked off, laughing evilly.

From behind, Nighthand could be heard calling out to Reinier, “Don’t kill them, they could be useful.”

No promises, my friend.

Reinier stood in front of the three players, his arms crossed and a frown on his face. “So, you three obviously don’t like life… Well, that’s a start if you wanna join this group. Follow me,” Reinier turned around, and began walking towards Zan. “We’re going to meet a werewolf.”

_________________
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Image
Reinier's Wishlist: Sakabatou|Sharktooth
Abraxas' Wishlist: Complementry|Summon
The Hack's Wishlist: Wall lvl 2


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 8:53 am 
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On one of the rooftops of Dun Loineag rested one of the many players of the World but this player was rather unique from the many average players out there. This player contained a virus called the Twilight which forces the player’s consciousness into the game itself with no chance in going back to the real world. This player is able to smell and touch in the game along with being able to see, speak, and hear. This player can feel the pain of every slash, fireball, and other attacks as they impacted the body but there’s two things that make this player unique even along the other Twilight infected players. One difference was his power to alter gravity of objects and himself. The other Twilight infected players have different powers like light power, control ice, or alter the strength of elemental attacks. The second difference was something that only few people have seen. This difference is considered to be cursed marks of the Twilight which the player hopes that no other player gets the Twilight. The player’s entire body is covered with scars from previous battles that never healed. Normally, the Repth spell would make the scars disappeared except for the ones that were part of the character design itself but these scars won’t disappear when the spell is used. This player’s name is Phoenix aka the Master of Gravity.

Phoenix was currently sleeping on the roof since previous events had almost drained him of his energy. He was amazed that he survived that battle with the Sixth even though he didn’t think that his plan would work. Normally he would be happy with his victory but the events that occurred after the battle just made him worry even more now. The blademaster was left with more questions than answers but there was some reward after almost losing his life. He was able to gain a new power along with some new clothes that he really needed. Even though his loyal pet did not being his shirt, he felt that she should not have to be his shirt to cover his scars. Phoenix did feel odd of taking clothes from a dead man but after a while, he rather likes the new clothes. He has a new black shirt along with a green hooded cloak that does not cover the shoulders.

Phoenix began to dream of past battles or more specifically the times where he got scarred by an attack. Then the dream focuses on the previous battle where he sees a mysterious figure hovering in the air. Phoenix feels that he has met this mysterious person before but cannot figure out where or when until it flashes back of the place where he was in the castle surrounded by white nothingness. He remembers encountering a person who had Suzaku in a cage but could not see the face. The person reveals his face but before Phoenix could register the face into his head, he suddenly wakes up to a sound of a flashmail being received. He quickly raised up which surprised his guardian, Suzaku who was in her necklace disguise form. What’s wrong, Kazamu-sama? Are you ok? I noticed that you have a flashmail. Phoenix quickly answered the bird, “I just had a bad dream that’s all. You probably already know what I saw but I don’t feel like talking about it right now. Let’s see who’s this flashmail is from.” He opened up the PM to see that he will not get bored at the moment.

Flashmail
To: Phoenix
From: Nighthand

It's about time to get back to the hideout so we can figure out what's next. Careful though. The Knights of War are out in force.


It seems that the Knights of War are out to get us now. Phoenix find it odd that the Knights are after them again even though they need us to defeat the Elites since they themselves are rather powerless against them. He wonder if his closest ally Cypher was alright since he was defeated by the Sixth and had to leave him in the cave since he could not be around when the Knights come and get him. Maybe the increase in Knight traffic could be related to what happened to Cypher. Kazuma-sama, we do not know exactly the reason for the increased traffic. Maybe Nighthand knows what going on. For now, we cannot determine the reason for this without more information. Phoenix agreed with what Suzaku has said as she is wise and usually has good advice. He has considered her to be his advisor in many things since he rarely has a calm sense of mind and usually makes rash decisions in the heat of battle. She forces him to revert back to clear-leveled thinking when situations called for it.

Phoenix fully stood up and puts the hood over his head. He like the cloak and hood as it makes him so cool-looking. He altered his gravity to one-half of Earth’s normal level and hop from roof to roof to avoid detection by the Knights. Phoenix felt like a ninja doing this as he could not do this before in the past because his gravity powers would cause him pain when he used him. Recently, he discovered that he could alter his own gravity without causing him pain to his own body. Now he could alter his gravity along with another object at the same time but applying his power to other people and objects will still hurt him though. Phoenix touched the roof of the closest house to the Chaos Gate which he descended down and blend in with the players. He walked towards the Chaos Gate and inputted the command to send him to the Delta Server. Three golden rings surrounded the Master of Gravity which made him disappeared from Dun Loineag and reappeared in the Aqua Capital of Mac Anu.

Phoenix remembered the last time that he was here which Asgard used his power to break up a potential fight between Phoenix, Nighthand, and Nall. He has considered Asgard an annoyance as he has interfered with fights that Phoenix had with the leadership. Unlike Asgard, he did not have the blind loyalty towards Nall that he along with some of the members had. They were willing to ignore Nall’s constant ability to avoid answering questions. Phoenix could never accept Nall as a true leader as he always hid things. He believed that he refused to open himself so others will not be hurt but he needed people for his fight to defeat the Elites. Phoenix never liked how Nall got some of the fighters which were that they would go with us on a quest and got infected with the Twilight. He tried to get some of the fighters to leave Nall before they got infected but they will bribed by Nall at the time and refused to listen his plea to leave. Phoenix does not want to see another player to suffer the fate that he and many others have suffered though because of the Twilight.

Phoenix took to the rooftops which he got to by using his gravity powers and hop from rooftop to rooftop until he notices a person standing on a rooftop. The person was familiar somewhat to Phoenix but went through a major change that the last time he saw him. Phoenix decided to talk to Nighthand before going to the hideout which he jumps over the now gargoyle-like Nighthand and goes back to normal gravity after landing. Phoenix spoke to Nighthand in a joking manner, “It seems that I’m not the only one who went through a make-over but in your case, are you trying to be a gargoyle now?”

Nighthand spoke back in a serious tone, “Phoenix, I didn’t ask for these wings but I’m stuck with them. So are you trying to get information from me as usual?

“Of course I am. I always trying to get information since nobody tells me jack about anything. I tried to ask nicely but that doesn’t seem to work. Sometimes you just have to fight for information. For once, I’m not in a fighting mood even though you did wake me from my sleep which I needed after fighting a giant robot. Anyway, I’ll tell you about the giant robot for later but what’s with the Knights of War?”

“Just wait for now as Nall has the information about this.

At that moment, Phoenix let out a sigh which he was annoyed with that answer. Nighthand knew that Phoenix and Nall had their differences but did not care about what he felt. “Great, as usual. The all-mighty Nall has the info that we need to do something. Once he tell this information, we go to a field which he won’t tell us much about but knows a lot more. This hidden information would be useful to know but he tells us after we could have used it when we needed too. I remember the first time I met you which we had to fight the Knights of War in Dun Loineag which almost cost Asgard with his life. If Nall decides to withhold information that causes someone to get seriously hurt or even death, I will kill him right there. This blind loyalty that some of you have for him will get you killed one day. Before I go into the hideout, is there something I need to know or are you going to let me be surprised because I’m not in the mood for surprises.”

“You aren’t going to like this but there are three people in there who don’t have the Twilight. Raine was the one who brought them here. For what purpose, I don’t know but don’t make them leave even though that’s you want to do.”

Nighthand was right about Phoenix being angry about the three players without the Twilight in here. Phoenix spoke to Nighthand one more time before descending down to the hideout, “I’m sorry that I can’t promise that but I swear to myself that no one else should have to suffer what we went through with the Twilight. They shouldn’t have that fate especially the type of fate that I have. One of sorrow and plight.”

Phoenix slowly descends down to the ground from the hideout’s roof with his gravity powers. He pushes down his hood so that his face would be revealed before going into the hideout. He enters the hideout to see six people hanging around. He remembers Reinier from the past along with Zan but the last time he saw Zan, he was not a werewolf. Phoenix notices that Zan was surrounded by Reinier and three other players which it look like they were curious about him. It was similar to like looking at a zoo animal which would be just embarrassing. The final player was Rayo which Phoenix heard things about which he had the ability to control lightning. He remembers that he was part of the group at one time but he left which was shortly before he joined the group himself. The blademaster figured out that the remaining three players were the ones who were Twilight free. He decided to approached the three players and said, “You three. I suggest that you leave now or possibly lose your life. Whatever that Raine told you isn’t worth your life. You probably think that I’m crazy but I’m telling the truth. If you stayed with us, you will have a horrible fate.”

It seems that Phoenix’s words had no effect on the three players as one of them mentions that Reinier said the exact same thing to them earlier. Phoenix still felt tired from before and decided to lie down on a couch. A few moments later, he was once again in dreamland and hopes that he will have good dreams.

(OOC: I know I haven’t finished with my solo yet but I want to get into this quest right now. I’ll finish the solo very soon.)

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

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


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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 10:29 pm 
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Elevated Player
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 6:38 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Unknown
-Lifting his face from the ground he glanced at his surroundings. The first thing that came to mind, and the last thing he remembered was escaping the horrible jaws of that monster of a being. One that even the most powerful of all of the fighters in his new group of friends would have a difficult time defeating. His thoughts shifted to that of the items he helped his furry friend obtain, and he marveled at the high-leveled trinkets in which he had never got to look over. Stopping there, he rolled over in search of his contemporary. Realizing that he wasn’t even in the attic of the broken building by the ocean anymore thoughts of having roast rabbit filled his head. He came to the conclusion that if he ever appeared somewhere that wasn’t familiar to him, he shouldn’t trust any ‘normal’ looking character. Hijinx being the least ‘normal’ looking player he’d ever seen, he now questioned himself and why he trusted her. His hands felt the cold cobble of the street he lay in the middle of. Pushing up against it he sat up and looked around. All he could see was the light gray stone in front of him. To his right and left buildings and a river behind a rail flowed into the side of the mound. His legs slid towards his body, and in a single fluent motion he spun and stood.

-Ryok was looking up at Mac Anu’s marvelous staircase, which led up to its chaos gate. A sight in which ryok hadn’t seen in a long while. Busy with affairs dealing with past problems and resolving complications with his new ‘friend’ left him with no time for marveling. Groups of newbies constantly gating in and out of the town left ryok nostalgic. The old days when he only thought about playing, and not fighting to protect the very world that others sought comfort in. His other new friend hadn’t been seen for quite some time, but he was half expecting her to show soon as well. He hadn’t even seen her today. He was shot from the comfort of his rock into a fighting heap of gophers earlier, and now stood in the middle of the Aqua Capitol.

-Shiny suits of armor glistened in heat of the sun. The Knights of War mingled on the outsets of the streets. Watching the world, and anything suspicious within it. Something was up and it was obvious that the knights wanted in on it. Ryok wondered at the knights and why they were assembling. Maybe by some off chance they were readying to take a hacker down. Maybe just a coincidence that they were all on at the same time? Or perhaps it was him and his friends they were after? All of them being located so close together could possibly raise more suspicion than him, or any of the others could. So, then why were they as they were? Ryok questioned this for what seemed like the rest of the day to him, even going so far as to sit back down to think. There were always questions about the world he couldn’t answer. Some that picked at, and annoyed him. He needed to find a way out of it. A way to just stop caring about insignificant things, and help those who needed help, including himself. Right then he realized that if he fought with the basic underlying knowledge that what he was doing was to benefit others, or himself then there wouldn’t be any useless questions. Though it could get him killed, he had been many times before already. Although it wasn’t the most glorious conclusion about his existence he had come to, he accepted it for some reason. He knew that if he honestly needed help that someone would help him. Standing again his pet, and her safety with all the bastards around popped into his head.

-Hidama, are you there?

-Hm?.. Yeah, I’m on the other side of the rock stupid

-Actually, I’m not on the rock if you hadn’t noticed yet.

-Say what? When did you leave?!

-You’re hopeless you know that?!… you’re supposed to follow me, and yet I’ve been gone for hours, and you didn’t notice? Anyways I need you to get here ASAP, and without getting seen. There are guards everywhere in Mac Anu. I want you to meet me at the hide out ok?

-I can just transfer there through you. Baka! What am I going to do with you?

-Yea, yea just make sure you’re with me when I go into the hideout. I always feel out of place.


Not knowing exactly how he got where he was he wondered just how suspicious a rabbit character was. Spinning, he now faced the bridge his eyes wandering the skyline for the old church bell tower. Catching its spectacle he froze not moving for a moment, taking in its beauty. A semi-visible flashing letter appeared in front of him. He grabbed it, and stuffed it into one of the various pockets on his being. His arms returned to their sides and he continued to watch where the sky and the tower met. Something, either a sound or a change in the winds direction made him tense. Ryok’s hand grasped his blade’s sheath, and narrowed his eyes.

-“Yes?” He blurted out at the blatant presence of a person behind him. The looming figure much taller than ryok said nothing. Only stared down at the tiny character with a dark feeling in its being. The clinking of the player’s boots on the stone faded as they walked away. Feeling uncomfortable in the open now that he had been looked over by one of the knights he started over the bridge. His movements and speed controlled by the overwhelming feeling of being watched were quick. Slipping into the alley off the main road that led onto a side road. He strolled down it until coming to another alley. One that never seemed to be used, one that was out of place. Looking both ways before entering he stepped into its shade. Walking at a causal pace he stopped to glace back down the alley towards the light. Not getting over the thought of being watched he quickened his pace, and moved into the area of the hideout.

-With the thought of opening the flashmail he had received forgotten he glanced around at all who were there. He walked towards the slightly modified Nighthand. Stopping on the outskirts of the group of talking people he looked them over. Reinier, Nighthand, Phoenix, Zan, and one person whom he didn’t know to well. Rayo, although he had heard about him before, and seen him once or twice he’d never really met him. Then there were three others whom he couldn’t pick out of a pile of newbies if he tried. Assuming they were new to the fate that was bestowed upon all who ended up there he ignored them. Ryok spoke up over the rest of the group.

-“Can anyone fill me in?” Of course knowing what was going on, and why exactly he has to fight what it is he is fighting is always a good thing to know.

_________________

Image
Ryok| Lvl. 27| Heavy Blade| Demonic Sword| Kagayuzen| Fire Bracer| Suzaku Fiery Pants
Karin| Kannon| Miu Lei| Vak Rom| Vak Don| Dek Vaks| Ap Vaks
Skill Drain| Death

Wish list:Black Sharp Angelic Wings| Time Headband| Unique Weapon


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 9:09 pm 
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Exalted Player
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 1:59 am
Posts: 226
Location: The "Who's Online List," Stalking People...
(OOC: Forgive any miscolorations on my part. Just lemme know if you want me to change any of them.)

Footsteps echoed in the alleyway of the root town. Their savior had led them from the dungeon back here through a hacked portal, and in his haste, Dien hadn’t even begun to think on its origins, actions, or effects. It wasn’t anything like the experience of gating to and from a field, this portal was just… well, he couldn’t figure it out. That was the thing that confused him about it: he couldn’t figure out the code behind it. Now he reclined lazily on a couch in the hidden room, trying to let his brain unwind after nearly being PKed by the hacker Suraisu.

That was another thing he didn’t understand. Standing in that room, being brutally destroyed again and again and again by the hacker had left the rotten taste of death in his mouth – a taste which still lingered in this almost too-real game. The events that took place had been beyond his ability to accurately observe, let alone comprehend. Was Nall still fighting to stop the scarred fistfighter? Hell, could he even fend the player off? The things he’d seen… no, he wasn’t going to worry about all that right now. Not now, when he was hidden in a wall in Mac Anu that shouldn’t have existed.

Why was he hiding? He had no real reason to hide. In fact, by right he should have logged out the moment there was trouble – the first time he’d encountered anything strange. Why? Why was he here? There was no reason behind any of it. Why didn’t he just give up these aspirations for greatness and just leave the game? There was pain en route, his gut told him that much. Just by glancing from character to character he could see that each of them held their own brand of internal pain, and that being with them tended to drive this pain onto a person. Anyone would begin to go emo with this bunch.

He sighed, letting his head lie back onto the couch that, although virtual, was more comfortable than the leather one his parents had in the living room. It was strange; this world caused him so much pain, suffering, anguish, grief, toil, and all other sort of negative feelings, and yet here he was reclining in its grasp after a long, hard-fought battle. Something pinged in his ears, and he closed his eyes, the normal barrage of programs and applets he’d made lining the black of his eyelids after a few seconds. Which one, though, was the culprit behind the ping? It went off again, and this time a sort of popup appeared, notifying him that, in real life, his water supply had run out. Great....

What was more was the fact that that Raine girl had told them they couldn’t leave yet. He knew she was right, that the hacker could have planted any number of viruses, worms, or other malicious software on them and they’d be powerless to detect it. Then again, none of his alarms had gone off, so there wasn’t any infection, but it was always better to be safe than sorry. Besides that, he had a feeling like he had to stay, as crazy as it was. It went against everything he was feeling and thinking, but there was something keeping him there, some part of his destiny that had been written before he even stepped through the hidden doorway.

So, you three obviously don’t like life… Well, that’s a start if you wanna join this group. Follow me,” Dien glanced up to the character, lazily inquiring as to what he was talking about. Before he knew it, he had his answer, “we’re going to meet a werewolf.A werewolf? Dien thought in response immediately, why the hell would anyone want an uncontrollable hack like that? It boggled his mind how useless something like that could be, and how anyone would let the hack of “werewolf” continue after experiencing it once – why not just undo whatever was done to get the hack?

He stood, stretching slightly as his mind flashed through the events of the tower again, like a bad dream. A glance was shot to Canti and then to Zhao as they also roused themselves into following the character. If anything, it would give them something to do.

Is it just me, or do these guys seem to be more irritated than pleased that we're here?” Zhao asked, walking over to Dien as they slowly pursued the new leader-man without asking questions of him.

“Not just you,” the blademaster replied, leaning his neck to one side until the tendons snapped, “but I don't think we've got anything to be afraid of. Besides, it's just a game, isn't it?” He leaned his head to the other side, the crack sending a soothing jolt of energy through his cerebellum and down his back.

Yeah, but... something about Suraisu gave me the creeps. And these guys... they seem odd, y'know? That woman brought us here, away from a hacker... straight into more hackers. Who's to say who's the real enemy?

“True,” he replied, pausing a moment to think on it before continuing, “but if that woman had been out to hurt us, don't you think she would've done it already? Besides, there was something different about her hacks: almost like she didn't choose them herself.” By this time they’d apparently reached their destination, as the player who had been leading them came to a halt and turned around to face and address them.

Welcome soldiers of the damned! This, my friends, is Zannio. Call him Mr. Zan if you like keeping your limbs. He's generally a nice kid, but if you piss 'im off he'll go insane and bite off your limbs.” There was a short pause, probably for laughter or something of the sort, but no one was laughing. He went on, “Now then, I'm Reinier. I'll be the kid who probably saves your ass, along with Nights over there, and Zanny boy. Now, who the hell are each of you?

“Well, I'm Dien,” he said in reply before anyone else could get a word in, “known in more circles of the web as Forgotten Wing, real world alias Jed. Been playing the game for a little more than half a year, and, uh, haven't gotten too far...” The blademaster’s voice trailed off as he considered this past summer and his experiences with PKs – even this most recent one. He owed Nall and Raine some debt of gratitude for saving him and allowing him to keep the experience for it, even if it was the most screwed up thing he’d experienced in a while.

Zan.” Ignoring the fact that his Fellow Freedom fighter had already introduced him, the heavyblade extended a pseudo-welcoming hand to the boy, which Dien took. For an instant, there was some kind of subconscious connection between them, like he already knew this man from somewhere. Curiously he eyed the player, each moment that passed making him seem more and more familiar.

“Have I met you before?” he asked, finally having to know if there was more than some passing feeling. If this had a base in reality, he had to know.

He probably ate one of your family members...” Reinier muttered, and Dien smirked subconsciously, in spite of the uneasiness it brought.

I don't have any siblings, jackass.” Shooting Reinier a threatening, albeit strangely friendly look, he turned his attention back to Dien. “Unless you live in New York and hang out with kid named Leo, I'd say not. Sorry to disappoint.

“Guess not,” Dien replied, withdrawing his hand, “Pennsylvania here.” There was a moment of silence before the conversation continued again, this time the quiet one in the group speaking up.

Well, I couldn't really tell you what to call me now;” said the twinblade, “Zhao will suffice, I suppose. Though defining myself in that manner is quite a simplification.

“You can say that again,” Dien remarked quietly, exchanging a friendly glance with the player who only returned it with a cold, almost sad look.

Whatever you say kid.” Obviously not possessing a high tolerance, nor a high opinion of the newcomers, he shrugged away Zhao's comment, eyes coming to a bored close as he reclined further in the comfort of his bed. Then Reinier spoke again.

Uh…huh? Interesting; looks like the group gets better 'n better. And you?” His head turned to face the other twinblade. “What's your name?” Canti looked up, having been staring off into space before having his attention ripped back to the present.

Name's Canti. Sorry, I got nothing interesting to say. Still reeling from our ‘guide.’” Reinier shot a confused glance at him, still not knowing about the experience the trio had just gone through.

I thought Raine was a really nice, sweet, caring, hot, generous guide when I met 'er...” he replied, only knowing of their entry with the woman. There wasn’t anything to tell him otherwise, save the fact that they’d referenced the Tower a few times by now.

I don't think the woman is who he's referring to.” Zhao looked toward the earth-wielder, whose face distorted in confusion and curiosity.

“No, not Raine,” Dien interjected, breaking the silence, “we had a different guide before her who tried to PK us before she saved our butts.” Canti blinked, obviously confused.

No, no, no,” he said, shaking his head, “Suraisu - from the tower.

Ah, that sheds light on this...” Reinier muttered, blinked by the enthusiasm of the group. “Tell me more about this... Su...ru... sai guy.” His voice trailed off, and not a moment later all three of the newcomers opened their mouths simultaneously to explain it, but eventually gave way to some semblance of sequence.

Ummm, tall guy, Fist Fighter with fans, uses lightning. Ask the other guy, Nall.” Canti shrugged, and Zhao stepped in.

All I can say about him was that he was a hacker: and a seemingly powerful one at that. Control over lightning, some crazy blades too....” After that, Dien:

“Well, long story short, he invited us into this hellish dungeon only to PK us at the end. Then again, if that other guy hadn't shown up, we'd all be dead right now.” He turned to Canti, not sure if they were on the same page. “That was Nall, right?”

“Yeah,” Canti affirmed, drifting off into his own thoughts. The guy on the bed stirred again, opening his eyes to look at the group.

Nall? Nall had to come and save your asses? That, my friends, means you're lucky as hell to be alive.” Zan’s eyes came to a close once more, as he drifted back to a place of inward business. Reinier grinned, looking from player to player to player before finally speaking.

Zanny's right: Nall's alive, and that's what matters. Admins crawling about, Nall being alive, a new hacker,” he said, pausing, “Life's going to get rough, fast, for you kids.” His smile seemed to change at this point, and were the hilarity of what was about to happen not so great, Dien might not have noticed aside from a slightly dopey look before it happened. The player inhaled sharply, before letting out a loud sneeze. In the instant, a sizable spire of earth shot through one of the beds, coming up right in between the legs of the blademaster who lay there. Reinier snickered a bit, before the conversation continued.

Why for us?” Zhao asked, looking to the two elder players amongst them, “what brings us into this net of troubles that seems to encompass you guys? As far as I can see, we only owe Nall. You guys have done nothing for us.

Alright, kid.” Legs swinging over the edge of the bed, the Siberian Husky blue of his eyes opening to the world, Zan offered up a look a little too serious. Moving with a speed, a grace that was all too inhuman, almost feral, he found himself not an inch from the kid's face. “Leave. Now. Get the fuck out of here. There. Now I've done something for you. You take my advice, you live to see another day in the real world. If not, God help you."” Anger contained, he slinked back into his bed, eyes coming to their familiar close as he lay across it. The three characters just stared, frightened by the sudden change in the player’s persona.

...graceful...” Reinier muttered, rubbing his nose. “I need to learn my own strength... That's besides the point. I'm going to ask y’all a question, seeing as how you've been in contact with a hacker and Nall... Are any of you able to log out? Because Zhao, my friend, if you aren't you may be joining our little family.” The twinblade just stared, shocked and confused as his mouth attempted to form something coherent.

What…what do you…what?” The player’s mouth was left agape at the statements still too shocking to believe. Was he actually saying that they couldn’t log out? Whatever kind of Purgatory or Hell was contained in such a thought would have been enough to do anyone in, and Dien had to make sure the impossible had not happened. His eyes closed, and after a few seconds the various applets he’d made himself appeared, allowing him to navigate through the hacked options he held. A quick check of his connection and the command protocols told him that he was still in a virtual world, and that leaving would be just a matter of a thought. With a nod, he opened his eyes, looking to Reinier.

“Yeah, I can get out if I want to, though Raine said not to.” He paused, “Why?”

Okay, good, good,” he replied, “So, y’all DO have time... but if Raine told you to stay, it's for a reason. The Admin probably know of whatever happened with you and the hacker... so, it's for your own good to stay put.” At this point, Reinier turned to Zan. “I know, it's tough... I know what'll happen if they stick with us, but if Raine said it, there's a reason. We'll play this by ear for now. ‘Sides, they have us lookin' out for 'em. That counts for something.” The bed-ridden player opened his eyes and nodded solemnly, obviously not pleased with the result.

“Well just so long as you don't sneeze at me I think I'm safe...” Dien said, staring over to the blademaster with a spire sticking up between his legs and attempting some humor in the situation.

Funny thing; Suraisu actually told me about darker an' unknowable things happening in The World.” Canti said, breaking his long-held silence, “I guess this is it, but...what is it, huh? How'd it happen? Why were we able to feel everything going on in that tower?

That, my friend, would most likely be the fact there was an overabundance of the Twilight Virus within this... tower, thing. That will be explained later. Long story short: It puts you in the game. It's worse then any virus you'll ever get, in my opinion. You know those defenders of The World you've read about in the fairy tales? That's not us, we're just a group of kids wanting our freedom. We just happen to fight hackers on the side. This virus gives extra bonuses, though... not worth it, not by a long shot.” Reinier held up his hand, and all the loose sand and dirt collected in the carpet swirled around it. “Like so.” So there was a virus after all. In reviewing the coding of the game, Dien had noticed an almost virus-like script driving the main core of the game, essentially letting him have the advanced version he did. It was strange, though, as it was designed to take over the system in time, even though it was just a part of the game. What was worse was that there was no way to actually stop it from doing that – even with all the firewalls he could write, it would still be able to take over: it had access to his mind.

“So wait,” Dien said, his train of thought shifting entirely, “you mean to tell me that you guys can't log out - that you are the source of those rumors I keep reading about on the BBS?”

It's Dien, right?” Not waiting for his response, knowing full well the answer that was only confirmed with a nod, he continued the conversation in the same languid laying position he’d held for a majority of the exchange already, excusing a few mishaps, of course. “People like us, yes. Maybe us. We aren't the only ones out there. I've met my fair share of infectees that weren't apart of us, the so-called Freedom Fighters. Cheesey? Maybe, but that's us. We aren't some idolic figures. We just want the hell out of this place, this prison. If you hang around with us, that's where you'll find yourselves. Believe me when I say, it's no picnic. It's pain, it's blood, it's anguish. There isn't happiness to balance this equation out. You fight, you live, you hope you can catch a few minutes of sleep. It's a war. Plain and simple.” Where anger had once been, sympathy had replaced. There was a moment’s pause before Reinier spoke up again.

I love your dramatics, Zan. He's right though, there's no love here. Only pain. It was fun for the first five minutes: then I tripped and skinned my knee. It sucks, my friends, especially without sometin' to clean it. But yeah, it's not fun by far. Though, the wings ARE a nice bonus...” he trailed off, admiring the spoils of his own labor.

So...we're in hell...again. Figures...” Canti sighed, looking about. “Alright, so you're not legends and life sucks, plus we're in the middle. Now what?

Did I mention the waiting game? When we're not fighting that lizard of an old man, or that harlot, we're waiting on Nall. He basically decides our moves. He used to be an Elite, so he generally knows what he's doing. What's worse is, the other Elites know where this place is... so anything can happen at anytime. We're safer here with the Admins about, though...

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Elite what?" Dien quickly said, redirecting the conversation. Zan sighed, almost as though he’d gone through the description before countless times. Not that it mattered, none of the newcomers knew what it was, so he would have to do it again.

The Elites; stronger than strong, manipulative to all hell, and the people working behind the World's curtains. They have their own server and on it they have more power than any administrator could ever dream of. They own this game. Never let yourself forget that and you might not die as much.” For several moments, the party just stood speechless, unsure what to say. Dien himself had trouble picking out the words with which to break the uneasy silence.

“More...more powerful than the admins...how...how is that possible?” His mind couldn’t comprehend it: the administration had the ability to manually go into the hard drives of The World and wipe them clean, and yet here they were said to be powerless. None of it made sense.

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


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 1:49 am 
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Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
"More...more powerful than the admins...how...how is that possible?"

(Dien's words were not without sense. In fact, that was a question they all kinda' had to ask, except they already knew that it had to be, because no Admin had the power to kill inside The World. Suraisu could have and that proved it. He WAS more powerful than their dreaded Demon of Fear. It was a shame the guy was actually looney. Canti had been hoping the guy was merely alot like him and not some malicious nutjob. Of course, neverminding that, Canti's main focus - and reason for not actually saying much throughout the whole conversation - was that his mind was on the deal with Suraisu and Nall. Zan had been rather indignant about Nall's sudden rescue and all, but he had a point. They weren't able to damage the lightning-boy on their own. Not without Nall's support. And now, that guy had transported them here into Mac Anu again, leaving Suraisu all to himself...or the other way around. Let's set the record straight. Canti can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but in know way does he like being responsible for a guy like Nall biting the dust. It just ain't right. So, Canti was kinda' dwelling on that as Raine came and got them, leading the three of them to these guys. He made sense of the conversation so far. Suraisu himself admitted to strange things within The World. But apparently, the breakdown was this... Suraisu and his kind were the Elite ungodly-powerful hackers of The World, powerful enough to kill or coma their victims. Zan, Reiner, Raine, Nighthand, and...probably others, were sort of like victims stuck in Purgatory who want out. And they, the three survivors of the event they had just been a part of, could very well land in their shoes now. They'd pissed Suraisu off, which meant this could get really ugly. So, what else is now? This left time...for explanations galore.)

"Wait... forget these elites, forget the admins, forget everything. Why the HELL shouldn't we just log out and save ourselves this horrifying experience? I'm unstable enough as it is, I don't need just my mind stuck in here. Things could get dicey."

Canti: Oh yeah. I alsmost forgot that we're all flipping mad as well. Ah well. Join the club...

(Of course, Canti's thoughts would hardly contribute to the conversation, so he kept those silent, especially since Zan was going to do the explaining here. He'd been rather hard on Zhao, lately, but then again the guy wanted to run for the hills. Not a bad thought, but that's the LAST resort. A Canti does not run unless a Canti has to.)

"First, Dien. How is it possible? Whether or not your familiar with the practice, hackers find themselves usually bound by nothing. Now imagine taking some of the greatest hacking minds on the planet and infecting them with a strand of superman DNA. That's what an Elite pops out as. They've been here so long that they've probably forgotten the real world."

(Then, Zan looked at Zhao and gave him the mouthful that Canti had been expecting him to. It wasn't that Zhao deserved it or anything, it was just that this was the wrong time for talk like that. A situation of this kind requires decisive and clear-cut action that handles the problem and ONLY handles the problem. That being said, Canti DID wonder what was going to happen after the wait was done. After all, they were in a shit-lot of trouble here.)

"And you, kid-who-pissed-me-off, you guys said Raine said to stay put. I don't know her well, but Nall trusts her. That means we need to. You stay here as long as they say is necessary. Simple as that. Unless you want to risk getting trapped in here anyway. Then go ahead. Hell if I care anymore."

(There was an extreme doubt in Canti's mind that their Zan was serious, but it quieted down his intended target. Canti shook his head at his colleagues and what they were saying, after all they'd been through. This was fuggin' embarassing... Reinier decided to diffuse attitudes for the moment.)

“Inspiring as always, Zanny-boy. Anywho, I would take off the goggles for a minute, go outside, and take a big breath of air... might be your last time to..."

(This let out another jumble of words, all of them pretty much talking at once, like when referring to Suraisu at first. Each one had their own reasoning on the situation, such as it was, to pretty much shun the world in favor of The World...)

"Don't work that way for me. Let's just say I have a...different way of connecting to The World."

"I hate the real world, honestly. It's just...the prospect of it not existing for me anymore... is kind of scary. But no breath of fresh air would help me."

Canti: Don't ask.

(Surprisingly, Canti's response was NOT asked about, which either proved that nobody wanted to know or nobody cared. And really, Canti didn't care if nobody cared. It was merely his business. Meanwhile, Reiner picked up on what Dien was alluding to, which Zhao and Canti already knew, but probably forgot up until now. Reiner had been playing with the dirt on the ground and then suddenly transformed it into a spire and launched it at Dien, shouting “HACKER!" at him. Zhao threw himself in front of Dien without even thinking, which was a surprise because he was pretty much Mr. Thinker in the trio here. Reinier pulled back the spire, then. He wasn't being serious at all.)

“Calm down, Zhao. I'm just kidding. I love this..."

"I prefer Software engineer, but yes, I am a hacker - that's how I got my copy of the game..."

Canti: Just not the kill everything type...

"...and not illegally, either. This is a beta."

(While they were speaking, Reinier had gone air-leaping and pretty much landed next to Zan on that bed, sitting where he was with his legs crossed.)

"Umph. Bastard. My bed."

(Zan laughed, then...)

"Funny thing is, I bet you he wasn't joking, just changed his mind at the last second. But don't worry, Dien, after having dealt with the Elites...you won't be met with fear here. A smirk or two, perhaps, but that's about it."

(It was hard to tell what part was being serious here and what wasn't. Canti decided, overall, just not to care. He really didn't find the Dynamic Duo here to be all that entertaining. Maybe it was the screwy part of him, getting him down. There were things that were wrong here, like why hadn't he heard that voice, lately... He'd seen the red-brown haze once during the final battle, but there was nothing else to it than that. He suddenly attained a better focus and fought harder. The conversation continued...)

“And the best feeling in the world is watching one of them die. Jett, the one who could work me harder then a Vietnmese hooker after the navy comes, has recently died cus of us."

"You take pleasure in the death of others? To me, or rather, to half of me, that's rather inconceivable... are they really that terrible?"

"Worse."

"...that's not what I want, though. I only hack according to a code, one that, despite the hundreds of hackers I've convinced into following it, appears a little more than useless now. Such a good idea, too..."

“Zhao, imagine, this is the first time you've touched the game. You're level one, and go to a nice little field... You run in to a woman, she's just drop dead beautiful."

(At this point, there was a wolf-whistle coming from Canti.)

“She's wearing close to nothing, a black bikini, and has a bracelet that seems to radiate brighter then the sun... She points that bracelet at you, and in one instant you find yourself in a massive field full of people building a palace. This is what they do to players: enslave them."

"So from what you're saying... I gather that they can infect others with the virus, or at least simulate it. Otherwise, the enslaved players would simply be able to log out. Are these hackers the main source of problems within The World? Or is there something more sinister at work here?"

“My theory? I have none. I just sit back and go with the flow. I gather info whenever I can, and base who I fight with. Right now, I've got enough evidence to prove they're a pretty big part of everything that's wrong with The World. I've never liked hackers, and this group solidifies that hate. It's not a wonderful life we're leading... Hell, ask Nighthand... he's been in the game longer then any of us... Well, 'cept for Nall or Gingi... oh man... Gingi..."

(Ginji? Who the hell was...? Alright, hang on a minute. Canti knew that look and was immediately thinking "GET A ROOM!!" in a very loud voice in his head. Reiner was fantasizing stuff and Canti didn't like have to watch people like that. It got annoying. Fortunately, Zan's sarcastic wit came to the rescue here.)

"Alright, kiddies, looks like Reinier here is going to cry. If that happens, you know Show and Tell is over. Save anymore of your questions for the big man, Nighthand."

(Zan snickered at Reiner, hiding it from Zan. Canti chuckled out loud, not hiding it at all. Okay, so they WERE entertaining after all. At least he wouldn't be bored out of his mind, waiting for this Nighthand guy. This was gonna be one long-ass day if almost getting diced in a dungeon wasn't the highlight of his day. And all throughout his time in the tower, in hell, and right here, Canti was kinda' wondering...what the hell were those weird items they got for, anyway? Seriously, Canti had one labeled "Unknown Item" and that was hella-confusing!)

OOC: Slacker takes up the slack. I like it.

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

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


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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 5:00 pm 
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Location: New look, check it out!
Hijinx bounced from roof to roof, jingling all the way. Her newly aquired bells had a crisp ring to them that made the rabbit happy, regardless of the stares it brought when she would zip over the unsuspecting players of mac anu. Under one arm she held a file, and in the other, nothing. Hijinx did, on the other hand, have her pet wrapped firmly around it. Another bounding jump sent her hurtling over a gap that led over the main street, something the others probably wouldn't appreciate. Laughing happily, she landed on the far building and continued on her way, keeping her pace up as another smaller gap forced her to make a light hop to clear it effortlessly. The flash mail arrived just as she was considering dropping something on a passing player. With a slight frown and a groan, the twinblader stretched and looked it over.

"Well, he interupted my fun, so I'll just have to make do, right Urbosh?"

The blob burbled in response and braced itself.

"Make with the fast spell, I'm tired of carrying this thing!"

Smiling as the Ap Do took affect, she burst into a new run, half dancing as she hopped and spun around obstacles. The bells, instead of ringing, began to let off a music of their own. One more jump brought her to the hideout's roof, where she tossed the file at Nighthand and zipped over the side as the music died away. Opening the door, she stuck her head in and sniffed.

"Doggy!"

She burst through the doorway, laughing as she patted Zan on the head. Another quick glance revealed her favorite victim, sleeping on a couch nearby. Taking a sudden backwards leap, Hijinx landed on top of the sleeping blademaster and smiling cheerfully at him.

"Hiya grump!"

Then she saw the new people, and her eyes were lit by an internal fire as she grinned at them. Bounding off the couch, she tackled Dien to the ground and sat on him.

"New people! Hiya, I'm Hijinx!"

Grinning pleasantly, she extended a hand to Dien, not giving any hint of moving any time soon.

OOC: Emo, smeemo. I'm the fun one :bunny: . Ready when everyone else is!

_________________
Hijinx the Lucky Former Rabbit
Level 35.000 Fist Fighter
Equip: Fist Guards, Wyrm Hide, guard cap, Snow panther, silver bracers
Item: 5 ressurect, 2 antidote, 10 healing potions, 6 Emperor's Soul, 3 Raging Earth, 5 Ice Floe, 4 Gale Breath, Knights Bane, 10 Speed Charms
Money: 1103gp
"The problem with life is there's no back-ground music."


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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 10:19 pm 
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-----------------------------

"Yer mom's out, girl. I want to shee this God damn housh cleaned before she gish back." Slurred words crawled from the man's throat from his recliner, beer gut out, wife-beater white t-shirt on, and half-empty Budweiser in hand; a white trash husband cliché come to life.

Rage swelled in the small teenager's chest, a girl of fifteen having made what should have been a hapless trip away from the kitchen. But no, he had to turn her life into one big, dirty chore. Marilyn felt like Cinderella, in a way, and that very fairy tale had kept her mind occupied when she was younger. Now it was only some false sense of hope, a jested gun fired into the air for a race that was never to be. No, she'd die in this house; die serving that fat buzzard of a man. Her mother was better, but not by much. She allowed him to mistreat her, to get slapped around because of some lingering memory of what it had been like once upon a time to love the man. They didn't live in a trailer home, but the apartment they infested wasn't much of an upgrade. In reality, they were just one step away from becoming like those squabbling families on the Jerry Springer show. Marilyn could see the headings now: 'Douchebag Fathers and Their Wives Too Blind to See the Truth.' That brought a muffled bout of laughter from her throat, something that caused the man to furrow a brow and turn his head back to the girl that was slowly disappearing back into her room. Whatever he said in response was muffled by the close of her door, her foot turning to kick the thing in suddenly impulsive anger.

"Clean you're own fucking house." Harsh words from a girl of her age, perhaps, but that was one effect high school had struck inside of her.

A previous thought came back to her, something that now struck her as wrong. She was going to die here? Not damn likely. Her mind wavered to her friends, the only three people in her life that gave her a reason to stay in New York, that gave her a reason to go to school at all. In a heartbeat she could run out into the hallway, snatch up the phone, and dial in for rescue. Charlie didn't have his license, but hell if that stopped him from swooping in with his beat up old silver mustang like a knight in shining armor. Not her knight, of course. He belonged to Amanda and would forever, until the last friggin' star fizzled out. In truth, the raven-haired girl had no interest in the man, but it was that connection she craved. Though she had never held any particular bond with any of her foster parents, one in particular had fed her ream after ream of romantic folktales and children's stories. As much as she hated it, as much as she wanted to cram a part of her down into nothingness, a part of her lived in vein hope that 'he' would come along. Right. Dream on, sister. Though perhaps that wasn't a thought to laugh and linger on, laugh and linger she regretfully did. She just wanted to know that someone was there waiting for her, anyone at all. A click of her heart, a pulse of her mind, and she was looking through different eyes.

~~

Conner stared off into the distance as his Pre-Calculus teacher droned on about derivatives and whatever bullshit they tried to pass off as normal math in this day and age. How long had it been since he had been boxing fractions, wrestling with decimals? The seventeen year old senior was damn proud that he had held onto a 'B' as long as he had. The sweet smell of C-dom was just around the corner and that knowledge had his mind wandering to other things. Well, to the near future anyway. Once he had beaten the daily routine of school he had the daily routine of his father to look forward to. Hooray. The man was passed out for the majority of the day and the only real thing he ever said to him was to get a job. Eh. Leo had plenty of money to share between them. Did he mooch off of the kid? Probably, but they
were best friends so it worked out somehow in the end. And beyond that? A career choice? Leo had always made cooking seem sort of amusing. And after that? A wife, kids? That would require finding a girl in the first place that could stand the crippling nature of his father and the simple lackluster nature that his housing possessed. Did a girl like that even exist? He'd carve out his heart to see what lay in store if he could. It was then the hairs on the back of his neck stood up, for a mere fraction of a second, and flattened out a nanosecond later. As much as he wanted to be irked, to ask what in the hell had happened, something in his heart as settled. Something stirred. Hope? Nahhh...

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

A conscious-drifted Zan, a.k.a. Mr. Sleepy, snapped his eyes open at the half-memory, his heart thudding like a wild steed against his sternum, trying to escape its cage. Had it been a dream, had it been some odd concoction of his thoughts of her and his own past? No, the quality of it was too lucid, too vivid. So that's what that feeling had been. She had been hoping he was out there, and him the same...and bam. But...wait. That predated his permanent residence in The World. That went back before their mental, physical, and chemical connections had been made. What...gah, what in the hell did this mean? Soul mates? Some Lifetime drama like that? No...well, maybe. Would it really be so hard to believe that two hearts beaten down by life's cruelty could reach out and find one another? Even thinking it and Zan felt cheesy, but he also felt right. Maybe it was God giving him that extra ray of hope from way back when. If God existed. It wasn't until that point that the Heavy Blade had ever even really considered the possibility. Stuff like that, if it had really happened, didn't just occur out of random coincidence, did they? No, someone or something had to be giving him the big thumbs up from the pearly gates or whatever place deities hung out and smoked a doobie. Laughing at the mere thought of some higher power with a joint falling from his lip going, 'Arg, busted..' made the lycanthrope fight back a tide of laughter as he sat up once more.

"Doggy!" The voice gave way who it was before he even looked up, like God damn nails on a crusty chalkboard.

Some bizarre excuse for a hand began it's decent on Zan's head, but with a twitch of his hand and he caught the creature at its wrist before it could land a touch anywhere near his scalp. Shoving the limb away with disgust, Zan completed his transition of an upward glance and sighed at his confirmation. Jinx was back. Oh how the party would really begin. Yearightnot. There were too many people coming back, too many people that were just as good to him dead as they were alive. Gritting his teeth at the initial wave of comments that begged so completely to overwhelm him, he spoke.

"Fuckbag!" He said with the same vigor as Jinx, his voice sarcastic and his smile fake and fading. "I'd warn you not to touch me again if I thought there was a chance of wiggling any nugget of logic past that carapace of dumbass you wear so proudly."

Zan resisted the urge to smack the creature upside the head, something that would only rob it of the few brain cells it still held in that soup of stupid that brewed in its skull. Being the humanitarian that he so was, Zan refused to indulge. However, when the Creature From the Nothing Lagoon squashed Dien...then it was time to run some interference. Sighing, shaking his head like the elderly often do the young and youthfully retarded, the Heavy Blade drifted to where Dien was and carefully slid him from his pinned position. Blood trickled from the kid's broken nose and, noting that he had mentioned his ability to feel pain off some odd Beta version of The World, the lycanthrope grimaced for him.

"You okay, Dien?" This kid was one of few of the newbies that he didn't mind. Sure, he didn't want any of them here, but he wasn't half bad just the same. He definitely didn't deserve to have a God's reject batch of dough plopped on him.

"I will be," Dien replied, putting his hand to the still tender injury to his nose. He'd never known blood to flow out of any wound so fast, nor had his eyes been flooded by tears so quickly in recent years. A quick repth, and he sat up, wiping the blood off of his face. "Thanks," he said, "although if that...thing attacks me again I can't guarantee its safety."

"Yea...do your best to ignore it. In time, if you stick around long enough, you'll find yourself angry that The World wastes oxygen on it. Well, whatever code makes up the oxygen anyway. If it causes anymore trouble with you, just get Nighthand to rip it a new asshole. I'm almost certain he's just looking for an excuse to do so anyway."

Dien smirked, for the first time hearing information on their revered leader. So far, based on what he'd heard, they would get along greatly. "Though I'm sure you're probably looking for a reason to do the same." He'd noted the rabbit's eccentric behavior before, having tried to pet the obviously feral player in just the wrong time.

"Oh, believe me, I have so many reasons already. But let's stop wasting anymore thought on it." Finding himself smiling as well, it was the first time the lycanthrope felt the same familiarity that the Blademaster had only a few moments ago. "You asked if we met each other before. And, as far as we came to a conclusion, we haven't. But damn kid, there's somethin' there. Maybe it's because you seemed to be the only one of the three to come in without an attitude. Well, that Canti guy wasn't too bad either. Unless you've been seein' wolves or hearin' howls, of course." Zan said, in jest.

Dien's smirk faded in an instant, that same moment he heard the player reference howls. The tenth floor! his mind shouted at him, and his mouth opened slightly in shock. "Uh, what?" He knew what the player had said, but his mind couldn't grasp it. A howl?! Of course he'd heard a howl - it had been the ear-splitting howl that had saved him from that guy. No, he shook his head, clearing it of the thoughts. Not here; not now. It couldn't be significant, could it?

Noting the fade in the kid's demeanor, Zan's smile faded in turn, if only out of confusion. "Woa, relax kid. It was just a joke." What was he getting so bent out of shape for? Bad camping memories? Stifling a smile at his own joke, a sad gesture really, he resumed his curious glance.

"N- no," Dien said, trying to order his thoughts while his mind raced away from him, "I actually did hear a howl, I think. I mean, we were in the dungeon and fighting and I had this weird out-of-reality experience thing and almost got killed-" His voice stopped, allowing his lungs to refill before continuing, or being cut off by the heavy blade before him, as the case were.

"Uh..go..on?" The more the kid rambled, the less sense he made. Out of reality experiences? Phantom howls? The kid hadn't been with them long and already he was going bat shit.

"It was weird," he said, pausing shortly thereafter but continuing before Zan could get another word in, "I mean, this experience. I was shackled tightly in the middle of the room, chains shooting out of the walls to surround me. The more I tried to get out, the more they held me back. But then I heard this howl - that high, resounding note that seemed to puncture the tower with countless memories and emotions: sorrow, grief, anguish, peace, love, bitterness, things that I don't even think have a name. It almost told a story, bitterly recounting some form of forced betrayal. The chains--the man called them the darkness within me--they began to glow white hot, almost like they were being melted under the pressure of the howl, and the man who'd been controlling them fell back, clasping his ears while the howl echoed. It certainly wasn't any ordinary wolf-howl, let me tell you that..." He paused, and went on once more. "You know, it was almost like..." This time, however, Zan interrupted.

"That's great. We'll talk later, kid." A look of renewed anguish was squashed beneath the stoic look that look form then.

Zan had felt a number of people across The World hear his cry, his howl, at the loss of his people at his own hands. Unwilling to go over the story, even in his own head, a part of him resented Dien for bringing it up. No...maybe it wasn't the Heavy Blade that Dien had heard.

Maybe.

(OOC: On a note, nothing against you Jinx, but a general application to anyone: unless I know you/trust you to assume responses for me, don't God mod me. At all. Even assuming I'd let you touch my head in a 'pat' is assuming too much. Zan's character is very reserved, he doesn't appreciate people feelin' up on him *perv's around the world cry*. But yea, no harm done, just try and avoid having it happen again or IM before you do anything of the sort. Sayonara, mis amigos.)

_________________
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Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
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I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


Last edited by Zan on Tue May 23, 2006 9:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 7:29 pm 
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Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
After a while of doing little, Nighthand finally moved from his position along the wall. He wasn't leaning, for once, but that was only because his wings made it uncomfortable. Those were definitely going to take a lot of getting used to, before they felt in any way natural.

Little by little, he watched the effects of his Flashmail take effect. Besides three new players that, apparently, Raine had brought in, there were some surprises. Rayo, for one. He had thought the lightning mage wanted as little to do with them as possible, but it seemed he had misjudged. He wasn't sure yet what Rayo was even capable of, but hopefully the man's tactical mind hadn't been worn down. He had been essential in some of their earlier battles.

His chat with Zan disturbed him a little. The Knights of War were around, which meant that Kamui was probably around as well. Perhaps Tritoch on top of that. The pair alone were bad enough... Asgard had barely been able to fend them off before. He wasn't entirely certain he could, at this point. They were both magically attuned, and his spells wouldn't have as great an effect as he would like.

Best not to think on that right now. Hopefully Nall would return soon, with some kind of news. It was apparently these three he had rescued from a hacker, from a tower dungeon. A long ordeal. He, too, wondered why Raine asked them to stay... Unless she truly had a worry about them. He could sense nothing wrong, but that was natural enough. Twilight practically had to slap him in the face before he could notice it, most times.

“It’s been a long time…what’s the situation? I’ve come back to lend a hand, assuming it’s still welcome.”

Rayo's question had been pushed to the side at the time, Nighthand simply offering a nod and a smile, gesturing for the wavemaster to find himself a seat. He didn't want to have to explain everything before everyone arrived, that would just be asking for repeats. And that was just about exactly what happened, as Ryok arrived soon after, asking much the same question.

The question indeed seem to be on everyone's lips, for the moment. What are we going to do now? Where do we go?

Nighthand sighed, and sat down on a chair from which he could see everyone. It wasn't the most comfortable of affairs, but it was decent enough for the time being. He let the chaos unfold of the various players interacting, and flipped idly through the folder Hijinx had given him. Odd, that file. Grainy black and white pictures of players moving around. Lists of keywords. It was like something you'd see in a war movie. Still, he recognized none of it, and set the file to the side.

The chaos seemed to have settled down a little, or as much as it ever did with Hijinx and Phoenix in the same room. The gravity-wielding blademaster seemed to attract the contrary personalities of the group.

Nighthand sighed. Nall hadn't gotten back to him yet, though from the story the three new people told, he should have been. What could he be doing? He hoped the stupid blademaster hadn't gone and gotten himself killed. Then it would fall on HIS shoulders to run this group. Moreso than it already did, as he'd been around the longest and knew more than anyone else left with them. Gingi had disappeared to lord knows where, Nall hid stuff and ran in and out... He was the most reliable of the whole group. Too bad he really wasn't any better than Nall... Only his “hiding” of information was reasonable, because he truly didn't know a lot.

”Well, alright.” Nighthand said, calling people to some semblance of order. Eyes turned towards him, and conversation mostly stopped. ”Some of you haven't been here for a while, and some of you have never been here before. None of you has been here as long as I have, or knows as much as I do. I've been with this group since it formed... I've been stuck in this game for too long.

I'm sure you all want information. Some of you more... violently than others. Since there's new people here, I might as well start from the start.”


He paused. Where even WAS the start? He shrugged inwardly and wrote out a quick couple of flashmails, trying to glean a bit more information himself. One to Raine, asking the powerful wavemistress what the reason was for bringing the three newbies into this. They had seen the way the hackers worked, apparently... As much as Nighthand wanted more fighters for this little army, he didn't want to drag them in. The other flashmail was simpler, asking Nall where he was.

Responses came almost immediately. From Raine... It was worth reading aloud. Nall's was simpler. “Coming.”

”Alright, first off, you three. Dien, Canti, Zhao. You want to know why Raine told you to stay here, especially when you could log off at any time. I just asked her, and she tells me you were flagged. Some time while you were all in that tower, the Admins did a sweep of the field. Because it was obviously hacked, they figured anyone inside it was consorting with the hackers. They either couldn't or didn't step in to catch you then, but the moment a Knight of War or worse, their commanders, catches sight of you... You'll be a target. For you that means deletion at the least, possibly a permanent ban, and maybe real-world legal interrogation. That last is just my theory, of course, but I don't think CC is totally oblivious to the hacker threat. They know something is up, they just don't know what. So you're stuck with us until Raine can remove the flags, to let you go free.”

He paused again. One mystery solved, at least for the three of them, and maybe for whoever else was questioning them. Dien looked puzzled, as though something wasn't right. The man probably thought he had a tight monitor on his character and would notice something like that... Not that it mattered. The admin flag could be as little as a single character changed, just something the admins were trained to look for. With Twilight in place as well... Nothing was ever truly in control.

”Well, I'll give what information I can to you guys. To all of you. I don't know all that much more than most of you, but I think I've pieced together a little more. We know there's a large group of hackers. A society of them, so to speak. This society is mostly contained on the hacker's server Yamiyo. Yamiyo server is hidden by the best of hacks they could devise, so the Admins don't even believe it exists. As the elites hide out there most of the time, they too are denied. Though I suppose the attack on Mac Anu so long ago may have played a role in the crackdown we're seeing now.

The hacker society is led by eight Elite hackers. Each has a physical piece of the Twilight Virus in the form of a special item; these are what gives them most of their power. Each also specializes in an element; two are “Rue”, one water and one ice, and one of them is Light. Two of them have been killed; Jett, the elite of Earth, and Kuja, the elite of Water. Rayo, I know you were around when we killed off Kuja, so it may be a pleasant surprise to know we've killed a second. Six more, and we're that much closer to being free.

So that's our goal. We kill the elites, and we get ourselves out of comas. How, exactly, that works... I'm not certain. I think Nall may have an idea, or knows someone who does... I don't know. Raine and Sheena, Nall's long-time partners, probably know more than I do. Then again, they have more important things to be doing. That's probably where Sheena is right now, helping to heal Nall. Raine... I don't know. Watching the Admins, perhaps.”


He looked around the room. There were so few of them. Zan, Rayo, Reinier, Phoenix, Ryok, Hijinx, and the three new ones... plus himself, Nall, and Nall's two friends. Such a small group to go up against the elites... but they had pulled through against greater odds. Only half this number had been present to kill Jett, and while they'd had a larger group to confront Kuja, they'd all been much weaker back then.

”I don't know what else I can say... What do you want to know, Phoenix? Anyone? I'll tell you if I can. I want informed fighters wherever we go next, and I don't care if Nall hates me for it. Though a word of advice; I've known Nall longer than any of you here, and if there's one thing he is above all else, it's stubborn. Your threat to attack him if he refuses to give you what you want to know won't work, Phoenix, and I rather doubt we could defeat him as a group anyways. He WAS a hacker himself, before he had his change of heart and left. He doesn't talk about his past, but I know that much. He's powerful, and he's stubborn.

That's what's kept him alive.”


So there they were. A little information pow-wow, while they waited for Nall to return.

(OOC: Next post starts the show, so get what you need out of the way first done now. Might be your last chance for a little while.)

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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 12:03 am 
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With a simple nod in response, Rayo decided to wait until the heavy blade planned to fill him in on the matters at hand. There was time so there was little harm in being patient…for the time being at least. Sitting down, the wizard awaited Nighthand’s eventual explanation, which did come with several important facts that were worth remembering.

The lightning mage was pleased once he heard of this Jett, and for two very different reasons. There were only six of the most elite hackers left, and that limited the numbers who could pester them. It was true that they only seemed to fair well against one or even two at a time…but progress was progress however one looked at it. As long as the enemy was losing strength without the group being killed off itself, a longer battle of attrition was just fine.

That in turn, brought up a valid question regarding the first sacrifice the party had faced from what Rayo had remembered. …Why was Nighthand referring to Nall as if he was still alive anyway? Turning towards the only person assuming leadership responsibility at present, the mage addressed him cordially and began voicing his concerns.


"Wait...Nighthand, did you hire some new guy without telling me with the same name or is Nall not a corpse over at the Yamiyo Server?"

"Oh yeah... That's right, you left around then. Nall has a couple of friends, Raine and Sheena, who're wiz-kids with code. Nall wasn't quite dead, and they managed to fix him up good as new. Makes you think of some kind of robot or something, but he's the same guy... if a little angrier at times."

So Nall hadn’t been able to be killed…that meant not one of them had truly died so far. Maybe it would be possible to help each and everyone escape after all. True, Nall was special but it still left that gray area around death. No one had died and that meant everyone who had ever been trapped could still be there. No Nayru though, last time the mage had been in a hideout the dragon had been keeping watch over them. Even when they were in town the pest hadn‘t left them alone. Why now?

"...And since I haven't seen the flying rat for the past five minutes...any chance they used Nayru as a sacrifice for the process?"

"Unfortunately, no... Though I am actually wondering where it got off to, since it practically chased us up a mountain when we killed Jett, which was basically the most recent thing we've done."

The spell caster lowered his eyes and attempted to not seem as disappointed as he really was. Perhaps they’d leave Mac Anu before it returned from wherever it had went off to. If not…Lanceor could always be brought into the equation and the sorcerer could probably convince the others Nayru was never there to begin with. If any of them had dealt with it like he had, there would be few objections to the free dinner.

"Oh...that's acceptable too I guess. So...this Jett, what became of his Twilight item? I recall Kuja's treasure being left around after his fateful demise."

"Nall took it. He's gathering them when he kills the elites... He has Kuja's cape as well, and seems able to use some of it's abilities."

Which begged the question…why was only one person carrying these extremely useful objects? Maybe Nall worried not everyone was trustworthy enough…but there should at least be someone who could use it. Such an item could tip the scales of any battle, whether it be against hacker or administrator. The hackers only seemed to have incredible edges because of them, and the administrators had always witnessed lesser hacks so there was little harm in using the heavier guns.

"Who isn't here right now...oh well, at least we won't be a target right now of any effort to recover those tools. Speaking of which...I don't recognize anyone here outside of yourself and Hijinx...is everyone else off somewhere on a different mission? Kurai, Gingitsune, Vera, Armina, and company have to be somewhere..."

"Kurai... the Treeweaver corrupted him, and Argilus called us with him to stop the long arm, who had turned to PKing... Royce killed him, and the Treeweaver itself is now in the possession of Xenobia, the long-arm nature Elite. He's about the only one who we know is dead. Everyone else has just... left. Either to find their own pathway out of their comas, or to walk to their doom in some unnamed dungeon... Hijinx and I are all that's left, really. All that's stuck around."

Kurai…dead. The relief that had come with the news of Nall’s life was tainted by the lack of it in Kurai. If Nighthand was filled with certainty about his fate…any of the others could be dead. Ruri, Vera, Armina, Argilus, Gingitsune, Falcon, Tokki, Kayin, Raye, Asgard, Zavier, Ramza…all should be assumed dead or worse. Each and every one could be have changed sides, been corrupted, or simply be no more. Aware of his pause, the caster simply offered a thought to get the focus off of himself.

"Maybe a few too many of us did try alternate paths..."

"Whatever the case, what you see here is what we have to work with, the exception being Nall. His friends aren't around very often."

"...Do you know where the next place we'll be working is?"


"Not a clue... after killing Jett, we had no leads, so we split up and searched for clues but... No one's come forward with anything. Hopefully Nall has something more, because all I have is this odd folder Hijinx gave me."

"...Which might even be booby trapped. Please don't open that near me. I suppose I'll go meet some of the party then...take care."

"Yeah... Good to have you back, Rayo."

The wizard acknowledged it with a slight wave of his hand, before getting up and setting his attention on the mass of players of whom he lacked knowledge. Part of the reason was to stay away from any tricks Hijinx had planned, but more importantly, it was time to focus on survival. The party wasn’t being dispatched anywhere yet, but that wouldn’t remain true forever. If they didn’t have some semblance of unity of and teamwork it wouldn’t matter, and the next challenging battle would finish them all off.

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Lv.47 Archer 745HP/311SP
Bell, the Silver Grunty of Thunder
Skills/Spells-Shocking Arrow of Voltage(30), Arrow of the Burning Stars(10), MeRai Rom(40), Rai Kruz(10), La Repth(20), Rip Maen(40), MeRai Kruz(20), GiVak Kruz(20), MeRai Don(20), Rig Saem(15)
Weapon/Armor/Book-Golden Royal Bow/Thunder Torque, Thunder Cloak, Able Ring, Ivory Greaves/Thunder Magic
Wishlist: YL Fukuoka, Stormlore, Winter Stone, Silver Grunty


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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 4:36 am 
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------------------------------

Marilyn had been drawing him for weeks, endless reams of rough sketches and charcoal drawings. None of them came out like him, none of them touched the surface of the boy...no, the man...she had seen. Something in her brain itched to be put onto paper, but her own human limitations of recollection were holding her back. All the girl seemed able to replicate was one aspect of the mystery man; his eyes at times, the line of his jaw at others, and the fall of his hair in turn. However, trying to combine all of these successes into one sketch or one drawing skewered whatever potential they held and destroyed their images in her head. Sitting back against the headboard of her bed, the floor of her room and foot of her mattress decorated with crumbled up sheets of art paper, the girl found herself slowly but surely losing the resolve she had held when she had first begun this 'mission.' Resisting the urge to snap her pencil in half and hurl the sketch pad across the room, Marilyn found her mind dwelling on the negative but all-too-real possibilities of her little vision.

Had she been seeing things? Had she gotten even less sleep than she had remembered and suffered from some sort of bizarre hallucination? It was possible, she supposed. It wouldn't be the first time her imagination had ran off with her, but it was the first time it had been so vivid. No no, push those thoughts aside. You're imagining things. A subtle lullaby sung in the back of her head, one of logic and sanity and things that came together to the right places in her mind. Setting down her supplies in a more benevolent manner than she wanted to, Marilyn came to her feet beside her bed. Careful steps were taken to the mirror above her dresser, gaze pinned to the floor before she had the courage to levy it to match those in the dense glass before her. Ignoring the darkening bags beneath her eyes from the lack of 'z's she had caught lately due to her pseudo-clairvoyant obsession, nothing seemed to be wrong with her. Sighing out a breath of relief that came in an almost uncertain waver past her lips, the black-haired girl (though at the moment it seemed more to be a very dark brown) brushed rogue tresses from her eyes and made the wise decision to plop awkwardly back onto her bed. She really needed to get some more sleep. Maybe then she'd be able to think like a normal person. It wasn't long before unconsciousness was granted to her, giving way to dreams.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Once more Marilyn found herself seeing through someone else’s eyes and in turn found herself wondering if she was caught in a dream. This time, she realized, she actually was. It was a dream that was out of her hands, out of her control; a dream hell bent on playing itself out. The familiar tinge it held in the air made her want to call it a memory, but she knew better. An odd sort of knowledge found its way into her head then, speaking out what she was seeing in terms she hadn't coined herself:
blood memory. Someone who shared her blood, her mother or her father, held this memory in theirs. Clearing away the obstacles of her own bombarding thoughts, she did her best to watch it like the would-be movie it was. A crowd of people were crammed into a pretty shabby looking apartment, compliments of the ever-wonderful New York City housing league. Each person in that room Marilyn could identify, could issue out names and personal backgrounds for. However, none of them held her attention; it was the two people before that had her focus; a man and a woman.

The man stood with a height of only two or three inches over six feet, short, dark brown hair falling rather gracefully just above his ears. Dreary green eyes that seemed caught between a hue of old forestry and a renewing glade were shifting from Marilyn (or, rather, to the person she was viewing this memory through) to everyone else in the room. Black pants only gave way to a black leather jacket over an equally black shirt; a shirt with a dark green outline of a four-leaf clover on its surface that offered up
some color to his wardrobe. The woman next to him seemed out of place. A handful of inches shorter than him with a lighter shade of brown to her hair and hazel in her eyes, she was a beautiful thing indeed. But it was something about the way she smelled that told Marilyn of her displacement. What was it? She smelled human. That thought should have struck the girl as odd, but didn't. It was simply fact. The woman's eyes were cast to the coffee table she sat near, an obvious nervousness held in the air around her. Her stomach held a rather small bulge, a subtle bloat that only barely hinted at her pregnancy. A curious call for names from Marilyn and she knew who they were; Zahn and Lilith. Zahn was their Ceros, their leader, with Lilith holding the not-to-be-proud-of title of Fionnuala. They were gathered around for a purpose, Zahn's hand clasped tightly in Lilith's, a reason none of them wanted to admit to. The Ceros caught gazes with the body Marilyn held after a round of words Marilyn had been too busy thinking to pay much attention to. Sorrow filled her mother's (a conclusion Marilyn had come to when feminine hands were glanced at held in her lap) heart at Zahn's words, but the smallest of nods was still given in turn. A single thought rang true then, to Marilyn, to her mother.

Death was around the bend. For all of them.


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

As if stepping out of some bizarre daydream, Zan should his head, his hand acting as a momentary cushion for his face. What were all of these damn flashes about? Lowen had better control then this, she could hold these things back. A quick tug on their sympathetic cord and he knew she was drugged, her consciousness drifting in and out, wavering like an uncertain ocean. This limbo of mental existence was causing these filtered memories, he was sure of it. And yet, as annoyed as he wanted to be at them, at the fact that they drew him away from the things at hand, each one seemed to give him some disturbing insight into his past as well. The woman that had held the Ceros' hand was his mother, though much younger than he had remembered her. Zahn, a man whose name he knew to be spelt different then his World persona but was eerily pronounced the same, was not the father had been raised with. Yet...something about him tugged at layers of memory and untapped brain tissue. Groaning at the headache that was beginning to form behind his eyes, Zan did his best to listen to the words that Nighthand spoke, words exchanged with the mysterious Wavemaster that smelled of Twilight almost as ancient as Nighthand's. When they had finished their conversation, Zan focused on the here and now and added in his own curiosity at the seat he held on the side of his bed.

"I don't suggest we go out and take on the Admins out there, far from it, but should we really just be sitting around while things are brewing? Should any recon be done, questions asked, anything? It's a foolish notion, I know, but I feel like the air is too still like it usually is right before a storm hits. It isn't sitting well with me." As if to clarify the agitation in his voice to Nighthand, to make sure he knew he had no qualms with him, he added more. "Either part of me."

"Really, I don't fancy fighting the Admins either. As soon as Nall gets back, we'll know where we need to go, and we can leave this town lockdown behind."

"Right, Nall. Though from what I've heard nobody actually seems to know where he is, do you happen to? A flashmail, anything like that?" Zan simply hadn't really considered Nall up until that point.

"I mailed him, yes. He and I were going to go to a place I know, to let him rest, but he was called off, apparently to save those three over there." He pointed at the trio of newcomers. "Since then, though, all he's said to me is 'coming.'"

"Right, right...well, at least he's alive. With the way things feel right now, I sort of had my doubts. Maybe we could meet him in that field you were going to go to? That has to be a safer place than where we are right now." With his Instinct still raging to move on, to keep moving, it was hard to stay still.

"Heh... only safer for me, right now. Problem is, to be able to stay there, you have to pass a pretty tough test. Or else the guardian there deletes you. I was lucky enough to pass it, and so was Silverblade, through watching my experience. It was a gamble bringing Nall; it could very well have killed him, if he couldn't figure out the solution. Killing Nall is... well, not good, but I had confidence in him. The rest of you... I doubt half of you would survive."

"I wouldn't pass any of us up so easily. I have a feeling we've all been through harsh enough shit here to at least give us some semblance of a chance." Holding up a hand as if to ward away the words he knew were coming, he tried to reorder his thoughts. "But no, I'm just ansy. I'm sure you know your own field better than I would. I just want to feel a little less useless than I do right now, you know? Is there anything I can do? That any of us can do besides just sitting around and holding tight? I understand the importance of patience, so just know I only have good intentions in mind. I don't want any of us getting killed or deleted."

"Yeah... Waiting sucks. Right now though, about the best you can do is socialize. Get to know these people; you'll be working with them. If I remember right, Rayo is very tactically-oriented; he'll want to know you all, know you're strengths, weaknesses, and abilities, so he can better plan. You've seen Nall's idea of tactics; run up the mountain and leave your support behind so you can get yourself killed. Mine, while somewhat more rational, is hardly better at times."

"A tactician? No offence intended to either you or Nall, but that would be a nice change of pace. Well, welcome aboard Rayo. Or, I suppose, welcome back." Not meaning to be rude, but too busy trying to get a firm grip on the situation, Zan continued on before he could register anything Rayo might have said in response. "I'd be more than happy to answer any of Rayo's questions, but I have a feeling I have more questions about what I can do than he might. But, that aside, I suppose socializing really is the best we can do. As long as egos don't clash too hard in here, I think all these new people could actually work out for the better. So, to clarify one last time, we really are on a highly-suggested 'stay indoors' sort of policy for the time being?"

"Well... I'm not sure how much the Admins know about us. If you have to leave, like to get items or something, do it quick and do it alone, or in pairs, or something. I don't want us all out in a big mob, especially if there's anyone among the Knights that's been there long enough to recognize myself, or Rayo. Or to catch the flags Raine says are on the new people."

"Sounds about right. Well, if I find a good excuse to leave, I just might do that. But I won't go far." Turning to the rest of the group, mainly the three newbies that had wandered in (and focused further still on Dien, the only one he had some connection with, albeit an irking one), he offered up what help he could. "If anyone really needs to go out, I think the pairing system is the best idea. I'd be more than happy to accompany anyone who agrees and needs to pick up anything. But let's try and keep it at necessity, as I'm sure Nighthand will agree." Not wishing to sound like he was trying to take charge of things, he returned his attention to their leader. One of them, anyway. "Well, I think that about answers my questions. If you change your mind about that help I offered, just give me a heads up." A nod was all he got in response, Nighthand seeming to turn his attentions to other questioning. With too many people around to try and fall asleep, Zan simply moved to recline along his bed for the umpteenth time that evening, trying to weave around the busy clash of thoughts in his skull.

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


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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 5:36 am 
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Elevated Player
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 3:09 am
Posts: 63
Location: Wherever I'm needed.
I waited, waited until the people surrounding this Nighthand fellow dispersed somewhat. I wanted to keep who I was a secret, at least for now. I couldn't trust any of them... except for Dien. He and Canti knew everything anyways, and Dien had been the one who actually tried to understand me back in that god-forsaken tower. He hung around longer than the others, and I decided I didn't care if he overheard what I had to say anyways.

Approaching the player, I began to phrase my questions... carefully. I didn't want to get on his bad side when he was obviously my best source of information.

"You... you seem to know the most around here... am I correct in assuming that?"

He looked up at me before delivering a simple response: "Out of everyone here, at least." It wasn't the most comforting answer, since it gave me no assurance that he would know what I wondered, but it was better than nothing. And it broke the ice, something I felt was quite important. Something about this guy unsettled me. I decided it was time to move on in my line of questioning.

"I see... how much do you know about what actually happens to people's minds when they're infected with this virus? Does it actually trap their consciousness in here, and seperate their mind from their body? Or is it something else? Do you know?" The question was merely a precursor in my mind, but if I garnered enough information from it then perhaps I could simply end the conversation here. As much as I knew I would have to get used to him, this... Nighthand still gave me the creeps.

"If you think of your consciousness, your mind, your thoughts, as your 'soul', what Twilight does is takes that soul from your body and sticks it in your character. To you, your character's body IS your body. Some things still affect you from the outside... Argilus, an old friend, had his arm cut off in the game, and in real life it began to die. He couldn't just repth it back, because of the nature of the attack. At least that's what I've been told." The news only made me fear even more what I already had figured would come to pass. I decided to continue the conversation, and hopefully the news would take a turn for the better.

"So... it's like you exist mainly in the game, with a physical link to the outside world?"

He responded with one word : "Basically."

"And every mental and spiritual part of you is in here... that's... that's practically unbelievable." I was afraid now, truly afraid. If we were indeed in danger of being infected by this virus, the results wouldn't be pretty. I had to ask him... I had to know what sort of chances we... or rather, I had of getting back into the real world. "Do me a favor and be straight with me... how much of a chance do myself, Dien, and Canti have of escaping here intact?"

"If you were to leave now, just log out, you'd probably be fine. If you ever logged back in, though, you'd instantly be a target. If you stick with us, you're pretty much certain to fall into a coma. You might die. Then again, you might not, and eventually we'll make it back out. Hopefully leaving The World a better place."

The news hit me like a ton of bricks. "So it's a choice between being stuck in the world I like, or the world I hate, eh? Interesting," I said. It was true, I had never liked the real world, but the prospect of living in The World for all eternity... I couldn't live like that. Or at least, I didn't think I could. However, the knowledge I had gained so far was still leading up to what I dreaded in my heart. I had to keep asking... I had to be prepared if it happened. "Another question..." I said, "sorry for being so long winded. What would happen if you were infected and... essentially had two minds? Mostly unified, but still with some sort of pull that's slowly seperating them? Odd question, I know."

It was there that he surprised me the most. "Not as odd as you might think..." he said, and as he said it, his eyes became silver for a moment. It was fleeting, and they changed back almost instantly, but I knew what it was: a signal. I wasn't the only one with this problem. "Anything can happen, really. Twilight brings your mind into the game, but frees you from the game's rules. At least mostly."

I grinned, now knowing that others like me had been put in this situation as well, and that they had done fairly well for themselves. "So I see I'm not alone. Never expected to meet anyone else with my problems..." I said, shifting my eyes to the black of Rikama... something I was able to do freely due to our recent merge. I shifted them back quickly, as my only purpose was to indicate to Nighthand that we were simliar, and then continued speaking: "... but that's a soothing answer. I was afraid something would go horribly wrong...." And it still likely would. I could currently control Rikama, but the only power I had over him was control of the body. Without a body... we would have equal pull.


"Oh, don't be so comforted," he said. "Just because anything can happen doesn't mean nothing will go wrong. Anything can go wrong, too."

I laughed a bit, then began to speak again. "I guess that's a good thing to think about. Thank you, though. I think that, regardless of whether I end up infected or not... I'll do what I can to help you people. You deserve what's been taken from you."

And with those words, my decision was made. I would remain in The World, and help those who were trapped here. And if I became trapped as well... so be it.


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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 6:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2003 7:21 pm
Posts: 485
Jotting down categories on a notepad the boy had pulled from a desk drawer, Auth contemplated what was worth knowing, what was overkill, and what people would lie or at least be deceptively vague about. Hacks automatically went under the last category. While they surpassed the basic rules, they were the least statistical and had the greatest chance of fluctuating. Some may not be fully reliable, and depending on those could be…bad. To make matters worse, hacks are a more personal part of a character design…and who knows how much people would wish to tell everyone about. Exact amounts for item quantities and individual spells or equipment would follow the train of thought with the second grouping. Nice to know, but that would be far too trite. No…this would be kept clean and simple, something everyone would like to know and answer.

Nodding to Zan as he went along with his questions, the wave master added one more category to his list, buddy pairings. The mystic buddy system, something everyone from boy scouts to people without maps used without hesitation. That, was something that was going to be implemented regardless of how people felt or acted…on some scale anyway. There weren’t a lot of them, but in the thick of battle it would be impossible to keep track of everyone. Having one or two people watching your back might keep revival going at a faster pace. There had been some earlier battles where the deaths kept on taking a toll until mass revival occurred. If theses were dealt with as they came, it’d be easier to not be slaughtered so quickly. That sort of management would at least make it a slow death…that was better, right?

In an effort to gain the attention of the group for at least a little while, the mage hopped on top of an unoccupied bed and cleared his throat, while motioning with his arms for people to come over.


“Since we’ll be working together for a while, we might as well do so effectively, correct? It may not be much, but there are a few key character functions I want to be sure of before finding out everyone with a resurrect is dead and gone. If everyone could please tell us all what they’ll respond to in a life or death situation, which elements they can attack with, and if you have any type of group healing or revival capabilities.

This is my bare bones version of what we should eventually know…but for now this will probably be enough. This should keep us alive a bit longer, and help speed up working out strategies in the midst of a battle.

I’ll go first, as we should all know this information. I’ll respond to Rayo, can use thunder, earth, fire, and wood, but the first of those elements most effectively. I have spells for both group healing and revival if we need them.”

The spell caster waited a moment for someone else to respond with their vital stats, words he’d be noting for future reference, but then raised his hand as he remembered one last piece of information.

“Also…and I hope that we can implement this prior to anyone walking out of this room and getting out of sight, we need to pair up. Trios work too if we have an odd person out or if we have players already comfortable in a triple, but we need to make sure everyone has at least one other person to work with. The only condition I have is that every unit should have at least some sort of revival in case we get split up.”

_________________
Rayo
Lv.47 Archer 745HP/311SP
Bell, the Silver Grunty of Thunder
Skills/Spells-Shocking Arrow of Voltage(30), Arrow of the Burning Stars(10), MeRai Rom(40), Rai Kruz(10), La Repth(20), Rip Maen(40), MeRai Kruz(20), GiVak Kruz(20), MeRai Don(20), Rig Saem(15)
Weapon/Armor/Book-Golden Royal Bow/Thunder Torque, Thunder Cloak, Able Ring, Ivory Greaves/Thunder Magic
Wishlist: YL Fukuoka, Stormlore, Winter Stone, Silver Grunty


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